- Politics and Social Issues
Which Should We Live by: Fixed Morality or Moving Morality?
Reference points of fixed or moving morality
If we have a will we must live by morality
We may live happily or we may live troubled. We may not agree on what is a happy life or a troubled life. Take a look into other societies, like a bee colony that has a queen, soldiers and workers. Individuals in each stratum do not deviate in their behavior that can he interpreted as being happy. A deviation in supposed behavior or role can be interpreted as being troubled.
Humans have the peculiarity of will and speech. If s/he is in trouble s/he can verbalize it even when s/he behaves according to assigned roles. A deviation in behavior or a verbalized complaint may be interpreted as manifestation of trouble.
Let us agree that we want to be happy. But not in the state of aberration. A person who flags himself, bleeds himself and says that he is happy about his hurt is an aberration.
To be happy adopt a guide. Let’s also agree that that guide is morality. What kind of morality should we take? Fixed or moving?
A fixed morality is partly biological and partly learned. The biological portion is having brain cells. The learned portion is having mind. We learn with the use of our mind.
A fixed morality has origin, structure, concepts, relationships, behavior and beliefs. It does not matter if the origin is legend or fact. For example, the emperor of Japan is the son of the sun. The ancient society of Japan had structure, concepts, relationships and beliefs.
Another example, Christianity. The origin of Christ, the god or person, is his father. His father is himself. It does not matter if this is true or not. This matter is not verifiable by fact; it was decided by the Council of Trent called by the pope in 1545.
What matters is that there is an oral history of the birth of Jesus, his crusade, his teachings, his death, his rise from the dead, and his ascension to heaven. His teachings as heard by his disciples had been transcribed that are now supposed to be found in the bible.
The bible spells out a fixed morality. This morality has a range of interpretations that have been pronounced by various people and congregations. Some peoples and congregations have been prevalent. Other peoples and congregations follow the more predominant ones.
Charlemagne of France was the first ruler in Europe who used religion as adjunct to his rule. He found that it was easier to rule when the Catholic church was around.
Later on, the Catholic church found that it could propagate its structure, concepts and beliefs with the use of kings and princes. Thus it turned into a power religion. With the use of excommunication and inquisition it could even subjugate kings and princes.
However, some people found that they were not happy with the fixed morality of the Catholic church. They found trouble in the fixed morality of the Catholic church. Thus there was a split in the Catholic church in the 11th century. King Henry VIII was unhappy with his wife Catherine of Aragon because she could not bear him a son. He wanted to divorce Catherine so that he could marry Anne Boleyn. But the pope would not sanction the divorce because, ultimately, Catherine was his niece.
So, Henry VIII bolted the Catholic church and founded his own church with himself as the supreme bishop, not beholden to the pope, in 1532. He married Boleyn who could not bear him a son either.
John Calvin had his own interpretations of the teachings of Jesus Christ. A lot of Calvin’s interpretations are incorporated by the English translators of the bible that came out in 1611. Now it is not known which were the words of Jesus according to the disciples or according to Calvin. Calvinists colonized America. The bible owes its poetic flavor from the poetic atmosphere imbibed by the translators who were influenced by William Shakespeare. If the bible remained in Greek or Latin, it would not enjoy its popularity today. That means, the fixed morality that it propagates would not be as widespread.
Luther of Germany was not happy with the some concepts, structure and relationships in the Catholic church. He initiated another protestant movement in addition to the movement initiated by Calvin and Henry VIII.
We have seen the consequences of fixed morality as spelled by the Catholic church.
One is the crusades that remain as among the worst follies of mankind. There were nine crusades in a span of over five centuries. For short memories and life spans of humans, these crimes against humanity are forgotten and, worse, forgiven. There is the inquisition that still thrives today. There is excommunication. There is the present Catholic movement to revive the kingdom of their god.
An excommunicated person, as declared by the pope, will not go to heaven after his death. In inquisition, a condemned person is burned at the stakes. Joan of Arc was declared a witch (because, for one she did not grow hair in her sex organ) and burned at the stakes. Later on, she was exonerated and declared a saint. King Henry VIII was also excommunicated by the pope; the king did not mind; the Anglicans did not seem to mind either. For having discovered and written a book that the earth revolves around the sun, Galileo was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Inquisition. The Council of Trent made a list of books that it considered heretical; anybody who read these books was excommunication.
