Thursday, 29 November 2007

Is Morality a Universal Constant?

Are there such ‘things’ as absolute moral principles? Some say ‘YES’, some say ‘NO’! 
Is there such a ‘thing’ as objective morality? Some say there is, while others say that morality is subjective and relevant to culture. Who defines what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’? 
Religious people say that it is God; others say that it is society. 
Is morality a universal constant or is it an evolutional variable? Does morality have its origin in religious dogma, so that what is considered ‘moral’ in one religion could be labeled as ‘immoral’ in another one? And if this is the case, which religion is ‘right’ and which is ‘wrong’? 
Are, then, moral rules some cultural man-made ‘products’, i.e. subjective concepts, or are they universal values? In other words, are cultural rules and laws based on subjective or on objective morality?
The forgoing, and many other questions concerning morality, have been the object of discussion among philosophers and social reformers since the beginning of human history. However, there has not been a unanimous conclusion, and, I am afraid, there is never going to be a universal consensus on the crucial matter of morality. In my opinion, this is not because people are unable to perceive absolute morality, but mainly because they do not want to know the truth, lest their freedom be restricted and their selfish ephemeral interests be hampered. As a result, in our culture many immoral things have been labeled as ‘moral’ because it so suits people.

Nowadays personal choice tends to be the criterion of what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’. If one chooses to indulge in sexual perversion and hedonism, this automatically makes it ‘right’ and ‘moral’. If a woman chooses to abort her fetus, this makes abortion ‘right’ for her. She has the right to choose, so she claims, ignoring the right of her helpless fetus to life. When society produces things that harm the consumers’ health, and it does that for profit, this is considered to be ‘right’, providing that there is a feeble warning on the product, as with cigarettes. I could go on and on in the list of immoral things that our culture considers ‘right’, but I guess I have made my point.

It is my firm belief, on which I have concluded after a long, unbiased and painful personal quest, that absolute or universal morality does exist, and it is the sum total of all spiritual laws set up by the Creator since the beginning of creation. These spiritual laws,..
written intelligibly and indelibly on our spirit or “inner man”, are just as unchangeable as the natural laws governing the Universe. It is up to us humans to ‘decode’ and apply them in our daily life. 

The question, then, is whether we are willing to decode the absolute moral principles or prefer to avoid the task, as knowledge of the truth entails responsibility. However, pretending that we don’t always know what is right or wrong, good or evil, and hypocritically asserting that morality is subjective, is a childish excuse in an attempt to hide our unwillingness to conform to higher moral standards, i.e. to progress to spiritual maturity as the inherent law of evolution would guide us. The result of our denial to evolve spiritually and ethically is the degeneration of human species and the moral decline of our societies, our nations and the world as a whole – a world where violence, injustice, exploitation, corruption, consumerism and hedonism are the predominant features…

In my opinion, there is no such a thing as ‘evolutionary subjective morality’. But there is, and it must continuously be pursued, the spiritual evolution of man in order to decode and be able to adhere to the Absolute Morality, a constant existing in the mind of the Creator before the foundation of the world, and planted as a divine seed in human beings. 

This absolute morality cannot be included in its entirety in religious commandments nor can it be legislated by governments. To the degree it is grasped by the individual, it must be applied in one’s life so that one’s moral consciousness may be expanded. I suppose, Christ, some great philosophers, mystics and sages had gone closer to decoding and adhering to absolute morality than the rest of us. Their understanding has been passed down to us through books of wisdom and has helped societies to rise to a higher level of consciousness and moral standards.

Unfortunately, however, during the last century, in spite of the unprecedented and breathtaking scientific and technological progress of mankind, we are witnessing an aggressive abuse of traditional values and principles that held societies reasonably together throughout the ages. Central in our culture is the glorification of subjective pseudo-morality in the name of freedom of choice. I am afraid that all this, in spite of popular liberal beliefs, threatens not only the well being of the individual but also the very nucleus of society, which is the family.

How, then, have we arrived at such chaotic situation? In my opinion, the stubborn refusal of Religions to evolve and reconsider their primitive myths and doctrines, which they propagate as truths, as well as their failure to live up to the moral standards they preach, has turned millions of good people to atheism and humanism. 

In vain, however, the nations are now trying to establish a relative morality to hold society together. Let us have no illusions! If morality is relative and subjective it cannot earn the respect of people. Who should obey whom and why? Even the golden rule, “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them,” is not adhered to. 

When a woman decides to abort her fetus, she disregards the will of the helpless fetus to be born, something she wouldn’t wish to have been done to her by her mother. Yet, this in modern societies is considered a woman’s fundamental right to choose. “My body belongs to me,” declares the ethically liberated woman. On the other hand, gay people demand from society to legally recognize their ‘marriage’ and even to be given the right to adopt children. They couldn’t care less how the child feels by having to call a woman “daddy” or a man “mammy” and what confusion and negative repercussions this might have in the emotional and mental development of the child.

But absolute morality has not only to do with external human conduct. It also has much to do with how a person thinks and feels. And this definitely cannot be addressed by social laws and regulations, objective or subjective. 

Resentment, e.g., is an internal violation of innate absolute morality but there is no civic law that could punish it. 
The same applies to bitterness, unforgiveness, coveting, anger, pessimism, slander, lasciviousness, fear and other secret vices. 
It is only through our inherent absolute moral code that we came to discern that these ‘things’ are bad. 

And the question that often arises is: “what would my reward be if I tried to conform to my inner moral code?” Well, let me say that the truly spiritual person does not seek any rewards for adhering to moral principles. From the moment one seeks rewards the same has lost the “kingdom”. Which “kingdom”? I am talking about this life, of course. And to enter this “kingdom” means continuous bliss under all circumstances. 

It is the joy generated by living in harmony with one’s ‘specifications’, happiness that comes from the union of spirit and soul, tranquility deriving from a pure conscience, the wisdom of a clear and sharp mind, freedom from fear, and being everything that our Creator meant us to be and experience in this life.

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