Friday, October 2, 2009

I have no morals to call my own.

I have on a few occasions been described as having strong morals or been admired for my ability to stick to my morals.

This has always confounded me as I don't think I have any morals at all.

I see morals as a construct created by communities in order to protect both it's members and the structure of the community itself. If a community had no moral structure, it would have no sense of right or wrong and therefore no basis for the creation of laws. If a communities fundamental moral is the right of the individual to basic things like food, shelter and protection then that community is creating an environment that encourages membership and participation.

So you are probably thinking, what's that got to do with Naut having or not having morals? Well here's the answer.

I have imagined life without community, because while I enjoy people I have always been pretty self contained and never felt I needed them. My image of life without community pretty much reflected a post apocalyptic landscape where you pretty much lived in family groups (still kind of a community). While we would all like to be Mad Max for a day, it is pretty hard to buy doughnuts if there is no bakery and no matter how much fun being Mad Max is, you are still going to crave doughnuts one day.

So I choose to live within a community within the larger society, therefore I choose to accept it's morals. If I have an objection to how those morals are reflected in law, then there are paths to address that, that are intended to reach a result that reflects the majority of the community's views.

To conclude, I don't feel I have any morals at all, but as a community member I live within the moral boundaries determined by the community.

** Extra bonus special feature **

What if I was living in a country where the communities morals are dictated by a minority rather than a reflection of the majority? Simple, I would choose not to be a part of the community and so would base my actions on what I considered logical and suited me.


  1. I suppose that's some of the reason people originally decided to sail across the sea, explore and colonize new lands, and with luck, someday go into space-people not wanting to be part of whatever community they lived in and striking out for a place where they can be their own person.

  2. I think you have what others would call morals but instead you define morals as "s a construct created by communities".

    I have no arguement with your definition but I think what you say has been described as 'been described as having strong morals' you may call have a code, or belief or an ethical framework. You prove this by stating 'community member I live within the moral boundaries determined by the community'. this would be an ethical framework since as you point out by you making that choice you have made a determination based on that internal ethical framework.

  3. Semantically what you've defined as morals is probably something bigger than that, encompassing social mores and a bunch of other stuff, as Barnes said. I'm assuming you've not killed anyone, not cheated on Mrs Naut and haven't stuck up the local TAB with a balaclava and a sawn-off, so you must have some kind of moral fibre, whether you define those as moral issues or not.

  4. YD - Yeah possibly. Maybe not the explorering part, but definiately the moving to the newly discovered place.

    Barnes/Doc - Ha Barnes, I wondered if someone was going to point that out and both you and the Doc have, so here's my response.

    The internal ethical framework that I would admit to having is a determination of what I think is best for me through cost/benefit analysis.

    I abide by the communities moral framework because it suits me to be a part of the community and i would prefer not to risk the penalty.

    When you deal with things that are not illegal like Doc's suggestion of cheating on Mrs Naut then I don't believe the benefit is worth the risk and so I choose not to. It's not that I think its wrong, it's that I know it will hurt Mrs Naut if she finds out and my life is enhanced when she is happy.

    Now am I hyper rationlising so that I can avoid admitting to having morals?

  5. Naut it's an interesting position to compare to do what is "morally" right for ethical reasons and to do it because you realize that long term it you "win". I find in myself a mixture of the two positions. Some things I'll never do, others are situational, and some things I'd happily do.


  7. I think you're trying to mentally separate yourself from the society you belong to because it fundamentally gives you the shits.

    Whether it's what you're doing within yourself, or the greater community.

    Just saying.

  8. Bangarrr - You are heading down the right track, it is heading down the track that everything we do is for selfish reasons.

    Blarkon - Interesting discussion and I guess I see morals as rundamental rights that are the building blocks of community. I see ethics more as a behavioural code that must be followed where the only punishment is exclusion of the community. Similar but not quite the same things and a bit different from what your link suggests.

    Moko - But my arguement suggests that individuals don't have morals of their own. So I am not seperating myself from the community, instead I am explicitly stating that I have voluntarily embraced the communities morals.

    But yes, large parts of society do give me the shits.

  9. Why the fuck did I look at this at 10pm of an evening..its hurtin me fkn head!.

    But by your last bonus statement are you saying , that an individual can have morals that are at odds with the community in which they live , if so, does this mean that they will be punished by the collectives Laws, based on their moral set. Not necessarily I gather if the community is moral by our standards, then again, just what are those standards. certainly different to those of say the PRC.

    That brings me to the basis of the LAWS being derived from the communities or minorities moral set. Could you say the ruling elite, which are in Minority have morals, if not, then on what basis are the laws founded.

    That could well be self preservation or the ME factor, selfishness. ..that really fkn hurts ya know, you should b shot for this.

  10. Fair to say you have confused the fk out of me H!

    I wouldn't get to fixated on the conversion of morals to laws process as in democracies it is a pretty well documented process.

    The point I am heading in is more when people say "this is wrong" or "this is right" morally, what are they basing that on?

    I had a dean at Uni at the welcoming lecture in first year say "everything anyone does is motivated by selfishness". That seems pretty spot on to be, just that most of us either don't realise it or are in denial.