Monday, February 16, 2009

Decoding Morality, ethics and selfishness Part I

I am here not trying to decoding morality and ethics as the title says. I am not a philosopher and any one can find thousand pages and one can spend discussing and deciding what is ethical and moral. I am writing here because of an ethical dilemma one of my friends faced. My friend’s girl friend told him to write and Online question paper on a subject in which friend was specialist. My friend refused it on ethical ground that he can’t write and for someone who is supposed to take exam and said it as kind of cheating and refused it saying its against his values. He made his object of love unhappy on this and now they are not on talking terms. Any way I am not going to be peacemaker and they will sort their problem and hopefully some middle way to avoid conflict between ethics love and fulfilling ones partner expectation. If I take out ethics and moral ground out of their fight it was about simply asking a favour and fulfilling one's expectation which people generally do specially with their family friends and partner? As human we try to reduce our ethics and moral standard where close family friends are involve bozo we tend to think emotionally
Generally we hold values and ethics as a principled guidance for living and achieving happiness in this society. But since human beings are individuals, each with his own body, his own mind, his own life, this standard pertains to human beings as individuals ethics and moral values. Now considering that my friend action was to prove himself more moral and keep himself high on ethical ground was an act of selfishness mixed with ego that was consistent with human nature of proving oneself superior to others. Although in this case on the ground of ethics. Thus I hold this fact that being moral consists in being rationally selfish or egoistic.

Now if I say my friend that he was being selfish in this incident I am sure I am going to lose his friendship, Again here I am not being honest with him and myself but selfish for keeping this friendship intact.

Moving ahead this thinking process another term I often hear is Altruism. According to Wikipedia (just googled i was confused about its exact defn.) its defines as selfless act/concern for the welfare of others.

Altruism, is the morality of self-sacrifice—that is, of serving others at the expense of one’s own life-serving values (where my friend failed in the above case). The basic principle of altruism is that to be moral, an action must be selfless: if a person acts selflessly, he is moral, if he does not, he is not. If he gives up a value for no gain whatsoever, he is being moral, if he gains something from an action, he is not being moral. E.g. if I work for NGO voluntarily in exchange of nothing I am being moral but If as a Software developer I creates a software and sell it for a profit, I am not being moral.

The moral conflict I am facing in this practice is that suppose I am helping someone who is lying on the road on my way due to accident. While helping him I am feeling morally very good( act of knidness) and I feel high about it as it gives me pleasure and feel good feeling. Now, Is my act is selfless? Am I not deriving pleasure (whatsoever) from the misery of some one else. Can some one say my act is selfless? How I am different from a person who is gaining pleasure either by hurting some one or from the one derive by displaying behavior of kindness. Are not these 2 are sides of same coin one is hurting and one is helping, both getting pleasure from misery, one by protecting and one by hurting. Thus for me all actions are taken in one's self interest whether we do. Helping or not, no action is selfless. There is deeply rooted self interest, self pleasure involves in every action whatever we take.. And THIS IS CALLED EGOISM.............

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