Yellow Agony finally got a long pending make over. Tell me what do you think about it, okay?
So, in my last semester I did my first philosophy course called - "Moral Literacy & Moral Choices". As title suggests, we examined concept of morality in this course. I'm going to write here whatever I got from doing this course besides a low score, plagiarism charges and an eventual B- grade, the lowest in all four years. There'd be three posts in this series - first on morality, second on society and third on religion. I welcome you all to scrutinize every single line and express your opinions. I've, after all, reached rather surprising & revolting conclusions.
|Disclaimer : I've not right over the image, it has been taken from the web|
- How do we know if something is moral or not? How do we define morality? As it turns out, we only define immorality and things that aren't immoral are deemed moral.
- How do we define immorality? I propose immorality is nothing more than denying someone a right he holds. Killing someone is wrong because all have a right to life, stealing is wrong because all have right to safety of their resources etc. This is how our line of thought usually works. Think of other things that you find immoral and see if they fit in with my proposition or not.
- What do we mean by a right? What does it mean to say I've right to X? I propose it means that society has given us permission to do X. Not only permission infact but authority to assert. Society has agreed to protect our act of doing X, this is what it means by providing us right to X.
- So right is an inherent property of underlying society. Alternate societies might've different sets of rights and hence different meaning of immorality and morality.
- So morality is a function of underlying society.
Now let us try to see what is a society. How would a society bootstrap? Imagine early men living in caves, alone. How would the concept of society appear?
- Society is a mutual agreement by all its participants to help each other achieve some common objective. People form societies only because it is useful to them and there is no other reason.
- Each society has its own set of rights, own set of duties and own set of objectives.
- Objectives of different societies might collide in which case they'd fight for it. Different tribes fighting over women, different countries fighting over land, different species fighting for food, all are examples.
- Clearly a single person might belong to multiple societies, each with a different interpretation of morality.
Now if I meet certain people and we believe that forming a society amongst us is the best thing for us, we'd indeed form a society. If it turns out that objectives of that society are colliding with those of others, it is okay too. Prime objective of Indian govt is prosperity of people living in India, not in Tunisia. We'd probably kill all rats if that is what it takes to survive when an alien species attacks us.
What I'm trying to argue is that it is fairly common to have alternate societies with colliding objectives and interests.
Now if in act of providing employment to Indians, it turns out that certain Americans are losing their jobs, it is okay because our primary duty is towards members of our own society. We won't be violating any right that we granted. Americans might've right to employment but that is granted by Americans and we aren't a part of that. What I'm trying to argue here is that as morality(or lack there of) is determined by violation of rights and different societies have disjoint system of rights, morality discussions across societies are meaningless.
Now what wrong it is if someone decided to form a society of certain ethnic group only? Nothing. The society decided that their prime objective, like any other species, is expansion to all parts of world. For that all others must vanish, after all even evolution is all about survival of fittest and fittest is determined by wars between groups. He chose to kill people who weren't part of his group because that is what his society enshrined. He didn't provide consensus to be a part of any other society, certainly not a humanitarian society of all humans. His actions didn't violate a right that he agreed to protect. He might be non-humanitarian, but can't be immoral.
And in last lecture of my course, my professor says immorality is understatement for Adolf Hitler, he has to be termed evil. I pray why?Full disclosure : I decided to write this particular post after visiting a particular history museum in Berlin - which presents a detailed perspective on rise & cruelty of Nazism.