DAILY PROMPT : Where do your morals come from?
When I think of sources of morals, I think of personal guidelines that have been fed by different sources as the person develops from child to adult. When we are born our first contacts are our parents and so for much of our childhood what we deem to be right or wrong is to a very large extent defined by the influence we get from the lifestyle of our parents. Given that the first experiences (in anything; think sex; think school; think travelling, pretty much everything) tend to be the one that stick with us longer, and so it is not hard to see why most people would conclude that the ultimate source of morality is from the parents (home). This is partially true.
As a teen when you get into High School you have a natural tendency to want to “belong”. In a bid to fit in with the “cool kids” you tend let go of some of those morals (usually stringent ones) that you have imbibed from home and tweak and adjust them to suit your purpose. For instance your parents must have told you that you have to be at least 18 or 21 before you have sex. On getting to school, you find out that the “cool kids” have already had sexual experiences. With this realization you begin to rethink those morals from home and before you know it you are 14 and your girl friend is already pregnant.
The point I was trying to make in the previous paragraph is that even though we may have picked up our morals from our parents, the church or another source, it get diluted by the people and things that we experience along the way.
I like to think of morality as an ever evolving subject in a person’s life. As we grow in life we are faced constantly with experiences that challenge our morals and cause us to shift ground most times, even though we might not admit to it. A person’s morality is like technology, today it seems like the best and it gets most of the problems solved, but tomorrow we are going to be faced with a different set of challenges that causes us to have a rethink about our position. Let me give another personal example that helps to buttress the evolutionary nature of morality. When I was a kid in High School, my parents led me to believe that smoking cigarettes was a completely immoral thing to do. At the time I did not ask any questions I took my parents word as being right, and given that they were older than I was with more life experiences than I had, they had to be right. When I got into the university I met a couple of people who I became good friends with. These people were smokers. Initially when I found out they were smokers it triggered an alarm in me (SMOKING = BAD, you need to run), but I did not run. I stayed back. Why did I stay back?
As I began to learn more about my new friends over the course of our freshman year, I found out that there was absolutely nothing wrong with these people. They excelled in their academics just like me (or in some cases better than me), they were trustworthy, respectful people. They had personal issues just like another breathing human being. Nothing about them stood out particularly except that they like to sometimes inhale thick smoke. Seeing them made me rethink what I had been told by my parents. I could not find any evidence in them to justify the title of “immoral” that my parents had branded smokers.
In essence I think morality is EVOLUTIONARY (every changing and growing as we develop) as opposed to being STATIONARY (coming from a single unchangeable source).
I was driving home from work today, tired and exhausted, I could barely hold on to the steering wheel. 4:30 am, that’s when I woke up this morning, much like every other day, to prepare for the office. And a few minutes after the hour of eight in the evening I am still stuck in traffic. As I power through the radio stations for something decent and inspiring for the arduous ride home, I stumble on one of my best stations; Rhythm 93.7. What are they talking about? They are going through some of the stories feeding in from around the world, and a particular story strikes me. The headline goes something like this: “Brazilian student, aged 20, agrees to sell her virginity to the highest bidder in an on-line auction setup to raise money for a charity that builds homes for the destitute.” Now I can see some mouths opening wide and gasping in surreal surprise. Some of the first few thoughts trooping into my head went like this; “is she insane?”, “She is a whory virgin”, “this is a mutant strain of lunacy”, “but then again its charity, maybe it’s not so bad”, etc. Even at this point of writing this post I am not sure I have been successful in reconciling the two ideas “Charity” and “Sex”.
Immediately I got home I went online to learn more on the story, and just entering the phrase “Charity Sex” in Google, I was amazed at the amount of information available out there on the issue. Apparently Catarina Migliorini (The Brazilian student) isn’t the first to explore charity from a rather lascivious angle. One of such related stories I was able to find was about a Chilean Prostitute by name Maria Carolina, who had auctioned 27 hours of sex for about $4,000 to raise money for a national charity. Another interesting story was about FPA, a sexual health charity organization in the UK, which has resorted to selling sex toys in a bid to raise funds to better educate people on sex and relationships. Here are a few lines from the website that capture the essence of the Charity:
“Our mission is to help establish a society in which everyone has positive, informed and non-judgmental attitudes to sex and relationships; where everyone can make informed choices about sex, relationships and reproduction so that they can enjoy sexual health free from prejudice or harm.”
The charity has setup an on-line sex store called “Desire & Pleasure”, where people can go and shop guilt-free for their favorite sex toys.
These stories bring up some many questions, mostly relating to morality, to bear. One of such questions is “Does the End justify the Means?” The implication of this question is whether an action or series of actions that is/are glaringly immoral or harmful justified by the outcome it produces no matter how favorable it might be? We now live in a sexually charged world where sex is the number one seller of merchandise. The Phrase “Sex Sells” is a mere testament to the hypnotic ability of sex to move products faster off the shelves, and rack in the much needed cash. From Pharmaceuticals to Banking to Automobiles, every industry has embraced this fact, and have done their very best to exploit it. Sex has also played a major role in the budding career of some of Hollywood’s elite. Take Kim Kardashian for example, her showbiz career got a major boost after the release of her sex-tape with former boyfriend Ray J. Her “sex-capades” caught on tape also led to the blossoming careers of every other person in her family.
With so much sex swirling around these days in varied forms, its makes it much harder to draw the line between Morality and Immorality. How do you Judge the case of Catarina Migliorini?
On the one hand, you want to commend her supposed act of selflessness. For going out of her way to give up what is generally considered to be the most revered treasure of a young lady, all for a good cause and with no apparent intention of profiting from it personally. This, my friends, might be a true expression of altruism in theory.
But on the other hand you have to question the “Means” she aims to accomplish her act of altruism. Where do you draw the line between “Hooker” and “Philanthropist”? Like I mentioned earlier, the answer to this might lie in the answer to another question, “Does the Ends justify the Means?”
To be honest I don’t think I am entirely against her quest, but…..
It would be a great pleasure to get the views and opinions of those who read this post. What do you think?