Life Skills

Morality… what is it anyway?

What constitutes a moral person? Can you be moral without religion?  Can you be a moral person and not believe in god?  Is an individual’s morality based on those around them?  Is morality relative?  Is our morality graded on a curve?  If you get a C in a math class and the rest of the class get a D, does that make me a math genius because I had the highest score?

Morality has been defined as  “The quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct.”  Wikipedia defines it was “Morality (from the Latin moralities – manner, character, proper behavior) is a sense of behavioral conduct that differentiates intentions, decision, and actions between those that are good (or right) and bad (or wrong).  This all begs the question… who decides good/right – bad/wrong????

Hmmmmmmmmmm… there is, of course, no “set in stone” answer… it will be totally what each of YOU believe…  whatever “moral” means to you – is right… for you.  Each person… certainly with help from their belief systems, will figure out and probably act accordingly to each individual’s definition.  Although many will say it is their religion “spelling” out morality for them… yet some of these same people do not act within their own definitions.

I believe there are degrees of honesty

  • Open – where we are completely open about our strengths and weaknesses.  This is usually manifested in some relationships and friendships where there is a high level of trust between the individuals.
  • Spin – where we emphasize our strengths and de-emphasize our weaknesses to present the facts in their best light.  A good example is on our employment resumes.  We may emphasize our acquired college degree and our organization affiliations, but somehow we don’t mention the police raid at the frat house or the classes we had to retake.  This can also be in the reverse where we hide our strengths and emphasize our weaknesses… it is still a “spin”.
  • Embellish – where we fabricate facts typically for self-aggrandizement.  Some people find it necessary to say things that are not true to make themselves look better among their associates.  Some may even say “what is the harm – nobody gets hurt.”  Some people may imply relationships with important people or inaccurately reference financial transactions to improve the perception others have of them.
  • Steal – where we lie to others with the intent to take something from them by whatever means possible.  For example, some businessmen fell it necessary and even justified to lie about a product that they are selling – it is just business, buyer beware, right?

A person can be considered completely honest by being open or spinning the presentation, but they step into dark territory when they start altering the facts for whatever reason.

Sometimes we use “information non-disclosure”…  In some situations it is completely valid to withhold information – again, this is personal and each person has to decide for themselves what to share and what not to share.

  • Personal sensitivity – to preserve the feelings of another individual.  The proverbial “Does this dress make my butt look big?” should probably not be answered with “of Course not, it is your butt that makes your butt look big,”  At times it is better to kindly soft-peddle your comments rather than brutally express your true thoughts.
  • Sacred nature – some information may be of a sacred or spiritual nature and doesn’t have to be shared unless you are inspired to do so under the right circumstances and you feel safe doing so.
  • Information abuse – some people may take shared information and use it against your or to manipulate the situation.  You are not obligated to provide all information with people you do not trust.
  • Lack of appreciation – others may not have a full appreciated of your personal experiences.   Wealth acquisition is a common area where folks may feel you should be more generous with your finances.  They typically think that you were just lucky or they don’t understand the challenges, sacrifices, blood, sweat and tears you’ve endured…  not only wealth, but this also applies to talents – you might be good at math and a CPA, but this doesn’t mean you have to do everyone’s taxes, etc.

Information non-disclosure really should never be used to embellish or steal from another…

We have opportunities to exercise our individual honest and our morality in all aspects of our daily lives.  As we examine our personal practices – we sometimes should take a minute or two to make sure we aren’t drifting into gray areas of mis-information or little white lies.  Perhaps returning to the era where a man’s word was his bond and he did what he said he was going to do…

Hopefully, I never left this era… hopefully, I live by that……my word is my bond…. Hmmmmmm.  How are you all doing?  Think we need to think about this over some hot coffee…..

2 thoughts on “Morality… what is it anyway?”

  1. I need to read this again–very good information, but I have a question. Where is the line between morality and ethics?Is my morality basically my operating system and my ethics how I apply it in the world?

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