I get a lot of missionaries visit my house, I suspect it’s down to the proximity of the American airbase and the local Mormon outfit. Rather then politely ask them to go away I’m always happy to have a chat, almost inevitably we always end up talking about morality and they wheel out the old ‘objective morality’ argument.
This is usually countered by querying the various moralities they claim are divinely mandated and asking them if they think that’s a jolly good idea. The last time I had a nice lady round (she bought her daughter with her which was depressing) she basically ended the conversation with “You’ve got a lot to say about other people’s morality but you can’t propose anything better!”.
I must admit at the time I hadn’t given a great deal of thought to a proposal of morality, I’d just sort of lumped it all together as “Anyone telling you how to be moral doesn’t know what they are talking about” until now.
Over the next few months I put the brain in action and mulled it over. Here’s the massively distilled basic concept, I’ll probably add more to it including examples of it in real world scenarios. I never did ask the lady for her contact details, I suppose I may see her floating about again so I’ll see what she thinks.
Life can largely be defined in it’s most basic form as follows: “You didn’t exist before you were born, you won’t exist after you die. Everything between is a series of moments perceived by conscious creatures.”
I think that boils it down to it’s sterile base, but it’s important to have a baseline from which to build on.
For each of these moments there are things that impact you and things that you can impact. Everything that impacts you is either positive which increases your well-being, negative which makes life that bit harder or largely neutral. Although neutral is very difficult as I’ll cover in another post (maybe).
Equally everything you do has that potential to impact other conscious creatures, when you consider the outcome of a given action you know if the action will have a positive or negative impact on the well-being of someone else.
This can be used as a baseline for objective morality. Rather than turn to scripture, myths, gurus or society leaders to provide our morality for us we can use the above to guide our own inbuilt moral process. If every impact we have on others is done with their well-being firmly in mind this can only increase the net well-being of society.
The initial draft of this was about five pages long and included relentless examples and little meditations and things but I found that the essence of the argument was getting lost in my rambling prose. I think the above is a good start, I’ll fill it out in further posts.