lukwago hilda

Visual artist, photographer

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How do you define your moral code? What influences moral codes and how do they affect our communities?

this questions require you to share how you define a moral code,what influences the different moral codes and how is our surrounding being affected both postively and negatively by the way we are choosing to '' live our lives'' .

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    Jul 9 2013: “You were born to be real, not to be perfect. You're here to be you, not to be what someone else wants you to be. Stand up for yourself, look them in the eye, and say Don't judge me until you know me, don't underestimate me until you've challenged me, and don't talk about me until you've talked to me. (RuPaul)
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    Jul 9 2013: For one, I do not believe that there even exists something called a 'moral code'. The term morals suggests that there is concrete imperatives that need to be adhered to in every situation, and this concept, frankly, is too black and white when we live in a world that is painted in shades of grey. Everybody else seems to be replying in relativistic terms, I too believe that life is to be lived subjectively, but I would not call my interpretation of life a moral code I would call it an ethical code. For I truly believe that there can be no morals without universal standards either set down by God or The State and honestly I am not at a stage in my life where I believe that anybody or anything has jurisdiction over what I want to do and achieve with my life. The laws of state are often preposterous and motivated by some unseen hand and I am more than willing to disregard these if they do not come into line with what I believe. Similarly the commandments of religious belief are mutable also, who can honestly say they would not kill somebody if there life or the lives of those they loved were threatened, I couldn't.

    An ethic begins where an ethos ends. And in order to build an ethics one needs education to nurture that spirit.
    • Jul 9 2013: Uh, another proponent of subjective morality, you make the heathens proud. Lets be honest, even those who subscribe to religion rarely implement the given moral codes provided by their dogmas through out their daily interactions with others.

      Universal standards set down by The State?
      So, let me get this straight. You're suggesting that it is not possible for morals to exist with out the presence of The State and the implied imposed laws?

      I'll throw you a bone here, because I think I understand what you're trying to convey here, or maybe I'm wrong. The laws of state, as preposterous as they may seem are often in accordance with an established framework often denoted as a Constitution.

      Which then leads me to the following. Our adherence to any 'defined moral code' is not solidified by the very creation and enforcement of law. It is an individuals capability to rationalize their means referenced against multiple factors that differ from individual to individual. Like you have said, ethics is a construct of education, but not in the sense of 'formal education' or 'indoctrination', rather... experience and the bias' they manifest.

      Ethos never ends, it may be established, but no landscape remains the same and is being altered constantly. The beauty of rhetoric is that even the devil has an advocate. There for, an individual who suggests that morality is 'established', or that apparent competency supersedes freewill, truly fails to see the non-linearity of our social interactions.

      Granted, social engineering works, soft wars buffer, and tolerance fades to black while taboos perpetuate ignorance. It's not until we tare down walls and adopt tolerance that we will accommodate any said universal 'moral code' . For our boundaries define the social landscapes creating an environment of fear, this being the justification for separation, condemnation, while suppression manifests illicit activities, manipulating integrity and bringing about societal anomie blah bla
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        Jul 9 2013: I was asked a subjective question 'How do you define your moral code?' and so the likelihood of me giving a subjective answer is rather high...And I don't appreciate your need to be condescending and 'throw me a bone' when I'm giving a perfectly cogent answer to the question that I was asked.

        The point I was trying to make in regards to religion and the state is that in my opinion, for something to be even remotely moral it needs to exist outside of ourselves and religion and the state are probably the two most dominant aspects in life that meet this criteria.

        It is more than tearing down walls and adopting tolerance that are needed for implementing a moral code. We need principles of universalization, something that can be accepted by all races, colours, creeds, genders etc etc etc, and this frankly can and will not ever happen because we are all ultimately greedy, passionate subjective creatures with our own interests deeply embedded in our hearts. At the very least we need an open and frank dialogue to start the ball rolling on this process and that will not happen either because people do not like it if it seems that their values are being attacked.

        So subjectivity in my opinion is the very best we can hope for, because it is all we have ever had.
        • Jul 9 2013: You're absolutely right, for I was mistaken and you really did mean exactly what you said. Unfortunately at the time I was refusing to realize the truth in your statement, as I must say that I agree in some respects.

          It is my opinion that the 'big 3' religions of the world will never be the vessel that brings humanity together for our maiden voyage towards a world moral code.

          "Every day for us something new
          Open mind for a different view

          ...

          So close no matter how far
          Couldn't be much more from the heart
          Forever trusting who we are
          And nothing else matters"

          METALLICA

          ;)
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      Jul 9 2013: Our laws, morals and rules are treating us as potential criminals, or irresponsible individuals. It seems that humans create their man-made laws for to break them. It is impossible for one to be perfectly "moral" in our crazy society, if one wants to survive.
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        Jul 9 2013: ok......and what should we do about that my dear friend how do think we can create a bettter and healty society for i believe in solutions.
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          Jul 9 2013: Replace the old problematic Golden Rule with The New Golden Rule. This is the helpfull answer, I think. So I suggest that young children and stidents in schools shall learn:
          NEVER treat others as you would like to be treated yourself -- unless they agree to it first --because what is good for you may be damaging for others.
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    Jul 10 2013: My moral code is being myself all the time. And the simplest to follow is never doing to others what I wouldn't like them doing to me. Not trying to fake also helps, too. I think that's it.
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    Jul 9 2013: The outdated Golden Rule needs to be changed.

