What's Happened to Our Moral Compass?

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  1. Fayetteville Faye profile image61
    Fayetteville Fayeposted 14 months ago

    There are are several really good reasons why we each need a moral compass:

    1. To Protect the Greater Good
    So that we can live and prosper in a better society, our moral compass values should include those of justice, kindness and equity. We may never see the full realization of these concepts in our society, but by holding these ideals up as our core values we can hopefully use them to chart a course in the direction of "goodness".

    2. Grounding Your Identity
    If we don't know what values we stand for as part of our core beliefs, even simple everyday decisions can become difficult. Having a moral compass, which includes concepts such as "I'll always help my family when they need it", can help us make quicker decisions when we need to the most. If you already have a set of ethical guidelines, then everyday moral dilemmas can be more easily resolved, without the need to constantly doubt yourself.

    3. Being a Role Model
    One of the best reasons to have a set of moral values is so that we can be a role model to everyone around us, especially to our children. Everyone can think of someone in their childhood who helped shape their beliefs and often these individuals can be described as having "strong moral values".

    There's no question about it, the concept of a "moral compass" is one that can help us become better citizens, friends and family members, but what happens when our moral compass is led astray and our own "moral common sense" no longer serves us correctly?

    Our Nation's Collective Moral Compass
    In our nation right now, many of our fellow citizens have chosen to ignore some of their own core, moral compass values and instead follow leaders or movements that may not align with some of those values they'd previously held dear.

    If you don't believe this is true, then please try and imagine what it would be like to travel back in time to when you, your parents or grandparents were younger, and try to explain to them some of the language and actions of some our more controversial political figures. Upon exiting the time machine, how far would you go in defending any particular leader before you realized that perhaps some of your own moral values may have become compromised by following that person so faithfully?

    Would your younger self, or your parents when they were younger have imagined that Americans would actually one day elect a leader who made fun of disabled people, spoke of grabbing women's genitals, or whose supporters wore shirts with campaign slogans such as "F*** Your Feelings"?

    What would they think of recent rioting and property destruction that has now been caused by extremists hailing from both sides of our great political divide?

    I don't know for certain, but I suspect that if you could've shown them what now poses as political discourse, most of them would have concluded that something really terrible must have happened to American's moral compasses.

    There is a fine line, one that is easily crossed, at which we can choose to continue to follow a leader who we believe can advance our cause, only to have to sacrifice some of our own moral values to do so. Where do we draw the line? The "moral high ground" does not belong to the right or the left, rather it lies in shared common values that should always transcend politics. Unfortunately many people now believe that one cannot possibly belong to the opposing political side without somehow being "less moral" or even "less good" than them in some way. This is simply not true, yet those who wish to divide our society down the middle for profit are heavily vested in promoting this idea.

    This fatal, all or none, "choose a side" type of logic has never sustained a united republic for any length of time. If we are to have a "United" States of America, which is something that the majority of Americans really do want, we must look at what morals we value most, and not settle for leaders, or even political tactics, that compromise our own moral standards. Most good causes, if they're truly worthy of advancement, can be advanced without having to give up values that we hold dear.

    1. wilderness profile image94
      wildernessposted 14 months agoin reply to this

      It may be wishful thinking, but I like to think that the large majority of people DO have, and maintain, a moral compass.  Those compasses differ, of course, and that gives rise to some of the complaint that we have lost our way, but on the whole, people are good and moral.

      At the same time, however, there is a minority that HAVE given up their compass, particularly when it comes to society as a whole.  They are the ones we hear about, they are the ones rioting and killing, while the rest of us sit back and allow it through a misguided idea of our own morality.

      1. Castlepaloma profile image76
        Castlepalomaposted 14 months agoin reply to this

        Moreso agree, people are basically good.
        There are too many moral compasses and way too many laws of conflict. Keep it real and simple with ethics of being honest and don't harm.

    2. Credence2 profile image79
      Credence2posted 14 months agoin reply to this

      As was indicated or suggested by Wilderness, the idea of a "moral compass" is relative. The issue is not having or not having it, it is the wide berth of variation as to how that plays for any one individual.

    3. tsmog profile image78
      tsmogposted 14 months agoin reply to this

      A moral compass to me begins with mine, mine, mine as a child. Then enters in nature saying no followed by parental instruction, which may be inclusive of religious ideals. But, as we mature we discover the gray areas presenting dilemma and cognitive dissonance. Perplexing as also this topic could be. I do think basically or generally most have a good sense of a moral compass with commonality here in this nation. Yet, differences of religion and culture may enter.

      Here is the way I see it today with my life experience while remembering dilemmas both moral and ethical, which to me are different. It kind of goes like this.. .

      Morals → gray → ethical (rules and/or laws) → gray → accepted practices

      1. Castlepaloma profile image76
        Castlepalomaposted 14 months agoin reply to this

        Morals , yes they are more grey areas and loosely used and abuse because there is too many of them for a wide variety of groups.

        Ethics is more business like, and simple
        Like we all know killing and stealing is not right.

