Societies throughout history have shaped themselves around morality, what is considered acceptable, and what are deemed unacceptable or unethical behaviours with a view to punish those categorical of the latter. These often take the form of ‘laws’ in the modern age, yet laws are ever changing and inconsistent on a global basis. An example of this comes in the form of alcohol laws; currently, countries such as Afghanistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Libya alcohol is considered illegal, unethical, immoral. Other countries, such as Indonesia, India, Brunei, Pakistan, and the Maldives restrictions are put on alcohol for sectors of society. Consuming alcohol in 1932’s America could land an individual in a jail cell, but waiting 1 year would leave them outside the limits of punishment. If law be the moral, then the moral is ever shifting and applicable only to the individual in the time period. So how do you judge good from bad? Right from wrong?
These terms, in of themselves, are unassailable when deeming ‘good morals’ on a global basis. What is right, and what is wrong? We learn when we are young that to kill is wrong, yet if an intruder were to break into your house and hold a knife to your daughter’s throat threatening an end to her life, would you be a bad person for doing all you could to protect her? Would killing the vicious intruder be unjustified as a last recourse to save the life of your child? Could a homeless woman with a starving child be considered unethical or a criminal for stealing a loaf of bread so her 7 year old doesn’t wail in hunger another night? Right and wrong leave grey areas when true judgements of character come to pass, both big and small.
So how does one judge good morals from bad morals? Good people from bad people? First, we must accept there is no good person, and there is no bad person. There are only choices of the individual which may fluctuate dependent upon the situation. For example, there were surely SS Officers who truly cared for their families and, through a distortion of mind, followed orders in an attempt to ensure their survival. Does this justify their actions taken in a time of war? That is not for us to decide; we may only decide and judge the actions we ourselves take. Throughout our lives, through times of happiness and of sorrow, each choice we make and manifest comes with 2 overarching options – The service to self, and the service to others.
Like every universal force from electricity (positive and negative charges), magnetism (positive and negative polarities), gravity (gravity and anti-gravity), to our very own atomic structure (protons and electrons), one is of a positive essence, the other of a negative. One can lead to a stronger, closer, more prosperous community, and the other to inevitable bloodshed and destruction in the vain attempt to be ‘top dog’. This can be viewed globally and historically with many of the names we learn in school being of a service to self nature, wrecking havoc, leading wars, ending countless lives in attempt to bring servitude of others beneath their unforgiving heels.
In a world which has seen such ruin for such an extended period of time, it can seem impossible or improbable for any other society to exist within its place. In a world so unforgiving it can seem only natural, justifiable to compromise the needs of others in order to elevate your own position within the current structure. It’s a dog eat dog world, but only as we allow it to be.
It may seem a monumental task to bring about a global change from one polarity to another, but that is not what is expected of any. No individual may change the world on such a mass scale, but what they can do, can be just as powerful – they may alter and affect their portion to move into the positive spectrum. War is allowed because war is an expected inevitability, yet mass murder is condemned when it lacks political motivation with governmental backing. The suppression and oppression of people across the globe is continuous because of a belief in superiority, a belief that those who are different are therefore of a lesser stature, and thus their lives must hold less value. A life being lived holds as much value as any other, and it is this you must remember. We all fall to compromising at times, may it be to cut corners, to allow ourselves a treat at the expense of another, an instant satisfaction without regard for those affected by our choices, while condemning those making choices affecting only themselves such as sexuality, gender alignment, tattoos, drugs, drinking, etc.
Right and wrong do not exist, there is only an array of grey. All that exist, all that shapes the world in which we live, is whether our actions benefit the community in which we live, including actions as small as a smile to a stranger, offering money to someone who lacks the right change in a store, listening to someone who has no one to speak to, or the simple benefit of yourself at the expense of those around you; the service to others, or the service to self.
I know which world I wish to live in; if you are still unsure it may be time to decide.
Author Bio – Kieran is a Unitarian spiritualist who believes the problems we face in life are lessons towards spiritual progression. If you like his writing, why not check out his music by Clicking Here
Alternatively you can check out his book “Physical appearance: A Man Unravelled”