Thursday, April 14, 2005
The Non-existance of Morality.
In this section:
Universal morality; the Golden Rule; robbery; the Golden Rule revisited; breast implants; the Golden Rule re-revisited and revised; the moral kaleidoscope.
I wanted to find a topic that everyone commenting on this blog would agree on. This isn't it, but that's the point. Is there any moral or ethical statement that everyone will agree on? There is not. All moral viewpoints have so many exceptions, or differ between cultures and religions, that there is no statement of ethics that can be considered universal. Even the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do to you,” doesn't work, for example, when somebody is robbing you. Since you wouldn't stoop to robbing them, there is nothing you can do them that you would want them to do to you when you were robbing them. The premise becomes flawed during application.
OK, at this point you're probably thinking that the Golden Rule has to be universal to work. In that case, nobody would rob you because they wouldn't want to be robbed themselves. Good point, I'm glad you brought it up. Take this example, then. A plastic surgeon is inserting breast implants into a patient. How does that jive with the old Rule? In fact, all medical procedures are pretty much out when following the Golden Rule.
So, can anyone rephrase the Golden Rule to make it actually applicable? Do you start by adding "if they are doing something that you would like them to be doing?" Doesn't this completely undermine the rule ("Well, he was doing something I didn't want him to be doing, so I certainly didn't have to do unto him as I'd have liked him to do unto me.")
Or, is there another moral statement that you think is universal? I say no – there is no true “right” or “wrong” in morality. “Ethics” is simply a human construct, with no real basis in anything except the current cultural trends of any particular society. Morality is a kaleidoscope, that changes as the world turns. Does this make all of our arguments on this blog meaningless? No – we're just trying to restructure our culture to fit our personal views – to basically change morality. And good luck to us all.