    THE NEW GOLDEN RULE SHALL TEACH: NEVER treat others as you would like to be treated yourself -- unless they agree to it first --because what is good for you may be damaging for others.
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  • Jul 18 2013: I am pleased that most, for lots of reasons, seem to be proposing the Virtue "Golden Rule" route. This seems to be, despite the variability of our character throughout life, the only way to improve one's character throughout life. To live a life attempting to treat all others in the best way (for them) is possible - kindly, helpfully and hoping for the best results of an action for them. This is impossible, but in one's life one should attempt constant improvement and lessons learned from past mistakes. What is best for others is ambiguous as does it mean "in your own or their opinion?" Equally, the standards of behavior will vary from culture to culture. None-the-less an attempt should be made to learn from mistakes and treat others as bast can be done.
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    Jul 17 2013: Morality has 7,000,000,000 different meanings,a different meaning for each person on earth. For me it's about "recycling" You come into the world, from space dust all in the soup together. You swim around mixing, experiencing, loving,laughing, crying, mating, reproducing, trying to sustain your family. You try not to destroy the environment that all humans share. You practice (empathy) "look it up". Then you exit in peace, and dignity trying to leave some positive legacy behind, and recycle into the space dust we all came from without making a fuss.
  • Jul 16 2013: My Moral code is trying to be perfect as father in heaven is perfect. The moral code should lead you to be peaceful, happy being. Only ways are
    - Love everyone and never hate anyone.
    - It is not the actions but the intentions behind those that are important. If the intention behind an action is self promotion at the cost of others, then stop doing that.
    - Every action of yours should help humanity not rob it of its dignity.
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      Jul 17 2013: your three dot points seem like worthy moral objectives.

      just on the heavanly father, how do you know he exists, or heavan exists. what do you mean by perfect? how do you know it is perfect. just defining a god concept as perfect doesnt make it so.
      • Jul 17 2013: The question is not whether "heaven exists or not", the question is if such a place exist (heaven is a place of peace and happiness as mentioned everywhere, let us take it for granted), how did the ruler as well as residents of heaven achieve it.? Those attributes of ruler/father/residents of heaven is what every human being should follow as their moral objectives.
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          Jul 17 2013: Your statement said your moral code was around trying to act as the morally perfect heavenly father. If this is just a metaphor, fine, but it is confusing given all the cultural baggage associated with these terms.

          Made me think you were talking about a god concept based on the bible. Obviously the biblical god Yahweh is often described as an evil tyrant, a tribal war deity, that is far from moral perfection.

          If you were living according to the confused code of Yahweh you would kill homosexuals, and people who work on Saturdays, and be able to keep slaveS.

          If you just said live in a way that makes this world a place of peace and happiness, I agree.
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      Jul 22 2013: ANIL KUMAR thank you for that tip
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    Jul 16 2013: Morality is for me a en enculturation (changed through education, learned and acquired by our culture and society) and modification of some of our moral intuitions or biological tendencies towards cooperation.

    As for a moral code, I think what Sam Harris says in "the moral landscape" is a very good book as a reference in thinking about morality (he starts from the worst possible harm, and says that there is at least one dimension of improvement towards less harm).

    If you define good as beneficial towards a living creature (i.e. nurturing, improving growth) and bad as damaging a being (destroying, hurting, wounding, inhibiting growth), then you can look for each act to which extent it harms and damages.
    Then there is good vs evil, where you include intentionality... or the involvement of an agent that has at least some intelligence.

    I think that a moral code should have (in principle) a calculus of the beneficial and harmfull effects of the different options, and actions towards positive sum games (where every agent benefits) should be seen as the better ones.
    Of course this calculus cannot always be done in reality, so we let our intuition guide us (and the laws of your country or state or community or culture)
    A moral code is indeed a code and not a law or something definite. I see it as a set of guidelines that can be applied to any specific situation (I am a proponent of a casuistic approach).

    Differences in moral codes are due to different historical and cultural habits and agreements and laws &c. This does not make us relativists in the sense that you can say that all moral codes and cultures are equal. some of them have more reject-able and immoral practices (or sub-optimal). So looking around for improvements in your own culture is possible.
    One can, as Sam Harris says, discern a moral landscape with peaks (of benefice) and valleys (of poor moral conduct). And sometimes it is hard to get from one peak to a higher one.
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    Jul 15 2013: Moral Codes when defined by the RIGHT authorities and followed by the general masses is what makes sense. And that is how the society grows in right direction. That is what the work of the leaders of society is. If everyone is allowed to make their own moral codes then a terrorist would come up and claim to kill people is his morality.

    Watch this lecture for more interesting facts - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t5OGqjnpXQ (Discourse in INTEL Corp USA on Spiritual Knowledge)
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    Jul 15 2013: Every one is a keeper of its own moral code.
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      Jul 15 2013: and all of them are equally good?
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        Jul 15 2013: List of moral codes do not help, morality lies within.
        You are your best moral judge.
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          Jul 15 2013: what about the suicide bombers of mumbai, 2008? they are the best judges of themselves? i refuse that notion, and i claim they were immoral persons, or at least what they did was immoral.
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        Jul 16 2013: Not all moral codes are equal in the suffering they generate.

