It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


What is your moral barrier?

page: 2
<< 1    3  4 >>

log in


posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 01:32 AM

edit on 8-11-2012 by paleorchid13 because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 01:40 AM
reply to post by dontreally

I think morality is based in empathy, and I think it must be learned, and practiced. My moral barrier? I really don't know of a moral barrier. I think about people and animals all the time while reading about, and watching their plight in life. I don't look upon things like selling drugs as morally wrong. If you would like to sell heroin to your friends or acquaintances I am not morally offended by it. If you want to commit suicide, I don't think that's morally wrong. If you want to physically harm others then I think that is terribly wrong.
There are very few general principals attached to morality, in my view. But those few moral principals are complex and varied. Initiating physical harm to others without their consent is one. While a pugilist would have consent to physically hurt their opponent, this society finding pugilism to be acceptable. I find it distasteful, but I also know that there are those who look upon it as a sport of skill.
If you wish to take heroin every day until you have no job or shelter, then that in itself is not morally wrong, in my view, even though such circumstances could lead one to steal in this particular society. But if one lived in Laos among the poppy fields, then it may not be the case that those people would need steal a thing.

Morality is quite complex, deserving of a lifetime of reflection on the many diverse conditions and variables involved in each person's plight, and not something easily understood by any means, in my view


posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 01:58 AM
I've been thinking on morality for years and ultimately ErgoTheConclusion's "Only in the moment of action" understanding seems to hold more weight than anything else, intent.

If, as has been raised here already, we use the extreme example of taking a life there can be justifying circumstances. The defence of the innocent being the most obvious. In certain scenarios even this act which must surely be the ultimate taboo seems easily justifiable. If we look back in time though it is said that in Spartan society it was a rite of passage that a male youth kill a Helot slave now the actual accuracy if this assertion may be up for debate but that need not carry any weight here. If we just take the scenario the the moral questions raised become quite interesting.

For the discussion here let's just say the child has been raised in a society where such an act is ingrained just as has been suggested - nothing more than a rite of passage. How much blame can really be heaped upon the shoulders of those who simply play out this scenario, the child who has been told since he was old enough to understand that this act is not only acceptable but praiseworthy?

It seems difficult to lay blame at the feet of the individual in this case. Perhaps it might be argued that the individual should have realised that the act was immoral but we are talking of a child going against everything they have been raised to accept and they have seen practised in society. Looking at the argument offered in this paragraph is it really so clear cut that the individual should be capable of reflection and independent thought to such a degree? We can argue that should be the case but not having been raised in such a society or being able to experiment with such scenarios it's little more than conjecture. We can be generous to the individual and say that the task is beyond them, that since they were old enough to understand they have been completely conditioned to accept this situation and remove the idea of responsibility for what we see today as an immoral act or we can say that despite the difficulties they should be capable of understanding the situation and having the moral fortitude to stand alone against the rest of society. Even then though it seems to me that both of those paths and the actions they lead to are ultimately defined by the understanding the individual has and then the intent.

The individual could realise that the situation is abhorrent yet still go through with the act and so we have an immoral act or they could simply follow through with this rite of passage and we have an act that is not immoral. (Note that the description here of moral and immoral is not resting upon the understanding we have as a present day observer considering this but the understanding of the individual in the exercise.)

It seems at a certain stage the act itself loses any claim to moral or immoral and only the individual can accept responsibility for that title. If that is so though it seems very harsh to demand that the individual should have had the insight to understand the act as we do today with our advantages of hindsight, detached consideration, current societal moral standards, education... The only conclusion I have managed to reach is that in such a scenario they may have had the insight, they may not. The morality of the act though seems to be dependant on the understanding they have at the time, after which and as stated above, it comes down to choice, to intent.

To use the argument of mitigating circumstances in order to excuse the individual here may be appropriate to a degree but it seems that the underlying question is one of morality which exists outside that argument. Is the act immoral? In this case we could say yes, but while the individual who committed the act is guilty of committing an immoral act they are not guilty of acting in an immoral way. If we take that answer though where does the idea or morality lie? There is an eternal and external morality but it has no authority on it's own? We come back to the idea of individual intent.