[Joan of Arc was the first to invoke nationalism, in any European nation, and lead French warriors to repulse English invaders. She was only 16 years old; she convinced the king that she had an apparition exhorting her to take command.]
In the Philippine revolution against Spain in 1896, the Filipino revolutionaries abolished the unity of the church and state, severed ties with Rome, and appointed Gregorio Aglipay as supreme bishop of the just established Independent Church of the Philippines. To scare him back to the fold of the pope, Bernardino Norzaleda, archbishop of Manila, excommunicated him. Aglipay excommunicated Norzaleda in return.
The unity of the Christianity with the king of Spain saw the colonization of the Philippines, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, California, Colombia, and more. The unity of Christianity and the king of Portugal saw the colonization of Brazil, Macao (now reclaimed by China), Malacca (now a new nation with Horatio Ramos-Acosta as president).
There are other religions that espouse fixed morality. It involves priestly power and naked power when church and state are in unity; it involves priestly power, persuasive power and economic power otherwise. Power is divided into naked, executive, economic, persuasive and priestly (Russell, B. Power). We find several cases in fixed morality that make us unhappy and put us in trouble.
What about moving morality?
We have several examples as shown in monarchies and dynasties. The origin is not legend but power, except in Japan and Mexico. A dominant man sets up a domain by naked power, force. Called king (mainly in Europe), or feudal lord (mainly in Asia) he likewise sets up structure, relationships, edicts and invents concepts. Moving morality is concerned with governance of people in their temporal or earthly affairs.
There is also democracy, still involving power; this time emanating from the governed. Another factor came in, science; this time harnessing the power of nature. Science is a sibling of moving morality.
Moving morality has no bible. It emanates from what people want. This morality makes some people happy, it brings trouble to others. (I have a Hub "Morality has a larger scope than legality.").
Questions arise. Suppose what people want is wrong? False? Incorrect? Inaccessible? Harmful? Does not work?
When wrong. It takes time before what is wanted is realized as wrong. And people might have suffered from it. However, someone or several people may realize the wrong then convince other people of it. Then change will come. The fervor for the crusades was diminished by the protestant movement and some philosophers who advocated tolerance in religion.
Inquisition, even when wrong, is not yet abolished by fixed morality, or by the Catholic church.
Slavery is wrong but it took a long time before it could be stopped. In fact, it took a civil war in the United States to stop slavery.
When false. That the sun revolves around the earth was false; a few people like Galileo took a long time to change the view. But the truth prevailed. That is why science is a liberating force.
When incorrect. This involves conventions like calendar or belief that there is life inside the pyramid. Making of pyramids wasted a lot of natural resources, energy and life of a lot of people. However, we have seen some conventions proven incorrect then remedied. We have found that the Mayan prediction of the world ending on December 21,2012 is incorrect. Reckoning of time and dates in the calendar are incorrect because they have no physical basis. Interval, as shown by the general theory of relativity has physical basis based on the concept of space-time.
When inaccessible. However,.there are items that are posted incorrect and accepted. For example, in geographical positioning system (GPS). There are two posted coordinates, one civilian the other military. Coordinates for military, strategic or secret installations are incorrectly posted or not posted at all for use of civilians. If posted, the coordinates are incorrect for at least 5 kilometers. Thus the coordinates for the White House is incorrect for at least five kilometers. If someone fires a missile targeting the White House using civilian coordinates of the GPS he will miss the target by at least five kilometers. Military coordinates are inaccessible to civilians. Of course, somebody controls access. For example, in one episode of the television series "MacGyver," MacGyver, asked the military to fire a missile on an enemy military target
When harmful. We are in the middle of transition between the germ theory of disease and the free radical theories of disease. Conventional medicine advocates the former and snubs the latter. Failure to recognize that free radicals cause disease like heart disease and cancer results in failure to prevent, treat and cure these disease and others caused by free radicals. The profit motive blocks the advent of free radical theories of disease.
