morality has a role to play even when a person is in isolation?

@marvit79 (342)
Italy
December 11, 2006 3:48pm CST
If u take the position that moral behavior is the kind of behavior that will lead to a flourishing, excellent life, then morality can be meaningful in isolation. Religious hermits certainly seemed to think that their choice to live ascetic lives was morally meaningful, even though they avoided human contact.To answer the question, you may need to decide for yourself whether morality means "How should I conduct my life?" or, more specifically, "How should I treat other people?". You could choose to define morality as "how to treat other people", and thereby define other virtues as being outside the realm of morality.
26 responses
@ossie16d (11834)
• Australia
23 Dec 06
Morality is the choice we make regarding how we live our life, whether that is in company or isolation. Some people have high moral values and others are a little more relaxed about some things. It is about both how we conduct our life and how we treat other people, our environment etc. Just because a person chooses to live in isolation, that doesn't that they are lacking in moral values, but simply that they prefer not to be in company. Of course being a recluse doesn't mean not caring for animals, the place were we live, cleanliness, hygiene, sanitation etc and all of these things are part of our moral values.
14 Dec 06
I don't think morality ever means 'How should I conduct my life?' If it did it would include a huge number of non-moral decisions such as 'Shall I watch tv or read or book?' Morality is simply what is viewed as right or wrong action and the important definitions are of the words right and wrong not the word morality. Whether conduct can be considered right or wrong in any meaningful sense in isolation from others is entirely dependent on whether there is a belief in a God who has a value system or not. With no other who is affected by our behaviour, there cannot possibly be right or wrong since, to me, the primary question in determining whether a behaviour is morally correct or not is 'Does it hurt anyone?' The type of isolation is relevant to this also since, if we are only isolated from other humans but still encounter animals, plants and insects then one has to consider whether these can be hurt according to our value system. Also, there is the consideration of people who are not present so morals with regard to our treatment of the environment as this affects future generations. The hermits in your example believe in a God with a defined value system and so are able to believe that, although no one else can be harmed by their actions, their God has a higher understanding of right and wrong, so their morality still makes sense from that point of view. But, I think that this is not what you are saying. You seem to be saying that the life they get out of their behaviour justifies it but in that case it is not amoral issue, it is choosing behaviour because it is personally beneficial rather than morally correct.
@Lydia1901 (16354)
• United States
13 Dec 06
I agree with you there, that's sure something.
• United States
12 Dec 06
here is an excerpt from a paper i wrote on this topic, the conclusion actually: We do not need souls or the incorporeal mind to have an ethical code. As the mind sciences continue to develop, a greater understanding and acceptance of its virtues will be spread throughout the world. As it has been shown, accepting the idea of the scientific image does not in any way destroy meaning to our lives. Rather, it seems to make it more fruitful—for with greater understanding comes greater innovation for the future. . Flanagan makes a great point, saying, “an individual needs to learn the right habits of perception, feeling, and action, or to learn the right principals” (148). When it comes down to it, we are a naturalistic animal fighting for survival. It is wise to note that we are constantly involved in learning what constitutes a good, moral person that is conducive to a healthy and honest existence
• Pakistan
12 Dec 06
yes u r right i think that even if a person is following a religion then even if he is involved in certain forbidden activities then only thing missing is his own MORALITY, which was supposed to play every time he is in a position to perform such forbidden acts.
@sou7887 (1164)
• India
12 Dec 06
The term “morality” can be used either descriptively to refer to a code of conduct put forward by a society or, some other group, such as a religion, or accepted by an individual for her own behavior or normatively to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons. How morality is defined plays a crucial, although often unacknowledged, role in formulating ethical theories. To take “morality” to refer to an actually existing code of conduct is quite likely to lead to some form of relativism. Among those who use “morality” normatively, different specifications of the conditions under which all rational persons would put forward a code of conduct result in different kinds of moral theories. To claim that “morality” in the normative sense does not have any referent, that is, to claim that there is no code of conduct that, under any plausible specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons, results in moral skepticism. Thus, although, not widely discussed, the definition of morality has great significance for moral theory.
