Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thoughts on Morality

     Hey everyone! Congrats on making it to my blog, I hope you all enjoy it, and that it can somehow uplift your spirit. Failing that, I hope that something I say just makes you laugh or smile. In the end, I guess those are the same things.
     So a little bit about myself before I dive into the meat of what I wanted to say. My name is Ryan. I'm a freshman in college at UNC Charlotte. I live on campus, and I'm really digging this whole college life thing. I have a few good stories, but those need to be told on other days. I like to read (Patrick Rothfuss's "Kingkiller Chronicles" are pretty killer, and I can't get enough of Dresden or ASOIAF.), I like to write, and I like to talk and to listen. I'm pretty much a complete extrovert, and I do some of the weirdest stuff sometimes. Oh, and I'm writing this right now because I don't want to do a midterm paper, and this seems way more interesting!
     One thing I'm absolutely focused on is my belief that everyone has good in them, and that in the end each person will do what they believe is good. Hence the overly pretentious name of my blog. I came up with that term myself, and I'm pretty proud of it to be honest. What I hope to do with this blog is just tell stories, my thoughts, cool stuff I hear every day, quotes, whatever. And I'd like to explore morality with that stuff too, of course, because I find morality to be one of the most interesting things about the human condition (today's a thought day. Just warning you.)
     Almost nothing about morality has remained the same over time. Even killing. I mean, look how criminals are treated now. Ever heard of the Hammurabi Code? It was one of the earliest existing written codes of law, and was harsh. Like, chop a hand off for stealing harsh. And now, prisoners get their own library, rehab centers, McDonald's, whatever. I'm not saying that this is wrong, or that the Hammurabi Code is wrong (although, I must say, I'm glad everyone has hands. I'd have to hold a lot more doors otherwise.) But this makes me wonder why it's changed over time.
     To answer that, I want to give a pretty simple example.
     Go outside, find a leaf. A shiny green leaf. Pretty right? Now look at it from another angle. I promise you that you're going to notice something different about the leaf. Maybe some more veins, maybe a little brown spot you didn't see before, maybe it's shinier now than earlier! Anyway, the point of this is that one thing can be seen in a billion different ways. How do we know which is right? We don't. So what we do then is go with the most pleasing option. That's why most people picture a green, shiny, broad leaf (or at least I do, and my poor roommate who I ask the oddest questions of also sees this) with 3 or 4 points to it instead of a shriveled up leaf lying on the ground in winter, just because I chose leaves as my example. It could also be coffee or brownies or pizza (I'm hungry in case you can't tell). Whatever it is, the picture that springs to mind is most often the one that is most pleasing to us and to society.
     Our perception on things extends beyond simple objects. Those people around you that you hold dear probably look different to someone else because that someone else looks for different things in people. I look at hair type and noses, personally. I know, weird. That book you just read? I got a totally different meaning when I read it, and so did the other hundred thousands of people who read it. But when asked how that book was, we generalize by saying it was good or bad or scary or boring or thrilling.
     Similarly, our ideas on what civilized society should be like has been influenced over the years by choosing the more attractive option. The most dominant opinion is the one that seems the most appealing, and the most appealing option is the one that helps the most people. This is more true in societies where everyone has a voice, such as America. That's why America has, over the yeas, abolished many forms of inequality that once existed. Not all, maybe not even many of them, but progress has been made. No one person did that. It was a great number of people, over a great number of years,  that went through a great number of struggles.
     And they did this because they believed it was the most attractive option. Maybe it was the most attractive economically, but I'm of the opinion that many of the long lasting changes were also the most attractive morally to the most people. That's the only reason that such things have lasted through multiple generations.
     Ok, I'm done preaching now. I have a paper to write. I'm just going to leave off with saying that you guys are great, thank you for reading my thoughts, and feel free to comment on them. I'd love to hear other opinions, and tips on blogging.
     Last thought: All those changes I've talked about, are we in the midst of a change now, what with all the revolutions that have been occurring worldwide?

Peace out everyone!