        The different assumptions of what is divinely commanded include some pretty poor moral positions.
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        Jul 16 2013: Krisztian Hi
        You got me wrong,
        Here i mean

        Every one is keeper of his own conscience

        You may have fantastic list of moral codes, but you are the only one, who knows where do you stand in following them.
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    Jul 15 2013: Satya and Ahinsa (Sanskrit)

    Truth and Non Violence (Translation)

    He who follows truth and non-violence In thought, in speech and in action is the highest evolved individual with priceless moral codes.

    Communities led by such people are places worth living in.
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    Jul 14 2013: IMO, the most basics of any moral code is very simple and can be summarized in the sentence:
    "Don't do to fellow person something that you don't like to be done to you."

    A little abstract expansion of the above principle is that don't do to fellow person something that is unliked upon him/her, even if you might like it or don't care about it if it is done to you. This is little abstract because it needs some imagination and abstract thinking to know what can hurt the else even though you don't find it hurting for yourself.

    Anyway, the first sentence is more easy to grasp. Our incapability to follow persistently this simple and obvious rule is the reason why we need so much external enforcements in the forms of moral codes, religious commands, complicated laws, huge & complex justice systems which are all aimed to elucidate the above principle and to punish those who break this simple principle.
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    Jul 14 2013: The second you feel the need to justify your actions you should probably take a moment to analyze and introspect.
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    Jul 13 2013: Moral codes set the boundaries to the behavior patterns one is expected to conform to in order to remain part of a given tribe/clan/group.
    One should not say; "He dont have any morals" but rather; "He and I dont share the same moral code values".
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    Jul 13 2013: The golden rule. Watch Karen Armstrong on TED.
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    Jul 12 2013: Thanks for the question! I think all moral codes spring from the universal moral of any species that we should not kill another in our species (unless you already reproduced (looking at you spiders!)). That usually evolves into a couple of things: we should not harm each other, we should help each other. Most of my morals spring from these simple foundations. Some religions take it farther than others, but they mainly seem to spring from these three (as far as I know and have seen—do give examples that contradict since I'm sure there are some).

    I don't think our surroundings are affected by the way we choose to live our lives, but are defined by it. Someone being kind versus someone being mean can alter those directly affected by him or her who then affect those interacting by those first affected continued until one person has shaped his surroundings because he helped someone with their troubles rather than walking by. Also, we affect our natural environment/habitat by the way we choose to live our lives (looking at carbon footprint and that stuff). If any country, city, etc. chooses to indstrialize, then that group has to cut down and flatten their area to make room for factories and pathways to the factory, not to mention the pollution created by the factory or whatever the building may be. I'm not trying to say we should all live in a cave or in the woods, but trying to show every decision we make directly affects our surroundings.
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    Jul 9 2013: Hi, lukwango,

    Here are some links:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZTS6iVpSPI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nIRJVmZ4K8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yo6a-GQchdg

    And some thoughts:

    My moral code, if any, is simple - never hurt or harm. Be aware. Know what's true. Learn, do not succumb. Live and let live, be wise. Think and feel.

    Thanks for your question. More to come (answers, I mean... :))

    Regards, best wishes and cheers.
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      Jul 11 2013: But the links do not offer a statement on a moral code. Although I've heard much about the Atheism of Christopher Hitchens, I've heard nothing about the source of his moral code or where he finds the ethical underpinning of his choices. And what, if anything, makes/made him more 'moral' or 'ethical' than me? Such that he could judge my faith as irrelevant or erroneous? No, by Christopher Hitchen's own rules - more is needed.

      He's right. Much needs to be trimmed away and/or reinvented or reinterpreted. Who needs female circumcision. But faith is with us. 'Fiddler on the Green' - as a song, might not be possible w/out the transcendent experience that originates w/an education in faith. We teach our children faith for a reason. Even in Russia. How popular is the Russian Orthodox Church - in an officially atheist nation.
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        Jul 12 2013: You're right a bout the song, I'm not really know why I put it here.

        My comment was weird when I look at it now. It can stay, just for further review.

        Not everybody teaches their children faith though. I think it's culture and experience that teaches such things, external influences. I'll add that it's better to teach or implant faith in oneself than in external influences.

        Best wishes, nice picture :)
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          Jul 12 2013: I quote from and reply to your insightful comment above. Best wishes. JV
  • Jul 9 2013: Moral codes are basically laws. The laws of the U.S.A are so flawed that the federal government was unable to prosecute ANY of the many people who could have prevented the recent financial collapse.

    Moral codes are frauds, based on the false notion that human beings can and would choose to live their lives according to a set of rules. There is no evidence to even suggest that this is possible. On the contrary, in my experience, people hate rules, regulations and laws, especially those that are imposed by others. When people make up their own rules, they invariably break them due to some exceptional situation.

    We need a new paradigm of social relationships that is not rule based, but based on the reality of human behavior. Since the study of human behavior is still in its infancy, this will require a great deal of time. Until we understand ourselves much better, we can continue discussing moral codes, but please, let us try to be honest about how much and how little they affect human behavior.

    One of the biggest influences on the community is the prevalence of hypocrisy and the many forms of insane behavior that result from hypocrisy.
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      Jul 11 2013: Barry: Unbelievably thoughtful reply. Was very happy to read it. I wrote "The Noble Society" some years ago - it's my philosophical (comical) utopia where denizens of this very small "place" live beyond the theater of our universe, and are individuals, not "people" . (That is where the "Old" and "New Golden Rule" has been "found" among their old books, and astonished them with our horrific primordial human history, I mean our history.)

