Morals, as passed down from one generation to another, are usually crap. Not just because they aren’t worth standing by – though that’s often the case – but because they’re simply inherited. It’s the same way with those normalcy’s that come about through imitating one’s peers. I think that they go unexamined in a persons life all to often, and are even used in some ways to gain respect within a given community for upholding certain ‘proper’ morals; which, you would do well to note, vary from one social environment to another. What is deemed acceptable in one group becomes deplorable in another. I would like to think that this alone could convince people that there are no universal morals, but that just isn’t the case, in spite of how easy it is to see.
People tend to see what they want to see, sacrificing perceptiveness, awareness, and useful information in favor of pleasant ignorance; to a frightening degree, both in intensity on an individual level and as a widespread approach on a societal level. It seems a prevalent phenomenon to flash your ‘morals’ at others to feel accepted, or to validate them. It especially reminds me of lesser known spiritualities and religions, because a lot of those people seem to need or want others to validate their personal beliefs; it isn’t restricted to obscure spiritual movements either though, plenty of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, or whatever else – when meeting new people – act as though they’re compelled to announce their religious affiliation.
In my eyes this is all silliness, and it all misses the point of morality. It isn’t for showing off, it isn’t something an individual should conform to in order to satisfy peers or parents, and there are no morals that should be lived by without evaluating your own values for yourself. The attempts to manipulate other people into validating one’s beliefs, the affiliation with beliefs for the sake of acceptance, and other similar behaviors are part of a sad facade, speaking to a lack of self-awareness… and a warped, tamed spirit. If morals are to be adhered to in any sense at all, then they should be practical and functional, geared towards a certain purpose or ideal.
To condense and simplify what I’m saying… pseudo morals are fake morals, unexamined, untested or otherwise inadequate. A striking comparison would be to articles of a Halloween costume, the more realistic and impressive the costume, the better. It’s more for show than anything else though, and usually uncomfortable to run around in all day.
To be fair, I think most – if not all – people start the earlier parts of their lives under the guise their parents, friends, and siblings have given them, and which they’ve accepted without knowing any better alternative. I’m not really calling for any rebellion either; that’s not necessarily what I mean. But learn about what you value and how you exercise those values in your world through experience and introspection, don’t just take what you’ve been taught or assimilated through imitation and live by it. Pseudo morality works real well for the weak, but if you’re anything like me then that’s not going be good enough for you. Get some firsthand experience, become more aware of what you value, and listen to your heart.
(Originally Written: 8-28-11)
Notes to the Reader: This is something I wrote a few years ago under another name. I was reminded of it because of a comment by Tame SheWolf on a post here centering around maturity (as it’s conventionally looked at) and it’s potential costs to the individual and his or her dreams. Rereading this older bit of writing, it seemed to relate so I thought I’d share it. Since then my own outlook on morality has been open to change, but I haven’t seen anything to convince me that I was (or am) wrong. I think if I were to rewrite this again the only thing that might change is the ‘style’ of it, the way I come across, but the essence of it remains more or less true to my perspective.