The glue that holds a society together. Morality basically gives people a reason to be nice to each other. There are three origins of the moral codes in general use (in America) today. One is that "we should do what God says", another is that "we should figure out what's best for everybody based on the consequences of our actions", and the third: "we just don't give a fuck".

Morality, what a topic. It has been debated ever since the word itself was conceived. Some individuals believe that morality is relative; what is moral for one doesn't have to be moral for another. Likewise, individuals should not press their moral standards on others. Sounds reasonable, but for one itsy bitsy little inconvenience.

That's not the way it works.

Yes, morality is relative, but not in the way we see it. Morality can only be relative to one thing, and that is an absolute morality. Now it might be argued that absolutes don't exist; that everything is relative. But, then, if everything is relative, why do we insist on absolution. If something bad happens, we say, "That's not fair!" But what is fair? What is fair to you might not be fair to me, right? Even if that were true, we infer an absolute reality where an absolute "fair" exists.

But can we trust the human sense of absolutes when we come to the matter of morality. If civilization were to be observed as to how morality has affected it over the decades, one would notice that morality in itself is what makes us civilized at all. This is what separates Homo Sapien from the apes, the reptiles, the fish. This is what gives the human race, the right, to call themselves sentient.

The very fact that morality is the cement that holds our homes, our communities, our nations together, shows that morality cannot be relative. Relativity based on nothing absolute creates chaos. It can only tear down, not build up.

The reason this philosophy is adhered to is because of rationalization. It makes us uncomfortable to have a standard, something that all have to meet, not a select few. Knowing this makes us uncomfortable, but also rebellious. Human beings have a tendency to defy authority. From children snickering behind a teacher's back to grown men trying to steal money from their employers. Here we feel one of the greatest authorities of all, an absolute authority, and the rebellion in us is no different than when we disobey parents as children.

This rebellion makes us rationalize our morality. We invent excuses to try to cover up our mistakes. We try to deny what we sense of an absolute morality and what we betray with our true thought. The relativity of morality is only another attempt to deny an absolute standard that we all must follow.

Perhaps I'm a little slow to have opened my eyes, and perhaps this entire node is out-dated before it's even been posted. Nevertheless, here we go.

It seems to me that, in the land of "We the People", there has been a disturbingly invasive trend of associating, as a singular criterion, sexuality and sexual deviance as the absolute measure of morality.

Homosexuality, bisexuality, promiscuity, bigamy, various paraphilia and nudity are all reviled here. People who openly embrace any of the aforementioned lifestyles are severely prejudiced against by the general populace.

You can watch all sorts of television shows where truly obscene levels of violence abound and there is copious foul language. Personally, I neither agree nor disagree with the lack of censorship regarding violence and language, but that hasn't kept me from noticing the extreme conservatism regarding sexuality and nudity on the TV. Sure, recently there have been shows with homosexuality for display on the air, but heaven forbid Janet Jackson's nipple guards be on the air a moment longer. I should think our collective head would have exploded at the open display of deviance. In the rest of the world, apparently nudity is commonplace on the TV. I'm not asking for porn, just consistency of censorship.

Want another example? Look at the last two Presidents of the United States. Clinton's indiscretion was sexual in nature. He engaged in an extra-marital affair. He was branded as immoral. He was tainted, to the degree that it spread to the entire rest of the Democrat Party. Bush (the latter, not the former) is believed to be leading a suspect war in which thousands of soldiers have died. There is, however, no suspicion on his morality. It is considered resoundingly clear. (Keep in mind that with this I am sharing what I perceive, and I do not intend this as an attack on his character. Merely an exercise in demonstration.)

I don't know. Just observations. I'm certainly not qualified as a sociologist, but I'd like to know what other people think on the subject.

Mo*ral"i*ty (?), n.; pl. Moralities (#). [L. moralitas: cf. F. moralit'e.]

1.

The relation of conformity or nonconformity to the moral standard or rule; quality of an intention, a character, an action, a principle, or a sentiment, when tried by the standard of right.

The morality of an action is founded in the freedom of that principle, by virtue of which it is in the agent's power, having all things ready and requisite to the performance of an action, either to perform or not perform it. South.

2.

The quality of an action which renders it good; the conformity of an act to the accepted standard of right.

Of moralitee he was the flower. Chaucer.

I am bold to think that morality is capable of demonstration. Locke.

3.

The doctrines or rules of moral duties, or the duties of men in their social character; ethics.

The end of morality is to procure the affections to obey reason, and not to invade it. Bacon.

The system of morality to be gathered out of ... ancient sages falls very short of that delivered in the gospel. Swift.

4.

The practice of the moral duties; rectitude of life; conformity to the standard of right; virtue; as, we often admire the politeness of men whose morality we question.

5.

A kind of allegorical play, so termed because it consisted of discourses in praise of morality between actors representing such characters as Charity, Faith, Death, Vice, etc. Such plays were occasionally exhibited as late as the reign of Henry VIII.

Strutt.

6.

Intent; meaning; moral.

[Obs.]

Taketh the morality thereof, good men. Chaucer.

 

© Webster 1913.

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