      The basic law of Nature which we constantly violate by using our made-up rules and laws - is that everyone is unique, every living creatures in this world. In order to make man-made laws possible, we must become identical units, living in the same recycling conditions. Nature's law would not allow this. .

      Man-made rules and "morals" are invented for Controlling societies and groups, cults and all sorts of mentalities, "making" or forcing everyone behave and think the same way, convenient for the rulers .


      If we were all ethical and wise we would not need any man-made morals, rules or laws to control us.
      Unfortunately we live under this humongous pressure of the majority, which is neither ethical nor really intelligent. They Need rulers and laws to tell them what is what.

      Bless those who are bringing to our hysterical society some sanity, grace and wisdom.
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    Jul 9 2013: My moral code is to leave the world a better place than how I found it. If I can leave a smile, that's good. If I can make someone safer, or happier, or with some facts or thoughts, those are all good. I don't try to impose this on anyone else. My moral code is designed to guide me in a world that's often insane, cruel, and heartless. I don't worry about 'changing the world' (though the situations often fill me with horror, shame, anger, and grief). I try to focus on my own performance. Some days I'm able to do a lot of good. Other days not.

    I don't share a good bit of the 'moral code' of folks living around me. Not my problem. I simply try not to offend and if I think some things I find moral are not shared by others, I simply keep to myself.
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    Jul 9 2013: I define my moral code as the one that is based on greatest common good or lowest common suffering. My intelligence and power of reasoning being limited, the code is short and possibly ineffectual. It is harmless so I think I am harmless too.
    The same applies for my community. The code is more elaborate. It seems harmless too but it will be wise to be careful.
  • Jul 9 2013: I would say that living your life without negatively impacting someone else's life is the first and most important. The golden rule is not relative to todays society, as religion would rear it's ugly head. For example, a gay person treated like a westboro baptist person would like to be treated would cause the gay person great distress, and therefore would be negative impact. Religion, as a whole, is the most positive, and most negative influence we have on morals today. The problem is, the negative side usually wins.
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      Jul 9 2013: thank you ...and am guessing you have answered the question from a religious view....right ?
      • Jul 9 2013: Having been brought up very religious, I can only say part of me sees what things could be like if everyone followed the teachings that most religions share in common, but that is not where I am coming from. Religion really is the best, and worst of things that can happen to people. Maybe it would be better to say people are worst things to happen to religion, because it's the people that mess it up. The view I am seeing would be Native American if I could put an actual title to it, so I guess it would be spiritual. We are all connected, the Earth, water, sky, rocks and especially the beings.
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    Jul 8 2013: Nobody has the right to impose any moral code upon anyone else. The only wrong in my view is premeditated physical violence against another person. Everything else is just living. You might not like it but it is their right as a unique human being to live their life their way, even if they life next door to you. Society has created rules that we must obey or we will be punished, like children. The truth is most of us live outside some of these non-violent rules. The fact is all of us will do whatever we can get away with. The society we created with all its rules and regulation is not what we want to grow up into. Because a person has to judge violators and that makes it subject to interpretation where money, power and influence prevails.
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    Jul 22 2013: thank you much for sharing .hopefully we have learnt or borrowed something each other. THANK YOU
  • Jul 22 2013: I believe moral codes are driven by societal needs, the larger the society, the more complex the moral codes. Two simple examples: pigs use twice as much water as a man to live and alcohol dehydrates a person. In water poor environments, it would make sense to restrict the growing of pigs and the drinking of alcohol.
  • Jul 18 2013: I am pleased to see that for lots of reason most seem to be following the virtue "Golden Rule" approach. This seems to be the approach most amenable to self improvement through life.
  • Jul 18 2013: Yes, it just a metaphor. Idea is to make this place as beautiful as heaven (may be imaginary world as described in texts) so that all humans can live in peace and happiness.

    I strongly believe that anywhere self takes precedence than others fellow beings (including animals and other creatures), we disturb this beautiful world. Shedding of EGO is one of the most important factors for a peaceful being and world that I learnt from my religion.

    - Love everyone and never hate anyone can only be achieved if we lose our EGO.
    - Everyone action of ours is always directed for the benefit and welfare of ME and at times when it endangers others (even in minimal way of hurting others feelings), we continue to do because our EGO says me first. So look behind every action and if intentions are bad, stop doing it
  • Jul 17 2013: ...as long as one is morally concienable.
  • Jul 17 2013: I don't understand why the golden rule is different whether it's in the positive or negative. To me doing what you would want others to do unto you is the same as not doing to others what you wouldn't want done to you. This is totally independent of religion. I.e. if you want to believe what your religion believes, then I would want the freedom to believe what my religion dictates...as long as it doesn't harm anyone else. It seems to me that there are basic wants and needs common to ALL people from whatever background, nation or religion i.e. love, compassion, responsibility, sustenance, shelter, conscience...in essence, morals.
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      Jul 18 2013: Not doing bad stuff to others is different to doing good stuff.

