Science, Fifty Shades of Grey and Morality

Daily Prompt: Morality Play

June 24, 2013

Where do your morals come from — your family? Your faith? Your philosophical worldview? How do you deal with those who don’t share them, or derive them from a different source?

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morals  plural of mor·al (Noun)

Noun
  1. A lesson, esp. one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience.
  2. A person’s standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do.
Synonyms
morality – moral – ethics – mores – morale

Growing up, my source of moral values was my family, but that’s a no-brainer, given that obeying and making them proud is ingrained in our minds as our duty from a very young age. As I grew up and met those outside my home, others with conflicting or perhaps different worldviews, I reevaluated the parameters of my personal definition of morality, and I continue to do so even today.

As a student of science, if there’s one thing I have learned, it is to absorb information unbiased, consider all the possible alternatives, and then settle for the most rational one; as the information available keeps increasing, to keep adjusting the parameters of my belief  system.

That’s the attitude I approach morality with. The very definition of moral (definition 2) implies that morality is individual-specific. I base my sense of morality mostly on common sense; if it’s hurting someone, it must be wrong on some level, and conversely, if no one is hurt by it, it couldn’t possibly by entirely evil.

I believe the reason there are so many scuffles taking place over moral outrage is because people tend to be heavily biased. I’m no exception either; the best example I can come up with is the Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey series. Hearing about the plotlines, I developed an immediate dislike to both the series. I said insulting things about the books left and right and felt no regret doing it. I thought people who read the book were fools. Then someone made a comment in passing about a literary preference of mine, and I immediately snapped at them, telling them “Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it,” then immediately felt ashamed of myself.

I took it upon myself to read both the series with as open a mind as I could muster, and, although my opinion of the series remained almost the same, I did find certain things to appreciate along the way. I learnt things I hadn’t known previously, and some of my stances softened.My worldview broadened a bit and I had to concede that if I were someone else, in different surroundings, perhaps my outlook would be different.

That lesson is what I take with me when I consider morality. No matter what my opinion, if I take the trouble to listen without bias, I will undoubtedly take home something important at the end of the day. And as far as tolerance goes, I go by the adage: Your yard ends where mine begins. It’s the perfect ideal to judge by, whether it be a question life, liberty, morality, or even actual yards.

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Why I Hate Analgesics (But Love Being Sick)

Daily Prompt: Take Care

 June 11, 2013

When you’re unwell, do you allow others to take care of you, or do you prefer to soldier on alone? What does it take for you to ask for help?

The past few years, I made the decision to forego the use of painkillers of the cough-and-cold variety. I wanted to build up my own strength and tolerance levels. I believe that the existence of conveniences is not reason enough for their exploitation, and that sometimes the hard route is better in the long run. Recently, I was sick enough that I had to go against my personal rule and take some medication. It felt like I was bending somehow, and that’s when I realized that what I had thought was my way of becoming stronger was actually partly based in pride – not taking medicine made me feel like I was better somehow, stronger than those who did.

In general, when unwell, I shy away from help because I dislike feeling like a burden or that I’m inconveniencing anyone. I dislike being in anyone’s debt – again, pride.

It takes crippling “unwellness” for me to ask for help. Only when I am unable to function, or when there is something I need significantly more than my intact ego, do I turn to others for help. When I get help, however, it brings tears to my eyes. It makes me feel loved. It takes me back to my childhood when I loved falling sick, because it meant that my mother would feed me, take care of me, and in general make me feel loved. Help makes me believe the best of people again.

In the end I question myself: why do I dislike asking for help, really? Is it the pride, is it because I don’t want to burden anyone, or is it because I truly want to increase my physical pain threshold? Or maybe, and this just occurred to me, is it because I want to increase my emotional pain threshold? Because I don’t want to feel like a child, a dependant, don’t want to feel loved too often, don’t want to lose the preciousness, borne of rarity, of the relief that comes from knowing, with every cell in your body, that you’re loved.

Take care, Friend.

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