We can justify the objectively immoral action of murder through the subjective argument such as Spock's 'The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few'. It's simple, logical but cold. Surely morality should be warm and caring though? The nobility of mankind. Say you steal from the small, family owned shop to deprive the owner of a petty profit which, by itself, he would not miss - you feed your family for a day. It seems a morally acceptable action. If the situation is dire though and many people do the same the shopkeeper's family fall into poverty, he loses the business and they become destitute. Are all those who stole innocent of the accusation of immorality?

Are moral standards eternal, external and ruthless or malleable and subjective? If moral responsibility can be separated from the act so easily then what authority can morality really carry?

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 02:01 AM

I'm at walmart with my brother, I have no money on me, and I'm in the candy section being tempted by all the sugar, i.e. sour skittles, rainbow nerds, sweet tarts, sour keys etc, and I'm literally drooling over this stuff. Each pack is from $1.50 to $2.60. Small items, right? Well, I can't let myself do that. Since I got into studying religion, philosophy, theology etc, I've grown too aware of a certain reality to allow myself to change ontological status from 'living in accord with the just and right', to 'not caring, taking what he wants'.
reply to post by dontreally

I don't need religion or a god for this. " I " am the source of my morals. If I can stand in front of a mirror and call my reflection a thief, a liar, untrustworthy...then I have sinned against myself.

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 02:25 AM
reply to post by dontreally

Moral Barriers are Relative in the sense that what may seem immoral to one may seem perfectly acceptable to another. They there is Cause and Effect which can dictate how a person views an action. In the is all RELATIVE.

My Psych and Social Testing stated I had a certain....Moral Flexibility which is a trait that is sought after by certain groups. In my is up to the individual to access what they will or will not do. Those who look for others to tell them it is OK to act in a manner that the person finds Morally Questionable...are just using that OK as an excuse.

We all make our own Beds...and we have to lie in them. Split Infinity

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 02:27 AM
reply to post by JAK

I like that example. I would argue that the child would be morally obligated to kill. The moral good would be in acting in accordance with his societies expectation, adhering to its limits. Sparta needed good soldiers, not sensitive people.

Is paying taxes you know will go to war efforts immoral? The act of not complying with a social obligation are what defines something as immoral. We all say that killing is bad, and so it is immoral, because that is what we as a society have decided based on our limits to such behavior.

It is all based on our societies expectations, since morality is a product of civilization. The very concept has no place in the natural world. You do to survive, and cruelty like morality have no place in that scenario other than its weight in terms of survivability.

Morality is the limits placed on an individual's decision making process by the rest of society where total control is not possible by the authority of rule. Since you cannot make people to stop an activity by simply declaring it illegal, you have to place a moral obligation in which all of society participates and so enforces the rule.

An example would be during the Spanish civil war. My grandmother would tell me that throwing food away was a sin. Not dumb, or some other reason. It was an act of immorality. The reason was that since in her society during the civil war, food was scarce. Throwing away the scraps of a plate when people were starving created tensions, since they would gladly take them. SO for her generation, her societies model, people cleaned their plate. They would not serve too much in case they could not finish their plate, because they would then be committing a "sin". Not unto god, but unto their societies limits.

Look at our society. Child molestation should be nonexistent by simply declaring it illegal. It is not, and so there is a very powerful social stigma attached where the person doing such an act, is morally the worst possible scum bag on earth, rightly so. The reason is because society has limits to that behavior and recognizes the damage to the victim, and really to society as well as a whole when many people grow up being damaged and mal adjusted. The moral charge to it is to make it more than illegal and so less practiced. To make it apparent that it is being weighed against survivability itself. Like the natural world does.

Or for instance substance abuse. The counter argument is always one of questioning the moral implications. "who are they hurting?". It is illegal, but tolerated because the moral implications are not strong enough to assess who is actually being hurt. Weighed against survivability, it is not that heavy, where as people traumatizing each other is. So it is easier to see a substance abuser rahter than a child molester in greater numbers, but both are illegal. Only one has the moral consequence society enforces collectively.

Your example might define the limit of sensitivity that Sparta as a society could tolerate. They lived off war, their very survival depended on their people being able to take a life. If the boy failed his moral obligation to his society then the threat of society failing to meet its needs is very real. The threat of failing to adhere to its limits of sensitivity could lead to a less survivable situation. So it could be declared a moral failure by threatening society.

