Sunday, August 9, 2015

Untested Morals, Changing Beliefs and A Sinking Ship

Most people have a set of morals they live by. Unsaid rules to govern them so that they can become and stay better human beings. Everyone likes to be a better person. Ethics and values are just one way we do that. They make us feel good about who we are.

But we also lie to others about these values. If these same morals get between us and our wants, they turn into annoyances. Mindless interruptions or obstacles that need to be scaled or dissolved to fit your new set of justifications.

Untested morals are just beliefs that we think are right and just. Nothing like a pregnancy scare to transform a pro-lifer into an ardent pro-choice believer. And although this transformation might be a better choice, the factors leading to it were nothing short of selfish and spineless.

Our values are a core set of who we are. We don't keep telling them to people to reinforce our belief in them. We trust them to be true and fair. Values should not be flexible. They don't change due to circumstance. What does change is how we choose to apply them.

One koan question I'd ask vegetarians is if you were homeless with no food and a man offered you edible meat that he was going to throw away. Would you rather eat that meat to satisfy your hunger or let him throw away the meat because it clashes with your values? The answer purely depends on who you are and what you believe in.

Having beliefs does not make you any more a hero as having an opinion makes you right. Terrorists have excellent moral conviction. Although media tries to portray them as cowards cowering behind weapons of mass destruction, they are brave, determined, but evil men and women. That bravery is belief and not value which is inherently constructed to make you a finer individual with strong moral fiber. Beliefs can be changed amicably, unlike shattering values.

Changing your beliefs on the other hand, is like being the captain of a sinking ship who goes down
with honor. You make your claim, defend it with vigor, and you admit defeat honorably at the hands of a superior opponent who was more prepared to dismantle your belief structure. The opponent can be another human, eternal stimuli, or a situation that made you perceive the same thing as before but with a new dimension. Like a 2D character in a 3D world.

This is the reason that while values and beliefs might sound like the same thing, they are different. Although with hazy and unclear boundaries. So are the things you believe in your core values that are unflinching and adamantite, or are they just beliefs that can be changed whenever they suit your purpose?


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