When it does not work. In the Philippines, judicial constitutional review does not work. That is, the Supreme Court rules that a bill passed by Congress and signed into law by the President of the Philippines is unconstitutional. In this case, it is the majority or unanimous vote of a body comprised of 15 justices against the the vote of congressmen (at least two-thirds of over 250) and senators (at least two-thirds or 24) and the vote of the president. A test case presently is the Reproductive Health (RH) Law signed by President Aquino in December 2012. The Catholic Bishops Business Conference of the Philippines filed a case with the Supreme Court charging that the RH law is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court issued a ruling to put the implementation of the law on hold for four months. Whatever the decision of the Supreme Court will be, the question is: which should prevail the vote of Congress or the vote of the Supreme Court? To recall, members of this court are not elected by the people, they are not representatives of the people.
Thus the power of the Supreme Court to review and decide on constitutionality of a law does not work. If anything,. the opinion of the Supreme Court as to constitutionality should not be executory or part of comoon law. There are nations that do not have this judicial review, like Switzerland, Italy and Ireland. (I have a long Hub on this topic). The judicial system of the Philippines is adopted from that of the United States. Apparently judicial review works in the United States.
Power plays a large role in both fixed and moving morality. Priestly power invokes infallibility and a lot of people believe in that for fear of excommunication or purgatory after death. A small group can control a lot of people because of power. The cardinals who adopted the concept of infallibility cast a lot of power. The pope casts a lot of power over his worldwide empire. (To recall, power divides into naked power (dictatorship), executive (president or prime minister), economic (moneys, pieces of property, trade), persuasive (speech, writing, audio-visual) and priestly (bible, pope, cardinals, priests, monks, prophets). The central committee of a communist party or political party casts power. The Big Three (USA, Great Britain, Russia) decided the fate of the world when Hitler's Germany was in the verge of defeat. Now the alliance of USA and China decide the balance of power in the world. The trilateralists, a small group of businessmen, largely decide the fate of the world today, especially the economic aspect.
The American Medical Association, Food and Drug Administration, universities/colleges that get grants from Big Pharma,.publications, and Big Pharma block the free radical theories of disease.
It appears now that a guide to happy life is illusive. We have seen two world wars; we have lived through the Cold War. There are wars in the world today. There is famine. There are epidemics. There is poverty.
Science has largely moved us from fixed morality, especially from the hold of the Catholic church. Galileo with his telescope eroded the belief that man dominates the universe, with the sun revolving around the earth. The telescope made the observation of a comet more accurate that the periodic appearances of the Hailey;s comet was considered a scientific event rather than an omen of doom. Now we have evidences to believe that those people condemned as witches and burned at the stakes were suffering from dementsia or Alzheimer’s disease.
The magna carta of England was a compromise between the power of the king to collect taxes and that of the counties to participate in governance. This magna carta is an example of moving morality. Other examples are colonization by European nations of Africa, Americas, Asia and the lapping up of China.
Moving morality shakes up life in this planet. The excursion into democracy by the French revolution in 1799 roused shudders among the kings of Europe. This experiment in democracy did not stabilize; it petered out then its power usurped by Napoleon who set up his dynasty. The American revolution to set up the United States brought trouble to the British empire then stability to the USA. The attempt to set up the Confederate States of America caused trouble in the USA.
Now the alliance between the USA and China brought down the USSR, and ended the Cold War (except in the Korean peninsula).
Both fixed morality and moving morality have brought about happiness and trouble to mankind.
The main differences are accessibility and availability of rulers or powers-that-be. The rulers of fixed morality are now unseen. Their powers are verifiable in people who assert as interpreters of their teachings. The ultimate rulers (called god or prophet) cannot be voted upon, or changed.
The purveyors of moving morality are visible, verifiable. They may not make themselves available and accessible but the barriers that they put up can be broken. Rulers can be toppled or elected.
Some people have clear ideas what are fixed morality and moving morality. They eke out a happy life from elements of the two.
The important concepts today in the life of man are fixed morality, moving morality, science and power.