Thursday, September 8, 2011

Morals in society: Decoding Morality

   Morals, good and bad, are far from simple. There is always an, “if”, “and” or “but”. It’s never black and white. What shapes our morals? It would be easy to believe that we have our own morals as a part of the person we are, apart of our internal self. That is simply not true. People are mainly guided, almost forcefully, into morals. Society influences almost every aspect of our life. Morality is undiscoverable.
For example, Jeffery Kluger of Time magazine wrote an Article  on morals. He questions what makes us moral. Kluger remarks about learning right and wrong when you are a child and how everything is broken down into right and wrong. Kluger remarks about the difference of morality and social convention. He explains that if a teacher says do not eat in class, you do not until that rule is lifted. However if a teacher says do not push, and then also dismisses this rule, would the child still have a desire to push another? Most children would say, “No, the teacher shouldn’t say that”. That’s where authority and morals collide. That’s where temporary guidelines and structure collide with the real right and wrong. When dealing with the real right and wrong, then you are dealing with morality. We are told how we should act and feel upon acting a certain way. We are told guilt coexist with wrong doing. The same could be said with cheating. If one cheats and is not caught and inurn receives an excellent grade, they feel great. However, if one cheats and is caught, they immediately feel sorry for what they’ve done. But are they truly upset with themselves or upset with the fact that their plan didn’t succeed? So, if you are not caught, you will feel no guilt. However, when you are caught suddenly your morals kick in? I think not.
      I discovered something very intriguing while discussing with my edcafe group. We read the speech by this leader who was not identified. We read the speech out loud and came to the conclusion that it was about improving society completely, breaking down racial barriers, and becoming more equalized, we thought the speech was empowering and morally correct. This anonymous voice said things like, “our aim has been to educate slaves to be citizens”, “To grant equal rights to those social strata that hitherto were denied such right, and “For the first time in our history, The German people have found the way to higher unity than they ever had before; and that is due to the compelling attraction of this inner feeling”. Unknowing to who was the speaker, we fell for these words. We fell for the simple fact that this was a sugarcoated excuse for an awful thing; we were convinced just like those German people were. The speaker was Hitler. In short, the point is we are not really so complex intellectually, and we virtually know nothing about moral codes. We simply lured into things that sound good. Its that easy.
             Another point about culture influencing our beliefs is how we simply judge others cultures. People are raised in numerous different cultures everywhere around the world, and just because we are raised in America we tend to have different morals then those other cultures. Our minds simply cannot grasp the concept of culture diffrences.Just because things are different, they are ‘weird’ or ‘wrong’ to us. That is just ignorance. Things Americans consider extreme are considerably normal in other nations. We all, in some ways, are guided into our morals by the unsaid rules of our select society. The same can be said for other cultures in comparison to ours. Who made our morals extremely different from other cultures? How do they know something’s wrong if that’s how they were raised, and its normalcy to them? For example, in other cultures or religions it is custom for women to cover their whole body, even their faces. Many are outraged by this custom and call it immoral. However, those cultures could also allege us of being immoral by wearing clothes that reveal too much. Are we really ones to judge or to tell what their freedoms should and should not be? Differences turn into moral claims and that’s were the moral dilemma lies. Since when did anybody gain the authority to accuse others of immorality? We still don’t fully understand the world around us and all the differences and issues, but now as young adults we start putting the pieces together. And that’s why the question of morality is so broad and intimidating to us.  
   As strange as it seems, i belive humans try to be to intellectually complex. Morals do exist in many forms but decoding morality and trying to make sense of it is immpossible. Humans have things such as morals because of our intense senistivity and deep empathy. Its unavoidable how we feel about things.


  1. This is great: "We all, in some ways, are guided into our morals by the unsaid rules of our select society." And how morals differ depending on the society you belong to, therefore our morals are shaped by society. I totally agree with what you're saying here, awesome!

  2. I really liked the example you used with the "anonymous" speaker turning out to be Hitler. I agree with it as well. If we had a leader who could speak as powerfully as Hitler did, it would be hard not to follow such inspiration. This also makes us realize that our morals can be manipulated by outside influence. I wonder what some of your group members said when you all found out that Hitler was the one being quoted. Great post Sally!

  3. I like how you brought up other cultures and how their values can vary quite differently from our values. I tend to think it's how your brought up and what you're surrounded by. Nice blog Sally.

    From Chris Cummings

  4. Your blog was great and made so many interesting points. I like how you wrote a lot of different thoughts down because it made it more interesting to ponder how to decipher it. My only question goes back to the beginning of your blog to where you wrote about society influencing us from the start. Do you really believe when you think hard that everyone is shaped by society?

  5. Sally this is amazing. I thought your connection to the guilt section of it helped to show the point of peoples morals and how they are affected by them. I do believe that even if someone did cheat on something that their morals would kick in and make them feel the guilt of what they did and know it was wrong. If they are not caught i agree they would most likely not come forward and confess but as soon as they are they apologize and admit they were wrong. If you think that their morals would still make them feel guilty for cheating then do you think that those same morals would have made them come forward and confess or even stop them in the first place?

  6. Sally,
    I was truly impressed with your writing in your first blog post. The one point that struck me the most and resonated with my own perspective was when you discussed the cheating student and the collision between morals and authority. Often people will do "wrong" and are not remorseful or provide an apology for their actions until they are caught. In this sense, is the person remorseful because they were caught? Are they sorry they were caught, or sorry they did the act originally?

    Mr. Kulowiec

  7. This is terrific, Sally. You raise issues that your generation will have to solve, such as different moral customs across cultures. Yes, we look down on cultures that force women to completely cover up, and some other cultures look down on ours because of the way some women dress in our culture, and this is an instance in which one would hope we'd be able to respectfully disagree. But how should we respond to cultures that don't let women go to school, or that force preteen girls into arranged marriages? These are more difficult issues, and there are no easy answers. It will be interesting to see how the new connectedness enabled by the Internet may help bridge cultures and result in more of a "global" morality.

  8. Sally, I love this, "We fell for the simple fact that this was a sugarcoated excuse for an awful thing; we were convinced just like those German people were. The speaker was Hitler." It sent chills down my spine and really set myself up to understand the concept from your perspective. Do you think at the time, that it was not considered immoral to the Nazi Soldiers or Hitler? It makes you think. What is now going on in our generations that we don't view as immoral?