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.