If you need warriors to survive, then war is not immoral, and not assisting the creation of warriors could be seen as immoral since it puts society at odds with its survival.

In a tribe, If you need to steal from people to survive as a society, then theft might not be immoral, since if you stop the raids on lesser tribes your tribe dies. ect....

edit on 8-11-2012 by manykapao because: fix

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 02:30 AM
I tend to consider that most morality is a cultural thing (as far as set ethical systems), and that respecting the system of wherever you are in the moment is the best idea. This is conducive to effective relations and communications with others.

Besides that, i like to say that we cannot decide the morality of an act in reality except in the moment and with the context, and even then, there is always unknown factors that could knock our judgement off base- we can only do the best we can and be aware that we might be wrong anyway.

I'm pretty sensitive, and tend to feel repulsed to any choice that might hurt someone else in any way.
The problem can lie in mistaking what would hurt another or not (why culture comes in).

Despite this view, I still have conditioned repulsions to certain acts or behaviors that I cannot change.
Like I am ferociously monogamous, despite being in a country now that is much less condemning of infidelity.
Especially at my age, most couples are becoming swingers around us, but I cannot seem to wipe away my deepest values and ethics.

I also still have a strong tendancy to obey and respect rules and authority, though the culture here tends to have the idea that they exist FOR breaking (which is why laws are so often set that make no sense- because it is assumed they will be purposely broken by everyone).

Heck, you can kill someone here and get out of it if you can prove you were feeling passionate at the time! We have a guy in our little village that once chopped up his wife with an ax!

The challenging part of that is learning to respect everyone elses right to have radically different ethics- not applying your own to them, or imagining that they feel the same as you.
I might imagine my boss would be mad if I did the opposite of what he told me to do- but that turns out to be wrong (he gets mad when I obey him to the letter instead),
I can imagine my husband would be hurt if I slept with someone else, when in reality it might actually turn him on and make him a bit proud that his wife is so desireable to others and sexually assertive!

This kind of difference has really made me have to own my feeligns and not project them (I am mad when my employees don't obey, I would feel hurt if my husband slept with someone else......)

So my moral barrier, as you say, or "limits" are very personal for me, and in some cases, no longer even are based on how they would effect another! I don't sleep with others because it would make ME uncomfortable and unhappy, not out of concern for anyone else.

This does make the issue less clear, of what ethical and moral behavior is exactly.
I can sound, in theory, very morally "loose" when I speak of relativity and all..... but anyone that has ever known me in person will say that I am actually maybe too self controlled. That is what I hear often anyway.

Or maybe it is just the french that feel I am, in contrast. I don't know. That's basically my most repeated phrase everyday. "I don't know"

edit on 8-11-2012 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 03:11 AM

Originally posted by JAK
Are moral standards eternal, external and ruthless or malleable and subjective? If moral responsibility can be separated from the act so easily then what authority can morality really carry?

Somewhere, Socrates and Plato smiles.........

"For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories."

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 04:22 AM

edit on 8-11-2012 by violet because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 04:24 AM

Originally posted by dontreally
reply to post by violet

Now, if you seduce the girl next door, or she seduces you, then we enter the gray areas.

If the girl isn't married, or in a relationship with someone else, it's more white than grey.

But if she's in a relationship and you only mean to snatch her away, than that's black, and should be seen as bad.

A part of doing what is 'communally' right is understanding and respecting other people. If we don't respect the value of a relationship between two other people, and act in some way that undermines it, than we have broken a sacred trust. Whether that trust be the trust between yourself and some higher spiritual ideal, or the communal trust, which seeks to preserve public order.

This is a reply to me? I never said the above quote. I'm confused.

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 08:07 AM
For me the Golden Rule is sufficent enough....

I believe that intent is very important.

If you set out to achieve a positive thing and it all falls apart, even if people rip you to shreds over it, you have no obligation to prove anything as you meant everything in good faith. A clear conscience on your part is all you need.

My perspective, don't do anything to hurt anyone intentionally.

If you find yourself in a moral dilema, like natural impulses, or lets say for example...your married and have feelings for another unexpectedly, and eventually you go astray. Was it to fufill your selfish needs? Or was it because you loved that person?

Alot of people find fault with that....but you can't help who you love, and if your not happy in the former relationship get out.