@anup12 (4181)
• India
12 Dec 06
Yes
@vikceo (1301)
• India
12 Dec 06
morality certainly have a role to play in one's life. a person is really judged by and paid for his or her moral values in long run
@joy139 (58)
• India
12 Dec 06
morality is a relative term. good and bad is only when u put into perspective of the world. hermits exrcised control for a higher realization, whioch is not good or bad. for example, starving may be good for an obese, not good for an underweight. but hermits do that to practise control over hunger...
@scorpius (1793)
• India
12 Dec 06
no man is an island.even in isolation we are not truly alone.we have to answer our conscience.so to answer your query,morality has a role to play even in isolation.and morality cannot be defined just by how we treat others.how about how we treat ourselves?does that not matter?does it not matter that we have to be true to ourselves?
• Philippines
12 Dec 06
yes
@drumm1n (500)
• India
12 Dec 06
that is true! its a paradox , if they want to live their lives morally then living alone doesnt make that true! its a loop hole of sorts! thats awesome stuff to come up with!:P
@ESKARENA1 (18299)
12 Dec 06
i believe each one of us has our own moral code and we govern our lives accordingly. One persons morality can be another persons gravest sin. I guess so much trouble is caused in this world because we do have differentiated morality. Because we each choose our own morality or moral code we can never objectivly judge anothers actions simply we can only place these actions besides our own moral code and make a subjective assessment. In other words, there are no universal rights or wrongs, just rights or wrongs for us
• India
12 Dec 06
morality is like a police on own's behaviours both towards oneself and towards others. since man is a social animal, we cant always hurt others and be happy.
@babray06 (1787)
• India
12 Dec 06
To me Morality is a way of life and choosing the path of truth. So if you choose to do the correct things and you choose yourself to be walking down the path of truth then it does not matter how you treat others or how they treat you. It also does not matter whether you are in isolation or not because you should be mentally strong enough to follow the path of truth.
• India
12 Dec 06
well i dont think so
@madonna143 (1739)
• Philippines
12 Dec 06
I would really be a lot easier to be moral if you are in isolation. Usually contact with other people makes you do immoral things. Although it would not be advisable to be alone in this world. Being a monk is a different case because its their choice to live their life that way. They maybe find their inner peace and happiness by doing so. But in most cases this is not applicable.
@Bunny2 (2102)
• Australia
12 Dec 06
Bunny2 - Bunny2
To me morality is about doing what is right. Treating people the way you would like them to treat you. It doesn't matter if you are relidious or not. Some of the most*Christian* people I know are actually atheists or agnostics. They are the people who always help others. Who are there helping to clean up after the bushfires. Who are always there to lend a hand when needed.
@mansha (6301)
• India
12 Dec 06
Where do my morals and ethics come from if I do not accept the Devine revelation of the old stories? Here are my thoughts… I look inside of myself, down into the depths of my humanity. I look deep inside and I ask myself: What do I truly value? What inspires me? What brings me happiness? What connects me to others, …to nature, ….to the environment? What enhances my life and spirit? What is beautiful and good? What makes me who I am? This ethics that comes from within is personal – freely chosen, based on one’s own search for happiness, extending outward to caring for others and promoting the common good. Such an ethical system cannot be developed in isolation. We each engage in relationships that sustain us: relationships with family, with local communities, and with the global community… relationships with nature and with the earth. These relationships are critical to developing ethics. An internal ethics is without meaning unless it is acted upon in connection with others. It is in this interaction with others that ethics are tested, challenged, and improved. It is through this process of social interchange that moral progress is possible.
@golden87 (95)
• United States
12 Dec 06
Marvit, taking your concept one step farther, why does it seem in the world today that people's morals are not all that great. Sure you hear of people that are generous and kind, and help their neighbor. But how much of that kind of story is on the news compared to all of the war stories, murders, etc. Even companies no longer seem to have morals. My company thinks nothing of it to lay off a 30 year outstanding employee who is two weeks short of retirement. Sometimes I get very down thinking about why more people just aren't plain old nice. Why don't more people exercise the golden rule and treat others as they would want to be treated. Is it really that hard? I don't think it is hard to be nice.