A while back, I explained how morality can never be objective.
Having said this, I have come across my fair share of systems of morality that people follow everyday. Even if we don’t believe in the concept of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and can’t objectively define them, we still do try to do things that we find find generally ‘good’ according to varying standards.
So how exactly do people decide that?
In my earlier article I mentioned empathy as one of the most prominent attributes of human beings that would guide them not to cause harm to their fellow human beings and that human beings do have an actual objective sense of morality which is limited to how to deal with other human beings.
But we cannot deny the fact that there is a huge level of uncertainty with human beings when they try to follow their instincts and they almost always do try to stick to some established moral system.
On investigation I discovered that alongside the two moralistic systems that I already knew (Faith-Based Morality and Reason-Based Morality) there exist quite a few other systems.
I decided to describe the four most prominent/important systems according to my personal opinions and here they are for your deliberation:
- Faith Based Morality:
In this system, supernatural subjectivism is at play. A ‘god’s’ will is the standard of truth and moral value. Whatever this ‘god’ or his/her earthly agents says is good is what is good. You know this by having faith, sometimes ignoring evidence to the contrary.There is use of force since if you refuse to obey the god, the earthly agents might force you to obey. There are grave consequences (Usually the concept of suffering in a ‘hell’) if you don’t obey.
- Consensus-Based Morality:
When social convention (or consensus) is the standard truth and moral value, a product of social subjectivism, we find this system of morality in play. Whatever the collective says is moral is deemed moral.Being part of this system means accepting the collective will, obeying its dictates, sacrificing yourself or others for the greater good of the group and being humble before its greatness. You are subordinate to desires and needs of the group.
Some societies will use strict force to deal with those who refuse to comply.
- Whim-Based Morality:
Here, moral values are whatever you want them to be. The most important value is your feelings, which you should revere above all else and use as your guide to action. Among these virtues could be worshiping your whims, doing whatever you feel like doing and ignoring any facts that suggest otherwise.Force can be utilized if the whim sets the individual up to to allow it. Rights are whatever you want them to be. If you want to use force or commit fraud or the like against others, then you have that right.
- Reason-based Morality:
Here, Human life is the standard of moral value. Each individual’s own life is his own ultimate value. Whatever you rationally conclude will promote your life and long-term happiness is the ultimate goal.The way you know this is by observing reality, conceptualizing your observations and using logic.
Besides the moral values that are realized by observing what a human beings needs in order to live and prosper, the most fundamental value is reason. The proper social system would consist of law via pure, laissez-faire capitalism, in which the sole purpose of the government is to protect rights.
So what system should we follow exactly?
Well, I leave that up to the person who’s reading it really but I must mention that I strongly disagree with Faith Based Morality because until the time that any kind of supernatural entity has been proven to exist, all it really becomes is a Consensus-Based Morality that was in use when the so called ‘Holy Books’ were drafted. And the factors which led to the public choosing those specific rules rules and defining those values simply don’t exist today.
A combination of Whim-Based Morality and Reason-Based Morality seems like the way to go for me personally but I can’t expect everyone to resonate with it.
Whim-Based Morality is a great system when the chances of the people around you not allowing you to/punishing you for following it, is sparse and where your actions will not affect others in any way. In the event of the lack of such a society, Consensus-Based Morality will suit survival the best.
What works for you and the people around you depends on a lot of factors like where you live, which system you grew up using and how you differ as an individual. Each system mentioned here also requires at least one or more entirely unjustified assumption to be made.
My deeper intention with this article is to make people aware of which system they follow ,question whatever system they follow and only follow them after careful deliberation and examination.
You’re the one in control of at the very least, some factors that will dictate how your life will turn out! Open your mind to the possibilities and ensure your full potential!
See the world in a different light.
Shawn Kenneth Fernandes
P.SL Read related material here: https://ethicalrealism.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/ethical-theories/