This is my first post here, which is perhaps a bit risky. I like to write about my thoughts in a near-essay format every so often but I am aware that they are not perhaps the most insightful or intelligent and have never really put them up for proper criticism in a place where the potential audience is more intelligent than I am.
However, taking risks is half the fun! And so here is an essay I wrote tonight which details some of my thoughts on firstly a hypocritical press situation and secondly the origin of morals and certain “taboo” (well, not so much today) social tendencies.
I have recently, internally, been going through some sort of moral and philosophical dilemma. It has lead to a redefining of some of my morals and a clearer defining of others. But – I have to restate it, I must say it – the morals of a western society are at core contradictory, hypocritical and hideously capitalist.
I was originally simply going to lay the blame straight on the head of our capitalist society; but I have recently been coming to terms with the fact that most people seem to find me intelligent, and if they are right I would gain so much more if I were to use my intelligence to exploit a capitalist society.
No reputable publication would ever allow me to say it as a journalist (which I am not: I am merely making a point about hypocrisy relating to free speech), but some things that are in the mass media disgust me. The most recent and most poignant example is the Madeline McCann story. I find many parts of this story stressing. For a start, there are many missing people in the world; some of them have been missing for much longer and have far more hope and are probably also more likely to be useful to the world as Madeline’s parents are clearly inept human beings.
I cannot believe I am saying this on the internet, where it is open to criticism from all, and I will more than likely be flamed by people I do not know. But it is sadly true. Madeline’s parents left their three year old alone and it got kidnapped. They started getting media attention; this would not have been possible on such a large scale had their daughter not been the supposed image of a cute, innocent little girl. This is something that I thought could only happen in America’s tabloid news (and tabloid television). Alas I was wrong and am disappointed, but in either case, moving on, they proceeded to accept donations. To hell with their donations. I haven’t been told by any newspaper to donate the parents of the majority of other missing children. The Portuguese police have a fund of their own – come on; we aren’t talking about the American government here. I think they are more than capable of carrying out a decent criminal investigation without donations on a worldwide scale.
I should probably move on from that subject. Moving onto a somewhat deeper subject I have been considering the source of morals. I was introduced by a friend to the idea of Autonomous versus Heteronymous morals. Basically it was explained to me that some people believe morals are autonomous in that they exist without outside influence, whilst others believe morals are heteronymous as they are subject to outside influence.
I feel like stating my opinion: I would say that morals are indeed Autonomous (hence disagreeing with the friend who introduced me to the topic, for the record). The reason behind this decision is simple, or at least I find it to be. I believe that all morals are descendant from human nature, or rather, animal nature – rule of the wild. Murder is morally wrong and hence illegal, I believe, due to the fact that at first, killing a person who is a part of a tribe you belong to would be seen as an attack against your entire group. This would make you angry as an animal and force revenge. It may also be remotely based on our fear of blood being spilled – to a basic human this would represent pain and therefore be an angry and also painful thought.
Today, this is absolutely in place on a larger scale – although instead of brutally, tribally killing them we cut them off from contact by putting them in jail (in this country at least). It is debatable whether or not that is more or less cruel than killing them as psychologists would agree cutting a person off from people is mental torture. In either case the point stands – I believe our morals are derived from our nature.
I also believe that most modern behavior which is attributed to nurture is also probably derived from nature. An example would be homosexuality – a hot topic. I had a discussion with a person who is open on their homosexuality about this and they say that my points were suitable against their own points easily, and so I trust my own views on this due to trusting the person themselves.
I would suggest that homosexuality is possibly a slight glitch in the way society affects morals. (Not the sort of outside influence referenced by the ‘theory’ of heteronymous morals, I believe.) As humans it is statistically proven that most people really do experiment with sexuality to find what they are. The number of people who claim to have “engaged in homosexual acts in their teenage years” (basically, experimented with same-sex relations) dropped in the UK in the 1970s due to children’s TV starting to broadcast the message of AIDS and HIV. Before that it was possibly (I have no reference but what I see as common sense) normal enough for teenagers to be naked together at some point and want to experiment.
Of course, a person may decide that he or she prefer such an experience to their first straight experience. I don’t see how that is not natural as some people claim. As any person should be able to work out there are plenty of reasons that could happen. Obviously it would be a situation like that which would determine a person’s sexuality.
Another possibility is that a person may also unconsciously decide they are going to be homosexual; even though they cannot effect the decision it is one that is made. An example I thought of on the fly during my aforementioned discussion with a homosexual (sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?) is a person may have a subconscious desire to rebel against society due to an event in upbringing; they will end up looking like something viewed as taboo by the generic public.
I have considered more issues and more examples, but I believe I have written enough to suffice for this one essay. In stating the conclusions I have come to I do not really intend to make people think of repartees to my points; I simply would like to offer insight into a potential viewpoint that I see as plausible and shape some people’s believes. I would hope this has been possible, and appreciate all replies.