      They complement each other and put us in the right mindset, but are slightly different approahes.
  • Jul 17 2013: C.S. Lewis "Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching". This concept terrifies me when the majority of people believe, through their system of beliefs, that someone is watching. What if they discover their is no God, will they still behave? As an atheist who never harms, deceives, or abuses my fellow creatures I define my Moral Code as a quality that is hard wired. I am so glad that they invented religion to help the ones who are hard wired to harm, deceive and abuse think someone is watching.
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    Jul 17 2013: the golden rule is a good starting point but it has a few flaws and the meaning or outcome is somewhat different if stated in the positive or negative.

    e.g. not doing to others what you wouldnt like done to you is different to doing to others what you would like done to you.

    on the flaws, well, the obvious one is maybe people dont want to be treated tge way you would like to be treated.you might like to be religiously indoctrinated. others may not.

    another twist to this is if i did something wrong i wouldnt want to go to jail. but im happy if jail is penalty for some crimes.

    erhaps it is better to treat others how they want to be treated, or act in a way that reduces suffering and improves the human condition.

    if people want to do stuff tgat doesnt hurt others so be it.
  • Jul 16 2013: The word "code" implies that you have to create a set of rules to guide your behavior. I specifically don't do this because I recognize that a set of rules will probably not adequately cover all situations. So instead I take each situation requiring a moral decision as it comes. So instead of creating rules to limit my behavior I simply always try to act in a fashion I find moral despite the fact that I have not placed a tight definition on 'moral'.

    I guess I could say, "I will not lie". But what if there is a really hot chick who only hooks up with fighter pilots. Isn't that an extenuating circumstance to lie and say that I am a fighter pilot? Oh wait, I meant, if lying would save the life of a child or something.

    I suppose if you lack the ability to be moral you could set rules for yourself like a dieter counting calories to prevent themselves form eating too much. But I guess I like the "I will just eat less" approach to morality.
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    Jul 15 2013: A big part of my code is to stand up for what I want and know that it helps others in the process even though I'm the one taking the risk. For example, if my neighbor is playing their music too loudly, I'll go knock on their door and ask them to turn it down, which helps me and I believe helps others, even though they haven't done anything to get the music turned down.
  • Jul 15 2013: Interestingly, I see here two distinct questions, one about a moral code and a second question asking about my moral code.

    As far as I can understand, in modern society a moral code appears to be defined by most people and organizations and governments as whatever they can get away.
    I believe no person or organization or government is well served by such an attitude of what I perceive as lax moral code,
    permitting any action as long as it won't cause someone to be actually charged and proven to have done an illegal act. There appears to be no obligation or inclination to make restitution for having abused, neglected or done real damage to some human person or other entity.

    Because many laws and rules and regulations are too long for most people to bother reading or too convoluted for anyone but a really brilliant high-cost lawyer to understand, most lone individuals are powerless to demand justice and under constant pressure to bend under mob-rule.

    As for my own personal moral code, it is simple.
    I see myself as an ethical person who appreciates open communication and truthfulness and accountability. I am well aware that my standards are considered unreasonable in some quarters and my "silly old-fashioned" ideas are not highly valued these days.

    Because of my beliefs I have faced life-long discrimination in every area of my life.

    Being constantly criticized for not wishing to participate in activities I perceive as "slippery-slope" or sub-standard is not a pleasant experience. The negative feedback and "red herring" and "no one cares" and "work to rule" responses have done their work and persuaded me that I should not waste my precious time with many of the organizations I have come across.
  • Jul 15 2013: My moral code: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Also my favorite poem, "The Man In The Glass", is an excellent guide in life.
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      Jul 17 2013: thank you......hence we all responsible for what we do but most of all being true to yourself.............right....?
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    Jul 15 2013: aiming to reduce suffering and improve the human condition.

    the human rights developed over the last few hundred years are often a good guide.
  • Jul 14 2013: L'orientamento morale individuale e sociale è l'espressione dell'intera personalità, visto che la morale origina dal l'interiorizzazione dei valori bene/male, che vengono ripresi da un comportamento coerente. La mia morale personale si fonda sul rispetto della vita, considerata un dono. Ora se la personalità è matura solo l'intelligenza e la volontà la possono condizionare, mentre la comunità in cui si vive (ma è legittimo il dubbio che si sia perso il senso della comunità almeno in Occidente) è influenzata da una pluralità di morali...
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    Jul 14 2013: .......
    Matthew 22
    36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"
    37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
    38 This is the great and first commandment.
    39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
    40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
    That's it ! Love God & love one another.

    :-)
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      Jul 14 2013: no issue with the second directive you cherry picked. there are some positive themes in parts of the new testament.

      i suggest this has merit even if there are no gods or goddesses.

      i could cherry pick many comnandments ordering death, regulating slavery, tribal genocide etc.

      when you read the bible hopefully you can tell which commands and acts are moral and which are not.

      loving something that probably does not exist is problematic.

      being commanded by a god to love it on threat of eternal punishment is bizzaire.
      i also note eternal torture in a hell is the opposite of love and imoral.
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        Jul 15 2013: Oh Obey, you're so predictable!
        :-)
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          Jul 15 2013: Many of Your comments are quite predictable too.

          The response to this type of thinking is so obvious, but does not make my points any less compelling.

          If the doctrines and scriptures you refer to were some other religion you might agree with me.

          If some other god was described as drowning the entire planet, and torturing some of its creations for eternity you might agree it was cruel.

