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Where Justice Lives

Updated on September 28, 2014

Where Justice Lives

By Tony DeLorger © 2011

How often are we faced with a dilemma, a choice between morality and a negative outcome for us or someone else? In this insidious position, we are faced with an internal struggle, between what we have been taught and believe in and not wanting to harm or hurt anyone. In a way the morality is juxtaposed with this anomaly, and becomes an irony. So where do we stand having been faced with this decision? Does our morality become more flexible or do we stand for right, unopposed regardless?

For example, if we saw a close friend committing a morally shameful act that hurt someone, would we turn them in or would we remain silent because of the ramifications for them? The question reveals how subjective morality is and how it can change depending on circumstances.

Our morality is based on our upbringing as well as what life has afforded us with experience. How then we apply our morality is purely individual and variable. In our early development and as a child, we mirror our parent’s beliefs and psyche. As we develop and go to school and begin to develop our personality, this connection begins to weaken. Teachers then take on the most potent influence of all, as Jung supposed, having helped to develop character and indeed extend the bounds of our moral compass.

Exploring the world adds more to our beliefs and understanding, thus attributing more to what we believe to be moral and just. But nothing is set in stone, least of all morality. If we were faced with having to commit an unmoral act to save the life of our child, we would do so without question, and could justify it. If the circumstances were of less threat we may adhere to our boundaries of morality. The conclusion then has to be that morality is less of a dogma than a set of rules that is constantly readdressed and updated.

When we stand up for our beliefs, feeling the stoic and righteous people we think we are; we are in denial of our ineptitude. Morality then becomes ‘rules set in concrete unless...’ Morality, like most ideas within society is bound by what most people believe, what then becomes accepted as normal. This has nothing to do with personal morality; just that appearance and adherence to the conventions need to be understood for there to be order.

How then we feel about anything to do with morality is open-ended unless we act on it outside the guidelines of what society accepts as normal. We can’t for example murder someone who is a murderer, unless it is in self-defence. The act of killing, not a moral act, is judged just or not through the circumstance, and governed by societal law.

The anomalies are endless when questioning what morality is and how it is expressed. Founded from religious teachings, morality has grown further than religion, adopted by people as a guide to behaviour and a positive life. The virtue claimed by moral stalwarts can only be self-deluded. Humans are flawed beings, who although try to adhere to morality, fall short in execution.

This acceptance is simply truth and viewing it otherwise is fruitless. We can only try to uphold our beliefs and adjust our thinking as life requires. Apart from society, how we see our morality is more about internal peace and the parameters of our actions. How we choose to live is our decision alone.


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