    4. Paraglider profile image88
      Paragliderposted 14 months agoin reply to this

      Very well said. Even over the 14 years I've been on Hubpages, I've seen people drive themselves further and further into extreme 'camps'. Previously reasonable folk who once could discuss differences respectfully now simply scream the party line at each other, trading infantile memes instead of engaging the grey matter. UK is following America down the same path, sadly, thanks to populist politics and social media, mainly.

      1. Credence2 profile image79
        Credence2posted 14 months agoin reply to this

        England, the paragon of civility for so much of the Western World. Don't follow America's example. Say that it's not so....

      2. GA Anderson profile image91
        GA Andersonposted 14 months agoin reply to this

        ". . . sadly, thanks to populist politics and social media, mainly."

        As a renowned wise sage, I can see from that statement that you also are a respectable wise sage. That we two wise sages agree so confidently can only solidify the truth of your thought.

        It's the Internet. We have our current societal and political problems because of the Internet.

        Our parents and grandparents might have had the same thought, but their "problem" would have been radio or TV. Ha! They didn't have a clue as to the power that would come with instant communication. The power of nearly total access to all. It changes people. Both its power and its anonymity change folks' behavior.

        Other than having fun with the cute stuff up front, I do agree with the quote, and I am serious that I think the net' is the reason.

        (If this tangent works, I have a good SciFi sorry as an easy analogy)


  2. Miebakagh57 profile image70
    Miebakagh57posted 14 months ago

    They're few bad eggs in the society. The majority even lacks direction more than moral value.

  3. Paraglider profile image88
    Paragliderposted 14 months ago

    Ha ha - I'll wear the wise sage cap with due modesty! The Internet problem is one of unmoderated reinforcement which is a form of positive feedback. This distils prejudices to the point of caricature, at which point reason leaves the room.
    Understanding this is one thing; changing it, quite another!

    1. Castlepaloma profile image76
      Castlepalomaposted 14 months agoin reply to this

      When one attacks your whole caricature, at least max your minimize time with them.
      I'm always open, still something to learn from the opposing side.

    2. GA Anderson profile image91
      GA Andersonposted 14 months agoin reply to this

      Since you took the bait, I will continue with that SciFi story that I think is a good analogy.

      The story: Some big monied news organization funded a gizmo that was capable of creating wormholes. These were only tiny wormholes, some just molecules wide, but, they were controllable and they did create a portal to other locations that could be used to see, and record, just like looking through a window.

      The news organization made so much money from this venture that everyone else also devoted great effort to get the same capability. They succeeded and to skip to the next step . . . soon everyone had the ability to tap into these mini remote viewers. Wormholes could pop up anywhere, there was no hiding from them.

      Soon enough this boon turned into a bane. There was longer such thing a as privacy. One could be on the toilet or having wild sex behind triple-locked doors and any Joe Blow with a cell phone, (or whatever the tech was that everyone had), and there could be one, or thousands watching through their private wormhole viewers

      Society accepted this. All the social taboos became the norm. Sex on park benches, in service ques, etc. etc. Nothing anyone did was beyond the eye of these wormholes.

      Then some segments revolted and found the only privacy refuge available—complete darkness. They lived their lives in total darkness, from work to sex, it was all done in the dark.

      It should be easy to see where this ended up. I see the net' as those wormholes. Everyone can have access. Everyone can have instant communications. And everyone gives up their privacy in exchange.

      For all the great things, and advancements that the internet has provided us, It also has a great price. As it allows smart collaborations, it also allows dumb ones like the Tin-foil hat society, and dangerous ones, like hate groups., and manipulative ones, like the misinformation merchants.

      In that SciFi story no one knew where or how to draw the line. I think the internet has the same problem.

      Oh well. I just thought it was a good illustration. (If I remember correctly, the story was written before the internet age)


      1. Castlepaloma profile image76
        Castlepalomaposted 14 months agoin reply to this

        Interesting, that can apply for what is happening today.

        For most prefer the struggle through life , I prefer the wiggle.  By reaching for the stars and bringing back what I can to earth. Leading with the heart, shortly followed by the mind. My faith leaps over the fire, where many prefer going through the fire.

        There are tragedies in life when handle with grace take us to new levels in life. Recently for the first time ever.  I've come across world wide tyranny by germ warfare perform by beurocrates, banks and technocrats feel like another attempt of world order. You may agree and most on earth are negativly effected by it. This is the time to bring out the shields and confront the dangerous bullies of fear or knee down to their safety of salvery for a long long time.

      2. Paraglider profile image88
        Paragliderposted 14 months agoin reply to this

        I think the SciFi analogy is pretty accurate. There's no doubt that the Internet is responsible for a huge rise in incivility. Or to be more accurate, it is the enabler of the phenomenon; the responsibility rests with the users. Free speech does not imply freedom from consequences.

        1. Castlepaloma profile image76
          Castlepalomaposted 14 months agoin reply to this

          Rather have the dangers of freedom than the safety of slavery. A balance of both, would be wonderful. Not the extreme of separation and divide now, more than i've not seen ever before

          1. Miebakagh57 profile image70
            Miebakagh57posted 14 months agoin reply to this

            Then why don't you see reason in my earlier point? The wish can be foolishness to the thought!

