Another term for morals or ethics. You are supposed to learn what is right and wrong to live properly in society.

There are various methods of teaching what is right and wrong. Some are authoritarian, and just say "this is the way it is". Others use religion, saying that a god/gods have decreed what is right and wrong. Others, like humanism look to what is best for society while keeping into account human rights.


As William Blake would have put it, these two concepts cannot live without each other. How could we know what was right if there was no wrong? What would be the reference point? My favorite line of his is,

"You never know what's enough until you know what's too much."

It's like love and hate. If Adam and Eve had stayed in the Garden of Eden and never known loss and betrayal and hate, humans would not have made much progress (if you want to call it that). For me, this is the beauty of what happens in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

When the monkey learns that he can use tools to kill other monkeys, he has essentially eaten the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Nothing he had ever done in his little monkey life had ever made him feel true guilt, until he used a club to beat another monkey to death.

Here you have the beginning of Man and all the baggage that goes therewith. Including this language we use here to argue with each other.

Right and Wrong are concepts. They derive from the conscious consideration of the effects of an act given the conscious entity's personal goal.

Alternately, right and wrong are two concepts which exist only relative to a goal or an ideal. They are not inherent to reality, are not part of truth, and can be realized only by a conscious entity.

Right and wrong are more influenced by culture than anything else. For example, currently, people generally find the idea of human sacrifice revolting. However, if one lived back in the days of the Aztecs, he might not find it so offensive. (Don't get me wrong, I am in no way condoning human sacrifice)

I don't think there is an absolute definition of this concept - it is different for each individual, and there is nothing I believe in more strongly than I do in individuality. However, my personal definition, as nearly as it can be expressed in words, follows:

If an action causes much more good than harm,
or
if the sole harm is to the person taking the action, and such harm is either reversible, or something on which that person's view is unlikely to change with time,
or
the action is the optimum way to prevent greater harm to life (with preference for human life) as a whole,
the action is right.

Otherwise, it is wrong, and an ethical person will not act in that way and will indeed try to prevent others from doing so.

I've thought about that definition for literally years, and think it covers all the bases. Please, however, as always, /msg me with any comments.

There is war and death happening everywhere, but all 'sides' claim not to want it. Are they all lying, or are half of them lying, or is there something stranger going on? Take the North of Ireland. No one wants the killing to go on, they all say. Everyone wants peace. But the situation is sliding with a horrible, slow inevitability back to the point of no return. So if everyone involved wants peace, why doesn't peace happen? Maybe it's because, even though everyone does want peace, there are things they want more than peace, and one of those things is to be right. I've never heard anyone say "We were wrong." Everyone says "We were right to act as we acted, because we were forced to by the other side." Like Laurel and Hardy, "Now look what you made me do." So the cycle just keeps on going because no one wants to be wrong. They'd rather risk death and horror than admit that they have done wrong, or that they are doing wrong.

Somehow the world has gotten into a state where it seems perfectly reasonable for the leaders of a nation to announce their intention to kill an unspecified number of people for some 'cause' that a child could see is not genuine. Somehow we have got to the point where, even though we know that a politician or military leader is lying when they say why they are doing something, e.g. "We are continuing to bomb Iraq to prevent Iraq from becoming aggressive towards its neighbours again", we pretend that they are speaking the truth, and grapple with the words they have said, debate them as if they are serious or truthful, instead of admitting that we know what they REALLY mean - "We are continuing to bomb Iraq because if we stop it looks like an admission that we were wrong to keep doing it all this time."

Why are we so concerned with being right? Why can't a nation admit that it made a wrong decision? Even individual people have difficulty doing this, but the larger the group gets, the less likely it is that it will admit it was, or is, in the wrong, no matter how dreadfully obvious it is. The American government has never said that it was wrong to invade Vietnam, even though the vast majority of people in the world know that it was. And no one calls them to account over it. I guess it's far enough in the past that people just want to forget about it, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, if we could guarantee that it wouldn't happen again, but we can't.

It's easier to reach a higher level of growth, where you can admit you were wrong and not feel that that destroys you, as an individual person. You can't change group psychology without changing the psychology of the individuals composing that group. But one of the problems seems to be that it is not the best and the highest-evolved individuals who come to lead most groups, but the worst, the most degraded and false, the most power-driven and ruthless. That's understandable in non-democratic power systems, but in a democracy, even a corrupted form of democracy like the US and UK party political systems, the only reason that this kind of person rises to lead the nation is that they represent a majority of the voters.

Or maybe I'm thinking too simplistically. Maybe they don't represent the voters so much as hoodwink them. Maybe power and celebrity are really the worst places, karmically, that you can end up in your life. I've lost track of my thoughts. I don't understand why the human world is such an awful, hellish realm of lies and unnecessary death, when every person in it feels the same love and can see the same truth. I don't get it.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.