Morals are the right thing to do in a given situation or principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior, sometimes including or excluding if it’s illegal or not.
But there is always a conflict between the right thing and morally right thing to do. Let’s say someone’s family is extremely poor and the mother is very sick. The pharmacy has the exact medicine that could cure the mother but it is very expensive. What would the son do knowing it was right there but he couldn’t reach it? Would he break into the pharmacy? But that’s illegal but for him it’s also the right thing to do at that moment.
Of course some might say, he could be getting help from friends, going to the doctors, getting a loan and a job etc. the usual righteous heads, but that is the ambiguity of helplessness. One living in a peaceful place will easily suggest the one living in Syria to improve their situation by talking to the government and rebel groups, talk and find a solution etc. etc. but that is and always had been the fight between practicality and idealism. Conviction is for those on the sidelines, and everyone has plans until getting punched in the face are the famous sayings which depict these situations, while there is always what most would consider a right way out but only one in million has the ability to find and go that path. Rest are just the common people.
There are various types of moral practices. One can practice utilitarianism where doing “what’s right” should help everyone in the long run. It has some downsides because sometimes, even if it benefits everyone, it’s not always the most moral thing to do .
There’s also Kantianism aka deontology, where instead of considering everyone, one considers his duties to society. one does not think about the end goal or consequences, just do the duty as told by laws or what parents taught or universal duties. But even this is not the idealistic model.
Anything is wrong or imperfect to somebody.
And that is why there is conflict between moral sets. With a deeper look in too ourselves we can see that we as human Beings are highly individualistic but also deeply social organisms.We have individualistic as well as societal interests that drive us in our decision making and choices and hence in our moral code.
Individuals aspire to fulfill personal needs and desires while societal interests are directed towards predictability in the group and enhance safety and growth and development of the group. Perceived societal interests are expressed/implied in the form of moral code because conflicts between morals can lead to unpredictability in human behaviour and cause physical or psychological harm and may not always benefit in the long run. Common morality prevents people to a certain extent from violating the societal code thereby ensuring peace and preventing chaos.
Therefore, whenever an individual or a set of individuals break the moral code, society tends to stigmatise them or outcast them as a form of punishment and also to deter further violations.
However, since moral codes are very abstract in nature and are just perceptions in their true nature, individuals with enough power or majority of individuals happen to redefine morals from time to time.
Since morals have been accepted as basic to co-living, they are deeply embedded in mind. When we find ourselves violating the moral code, we tend to feel guilty and unhappy with our actions.
Moral codes are not found only in human societies but in almost all animals which live in groups are found to be practicing moral codes. So in the end we can only say that the more we study morality, the more we encounter ambiguity.
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