Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thoughts On... The Nuances of Morality

This past weekend I was given the opportunity to try a new activity. One that, when I first heard about it, I thought went against my established principles and morals. Granted, I wanted to do it, after all, trying something new is always interesting, but something in my head put the brakes on, and I was locked in indecision.

And that was the key thing. Normally, when I find that something goes against what I believe, I just refuse and drop the matter. But something kept pushing me to reexamine the situation. It was like I knew I would be making a mistake by refusing. And it turned out I was right. In re-thinking the issue, it turns out that I was refusing because the opportunity was being provided by someone who wasn't acting according to what I thought should be done. And once I figured that out... everything changed.

The single biggest rule in my personal code of conduct is that my rules apply to ME. I can't expect the rest of the world to live by MY rules. Who am I to tell everyone else what to do? God? Hitler? The Republicans? No. Just because someone is acting by what they believe is right instead of what I believe is right doesn't make their actions wrong. I don't eat snails or frog's legs, but I don't say that the French are wrong to enjoy that. In re-examining the situation from that perspective, my whole outlook on the matter changed and I think it became much more accurate.

However, in looking back, I'm surprised how subtle the influence of my principles are. It was a gentle pressure to guide my "kneejerk reaction" to land against something that turned out to be greatly to my benefit. I think that in the future, I will be much more vigilant in how I apply my philosophy to the world around me.

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