Docstoc

Critical Essay Draft

Document Sample
Critical Essay Draft Powered By Docstoc
					The point of morality is to fundamentally control human thoughts and actions by making one realize essentially what the results of their actions will be. It causes one to be able to reflect upon decisions and actions in order to understand the consequence, and if it would have been what was wanted. Without morality there is nothing to stop individual humans from doing whatever they want using any means necessary. Morality is crucial to give people a way to think about their decisions and how the outcome may affect others, which in turn will be the way their decisions will affect themselves. William Golding‟s Lord of the Flies is a remarkable example of how this works. They are trapped on this island and the only thing that stalls them from killing each other is morality. While they may not have lots of it the presence of morality still plays a major roll. Jack takes over the island and Piggy, Simon, and Ralph understand that their underlying reason for not overthrowing Jack (besides strength) is the fact that they do not want it to happen to themselves. Towards the end of this book Ralph is running from the savages who are chasing him like a pig. The forest is ablaze and he needs to find a place to hide. “He wondered if a pig would agree, and grimaced at nothing.” (Golding, 26) This brings up the question of whether or not fear is simply a human trait or an inane response to any animal being chased. The animal is no doubt scared and defiantly wants to escape the danger but does it experience fear the same way humans do? Do they have any sense of morality? Piggy‟s glasses are taken so that they can use them to light the fire. He needs these to read and Ralph tries to get them back from Jack without success. Piggy gets a hold of the Conch and says “You‟re stronger than I am and you haven‟t got asthma. You can see….. But I don‟t ask for my glasses back, not as a favour. I don‟t ask you to be a sport….. not because you‟re strong, but because what‟s right‟s right. Give me my glasses…… You got to.” (Pojman, 33). This here is obviously the right thing to do, but why? What reason does the action of giving the glasses back have to show why it is moral? While Piggy may have needed the glasses in order to see, Jack needed them to light the fire. Now, Piggy would have voluntarily given the glasses to the

1

tribe whenever they wanted a means of lighting the fire, but Jack wanted total control of the situation. This here is where Nietzsche‟s Master and Slave morality come into play to make one understand their difference in opinion on this issue. There are two ways to address this moral issue. There will be further discussion on the subject of Nietzsche‟s views following these next matters that need to be addressed. I have to say that besides the fact that this book shows what morality is all about; it does not effectively relate it to all situations in life. The reason I say this is that there is one thing that underlies all of nature. That is companionship. Humans are made to live together and when they move on individually they do not keep their human beliefs, namely morality. The need for companionship is an underlying cause of morality. The reason is because why else are we moral except to make other people like us. We expect people to treat us the same way we would want to be treated. This is for no other reason but because it is what we would want and our actions must show others how our treatment is to be preferred. If we cared nothing for the thoughts of others there would be no need for morality, we would not care what anyone else thought. Louis Pojman says that the purpose of morality is to keep society together. He discusses this in his chapter On the Nature and Purpose of Morality. There are five purposes that morality has to show its necessity. First is to keep society from falling apart. If everyone did anything they liked then there would be no followers and no leaders. Each person would be on their own, and the hierarchal system would be unwound. Second is to stop human suffering. This of course would be prevalent if everyone tried to do whatever they wanted. We can‟t all want the same thing so when someone wants something and someone else wants the same thing someone will be unhappy and suffer. Third is in order to promote flourishing of the human race. There needs to be a great, greater, and greatest order of things, including people. This makes the race grow and morality leads into this. Fourth is the most obvious reason morality is needed, that is to avoid and solve conflicts. The last purpose according to Pojman is basically to figure out who are good and

