From a book I’m reading:

“…Industrial society has a toxic effect on all religions…by propagating values based on purely materialistic assumptions. Utility thinking, maximisation of profit, the fetish of constantly increasing productivity, the mythology of endless progress, the arrogance of natural scientists turned philosophers, and the rampant agnosticism and value-neutralism of the educated – the enter Western drive to “rationalise” every aspect of life is fundamentally inimical to religion. This technocratic society in which we…live, with its cult of the individual and its moral laissez-faire/laissez-passer attitude, is indeed in danger of fully destroying the foundations on which this very society grew: values and modes of behaviour rooted in our forefathers’ faith in God.

 

I claim to be agnostic. I claim to believe that there is nothing more powerful than free will and rational thinking – self control, good sense, moral intuition – are what make you a good person that does not murder or steal or plunder.

So how did I know that murder was wrong in the first place? Where did that “good sense” come from? Easy question. My parents told me it was wrong. Society conditioned me too. Early Bible education. On TV, in books, all and any literature and media, serial killers are the bad people. Murder is always wrong, to everyone, this fact packaged into a basic moral value that everyone universally agrees with. Never in my life have I met someone who would say otherwise.

Therefore, iteratively, my parents would have learned the same from their parents and their society, and my grandparents, and my great grandparents, etc…But going back to my “forefathers” as this writer calls it, and then backward and backward, to the first human beings in the world – how did THEY know that killing someone was wrong? Was it an intuition? Is it a science? Are we somehow genetically wired to have a baseline morality – some kind of absolute minimum under which murder falls, but above which would be untruths (white lies)?

How did the first vestiges of morality form at all? How did we know, at the very beginning, what was good and what was bad?

P/s: On a separate note, if you ask me, given the amount of torture porn movies nowadays…even murder is now precariously sitting on that bare minimum line.

 

Advertisements