The Account of a Lifetime

December 23, 2007

A moral cesspit

Filed under: A day in the life of...,Reflections — xisor @ 1:21 pm

Recently I’d been thinking about morality and suchlike. Just things of the form “Is it right to do this?”, “Why do we do what we do?” and when thinking of a bad decision “What made this a bad choice?”.

I was speaking to a member of my academic family this weekend, and they mentioned something I found very intriguing. First I quoted my second favourite quotation of all time to them: “Humans, Narns, Centauri…we all do what we do for the same reason: because it seems like a good idea at the time.” They replied with “But what about the times we do something even when we know that it is a bad idea?”

Well, that got me thinking. How often do I do things that I’m pretty sure are bad ideas? My standard outlook on this is that doing things you know/feel/suspect to be bad are essentially reprehensible actions. But really, are they?

Of late I’ve been quite convinced that ‘doing things because I want to’ is generally a bad motivation for doing something, but yet it remains an overriding factor in any decisions I make. Is this perhaps hypocritical? My answer to this is a firm yes. It is exceedingly hypocritical, but it is something that can be worked upon. Something that has to be worked upon, in my estimation.

I also encountered the story of a friend of mine who went out with a person just to annoy that persons’ sibling. I found this quite outrageous, and I don’t think I’d be alone in that. It’s not a nice thing to do, it’s not…wholesome. Once upon a time I’d have called it a quite vile sin (well, I’d have been disapproving in the extreme, I’d not have called it a sin, even when I was religious I rarely, if ever, thought in terms of sins). I understand why someone’d be tempted to do it, but when thinking about things rationally, I can’t quite imagine a situation in which I would be motivated to do something of that madness!

 But then, I really do not understand affairs of the heart. I’m ridiculously fallible on that front, and probably should be tagged with some sort of ‘walking disaster zone’ thing around my neck. But even then, for all my ineptitude, I don’t do things that are as suspect as going out with one person to annoy another person. I really do endeavour to find a solution to these sorts of thoughts, and I hope I will one day, but it seems a long way off.

I’ve felt this way towards people (vis. that they make horrendously reprehensible decisions) for a very long time, but only in recent months/years have I realised quite how to the full extent it also applies to myself. I really was an arrogant idiot. I hope in this way I can navigate the details of interpersonal morality with a bit more tact, resilience, diplomacy and compassion in the future.

But largely, this is a ‘day in the life of…’ post. This sort of thinking has only been dominant in me noggin’ since early Saturday morning. I spent the evening of Friday with my sole remaining housemate and my academic niece, and it was a really good night. Quiet, in a manner, as we only went to the New Inn, Beanscene, Aikmans and the union. Quiet, personal, a lot of good hearty chat. Not just idle chatter, but interesting stuff. I like nights like that. It always slows down the next couple of days, I find, allowing a more thoughtful weekend. Large nights with lots of people and hilarious hijinx are always fun too, but I find the inevitable weariness the next day does take quite a toll, usually leading to the following days being wasted or squandered.

Though I’ve done no studying yet this weekend, I do consider it to have been a well spent one. Lots of time to think, to relax, to gather my thoughts. I think I’m ready for a bit of studying now, and breakfast (lunch!).

On a final note, I’ve been quite pleasantly following a thread on the Sinner regarding Creationism and Evolution. It began with a remark about a creationist in the JH biology class up at uni here, but quickly escalated into a whole series of interesting discussions. I’m quite surprised really as to how well the sinners have held it together too, as it all too often breaks down into a torpid and tepid mess of name-calling and fruitless discussion!

I hope to head home either this evening, or tomorrow afternoon. I still need to do a spot of Christmas shopping, but that can be resolved soon, I hope! It should be a fun week.

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