          If some other god endorsed slavery, even regulating it, you might think it immoral given today we realise owning people is not good.
  • Jul 13 2013: The basis of morality is: 'Enlightened self interest'
    Conditioning by parents ,peer groups and enforcable laws help to enable you to 'behave'
    Take away the control and look where it gets you i.e. Slavery,Nazis, POW camps run by sadists ,race riots Jihads,terrorism and crusades.
    Whether your moral code is conditioned,selfish or religious as long as it woks for you .Living within a society is possible
    only when you conform to it's rules of acceptable behaviour.
    Conditioning is a two edged sword,use it responsibly
    Religion of any persuasion is a form of control that is the cause of most conflicts and should cease to be taught in schools
  • Jul 13 2013: One thing is for sure is that morality begins at a young age whether at childhood or at their formative age 12-15 years. The older generations such as the older Youth and Adults in our communities and society, have a major role in influencing, upholding and enforcing a moral code. Alot of the Music, Films and Arts in the world today are corrupted with immorality, one of the biggest influences for young people. Abdul'Baha a renouned expounder of morality and the exampler to the world says:
    "Children are even as a branch that is fresh and green; they will grow up in whatever way ye train them. Take the utmost care to give them high ideals and goals, so that once they come of age, they will cast their beams like brilliant candles on the world, and will not be defiled by lusts and passions in the way of animals, heedless and unaware, but instead will set their hearts on achieving everlasting honour and acquiring all the excellences of humankind"
    -Abdul'Baha
  • Jul 13 2013: A while back I wrote a piece entitled "is morality evolutionary?" (https://medium.com/contrarian-armchair-philosophy/d5be7261a41f)

    I state "let us begin with a conjecture : the biggest misconceptions about morals and morality is that they are anything more than a mental illusion.They are, in short, what we decide they are."

    In today's modern cultures, we are free to explore, expand and exercise those mental illusions, many of which may no longer be driven by evolutionary survival. "Morals may be a mental illusion – but it is one that all humans share … and perhaps, therefore, it is our imperative to ensure we continue to foster those values?"
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    Jul 13 2013: The moral code is a lower form of group consciousness that come from the discharge (WASTE) of Ethic and Integrity. You do not need a moral code to not Kill lions If you live on a deserted Island. Top of the list .would be a Pan determined being down threw Ethical Integrity to Ethic or Integrity to morals to lower state of laws and mind controls.If one is 100% being there is nothing below..
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    Jul 13 2013: Actually, its rather simple, you cannot. Because we are, in my opinion, created beings, or evolved from apes as some would actually believe, we are essentially on the same level. What would qualify any one, or group of individuals as law makers? How would you quantify or develop the criteria for qualification? Where would these individuals get their ideas, etc., to develop a moral code? It becomes evident almost immediately that this kind of governence requires a Higher being. Yes, a God, a supernatural, spiritual being, who being above mankind at all levels would solely be qualified to install a moral code that would govern right and wrong. Look at what determines right and wrong today. The Christian / Judeo Bible clearly lays out the laws we live by in the first 5 books of the old testament. History proves that when men loose sight of that, they become a law onto themselves. Everyman attempting to determine his own behavior, also known as chaos. Even then, the only ruler available for making those judgements is still the Bible. What original thought has man wrought, based entirely on his own ideas seperated from any established principal of the past?
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    Jul 12 2013: The tree of life connects us all. The result of a moral code is a simple set of rules that benefits life. As we live our life we create a path of behavior which affects, to some degree, everything that comes into contact with us, and many things that never come into contact with us. If what we do is a benefit to ourselves and others, it is to be encouraged, and labeled 'good.' If what we do harms ourselves or others it is to be discouraged, and labeled 'bad.'
    Love is a key ingredient of a moral life. Choices based on love of self and others are to be encouraged, and labeled 'good.' Love promotes acceptance and a peaceful relationship between individuals, as well as groups and nations.
    Fear is a key detriment to a moral life. Choices based on fear of self or others are to be discouraged, and labeled 'bad.' Fear promotes rejection and a violent relationship between individuals, as well as groups and nations.
    Wisdom is the result of recognizing these differences and dealing with others who do not have the same morals in a way the encourages them to become more loving and less fearful.
    Wisdom is recognizing that great teachers from the past have something to teach us and our survival will be more dependent in the future on finding universally acceptable ways to live in a world where fear is not the natural response to people who are different than ourselves.
    Sometimes the loudest voices are those raised in fear. To respond in kind is not rational. What the world needs now is a thoughtful, loving response to the anger, ignorance, and terror that surrounds us.
    Having a balance in all things is not the correct response to our moral problems. A life half filled with love, and half filled with fear, is not the optimum life.
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    Jul 12 2013: "Not everybody teaches their children faith though. I think it's culture and experience that teaches such things, external influences. I'll add that it's better to teach or implant faith in oneself than in external influences."

    I think you are correct. My own 'cultural experience' w/Theism - may well be a 'relic' that will one day go as the dinosaurs. I had to rethink it. And I still have to rethink it to make it seem reasonable/relevant. Might I well abandon that completely some day? Maybe so - or maybe not. But the risk of abandoning my faith has been one that I have always been willing to take. So why do I still offer futile prayers for which not possible answer or response is even remotely possible?

    Religion may well become an irrelevant superstition of the past. Something we view from the perspective of the future. And something we view then, much as we now view the abandoned polytheism of the distant past.

