Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Morality- my foot.

I have read the book of Bertrand Russell one of my favourite writers, “Marriage & Morals”. It was when I was into the second year in college and now since much immorally moral living has taken place and the reading was a little over three decades ago, I fail to remember in detail.  But I can tell, Russell in that book confronted and scathed the hypocrisy of Victorian Britain of his time. The subject and his opinions on social living, morality and marriage, I felt were valid generally to men and women everywhere. I was quite fascinated and influenced  my outlook and thought. To the ones who see repugnancy in the ideas and outlook I bear now, can perhaps see that as a worthwhile distortion such a great book of thought did to me. And I love that.

It was Thomas Jefferson who said that what matters more is if  one will be honest to do in public what one will be willing to do in private. I wonder if Thomas Jefferson had catholic leanings or he saw through the hypocrisy of moralists.

But looking around all these years I feel that morality is a blunt edged weapon that the immoral wield to camouflage their illicit self.  Morality per se has become the tool  for  the ones who were not lucky to enjoy the oft branded immoral pleasures the other indulges in. And hence he/she is adversary and immoral.

It is crying wolf and calling the grapes sour.

“We have in fact, two kinds of morality, side by side: one that we preach but do not practice and another we practice but seldom preach”, said Russell. I go with the later because then one need not have to stoop to claim infallibility, or flaunt hypocrisy coated with sugar. Is it not that everyone has an enigma, a secret garden? Social living is more about not being dishonest to not admit so, but not to swear that it is not so.

Now what is morality? I keep asking to myself. Is it not out from the mind and the conditioning of a person that moral and immoral is born or engrained? The foremost matter that comes to mind when one speaks about morals is unrestrained sexual orgy. Even religion speaks only about carnal pleasure and its engagement that is forbidden by the creator. Moral teachings that insist love has to be the harbinger of creation and should not be lustful. But man cannot be equated with beasts that are biologically disposed to copulation only when the genetic motor senses that the ground is fertile to sow. And that is the way Nature maintains her creative balance. Man is biologically disposed to exercise sexual indulgence even outside the intent of procreation. Because man has found morally banished lust a vital factor of his genetic engineering. It is ideal that man, like pigeons or mynas for instance are confined to a single partner for life. But is it the case in real time? Russell was true when he opined that lust is what comes first and love maintains it. I hope I do not sound applauding promiscuity.

To refer a real example of being morally offended and outraged-  A few years ago where I lived, the ground floor of the apartment was occupied by a firm to run their office. This young guy an ex Army captain moved in to work there. And he began using the place as his place of stay as well. He was smart and well educated. And apparently he could easily have girls for friend. And week ends he used to have a few  girl friends of his ( boys as well), descending there after work hours and have a ball late into the night. I was envious but enjoyed his good time. This guy next door a burly giant who sits all day at his verandah trying to observe and hear about the happenings elsewhere  could not tolerate this activity of the Captain. He confronted me and accused me  for being silent about this. He was  aghast  and outraged that girls were staying overnight in the house.  I suggested that that is in no way affecting me and the Captain has his guests in his house. The man said the whole thing was immoral and I must report the matter because  it happens in the floor below my house. I told him I had more serious matters to bother about . And left it there. He went to the owner of the apartment with the matter. I was referred back and I told the owner that it is none of our business. And there is nothing criminal and nefarious going on. The matter rested and our giant must still be sulking about long ago.

Man has certainly journeyed a long way from the Garden of Eden when even nudity was not a subject that fell in the category of immoral or the reprehensible. Now nudity is confined to night clubs and strip dancing in indulgent social gatherings.And we even have self acclaimed moral police who decides what is nudity and scanty in attire. Besides coveting a woman or woman coveting a man outside marriage, or over indulgence of sex, morality as decreed by the establishment does not speak much about unethical conducts like murder, rape, and robbery. Commandments sent forth through men who claimed being the chosen couriers of God have prohibited these acts as sinful but not immoral. That is a weird concept of morality indeed.  

Morality per se is generally preached. In fact, the correct usage is –“flaunted “, by the ones who also pedal spiritualism and devotion to God. It is a contradiction, but a discomforting truth.
So, I infer morality is superimposed by the threat of sin and the long shadow of sin, rather than the good or bad of the act of the protagonist on himself or the society he thrives in.

There is always an alibi an excuse waiting to be used for absolution.


Insignia said...

Have you observed that morality is most often related with sexual behavior. I wonder why!!

Morality aka proper behavior. How do you define a 'proper' behavior? In what and whose context? Isnt it a weapon used for convenience?

It IS definitely my foot :)

Mélange said...

Russel's work 'Marraige and Morals'-I loved reading that too.

It's beyond definitions.The notion of morality,the word itself is relative.Absolutely differ in various societies,for people etc.

The experience you mentioned here,definitely my foot !

It's quite common to have conflict between collective and individual morals.Perhaps there is the contro.One will have his/her set of morals,good or bad,mention or not mention.Mostly depending the experiences and upbringing/moulding one have.

In our society,the question of morality is mostly judged from a men's point of view.The so called male moral teachers are behind women.Pity !

I don't mind really Anil,unless someone is inside my life (to the extend of complete mismatch & rift).Just my foot otherwise!

....Petty Witter said...

“We have in fact, two kinds of morality, side by side: one that we preach but do not practice and another we practice but seldom preach” - so true.

You know I'd love to sit down and have a face to face conversation with you about this post as I have so many things I long to say, too many for a comments box anyway.

Thanks for another great post.

Thommy said...

"morality is superimposed by the threat of sin and the long shadow of sin, rather than the good or bad of the act of the protagonist on himself or the society he thrives in"...well said

anilkurup said...

@ Insignia,
Yes morality and "proper behaviour" are country cousins, and will mean in relative sense.
Yes B, say it loud the way society want it ,"my foot".

@ melange,

Good to see that you agree. And your statements are rational. Come out of the culinary exploits and also write on topics that you like. You seem to have a determined flair.All said and done morality have been framed by MCPs.

@ Petty Witter,

Thanks for the agreement on my points and your encouragement. The world is round and small we 'll hope to meet some time and discuss.

@ Thommy,

Thanks . Keep commenting and sketching.

deeps said...

wish you a Happy Onam to you & family

Paul Mani said...

wish you a very happy Onam

anilkurup said...

@ Paul Mani,

Happy Onam moral and immoral. to you as well

Erratic Thoughts said...

Very True...Well said!
I believe that people exploit in the name of Moral teachings sometimes,which I object.
It can be said to each his own if it does not affect others!

anilkurup said...

@ Erratic Thought,

Yes each to himself as long as he doesn't extend his arm beyond his nose.
Morality is more a word of opportunism. isn't it?

Happy Kitten said...

Morality can never be defined...

but, if you dont shove your morality down my throat then who cares...

and as long your lack of morality (whatever it may be) is not going to affect my life in anyway then why should I care at all... and here I believe lies the problem:).. because morality can extend beyond sex... for example, there can be someone utterly immoral selling drugs to a child and that child can belong to you.
In essence, one cannot live without ome sort of morality in this world.. how much ever it irritates you.

and it is also true that morality applies more to women than men.

anilkurup said...

@ happy Kitten,

Yes cannot disagree with your contentions. In fact I find it difficult to tell between immoral and unethical. the meanings are almost the same. But, yet I classify the drug peddling to kids unethical, the pedalling of drug itself.
Some how morality is linked more with matters concerning amour and sex itself.