Second Week: Moral Character Envelopes All Morality

Posted: July 22, 2013 in Uncategorized
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“The best attribute a person can have is the ability to see the good in everyone.”

I use this quote because this week we will be talking about morality and and its principles. Whether it is about right and wrong or good and bad, the concept of morality broadens every single day or even minute as each individual develops their own principles within a unique mind-set. This quote, ideally means that we should try to see the good in everybody no matter what they have said, done, or believe in. But of course from a realistic perspective, this is probably impossible to do unless you consciously remind yourself not to judge every single person you don’t know very well. Agree? Nah. Because even if you were able to achieve the latter, it is still just a minor step in unlocking this once pure ability that has been forever shaped by many other factors as we came to age. , we should remember that everybody no matter how many good, bad, right, and wrong things they have done has a good side. It is just a matter of being able to see it. Of course I am not saying to go embrace and try to change a criminal; but if given the chance in a safe environment… it will be your moral choice. haha 🙂

Here is a little personal passage I wrote in my other blog:

Although, there may be some debate over this, I believe the best attribute is the ability to put aside as much bias or crude judgement as you can in order to see the good in everyone. I don’t mean people who do bad things are not “bad” but just try to understand both sides of the story before thoroughly making conclusions about them. Most people would agree that the most despicable people are those who have no “reason” at all for doing a crime. However, not everyone does crime senselessly. On this note, yes, crimes are horrible and should not be tolerated, but think about the reasons why they did what they did after the emotions disappear; because some people who have done “bad” things are not necessarily “despicable.” In other words, they may be completely in the wrong but are not “entirely” bad. This “ability” to see the good in people is extremely difficult because everyone is different, but it can be done.

Aside from all the definitions we can all find in a philosophy book or on-line, I am going to write my own about a few that I deem important.

Moral Exception: We can probably all relate to the awesome movie “The Dark Knight.” This is what I define as moral exception. This is portrayed extremely well at the end of the movie. Batman is a vigilante of justice who protects “his” city by embracing all the negativity and giving back hope under the covers of enormous burden. In the real world we would probably have to follow moral law and sentence Batman to years in prison. But after reading this, do you agree that there should be moral exception for saving the good with extreme and sometimes accidental costs?

 

Moral Perception: Our perception guides almost everything we do because it is the first sense we always apply throughout daily life and it is the most frequent. If we think about this, we can probably understand that our perception also may play an important role in our morality. When we are visually stimulated by crime, dramatic tragedies, and drastic measures, our brains will generate an image that will make us reflexively cringe or distort our facial expressions. In addition, our brains will also immediately produce a nasty judgement/wish upon the person who did the awful act. Vice versa for perceiving good deeds.

Moral Character: Character is my favourite moral principle to talk about. What we learn in school is to not only achieve “enough” good grades but it is more important to develop a good sense character. However, you can argue that you don’t care. Yes, this is true, because we all have the freedom to choose. However, choice can be free and good or it can be used to our advantage to justify many things that may be very wrong. For example, the character you instinctively develop is “true” but your sense of choice can alter that for better or for worse. I have said this before, “no matter how capable you are, if you lack character to support those accomplishments then it is still nothing in the end.”

After reading everything above, I hope it has given you a sense of where I stand along the moral spectrum. Although, in a professional setting such as Physiotherapy, these statements may not serve as ideally possible, I still believe they are the essence of a good practitioner from an interpersonal perspective.

~Open Our Minds

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Comments
  1. Michael Rowe says:

    Thanks for writing on the moral grey spaces that we see so often in the world. I can’t agree enough with your point about seeing that there are many sides to a story. The teenager who rapes and kills a girl as part of a gang initiation has done a terrible thing and must suffer the consequences of their actions. However, we need to accept that society has failed him and given him few alternatives. Every person’s moral character is made up of countless interactions with other people and their environment. If a child is born into a set of circumstances that guide his development, what choice does he really have? Again, I’m not saying that he shouldn’t suffer the consequences, but before we judge him we should try to understand what brought him to that point. I always say to my students, “No little boy wants to grow up to be a criminal and murderer. No little girl wants to grow up to be a sex worker.”

    • jackiewong88 says:

      Hey Michael! Thanks for reading my post! Yes, we indeed need a balanced mind-set in everything that we do. We can never truly judge until we understand but can we ever really understand? Ideal versus Real – The previous promotes meaningful change but the latter is easier. As humans we usually choose what is easy.

      Jackie

      • Michael Rowe says:

        I’m a teacher. Every day I see my students fighting to take the path of least resistance. I have to keep reminding myself that thinking is hard, and to try and understand whey they might avoid it.

      • jackiewong88 says:

        I could not agree more. It is extremely tough for any educator to fight for their students (some times 100-200 different minds) and to guide them on a moral path. And we can’t just hope that they take the path of difficulty because as you said the least resistance is almost always preferred.

  2. […] Jackie talks about this in her post about Morality, in relation to film The Dark Knight. […]

  3. Hi Jackie, thanks for seperatong those terms as they each form part of this conplex moral landscape we are deciphering. I agree with your opinion that we should try and see the good and pure in people as it is just so easy to judge from our own moral perception. I also agree with both you and Michael’s thoughts on moral character. Great post.

    • jackiewong88 says:

      Thanks for your input! It is too easy to see ourselves as better than others especially if we have a big ego. To see the positives and to give benefit of the doubt is difficult because sometimes we don’t want to deal with problems in a more complex and sound way which may lead a possible error in our judgements.

  4. Josie says:

    Hi Jackie,

    I totally agreed with you that we should try to see the good in everybody because nobody is born to be bad. It is only the environment which changes them to be bad which makes them no turning back. Understanding the truth is important before any judgement. However, we still need to be alert in order not to hurt by others.

    Enjoy reading your blog!

    Josie

    • jackiewong88 says:

      Thanks for reading my post Josie! 🙂 Yes, we have to balance between the idealistic view of good in everybody and the harmful reality upon us. All we have to do is take that extra step in our moral perception for us to be a slightly better person. Thus, a humble moral character is born.

      Jackie

  5. […] moral character, exception and perception, as so eloquently described and referenced by Noam and Jackie.  I also found the article linked to Tony’s blog post, “Moral Courage in Health […]

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