Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Just Individual - v

As I discussed previously, morality's basic block is empathy which originates from 'self pity'[ii]. Since the mechanism of empathy requires few traits and faculties[iii], this empathy and in turn morality need not be unique to human beings. There are studies that have observed empathy and/or morality in other animals too[i].

I have also observed that, in some situations, empathy can turn to oneself  when the empathy to others results in loss to self[iv]. Then the person considers the greater morality in his/her self-preservation as the self-pity to himself/herself masks everything else. Therefore, morality has its limitations because of its underlying empathy mechanism. However, some of the religions have adopted morality of this nature as a noble way.

The famous story of Jesus rescuing a woman from an angry mob by invoking self-pity of people for their own sins and making them feel guilty for not empathizing with the woman is a wellknown case here. Even though not a rational way, it's still acceptable since it rescued a non-criminal powerless woman from a certain death.  However, even today, many, even among rationalists, unquestioningly, take this story as a guiding force of morality.

Just the other day,  I read a journalist deriding the movement against corruption as one set of corrupts fighting other set of corrupts. He makes a fundamental mistake that politicians or bureaucrats are as powerless or non-criminal as the woman in Jesus's story. More importantly, it's also lost to the journalist that it's a ploy to rescue a woman who was obviously not guilty. However, the story is lost but contextless generalization of one sinner condemning the other is left.

In another development, I read a person invoking 'cast the first stone' in a discussion related to a news that ministers in Karnataka were caught watching porn in the Legislative Assembly. The self-pity gets so strong here that the legality aspect of watching porn in restricted areas gets lost.

Thus I believe morality is a primitive trait. It anyway doesn't set us apart from other animals (Why do we have to bother about that point anyway?) and it also has its limitations. Therefore, logically, if humans want to really make themselves unique then they should be just. Justice cannot be decided by individuals because the morality of an individual for the self overrides it. Justice is a communal morality. It directs rightful empathy towards an individual even if it meant displeasing the morality of communities. So, it's a communal morality for the sake of an individual.

An individual is a just person if s/he subscribes to this communal morality and ready to condemn herself/himself in certain situations.


anilkurup said...

You write pretty strong and argumentative. Perhaps a reason why many bloggers do not leave comments. They cannot reach the way you think or even reach to disagree.

Morality indeed is primitive, as primitive as the dawn of religions.
All these fantastic blokes who came forth with moral codes and thrust them on their gullible flock have all claimed revelations from above, when they were incognito inside remote caves in mountains. And the sceptics were at loss to find.

What is immoral about morality is morality itself. Because often it is subsidised with hypocrisy.

Manhun(ಮಂಞುನ್/മഞ്ഞുന്‌) said...

Maybe I'm not sure the kind of comments I'm expecting. Maybe I'm stating the obvious in my posts.