- And what role does morality play?
We like to believe America is still the greatest society ever devised by man; better than ancient Greece, Persia, Rome, Britannia, or whatever, but if you study the news you have to wonder if we are truly any different than our predecessors. The technology of today allows us to communicate faster, express our creativity, and perform research more rapidly thereby enabling us to feed and heal more people. We are very proud of our technology, just as our ancient forefathers were of theirs. Our socialization skills and sense of ourselves are expressed through our speech, fashion, and customs. Such things always suit the decorum of the times. Impetuous youth has always challenged the wisdom and ways of their elders, while the latter grows impatient for the former to mature and take their rightful place in society. Such things remain constant.
It is our actions which ultimately defines our civilization. The actions of the Occupy Wall Street movement, for example, are essentially no different than those found in the “Hoovervilles” created nearly 100 years ago where people camped out to protest socioeconomic conditions. The Yippies of the 1960′s were also similar in intent. Charlatans still wrong, cheat and defraud others, but now at record levels, such as Bernie Madoff’s infamous Ponzi scheme which fleeced investors of billions of dollars. People are still bludgeoned and defiled without remorse. Throughout the world, we still allow countries to practice genocide and other atrocities even though we thought World War II marked the end of such barbaric behavior. Now, with today’s high tech weapons, we can kill more efficiently and at a higher volume. Corruption is still accepted, both in government and the private sector. No, not too much has really changed over the years.
I honestly do not see how man has progressed over the millenias other than to live longer, propagate more actively, and consume more resources. After thousands of years of development, you would think we would be a little smarter, but I am at a loss as to how to prove it. We long for Utopia, but it doesn’t exist, nor do I believe it ever will at the rate we are going.
I have always been of the opinion that both God and the Devil are very much alive and well, and that mankind is the embodiment of both residing within one home, the human spirit, thereby defining our values and perceptions through our sense of right and wrong (good versus evil). This, in turn, defines the path we follow through life. As much as we would like to believe good always triumphs over evil, there is no evidence to show this to be true, other than we haven’t killed off mankind yet. It is our sense of morality which dictates how we evolve as a species. If we permit evil to get the upper hand, our species will continue to degenerate, but if we keep it in check, we prosper.
I tend to believe morality is learned behavior from our parents and family, friends, school, our places of worship, the media, and the workplace. In the past, these institutions taught such things as being responsible for one’s own actions (accountability), to work hard and strive to prosper, the benefits of cooperation, treating others as you would have others treat you, and cause and effect (the consequences of crime and punishment). Such concepts shape our perceptions and personal belief system. However, if these lessons are being taught inconsistently or erroneously, the individual will misinterpret morality and act accordingly, right or wrong. We may spend considerable time discussing literature, math, and science, but not nearly enough discussing morality, particularly with our offspring who represents our future.
Not surprising, such things as greed, deceit, and laziness have crept into the fabric of our society. Today, abusing government programs for personal gain is considered an acceptable form of behavior, it’s even encouraged, as is undermining our neighbors and colleagues for the purposes of petty power and control, and devising a dependence on others to support ourselves. What is considered moral today, would hardly be considered such not long ago. A bankruptcy was considered scandalous and a disgrace, as was a divorce, or being arrested. Now, failure seems to be openly embraced and admired while success and following principles are lampooned. Interestingly, the country is now divided into two ideological extremes, left and right, both possessing distinctly different interpretations of what is right and what is wrong. Years ago, organized religion was the moral compass of the country. People from all walks of life openly called on Deity especially in perilous times, including the President of the United States. Now, due to political correctness, people tiptoe around the subject and consider the discussion of religion in any form a taboo. No wonder Christianity and Judaism is now in retreat.
Next time you see a barbaric atrocity of some kind on television, be it a mass murder, a child molested, a government releasing hell on its own citizens, or a simple injustice, ask yourself why we tolerate and permit such actions to occur. Better yet, ask yourself, are we really any better than our predecessors?
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
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