    Our present monotheism - may well go the way of Apollo, Jupiter/Zeus, Athena/Minerva, Poseidon/Neptune, Ares/Mars etc. This won't happen for quite a while yet. But it may, in fact, have to happen one day.
  • Jul 11 2013: My moral code comes from ‘Christianity’ in general.
    I used to get a bit judgy whenever I saw people deal with ‘matters’ against the very moral code that had been embedded in me.

    What influences does a ‘moral code’ make?
    It affects the way you see the world in almost every way.

    Hopefully, it serves to build a sound relationship with others and helps you not to cross a line, and so forth.
    But also there’s this fact that having your own moral code could make you somehow prejudiced (and that might provoke others’ stinging criticism as well) unless there’s a unanimous consent of what’s moral, which we don’t quite have.

    (By all means there’s at least some basic, common moral code—well, in this case, I would just call it ‘moral atmosphere’—that we need to stick to.
    e.g.
    Don’t kill people, especially get your hands off kids.
    Don’t rape anyone.
    Etc.)
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    Jul 11 2013: The classic 'do to others what you would want done to you' would be how I would define my communal moral code. But what does that mean? For me, that means celebrating other's right to life and living - to be who they are (sociopaths notwithstanding). Allowing personal freedom to rule the day. Finding beauty and benefit in our differences. Laughing instead of criticizing. But we don't do it, do we? We can't do it. We ridicule others. We find reasons to exclude others. We steal from and usurp each other. We make it 'us vs. them'. And where does this come from? I believe it comes from our own inner insecurities, our inner pain from our upbringing, from our fears of loss and pain, our millenial histories of war and torture and lies that is embedded in our bones so we distrust each other fundamentally. So what, therefore, is a 'moral code'? It is a dream, an agreement we seek (via 'laws') that we will never achieve. Never, that is, until we change who we are, and what is 'us'.
  • Jul 11 2013: My moral code is a set of guidelines that define my response / reaction as and when I find myself in a "tight spot". We do not draw upon our moral code in a regular, day-today living as our behaviour and reaction to a common issue is largely guided by the social norms. For example, tendency to not jump a queue is a reflection of social norms rather than a moral code.

    In my view, upbringing and the circumstance influences the moral code. Since the communities are a collection of individuals, the moral code of these individuals has a large bearing on the functioning and effectiveness of a community.
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    Jul 11 2013: My moral code is guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ; a man of peace who came to teach the world to love.
    If we are guided by the love of God through Jesus Christ, we would always make choices that are benefitial to us and to our society.
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      Jul 11 2013: Thank you, I like that; me too!
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        Jul 12 2013: ok............... elaborate please......let mi get your perspective.....
  • Jul 11 2013: my moral code is that i'm no better or more deserving than anybody else. i don't jump queues even if i'm in a hurry because others might also be, and instead of expecting others to watch out when i feel bad i make myself use even more effort to stay calm, these are my problems, not other people's. no-one can be more worthy than another but i believe people can make themselves less worthy by being selfish, negligent etc though.
  • Jul 9 2013: Virtually everything in life is not a moral issue.
    Take sex. It is not a moral issue.
    Like sex, virtually everything lacks an inherent, intrinsic and essential moral nature.

    The true moral nature in life is in "how we treat one another."
    It is not in what the subject is.

    There may be an exception or two that I cannot think of as I write this.

    One learns some kind of morality in simply living, starting with early years.
    Guidance along the way usually comes in to play, from somewhere, someone, but
    ultimately, the person has to learn who they are, what they are, and change those
    things they may wish to change and keep those they wish to keep.

    To thine own self be true. Love thyself first and always.

    Without all the moral BS that has been dumped on the human psyche for millennium,
    we might have wound up peaceful.
    Instead, parents are okay with adults soliciting their minor children to groom and teach them
    in how to kill others.
    In all the places we were hiding love, what was it we were thinking of?"

    I make my morals. And they can change over time, as most things do.
    You don't just "grow up" and get it over with.

    Generally, the moral codes have wreaked havoc upon communities, countries, cultures, and babies.
    • Jul 9 2013: I would think there are a few exceptions: torture, child sex, murder of children for no reason, genocide,
      • Jul 11 2013: wayne,
        Yes, as I wrote I wasn't focused on finding exceptions.

        So thanks for those. My point was that there are many things people automatically think of as
        moral or immoral and I believe that is not accurate.

        Howeve, let's take a couple of those you listed. Torture and genocide.
        The U.S. doesn't torture, so they have long told Americans. It isn't true. They have been torturing
        humans for decades and even admit it but try to make it somehow sound humane by saying,
        It isn't torture, if we don't intend on hurting you!"
        Genocide. The U.S. has been practicing genocide, also for decades, virtually with immunity and impunity, and that has included and still does, child murder by the tens of thousands.

        So, since those who claim the high moral ground have committed, and are still committing such horrible atrocities against all of humanity, I guess they could make the claim, or someone else could, that those actions are not immoral. After all, religion, that "gave us morals in the beginning", and those who claim being religious, are the very ones who have been breaking morals for at least two thousand years.

        If someone truly and really believed there was a God of the Biblical sort, they would have to be insane (IMO) to then commit such acts.
        Or, if they actually "knew" there was a God of the Biblical sort and broke those laws or codes, knowing full well what was in store for them, then I would assume, and I believe accurately so, that they are completely insane, are sociopaths and psychopaths, and lo and behold,
        that is what they appear to be!!!!!

