Anupriy Kanti

Creative Consultant, E-Dutainment Unlimited

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Morality is defined by men. Does this mean the concept is flawed and limited to a context and needs to be constantly improved?

Culture is the tool man developed so as to differentiate themselves from animals, Man was able to do so as he use his imagination to defy the law of nature and create structure where one is not constantly looking to survive but also progress intellectually, emotionally and physically. Morals and Values were what the culture deemed essential to be followed. However, as every human being has different imagination, different cultures were formed - each having different norms and rules that was considered to acceptable. E.g. taking a human life may have been considered immoral and a sin in some cultures, but was considered a form of necessary sacrifice to the gods during rituals in Aztec culture. Thus morals are not natural in-built values but cultural instructions embedded in the psyche.

However, times have changed and cross-cultural exchange of ideas and information due to globalization is becoming more and more common. Living in the present, while respecting the traditional views and norms, is it time for us to revise what morals are and what they mean to us? Should stick to the set of morals prescribed or should we be allowed to look at different cultures and customize morals which suit us?

  • Apr 30 2011: My understanding is that culture and traditions also came about as a way to control people (women) or as a way to pass useful customs of survival down the next generation.

    Today we have a great deal of knowledge and means of survival so I do not believe we need any customs or traditions that cause people to suffer and restrict their freedom.

    Morality can be relatively easily established by making observations about basic human (and animal) behavior: we all want to avoid pain esp. caused by others and we want to have the freedom of choice. In order words, all animals including humans want to minimize pain and maximize freedom of choice.

    From these basic universal principles I believe we can then build a framework of morality that is independent of any past beliefs but it uses rational thinking to find rules and guidelines so that society and individuals have the greatest possible amount of freedom while living peacefully sharing the common resources and space.

    We already made initial progress in this direction by creating UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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    Apr 29 2011: Very interesting question. I believe we are in a time in our history where things have to be more individuals in term of moral, definition of success and our self. Because we are creature of free will and easy access to the world at a touch of a button, we can choose and impact without even knowing. Just this discussion is great example, Just 2 decades only a few fortunate would had the chance to learn from some many culture. But I believe it will make stronger communities and society. A few years back a read an essay on the raise and fall of empires. Her conclusion was that all the great empires in history raise up when they were tolerant and had an influx of people from all around. But decline when they close their border.
  • May 25 2011: I dont know if i totally agree with the first premise stated before the question. I believe that while morality can be identified by humanity, even in a strict sense defined by humanity, i do not believe that conscious human choice is in control of morality as we might be lead to believe. It is plausible that some portion of morality is determined by conscious thought but many influences like unconscious desire, economic pressures, basic egoism, and probably a great many other factors, not constituted of human conscious thought, influence the choices we make in terms of good or bad, moral or immoral.

    But, to answer the question more directly, if morality is not subjective (human made) as we are lead to believe what do we attach it to? Many support the more basic foundations of reason and logical truth. To pass off the argument i would like to cite Sam Harris and the Ted video "Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions."