From birth, our food, clothing, housing, language, knowledge, thoughts and personalities all come entirely from society-at-large. Without others to support and educate us, we would just be clever animals running naked in the wilderness. We are extreme social interacting creatures, innately driven to group. To become civilized we had to learn to live together.
We construct morals as rules of life:
Morals are a collective social contract of interpersonal conduct. There are five basic social interacting laws: 1 - Not to kill or injure others. 2 - Not to enslave others. 3 - Not to steal from others. 4 - Not to injure others. And, 5 - Not to lie to others. Morals are the fundamental laws of human conduct and life. These laws are the cohesion that unifies our ability to successfully integrate and form society. Without morals, we would disintegrate into chaos and horror.
Along with the five basic morals, we also have many other social contracts; such as human rights, state and federal laws, work ethics, social manners, and the institutions of marriage/family; all conforming our expectations of interpersonal behavior towards and from one-another. When we follow these social contracts, we live productive lives; when we break these agreements, we both harm ourselves, and the life of others. The stability of society is dependent on each member agreeing to social conduct of one type or another in forming the union of society. United we stand, divided we fall…
Morals are a learned response. We learn them through environmental conditioning. What we experience in life, we put in our toolbox of potential human behaviors. Throughout life, we choose which tools to use based on our emotional and moral attitude. Different environments promote different moral propensities. A child living in poverty has different moral behavior than a child living in luxury. The morals that we teach our children today directly determines their behavior towards us tomorrow. Everything that we are as individuals, in one way or another, is a learned response from society-at-large. As individuals, we are what our eyes, ears, and personal experiences learn in the journey of life. We as individuals are the sum of our collective experiences with others.
Society exposes its moral imperfections through the individuals that we create. Many of our children are growing up with TV and videos full of violence, destruction, and win at any cost mentality; we are potentially creating a generation of immoral warriors. In inner cities across America, we see horrific gang violence of unprecedented proportions. Children killing other children. They were not born that way, they were educated that way through their environment.
Allowing children to grow up impoverished (working hard for little reward,) while seeing others with vast excesses (working little for massive profits,) makes the impoverished oppressively angry and distrusting of any authority or social rules. "Early Eurasian kingdoms learned that you have to treat the peasants nice, or they destroy your castle." There are inner city kids all across America, which do to inequality, are becoming immoral warriors. They are a pending crisis with growing numbers. At some point and time, they will get our attention, and our only solution will be equality or war. War is immorality on both sides; ultimately, "equality" is the only solution that allows both sides to win in peace.
We are each a moral reflection of society-at-large. Adolf Hitler did not make Adolf Hitler, society made Hitler. Society does not want to take the blame for individuals such as Hitler, but everything that he was came solely from society. Had Hitler been born in 1945, to an American family in Philadelphia, he would have been an entirely different person. It is not pleasant to realize that we make the monsters that exist in our society. At some point in our moral evolution, we must deal with the fact that we do. A fire burns and consumes everything in its path until we recognize it and put it out. People like Charles Manson are a byproduct of society. If you studied his history, you would clearly see he is a result of extreme circumstances. Any one of us living his life would have ended up like him or worse. He was a victim of immorality many times over before becoming a sociopathic Hitler type. People like Hitler or Manson were our unintentional victims before we became their intentional victims. Pay less attention to one than another, and you can get Hitler's and Manson's'.
Morals only work if we all follow the rules. Morals are like driving; if everyone follows the rules, the roads are safe, but if one or more breaks the rules, the road becomes a dangerous place to drive. Throughout human history, individuals have invented exceptions to moral rules for personal profit. Murder, slavery, theft, and deceit have plagued humanity for thousands of years. Those who broke the rules of the road harmed many.
There are some so depraved that they are willing to harm millions or even billions - for generations to come, so that they may be important, powerful, or wealthy - for the few moments of their individual life. Presently in America, 5% of the population (the ultra rich) has more wealth than 95% of the population (the people who built America.) Individuals such as Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay, and countless others were willing to harm multitudes for personal idealism/profit. Rulers of all types have imposed absolute authority over populations, severely breaking all moral rules and generating misery across the land. Regardless of their reasoning for creating exceptions, breaking the contract of moral behavior/rules, is criminal against all human life, and always harms the womb of society. Invented exceptions are an illusion; like an invisible cancer, immorality damages our womb from the inside out.
We are still evolving. What is evolving about us is not our body and mind, though technology is going to have a vast impact on those, it is our morality. Looking backwards into history clearly demonstrates that we had lesser morals in the past. Closely look and you will see the progression, historically called "human rights," developing throughout the last sixty centuries. Governments, religions, academia, businesses, and individuals have never been able to force compliance of two-sided morality, though history is littered with institutions that have tried. Enforcement of Moral rule is an illusion; morals can only be learned and practiced within the living conditions of the environment-at-large. What we see other people do, we can do. The more we recognize our programmability, the faster our morality will evolve.
What diminishes moral growth is indifference, hypocrisy and invested institutionalism. When America formed, black people were slaves. Many throughout the years argued against slavery, stating that it was immoral. Others argued that it had always been that way and was an institutionally established exception of moral conduct. At the time, a critical part of our economy was supported by slavery, and abolishing it would devastate farming, shipping, and many other aspects of commerce. To override invested interest and end slavery, civil war commenced until equality was reached. Initially commerce was severely affected, but within a decade after the war, commerce became stronger than it had been before reform. Moral evolution is a systematic journey into human equality.
What speeds moral growth is education. What we put into our children's minds (their toolbox) comes out as their adult moral and emotional behavior. Toddlers watching cartoons of characters hitting each other over the head, with what in real life are lethal blows, are potential tools in their box. Instead of watching violent cartoons, our toddlers should be watching cartoons and other programming designed to promote unity, reverence, and compassion for all life. Our kids ultimately grow up to be politicians, doctors, police, scientists, etc... What we fill their minds with (their toolbox,) is what they fill our society with, often, in augmented terms. Our future is in their learned moral character.
Morals are the governor of human interactions and ultimately the human condition. They are an agreement of human conduct towards one-another. Without morals, we would feed upon one-another, making survival a matter of jungle mentality of the strongest versus the weakest. In the struggle of the strongest versus the weakest, there would only be one human left after the battles of who is strongest. In reality, human survival is absolutely dependent on one-another for our lives. All that we are, the very essence of our existence, comes from the care, knowledge, and moral fortitude of others.
In moral code, if we agree not to harm others, and others also agree not to harm us, it is a mutual/collective contract between all individuals composing civilization. Under these rules, we can all go about the business of building our lives, families, and productively contributing to society and others. Society as a whole benefits, and we personally prosper back from the collective contributions from others following the same rules. Moral code allows us to live un-intruded lives, and be all that we can be.
You can analyze the effects of human morals (conduct) with an equivalence test using, "If everyone else did that, what kind of world would it be." As a simplistic example, if everyone killed trees and flowers as they came across them, what kind of world would that generate? On the other hand, if everyone planted trees and flowers on barren land, what kind of world would that compose. Another example is, if everyone fed a hungry child or man as they passed by, what kind of world would that create; versus, if no one fed any hungry child or man, what kind of world would that produce. A more horrific example would be, if everyone killed others for their assets, would anyone's life or assets be safe, versus, if everyone protected their neighbor's assets, would the world need locks. This test amplifies the nature of your actions and behavior in life. By considering what the world would be like if everyone else is doing what you are doing, is a very profound window into the actual effects of your behavior to the womb of life. Morals are what we expect from others, and they expect from us. Morals create the environment of life.
Our conduct towards one-another teaches others how their conduct towards us should be. We are each the teacher and student of one-another in all that we do. What one can do, all who see it can do. We teach others their morals by what they see in our morals. The nature of morals is to promote equality for all, which allows life to prosper for the benefit of all. Our individual behavior teaches "to the all."
John Rawls (an American philosopher 1921 - 2002; author of "A Theory of Justice,)" would say, (paraphrasing;) "We are each the product of others, and thus, our productivity as individuals must be for the benefit of all levels of society, particularly the less fortunate. Society teaches us all that we know, and we in turn advance that knowledge back into the womb of society. Our value is a product of society, thus, our product is the property of society." We without society would be clever animals running naked in the woods. We with society are a collective, a unity that feeds us all. Integrated we thrive, divided we disintegrate into inequality and primitive anarchy.
As an individual, we cannot build our own house, grow our own food, make our own clothes, educate ourselves, or heal our ailments. We rely upon others doing their part to provide the composition of our life, and they in turn rely on us doing our part towards the composition of their life. We are each absolutely dependent on the collective efforts of society-at-large to survive; we use morals to govern and protect our collective interactivity. Our moral conduct towards one-another determines both our individuality, and our collective growth and destiny as a unified society. Society is our womb and the embryonic fluid that gives us life. Is there anything about you that did not come from someone else? The definitive test is -- if everyone else behaved like you; what kind of world/society would that conduct produce…
Today, the vast majority of people throughout the world live in object poverty. Consequentially, there is a higher probability that a super-genius would be born into poverty than wealth. Their value to the collective of humanity may be imperative to our survival. Access to knowledge is everything. What would a math savant be without access to numbers; or a piano prodigy be without a piano. A super-genius could find a cure for all diseases, or find a source of infinite energy. If they are suppressed by inequality and poverty, they spend their life just trying to survive, and never have the opportunity to express their potential; which we and our children would have benefited from. The immorality of poverty ultimately hurts us all. How many "great geniuses/teachers" have we lost to poverty, indifference, and war because of immorality.
As civilization's morals and equality evolve, we will benefit from the vast potential of human possibilities. The more we include others, the greater our collective chance to spawn 'that one' that can profoundly affect all our lives. Morality is not just a nice or kind gesture, it is imperative to the overall human condition. To survive and thrive, we must improve the equality and lives of others. Their lives construct and contribute to the environment of our life.
If we through indifference ignore a child Manson, we can potentially get a Charles Manson. The choice is up to both our individual and collective social behavior. A picture is what you paint it to be, it does not paint itself. The landscape of the human mind is a painting painted by the collective experiences of life. Poor morals paints an ugly picture, good morals paints a paradise.
Presently, the ultra-rich are starving the world and creating misery across the land. We socially taught them their morals (or lack thereof,) so, it must be us that teach them better morals; they cannot teach themselves or their children, because they are impenitent. It is the collective job of society-at-large to teach proper morals to all.
In conclusion, our morals, and the morals of others, come from the morals of society-at-large. We are not born with morals; we learn them in the journey of life. What we socially construct and teach as morals through our collective behavior, constructs the womb of life that we all are born into and experience as the womb of life in-of-itself. In all ways, life is what we morally construct it to be. The moral bed we make is the bed our children must sleep in...
Additional data on 'Morals' can be found in topics, The nature of "human behavior," and, The nature of "Religion." As well, there is an enormous amount of data on the Internet with different perspectives. Research and learn about what it is to be human, and why we 'believe and behave' as we do. All you have to lose is ignorance.
A question never asked is worth nothing,
An answer never given is worth even less...
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The nature of "Morals" | The nature of "Religion"