2

bad. There needs to be guidelines to know who is going beyond what society is asking, and to also see who not living up to society‟s expectations is. Now I will analyze his purposes of morality a little more in depth. The first issue holds ground as far as I am considered. Without morality society would grind to a halt. Children would never know who their parents were, there could be no leadership, and anarchy would develop. His second point is the most important, however, even with morality in this world there is too much human suffering. A major explanation to this is because what is moral to one culture may not be moral to another. So, while it may stop human suffering at times, at other times it makes it worse. An example is contributing to the poor. One may give to a charity in Africa on the belief it is the right, hence moral, thing to do. The drawback of that is that the person in their town who needs the donation will not get it and remain homeless. Now to the third point which is the flourishing of the human race. This can be most effectively shown in St. Thomas Aquinas‟s Proofs for the Existence of God. One of those proofs is gradience. There need to be someone who is better than someone else. This will oblige the one who is not as good to strive to be better and the person better to strive to become even better. Such an action and reaction is essential to the existence of humans. Conflicts and the resolution of such is the fourth point. Well, how could a conflict is solved if there was no morality? This simply could not happen for there would be no reason for anyone to give in to their desires, which would cross with the desires of another. The last is being able to know who deserves promotions in life and who needs to be re-taught. In a society void of morality the thief and murderer would be on par with the doctor and priest. There would be no way to show that one is a need to society and the other a nuisance. Thomas Hobbes On the State of Nature explains how nature uses morality as a way to control the human race. He states that without morality to show people what is good and bad people will attempt to seize all they want. This leads to an everlasting line of fear from the next person. You have something so I take it, then someone takes it from me, and so fourth. He discusses three causes of quarrels in mankind. The first is competition; this is apparent when one

3

man wants to be better than another man. The second is diffidence; somehow man must defend himself while at the same time attempt to overthrow his fellow neighbor. The third is glory; this is apparent in man always showing off, trying to get everyone to like you, but of course if one person likes you then they can‟t like the next. And, this leads to competition. A good example of this is when teenagers fight over a girl. They first both compete to win her love, then they quickly realize that they must defend themselves while at the same time get rid of the other. When they finally win the girl over they show glory and another wants to achieve that glory. This is seen in both war and love. Hobbes goes on to discuss that humans are always at war. He says that all other time is peace, but what is this other time? If mankind is always in some kind of quarrel then where is this peace? There is always something going on in the heart (love or war) of man, be it competition, diffidence, or glory. For when one attains glory there will always be someone else who will bring competition to take that glory. When one is in competition it is to overthrow the glory that another has accomplished. The rest of the time is spent defending the glory that has been achieved before someone else takes it and it becomes necessary to search this out again in competition. This becomes a vicious cycle. There are certain natural laws that are in place to guide human actions. The first branch of this is about how first man is to seek peace and then follow it, and the next part is that one must defend themselves by any means necessary. “Every man ought to endeavor peace, as far as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek, and use, all helps, and advantages of war.” (Hobbes, 47). This is followed by a second law of nature is essentially the Golden Rule or as Hobbes puts it, the law of the Gospel. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you. This can be found in almost every religion or philosophy in different ways. Hobbes states, “That a man be willing, when others are so too, as far-forth, as for peace, and defense of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himself.”

4

(Hobbes, 48). In order for these laws to work properly there must also be something about man‟s natural law that allows the exchange or transference of ones rights. This is known as contracts. Men must be willing to give in on certain parts of these laws so that they will survive and when one part is given into by one then another part must be given into by another. It is an agreement for the benefit of both parties. Again morality becomes an essential cycle to benefit human existence. Friedrich Nietzsche in Beyond Good and Evil writes about what nobility is and how this belief of morality is essential. He states that life is a Will to Power and that this is a Will to Life. The evidence of this comes from corruption. This leads into the question, what is corruption? And how does that have an effect on morality? “Corruption – as the indication that anarchy threatens to break out among the insects, and that the foundation of the emotions, called „life‟, is convulsed – is something radically different according to the organization in which it manifests itself.” (Nietzsche, 131) Here Nietzsche is discussing how when a power is in charge for a lengthened period of time they change from their original beliefs. The belief begins to change from them being in charge in order to help the people to that of one who can change the people by asserting their will over the people, and not simply organizing the rules, but making them. Those at the top of aristocracy must realize that they are the ones who others are attaining to be like, even if they may resent them. When they forget this then this is when they become corrupted and this causes the whole of society to become unstable. The political corruption of politics shows how this will to power reigns and people want to have this power. There is no other reason to life but to search out this power. He goes on to state that Christianity is very harmful in this relationship. Those at the top of the Church show morality only to those above then but yet teach everyone else to be moral to their fellow man. It does not let man truly realize what it means to be noble. The master and slave morality become unraveled and no longer hold the fabric of civilization together.