As for stealing and such, I go by the golden rule with that. I hate thieves....
If someone attempted to take something from matter how expensive, I'd bust it into a million peices before I'd let them walk away with it.

So for me stealing is out of the question entirely...

I have a problem with, but I don't expect people to be the same ...being lazy, sloppy, and a living in a dirty home, I can't do it.

I grew up around very meticulous/OCD type people, and I know over cleaning is a irrational habbit for me......I think I'm the only person in my neighborhood who sweeps

edit on 8-11-2012 by kat2684 because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 08:12 AM
come off it with all of these [I'd never steal crap]. People who do not steal phisically have stolen before in their life. To hurt some one is to steal their dignity and self esteem and we are all guilty of that at one stage or another.

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 08:21 AM
reply to post by Bilky

I stole a pack of skittles when I was 5, I had to take it back to the manager, apologize.Then got whipped with a belt......That was the first and last time I stole anything other then a sheet of paper.....or the occasional pen from the bank (not intentionally).

As for being a kid, I stole from my big sisters, their clothes, make up, jewlry.....but I returned it, and we lived under the same roof so technically its fine......I won't steal from strangers, and if it hasn't fell within the realm of stationary items...I never took it.

edit on 8-11-2012 by kat2684 because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 08:35 AM
If we are down to morality, it is because we have failed at life and need to begin anew.

Therefore the wise person says:

I do nothing, and people become good by themselves. I seek peace, and people take care of their own problems. I do not meddle in their personal lives, and the people become prosperous. I let go of all my desire to control them,

and the people return to their natural ways.

The Tao Te Ching is very much based in observable reality. Lao Tzu observed his society and noticed different things that caused troubles. He mentioned that,

The highest good is not to seek to do good,

but to allow yourself to become good. The ordinary person seeks to do good things,

and finds that they cannot do them continually.

The wise person does not force virtue on others,

and thus is able to accomplish their task. The ordinary person who uses force,

will find that they accomplish nothing.

The kind person acts from the heart,

and accomplishes a multitude of things. The righteous person acts out of pity, yet leaves many things undone. The moral person will act out of duty, and when no one will respond

will roll up his sleeves and uses force.

When people cease acting in a natural way, they create "righteousness."

When righteousness is forgotten, they create morality. When morality is forgotten, they create laws. The law is the husk of faith,

and trust is the beginning of chaos.

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 09:07 AM

Originally posted by dontreally

Only in the moment of action do you "know" "why" you acted the way you did. If you stole for "good", then you stole for good. If you stole for "evil" then you stole for evil. It's that simple.

So there's no infraction in your mind against the concept of ownership? If something is "his", and I understand it as his, what gives me the right to ignore that and take it? I would expect the same understanding from anyone else with regard to what is mine.

It depends entirely on the nature of the interaction.

There are circumstances where to punish someone who took from me without asking, were I to be honest, I would be doing the greater evil. I have alternative responses available. There are circumstances where my dogmatism adhering to "it's MINE!" will do more harm to my fellow man and culture than their "theft" would.

If we follow the concept of ownership far enough along, we will see that nothing is "ours". You seem to have missed the purpose of asking "who are you really stealing from?"

There are more and less responsible (aka sustainable) ways for people to interact and manage the material we have at our disposal, but no rigid boundary will ever suffice for definition. Thus we always eventually fall back to intent as the genuine last arbiter, especially for "technically" equal "crimes" where the nature is different.

Originally posted by dontreally

The simplicity continues forever though. As we are given the freedom to retroactively change our definitions such that we can later interpret our previous action(s) as having been for the alternate "reason(s)".

That's a ridiculous reductionism.

If you wish to label it as such.

I'd be willing to wager you do it in practice though. Would you honestly claim you've never reflected on an "bad thing" that you or someone else has done in the past but now would no longer call it "bad" because your definitions and understandings have changed?
edit on 8-11-2012 by ErgoTheConclusion because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 09:42 AM
My moral barrier is organic and depends upon the situation. If I need to steal to feed my family, I will steal. If I need to kill to protect the ones I love, I will kill. In those instances, honor, morality—or more simply, what I think people think about me—go out the window to allow me to focus on things of more importance.

Good thread. Also, thanks for the honesty.

