Insights from the 19th Century: Moral vs Immoral

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The theme of morality encircles around its foundations, standards of good and evil, ethical and unethical behaviour, as well as the shift and change it brings, which tend to appear arbitrary. The insights of the European 19th century enfold Glover’s understanding of moral resources such as, self-interest, humanity and moral identity. However, he also looks into traditional conceptions of morality, especially a challenge made by Nietzsche. Nietzsche stirs his argument from a “slave morality” perspective, where strong and robust is considered valiant, and weak and vulnerable is considered coward. Nietzsche argues that slave morality applauds all that is weakest, fragile and most unhealthy form of humanity.

In general, the realm of this discussion coerces our soul to ask, “Today, are we all the children of the 19th century?” With the passage of time, we humans have been revolutionized. Turning our heads back to the 19th century and putting our foot on the ground in the 21st century shows us a distinct picture. The term 'morality' raises abundant questions in mind and one wrestles to find an apt answer. The question is not, “How do we explain to ourselves why we should be moral rather than immoral?” Instead, the better question to ask is, “How do we expect from people to behave morally with us?” Do we expect all the time or some of the time? If the answer is, “Yes, all the time”, then should not most people would answer the same? Today, people want to be treated morally, which implies that everybody needs to behave morally toward all others. At least, the principle of reciprocity is good to think about. Morality asks us to examine from an objective point of view, rather than subjective. It is an absolute objective imperative.

There is a very thin line between moral and immoral. There are some unresolved questions to measure morality and immorality, as there is no yardstick to measure them. We live in a society where culture and environment play a pivotal role in shaping our morality, in shaping our upbringing and our identity. However, there is always a ‘good-conscience’ within us, which is the voice of our soul in telling us what is right and wrong, what is moral and immoral, and what is ethical and unethical. Humanity still exists today. I agree that nothing is perfect in this world. We cannot have the definition of moral without immoral. It is because of the immorality that we were able to define morality. We humans are the product of our thoughts and it is our thoughts that shape our behaviour toward others. Therefore, understanding and weighing the salutary effects and the deleterious effects of a particular situation, can help us to define what is moral and what is immoral.


~ Copyright © Surabhi Kaura 2015

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Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia

This is an interesting article Surabhi. You are right to say that their is a fine line between what is moral and immoral, a lot if grey areas too. Depending on your family upbringing, the society or country you grew up in, your morals may differ from others. We do base our basis for what is acceptable morally in how we would like others to act towards and around us. It is sometimes difficult not to judge the morality of others whose morality is based on completely different values than our own. Thought provoking read my friend.


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 11 months ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Hey Jodah, well, this article comes straight from a discussion I had with a good friend. I had a cordial debate with a lawyer friend of mine at the library today. He mixed law and history in an articulative way. We talked about history, war, law and current state. ‘Morality vs immorality’ was something which was the crux of our discussion. So I thought to share my viewpoints here to see what others think about it.

You are right… our morals do differ from others, and this has been from the time immemorial. Yes, our upbringing plays an important role, but then there’s always a good conscience. I remember reading a criminal case long time ago, where the man was schizophrenic and he stabs his wife while sleepwalking. How would we define this? Moral or Immoral? From a legal perspective, it is considered moral, considering his mental health issue. Boom! There you go. No charges against him. There are many notorious insanity defences in Criminal Law where ‘good conscience’ fails to work.

Now talking from a general perspective, if a person is mentally fit, then of course there is an existence of ‘good consciousness.’ In other words, there would be a weighing scale in our minds. Pretty much what Hamlet rings, “To be or not to be that is the question…” Well, sadly, people seem to follow their instincts negatively in a fit of rage, and that is the reason why we are witnessing a lot of atrocities in our society and in our world in general. There are many fanatics out there who don’t even think for a second about the repercussions of their actions. They just point pistols on innocent lives and cause a blunder scar on Humanity. I am neither with Glover nor with Nietzsche. I am with what my ‘good conscience’ says and then reflect on it that what a reasonable man would have thought about it. I appreciate your comment, Jodah.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 11 months ago from london

Lost my long response. Tomorrow, my Sweet. Bed calls. Love you! Good night!


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 11 months ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Love you too, Manatita. Have a good night.


word55 profile image

word55 11 months ago from Chicago

Interesting topic Surabhi. I love you as well. That's the moral thing for me to do .


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia

Thanks for your insightful response Surabhi. You are right, a conscience is what some people seem to lack and is really what controls most of our actions. I just read my last comment that I think was written on my iPad....please excuse the atrocious use of the English language. Interesting case of the man stabbing his wife while sleepwalking.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 11 months ago from london

Your Hub is very well written and with some passion too. Must have been a heated debate. Haha. I like it. Interesting subject and one for deep thought, as Jodah indicated. Much Love.


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 11 months ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Haha – Al, my love to you and your family, bro. Merry Christmas!

Jodah,

Thank you, my dear. It happens with me too. All good, buddy… all good. Enjoy this festive season!

Manatita,

Thanks for dropping by. Nah… nah... a cordial one (he he). Om Shanti.


swalia profile image

swalia 11 months ago

"However, there is always a ‘good-conscience’ within us, which is the voice of our soul in telling us what is right and wrong, what is moral and immoral, and what is ethical and unethical. "

With the juvenile rapist of Nirbhaya finally out, I really wonder if those rapists had any conscience. And if any of such hardened criminals or terrorists have any conscience or is it that they have killed their own conscience before they could kill any other?


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 11 months ago from Toronto, Canada Author

See Shaloo, with all due respect, I would say there is a very thin line between moral and immoral. And, when the line blurs between moral and immoral, then the person can turn into a beast at any time. His or her ‘good conscience’ would not help at all. Balance is the key, and that comes with listening to the inner voice of the Soul, provided it utters positive. We define the positive aspect from an objective point of view. In other words, what would a reasonable person think if I do such and such thing? There are many incidents like Nirbhaya’s, and those incidents are not only confined within India, but all over the world. It’s all covered like a blanket. It's an endless topic.


shprd74 profile image

shprd74 11 months ago from Bangalore

There is a great saying in kannada language by famous poet kanaka das who was asked who will go to heaven.

He said "nanu hodare hodenu"

nanu means 'I'

hodare means ' Goes'

hodenu means 'can i go'

which means when "i will go when i goes".

All problems of the world are related to 'I'. when it goes all can see things clearly.

- Hari


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 11 months ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Absolutely, Hari Bhai. Very well said. Peace.


DDE profile image

DDE 11 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting and so much to talk about here. A Happy New Year to you

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