        That's what the people of America have allowed or put into power!
        • Jul 11 2013: Agreed, but history will show every race, including the American Indians, have included torture, genocide, etc. Since you brought up the Christian Bible, remember Christ said let the one who is without sin, cast the 1st stone. Unfortunately, too many people are casting the 1st stone and thinking they are without sin. We are all weak and have fallacies.
    • Jul 14 2013: Hillel the Elder asked:

      If I am not for myself, who is for me?
      But being for myself alone, what am I?
      And if not now, when?

      So the claim of firstly being for onself (selfishness) is good only so far as it goes. And to go further it is vital to take into account the needs of others (altruism) and to make sure you don't put it off for long!
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    Jul 9 2013: .My answers:

    (1) "Moral code" is the rules of human symbiosis,
    formed 10,000 years ago and saved in our DNA.

    (2) Invalid (harmful) happiness "influences" the“moral code” badly,
    and leads the "community" (society) to self-extinction.
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    Jul 9 2013: There is no true and ultimate moral. Everybody's is differentiated by where they grew up, how they grew up, and when they grew up. Someone born in alabama to a white family in the 1950s is likely to have racist morals. Someone grown up into a rich family, pampered by them, in today's society would likely have selfish morals.

    Our moral is also shaped all the time. Our youth is what shapes it, but we chisel away the bad parts as we live on. Hitler truly thought that killing Jews was good. Basically everyone sees that as horrible now. Morals are a very differential variable.

    There is no right or wrong, but we can do our best to coexist.
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      Jul 9 2013: thank you and yes i will agree. and that there is great need for tolerance as to peacefully co exist
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    Jul 8 2013: this time, let me use an animated video with some music arbitrarily tacked on for dramatic purposes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muHg86Mys7I
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      Jul 9 2013: Very good video! It sums up a great deal of what U.S. Americans generally take for granted as the biggest part of what it means to live in a free society. The content is very basic. Nothing is 'cited' as to whose thought this is or where these ideas came from. But that's only my observations as an 'aspiring Academic.' Certainly in the U.S.A. & Canada, these ideas are generally, if not universally accepted as true. Furthermore, these ideas are codified into law in all civilized and/or developed nations.

      This video does have elements that the U.N. Human Right Commission or similar body might be willing to endorse. (Or already have endorsed.) The video is that simple, & that good!

      To say more about this video, I'd need to know more about where it came from and what kind of thought lies behind it. I once spent over an hour watching a 90+ minute Youtube video (via TEDster link - as here) & was disappointed later. I got a lot of good info on basic economics, but some stuff just did not fit @ the margins. So I did a series of Google searches on the author & organization(s) that sponsored/developed the video. The guy who founded the organization that paid for the video was in prison for tax evasion. The organization itself seemed to have 'issues' w/lawful taxation in general in nearly all instances of paying tax at all! Good facts are still good - no matter where you find them. But referencing a tainted source for good facts is never good at all.

      I visited http://www.jonathangullible.com & I was impressed w/the book "Jonathan Gullible" by Ken Schoolland; upon which the video is based. So, apparently, are a whole lot of other people. Check out the web site. It is worth your time. So is the video. Thanks Krisztian! THAT video was worth my time & then some!
      • Jul 9 2013: "Certainly in the U.S.A. & Canada, these ideas are generally, if not universally accepted as true. Furthermore, these ideas are codified into law in all civilized and/or developed nations."

        I live in the U.S.A, and, in my experience, these statements are simply false.

        The government, at all levels, routinely takes property from people without their individual consent. Taxes are the obvious example, but in my opinion the more important example is the exercise of eminent domain, which has recently been abused to assist big stores killing off small stores.

        There are many individuals who would prefer to exclude themselves from the taxes and benefits of government social programs like Social Security, the many welfare programs, and Workman's Compensation. The government takes their money without their consent, and that is called theft. So the idea presented in the video, that actually is codified into law, is theft.

        These government programs are supported by most voters in the U.S.A. This refutes your first statement, quoted above.

        A corporation claimed legal ownership of the human DNA it collected from people, and all rights connected with the use of that DNA, even when the collection was without the informed consent of the people to whom it originally belonged, some of them children. To my amazement, the Supreme Court upheld their claim. In the U.S.A, you do not legally own your own body, at least not one of the most significant parts of it.

        It is amazing to me how many people in the U.S.A. think that they support freedom and liberty, when they have no idea of the implications of those words.

        (In the interests of honesty, I now collect Social Security and would not vote against it. I was born into an imperfect world, as a member of a seriously flawed species, and into a culture that I consider insane. I just get by the best way I can. Perhaps I can help improve the situation by pointing out inconsistencies; I seem to have a talent for it.)
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          Jul 9 2013: @Barry.Palmer
          Thank you for your response. My approach was based in academic discipline & University science. My assertions are consistent w/what is taught, today, in colleges & universities & is offered as fact.

          I appreciate the fact that 1) you have a unique viewpoint based upon your own evaluation of what you see, hear, & read every day. 2) Also, there are many people who do agree w/you. Your opinions are shared by a minority of people (I say: A 'minority' when compared to the Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, & even quite a few 'independents' who voted for either Obama or McCain or Romney in the last 2 elections.)

          As I see it, your opinions have value & are welcome here.