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 11:48 AM
reply to post by dontreally

There are so many very interesting and important thoughts surrounding morality. For instance, I believe no society can be in pursuit of being considered moral if murder is not agreed upon as being the first principal of morality. Also, I believe torture to fall into the same guidelines. And curiously, morality itself is of the highest importance, therefore morality, though rarely taught in the society I live in, should be taught to children like language is taught to children. A public school for basic education which does not require classes on morality, would be quite useless in teaching basic subjects such as language, history, sociology, or anything to do with politics. It seems a society will never be able to endeavor to be considered in pursuit of it's moral justification on this planet if children are not learning to understand morality.

It appears to me that morality should be grounded in what is the simplest observable understanding of what we basically are: Free. Living amongst a society of free beings makes for the appearance of morality simply because we have to learn to get along together. A moral society would have it's participants wanting to get along with one another. I don't mean to suggest loving, or even liking everyone in your society, but rather behaving in such a way as to allow for mutual respect of each others freedom through empathy.

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 11:49 AM
reply to post by JAK

I don't want to go into how such iniquity entered social mores, but I think that line of argument detracts from the nature of a proper understanding of morality.

Of course, in the situation you described, the individual in question is limited in his ability to make a moral decision; but that's only because iniquity, falsity, and stupidity has taken the place of the clarity of moral insight.

The golden rule is called the golden rule because it is supremely sensible: Do not do to others that which you do not want done to you. And the inverse: do to others that which you would want done to you.

Nature, by which I mean human nature, and our ability to understand, allows us to realize the evil of suffering. No one wants to suffer, therefore, do not bring suffering upon others. Your understanding obligates you to respect that understanding. Thus, if I do want people to steal from me, I should not steal from others. If I want my property to be respected, I want to respect other peoples property.

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 12:59 PM
I have stolen physical toys when I was a child but I do not do that anymore. Do not at all belive in that the economic system is fair so if I could steal a lot of money from people on the top that have not done anything decent in their life then I would probably do it. But I do not really need much money myself and if the system worked then I would have a little home and probably a newer car. I am a person that saves up money but never enought to really make a difference since the houses are to expensive if you do not want to take loans. But there are other people that have it worse in other countries and that is screwed up.

I have no problem with downloading any type of information/media free. I think corperations have become totaly parasitic so I have no moral problem with not caring if they get what the thinks is their right since from my point of view they are the problem with human society not the solution and I do not play by their laws.

I can be nasty to people I do not like and hate them for their behaviour but do not allow myself physical violence. I like the golden rule but use it in another way. I am sometimes the karmamirror to people behaviour especially when people get on my nerves. Namaste

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 02:34 PM
Just like most of the people mentioned above, morality is in the eyes of the beholder.

We were all raised in a diverse world full of diverse ideas and cultures. Some cultures that teach us to be more forgiving with ourselves, and some that teach us that self-infliction is the only true way to eradicate sin within ourselves.

But true morality, who we are as a person that makes us act the way we do - comes from the heart of the soul. Some people have hard trusting souls, and tend to bash other people out of their lives. Making themselves distant when it comes to the idea of stealing things for survival, or holding someone at knife point for cash. Their untrusting, crushed hopes, and lack of education to push them past their early lives, or lack of believe in the things they were taught - lead them to a life full of acts that many of us would find immoral. But to them, just another way of life.

I have one fine line of morality in my life.

But first let me state that I have cheated on a lover, and I've probably cheated on tests once or twice in high school. Snuck out of the house, drank too much at a few parties, borrowed shoes and have forgotten to return them. I'm human, that's what we do. I don't find any of those out of line, but the cheating. Of which at the time, I didn't understand quite so much why cheating was so terrible for you and the others affected by it until it was long over and I sat swimming in my guilty pain.

However - my moral barrier starts and begins with my mother, whom to this day, believes her own lies.

I will never cheat others out of money to benefit myself. Lie to my children to cover any dirty tracks or secrets I brought in. I will never borrow money with the full intention of never giving it back, or ignore someone when they are in dire need. I will never turn my nose up to someone that has less money than I do, or that live lower standards because of how they are raised and I will always try to give someone a chance before throwing them to the wolves.

That's about as far as mine goes. Being true to who you are, and trying to forgive people, because you never know how bad someone has it.

new topics

top topics

<< 1    3  4 >>

log in