Do I dare to acknowledge the real influences on my morality?
How has my morality been informed?
Initially, as a child, by the values & rules taught by parents, school and church (in my case Christian). Later, as an adult, by public leaders, politicians, and reading newspapers, all followed by my own analysis – but do I consider that I analysed with sufficient rigour?
Also, if I’m totally honest, literature has played a significant part in my moral development, as both novels and plays have caused me to examine my ideas of right and wrong. I instinctively feel rather apologetic (bordering on slightly ashamed) about including fiction in my list of influences.
But should I be apologetic? After all, some of our classic novelists were great thinkers, and through their writings they can expose readers to views of the world we would not otherwise have the chance to experience.
And if I open up literature as a permitted influence on formation of moral values, why not the other arts too? That’s an interesting question, yet for me personally I’m sure that paintings have not had a role to play, but maybe that is not the case for other people. Similarly music, despite it being for me is the most important activity in my life (after family, friends and work) I consider to have no impact on my moral judgements.
Do I expect that my children’s generation – and that includes most of the other participants on this course/MOOC as my children are in their 20s! – will similarly be strongly influenced by novels and plays? Possibly, but I do think that more often films will be fulfilling that role.
Jackie talks about this in his post about Morality, in relation to film The Dark Knight.
What do other people think?
Has fiction influenced your ideas of morality?
Am I wrong to allow fiction to influence mine?
Moral beliefs and my behaviour.
It is my hope that my moral beliefs have a major impact on how I behave; however, I am aware that it can be easy to ignore one’s beliefs and follow the line of least resistance to go along with the majority.Tony talks about this in his post, and includes a link to a very thought-provoking paper about Moral Courage in Healthcare.
I have certainly been guilty of this on many occasions, but the older I become, the easier I find it to act in accordance with my own convictions even when this causes me to be out of step with those around me.
This is, to my mind, one of the great consolations of being old!
The shifting of my moral beliefs… as a direct result of this MOOC
Watching the Sam Harris TED talk video (in our course material) was very stimulating, and it made me realise that I have been taking the easy way out in thinking that religions/cultures should be allowed freedom to act in accordance with their traditions. It has challenged me to review my standpoint on this issue.
After considering the points which Sam Harris raises, I concur with his view that “We have convinced ourselves that in the moral sphere there is no such thing as moral expertise, or moral talent/genius. We say every opinion counts, including that of the Taliban…” This is indeed pretty much what I’ve been saying up until now.
And surely this cannot be right?
I realise that I have been guilty of lazy thinking and following the path of least resistance; it’s time I thought more deeply and applied more intellectual analysis to these matters.
Gosh, this on-line learning lark can certainly provoke powerful changes in beliefs…