        2. GA Anderson profile image91
          GA Andersonposted 14 months agoin reply to this

          "Enabler" was also my first description, but I thought a bit about the magnitudes of power this enabler, (the internet), has over all others in our past and the effect seems so strong that enabler doesn't quite cover it. I think its power is more than just a matter of scale.

          To get back to the OP's topic; I think all, (or any), morals are culturally relative, this stands for "moral compasses" as well. So, instead of considering whether the compass is lost, consider what guides it, (because all compasses will have guides, the consideration will be less subjective), and look for losses there.

          My short answer is societal force, (the objective universal guide). When that changes morals change. The net' allows almost anyone to avoid or amplify almost all of those societal forces.


      3. tsmog profile image78
        tsmogposted 14 months agoin reply to this

        I like the story and, Yes, a great commentary regarding the world wide web's influence on us today. I thought about it yesterday, Thanksgiving, as myself and three family members sat on couch. There we were with a 65" TV before us with an exciting football game on.A period of silence fell for a little while.

        I glanced at the other three and they were all looking at their phones and scrolling along a feed grasping this and that by an image and/or a minimal character count lost or hidden in their own private world. (Individualism?) I don't own a smart phone, so a definite contrast.

        Lost was the interactions of "Great play", "That should have been a penalty", cheering, banter because of bets, and so forth. (Community/ollectivism?) Or, ,maybe the game got boring? I don't think it is a reflection of family stuff as their was plenty of that throughout the day. It was just at that moment I thought of your story.

        1. GA Anderson profile image91
          GA Andersonposted 14 months agoin reply to this

          I get that `screen thing' at my house too. Some even tried it at the dinner table, but that was a no-go for me and I told them so. :-)


        2. Credence2 profile image79
          Credence2posted 14 months agoin reply to this

          Who is surprised? People that wait in queue rather then engage in conversation with others waiting, are engrossed in their cell phones.

  4. Miebakagh57 profile image70
    Miebakagh57posted 14 months ago

    Science fictions are not real, so are imaginary stories.                                               But they application has brought much benefit and adverse effect on human kind and the lower spices.                                                             The application of such stories has land man on the Moon and Mars and they stay put there for months.                                                        And of course, the man with the worst imaginary science fiction mind is Albert Einsten,  who is instrucmental to the  Atomic Bomb exp5oration.

    1. Castlepaloma profile image76
      Castlepalomaposted 14 months agoin reply to this

      My work and love of sandcastles, snow playground, tiny houses with urban farming for most waking hours of my life. Is more real than most people's dissatisfied jobs, exspeically public servants.

      Einstein did not wish nuclear power, that it would also turned into bombs.
      Everyone makes mistakes.

      He said I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

      For everything person and everything they have ever achieved in life, was all once imagined first 

      I dare you to achieve anything without imagination. We can compare records of accomplishments, anytime..

      1. Miebakagh57 profile image70
        Miebakagh57posted 14 months agoin reply to this

        I think you had not read me well.                                I said that imagination is beneficial. And on the other hand, it had an adverse effect also, making my point a balanced view.                                     Seriously, I couldn't agree more or less with any circle or angle you inclined to, to confront me.                                              That said, what's your sand castle and tiny rabbit hole to me? I would prefer to have learn a foreign language. That even required the imagination. Don't ever throw hammars in this forum. Just throw it on your sand castle. Much thanks.

        1. Castlepaloma profile image76
          Castlepalomaposted 14 months agoin reply to this

          Unless I didn't have integrity for simple ethics. So how would my imagination of good intentions steer me in a flawed way?

          1. Miebakagh57 profile image70
            Miebakagh57posted 14 months agoin reply to this

            That's your trouble.

            1. Castlepaloma profile image76
              Castlepalomaposted 14 months agoin reply to this

              What, My simple good ethics, imagination and good intentions will steer me into troubles?

              If my solutions are slavery to billionaire and Gods. Good luck, only true love and kindness can catch me.

              I knock a hammer off scaffold onto my 67 foot tall sandsculpture then quickly fixed it. Had millions of people still  enjoy it's beauty.
              Don't be a kill joy.

              1. Miebakagh57 profile image70
                Miebakagh57posted 14 months agoin reply to this

                To your first sentense and whole first paragraphe, I say yes.                                                                                 And by the way, who's throwing hammar at your sand sculptor? It's you imagining that as you like to be weird under a bong! I'm good to go, okay?

                1. Castlepaloma profile image76
                  Castlepalomaposted 14 months agoin reply to this

                  My castle are 6 stories tall. I pack sand and water into wood boxes. Stand on the boxes like scaffold, then remove the wood with a hammer giving sand as hard as sandstone. The odd time a hammer may fall off the scaffolding.

                  Had sandcastle last up to two years and outside as Long as I want indoors.
                  Sandsculptors generally make more money than wood carvers.


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