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How do people feel about the notion that their morality is subjective and meaningless? For example, people today talk about detesting capital punishment, but if they were born in a different time or a different place, would they be right there cheering away at a public execution?


To me it seems like most questions of "right" and "wrong"--the heavy, thought-out convictions like stances on capital punishment--have no real bearing. For another example, if a person grows up with the thought that killing another person is wrong, and then is involved with another person's death, only to justify it by something, doesn't this just mean that the person is fully capable of justifying death and their opinion on whether it is right or wrong to kill is only circumstancial?


I mean, while we're on that very subject, people's idea of who is a murderer and who was just defending themselves, or in the wrong place at the wrong time, is kind of warped. A Vietnam fighter pilot can drop a tank of napalm on a village and kill hundreds: It was war, he was under command, it wasn't his choice. However Charles Manson can be convicted of the death of only a handful of people, whose deaths he was not even physically involved in and be regarded as a cold blooded murdered. Granted he was a psychotic racist and was probably involved in a few murders, we certainly grant a lot of leniency to military instances, police instances, where the actually amount of carnage is very high, and seem to regard the more grotesque, offensive deaths with the most disgust and vigil.


I mean, we will put a person to death with a system of drugs to give us the notion of "no suffering" when studies show we don't have a clue if it works the right way, and there have been dozens of complications. The Chinese? They shoot a person in the head, which is probably just as painless, ten times as fast and a hundred times cheaper. However our "moral" stance sees this as an inhumane way to kill a person... Why is that, because the carnage, the gore? Do people realize what these drugs really do to a person? Sometimes before they're unconscious, they stop their heart, and disable their breathing... So that person probably dies suffocating with a heart attack, completely conscious. ...and while I don't know much about the Chinese justice system, I'm pretty sure their prisoners aren't on death row for twenty years before they're executed.


Though that's not to say it's black and white. A lot of Vietnam soldiers were called "baby killers" and given rather rude welcomes back, but that wasn't really universal. It comes down to the fact that some people believe that they wouldn't have done it, they would have the morality not to pull the trigger, to disobey command, etc. Most of them were conscientious objectors that got out of the war so they felt like they had done all they could to avoid it. However, what if they were drafted, didn't make the grade, and got shipped out and a rifle put in their hand? How would they feel the first time that they killed a dozen men with a bomb without even seeing them... How would he justify that morally after having already had such a strong conviction that he would never kill under any circumstance?


So it seems like the idea of morals, or convictions, don't really stand that tall. People are extremely fickle when it comes down to it, and to me morality seems to be so subjective that it could be regarded as a trend moreso than anything to really define "right" and "wrong". If morality is so subjective, it could be said that there is no such thing, and that people's notions of "right" and "wrong" are as chaotic and undefined as people's thoughts on the meaning of life, how we got there, etc.



When it comes right down to it I guess what I'm asking is... Everyone thinks that, the idea that it's not okay to kill, is a universal concept. However, what is just as universal, is the justification to kill at certain circumstances by every culture. So it would seem as if these "morals" were just more like "guidelines" to be broken at certain times. In the context of laws it's obvious a person should be able to kill to defend themselves; however, in that person's own psyche, was the idea that "killing is wrong" ever there or was it always, "Don't kill unless..." simply to adhere to society's guidelines?

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Morality is very subjective. Not only is it intangible, but it's concreteness is only truly understood within the confines of an individual's perspective. We can have grander, objective moral concepts, which we share or recognize as a society, such as: "don't kill.". But these concepts break down in very complex ways when we attempt to relate them to an individual psyche. Almost every identifiable factor in the framing of a moral construct is in itself also heavily personal(subjective) and convoluted.


When it comes down to it, there are almost no absolutes. A person with qualms about killing may kill. A person who loves may hate. A person can be or can become many, many things. I think, personally, that any given human can be entirely flipped on their belief or opinion of anything as long as they are given the perfect combination of stimuli.


We aren't pre-disposed to much, at birth. We basically just breathe, eat, sh*t, drink, observe, and learn. As we learn and our brain grows, we create a very complex web of relations with physical reality(this includes the physical existence of ourselves: brain & body ) and conceptual belief. A baby can grow to become comfortable with or believe in a whole assortment of things. Even the concepts of "death", "life", and "kill" for instance, may be very different to someone else, than they are to you. One individual may think of death as part of a cyclical construct, whereas another will view it as "the end", or "the unknown", or "who cares?"etc. etc.


Basically, morality is just a function of self-image. Moral boundaries are principles by which we abide; inadvertently or otherwise. They are the lines we will not cross because: "it's not us".


Is morality meaningless? Well, morality has a practical function imo. First of all, every living human has a moral construct. So, whether we like it or not, it is there. Surely, it can't be meaningless? I think it helps us to survive in our respective realities by placing self-recognized limits on our actions. It is "subjective reasonability" relative to a particular, static conceptual system, in other words.

Edited by shaboobala

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I think most behavior/morals are learned. Kids who are taught to share and feel compassion, will start to feel really complex emotions like guilt when they do not. That's what I find most interesting about morals, is the adverse reaction people get when they do not give up something for the sake of another's benefit. I have felt very guilty sometimes when during a lunch I could not lend a dollar to a buddy or anyone if they asked.


What if you and your girlfriend have to fend off a gunman and you also have a gun? Would you not protect her by killing the attacker?


Someone's personal morals usually only extend to people they can trust. People who are strangers, people you just meet, will probalbly not get many people's moral sympathies right off the bat. What's even more unfortunate is when someone abuses your "rules" by posing as friendly then "backstabbing" you by some means. Are you morally justified to get him back?


What is the right thing to do? There's too many scenario's, makes me wonder if anyone has ever written thier own "moral" outline book.


To respond to your question in the first paragraph Sag, morals can not be meaningless, because how would any civilization have come so far if everyone was without morals, stealing and killing all the time? They maybe meaningless when no one else adhere's to them, but to call them meaningless in a developed society, we would be back in the dark age's if people thought this way.

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If there's one thing I'm sure of its the fact that what constitutes ones reality and their interpretation of that information corrupts the definition of morality or the other way around . As long as the only thing common about common sense remains the lack of its employment, we're seriously f*cked. I don't think we have emotionally matured at all in thousands of years technologically mankind's achievements are astounding it's equally as mind blowing to take note of how much potential is coupled with seriously unbelievable shortsighted acts of stupidity and or insensitivity. What really makes me shake my head is just how if we stop to think we know what the right thing to do is more often than not. We know what we've been doing wrong but almost without fail never go as far as implementing another course of action. Human beings are plagued by crippling self importance driven by deep seated insecurity which drives selfishness, laziness (Being sheep), entitlement, defensiveness,and asinine self righteousness.So let the games begin or should I say go on and on and on and on.Humans are dumber than a five pound sack of stupid generally speaking and I know this intimately cause I am one.

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Morality? I hate the word, as I hate hell and all Capulet's...


But in all honesty, Morality is that of "propaganda" in civilization's throughout time to justify the means of innocent manslaughter, so that the tribe that does it isn't confined as evil. If we really had morals wouldn't the Genocide of jews in Germany would've made the civilians sick? well... no. What about the bombing's over Japanese cities that killed thousands of Japanese civilians and left genetic traits mutated? um.. haha no?


What the f*ck is wrong with you? morality has never existed and it never will. :=/:

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