5

Now to fully understand what Nietzsche‟s master and slave morality are as an explanation of the categorizes humans must have. “In the first case, when it is the rulers who determine the conception of „good‟, it is the exalted, proud disposition which is regarded as the distinguishing feature and that which determines the order of rank.” (Nietzsche, 131). The noble person believes that they are better than the peasants and therefore the values and judgments that are made by them are superior to the common people. The reason they help the poor is not because they feel sorry for them but because they think that they are more virtuous and must do it. “The ability and obligation to exercise prolonged gratitude and prolonged revenge – bother only within the circle of equals – artfulness in retaliation, refinement of the idea in friendship, a certain necessity to have enemies (as outlets for the emotions of envy, quarrelsomeness, arrogance – in fact, in order to be a good friend). (Nietzsche, 134) These are all characteristics of master-morality and explain who and why their beliefs on morality are set a certain way and drawn to a certain end. They compete because of the belief they are the moral ones. They are corrupted in this view. The next part of Nietzsche‟s morality theory is that of slave-morality. “Supposing that the abused, the oppressed the suffering, the emancipated, the weary, and those uncertain of them should moralize.” (Nietzsche, 134) This is where slave morality originates from, if there is a master morality then by default their must be a slave morality. (Plato‟s views on the relation of opposites must have played a role in Nietzsche‟s development of this theory.) Then he goes on to discuss how there is another side to the slave‟s belief system, “Those qualities which serve to alleviate the existence of sufferers are brought into prominence and flooded with light; it is here that sympathy, the kind, helping hand, the warm heart, patience, diligence, humility, and friendliness attain to honour; for here these are the most useful qualities, and almost the only means of supporting the burden of existence.” (Nietzsche, 134). The slave morality‟s belief is that they must use their goodness to attain freedom and through they will be more moral. They

6

resent those who are in power and this resentment leads them to believe they are the more moral ones, hence again it is competition. My belief on this issue is that yes, Christianity does un-do morality in several ways. And it is not only Christianity but just about every religion. Master and slave morality always lead to corruption, and the state of nature always leads to competition. Let‟s look at Protestants; they are all split into so many different churches and for such little differences. Where is the morality in this, if there was no church wouldn‟t this division of people be undone? Then look at the Catholic Church. President Bush met with the Pope in the Vatican to discuss the issue of the poor in Africa. The Pope has more than enough money in gold and ancient religious artifacts to annihilate poverty across the globe. Then don‟t forget about Islam, a religion so misunderstood today that people think it is about hate. But a major reason for this is misinterpretation of the Koran by its own followers. They are not doing what is moral but what the exact words say. Then Judaism, in order to keep their country together there is nothing they can do but turn on their fellow neighbors and ally themselves with the U.S. These examples show that morality is a forgotten belief in religion. It may be taught but it is certainly not practiced. These writers, Golding, Hobbes, and Nietzsche (and Pojman) take different views on morality but come to essentially the same conclusion. Morality is essential to the growth of the human race. Golding shows how without it civilization would destroy itself. Hobbes says that it is a state of nature and it becomes a cycle necessary to our survival. Even thought it creates competition, this competition makes everyone realize that they must follow the Golden Rule. Nietzsche says it is about two different relationships being brought together that clash and creates corruption. And this corruption keeps both sides of a moral view at bay with each other. Then Pojman shows how morality keeps control of human beliefs and actions. Altogether said it is proven here that morality is something needed in human survival to safeguard us against destroying ourselves.

7

John Doyle
Ethics – 215w

Critical Essay
On

Morality
8


				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:33
posted:5/29/2009
language:English
pages:8