I got myself to thinking about morality and how right and wrong can be determined. For most of my younger life, I had a very clear idea of what was right and wrong. Even when I reached the age where black-and-white thinking shifted to contain a lot of grey area, I still easily determined right from wrong.
As someone on the hyper-rational end of the spectrum, I always figured that morality was something determined by logic. After all, if we are to believe there is some underlying, universal truth about what is right or wrong, then we must be able to follow the logical path to discover why it is right or wrong.
How, then, is it possible for different people to have such varying rule as to what is good and bad? Some comes from external guidance – with religions or trusted people dictating right and wrong – but even without those, most people have an inherent sense of morality. Put someone in a situation or give them a scenario and, without even thinking, they can tell you what they think of it based on their moral compass.
Which means that a person’s morality is dictated not by logic, but by emotion. Now, it is obviously tempered by their upbringing and life experiences, but the root of all morality lies in emotion.
This actually makes a lot of sense, because logic doesn’t know morals. Logic can be used to prove a great many things – I have the ability to logically prove that there is nothing wrong with using humans as lab rats, but that doesn’t mean that it is right. That’s something that most people’s morals will immediately tell them is wrong. That decision is also logical, however that logic is built on a foundation of how we feel when confronted with that scenario.
So I must determine that there are as many different moralities in the world as there are people. What does this mean for the underlying universal morality? Does it exist, and we have yet to find it, or are we simply deluding ourselves into thinking there is such a thing as right and wrong?
Click here to find the charity anthology containing a couple of my short stories.