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The Morality Mask

Updated on February 23, 2012
RAGE from Mark Watson (kalimistuk) Source:
RAGE from Mark Watson (kalimistuk) Source:

The Morality Mask

By Tony DeLorger © 2011

Eventually, and expectedly, we fall to our own ineptitude, because we are imperfect beings. No matter how pious and controlled we are in action, there is an aspect of us that needs expression, seeks balance. Why we choose to ignore this fact is much to do with our conditioned thinking, the moral and ethical parameters given to us by both parents, role models and of course our own decisions and the circumstances of life.

In creating moral bounds, which I believe we do as individuals, not necessarily given by society, religion or any dogma, we set out guidelines from which to live our lives with a clear conscience and a balanced belief about oneself. Since most of the belief structures adhere to being a ‘good’ person, we mask the negative sides of our natures, the inclinations to think and act outside the paradigm. This action is positive in one sense but suppression in another.

I’m not suggesting to disregard morality and run amuck but not acknowledging our flaws and capacity for the negative can suppress urges that exist to create balance and understanding. These aspects of our thinking need understanding and acknowledgement rather than action, but suppressing them or disregarding their presence is a dangerous decision.

Given the right circumstances we are all capable of anything, regardless of our moral compass, and denial simply masks the reality and can intensify the need for expression. A good example is priests committing heinous sexual crimes. Their commitment to religious belief and abstinence suppresses natural urges that in the end overwhelm and seek expression. The more denied the urge the greater potential for outpouring.

These two sides to our nature exist to create balance and without one there cannot be the other. We can choose good over bad, bad over good and often vacillate somewhere between. The two extremes give us the opportunity of perspective and daily each of our decisions is made with this comparison in mind. How we view these decisions is the construct of our individual morality, what we can live with. As circumstances change so does our morality, a continually evolving paradigm that meets our needs of both self-realisation and acceptance.

When we use our moral bounds to mask our negative side, we suppress and give strength to its ascendance as an uncontrolled response. From the perspective of conditioning, one could refer to these outbursts as ‘knee-jerk’ responses, seemingly out of character and coming from unrelated sources. Anger is most prevalent as a negative expression that is held back until it cannot be contained. Often the source of its expression is unrelated to the circumstance, but nonetheless it manifests and can create problems because of its power and possible results.

We are human beings, vessels of unlimited potential and we alone have the capacity to create or destroy. Not acknowledging our darker side and its potential is to not understand ourselves in a complete way. Who we decide to be is as much about our understanding of both sides of our potential and creating some median. The morality we create should be a representation of that compromise and understanding. Denying our weaknesses and the negative aspects of our psyche is counterproductive in that it eventually causes expression.

Self-realisation is about coming to terms with whom we are, warts and all. Understanding and awareness give us the opportunity to accept our limits and make informed decisions about how we respond to the world. Denying needs and suppressing urges without understanding creates unwanted and unplanned circumstances. So it is in our best interest to know and accept our flaws and darker side, and create a balanced view and live our lives free from inner turmoil.


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    • Tony DeLorger profile image

      Tony DeLorger 6 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Thanks suzette. Again that reinterates the fact that regarless of belief and institutions like the church, we all create our own moral compass and our views justify our actions however right or wrong. With any belief structure, interpretation is always at risk, as our views are individual. Glad you thought the hub worthy of comment. Thanks for reading.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

      Very astute hub. I agree with most of what you say. Most people with moral compasses control their "urges" or other behaviors that are considered unacceptable. It is the morally bereft that cross the line so to speak.

      One thing I want to say about priests and the Catholic Church. Celibacy has two meanings. One meaning is to abstain from sex, but the other meaning is to abstain from marriage. And, unfortunately, that is how some priests have justified their horrendous acts with their victims. Since, marriage is the acceptable institution for having our sexual needs met, it can be argued that it doesn't matter what meaning the priest believes. Abstaining from marriage would be abstaining from sex. But, with the sexual revolution of the '60's, sex before an outside of marriage became permissible and the moral compass moved for many priests. Some believe that their vow of celibacy only means abstaining from marrying, but with the moral compass changning on sexual practices, they have justified their behavior in their own minds. Sick I know, but I know some priests who have felt this way.