What’s “moral?”

One of you asked me, “doesn’t it bother you to be immoral?”

I took a moment. In “Exposed” you will read about channeling outrage. Because fire is controlled does not mean it’s safe. Beware.

“Immoral.” There was a great film about morality, of course it was French, where a woman confessed to being of “dubious morals.” When asked to define, she said, “I am dubious of the morals of others.”

Which begs for the questions: Where do “morals” come from? Who gets to decide? Ultimately, who decides who is called “immoral” when we have a discussion?

These questions have been asked for eons. In “Exposed,” I venture some ideas, although in a fictional setting. Let me elaborate.

For those of you with a strong religious leaning, the answer is easy, though not the practice. Ask your priest, read your Bible or Koran or other texts, and for the most part, restrictions on sex are pretty plain, if restrictive. And if they don’t fit, question your religion or ask for forgiveness, if you intend to transgress again.

Finding other absolutes is more difficult. The legal system has long been a surrogate for the church in defining “immoral.” Frankly, I don’t know why, especially in societies where “personal freedom” is valued. There is lots of noise, for the most part unsupported gibberish, about those laws being for the “good of society.” Mostly, they simply ostracized those of different tastes.

I think more damage has been done by such laws than any good that has come from them. It becomes very difficult in a free society to protect individuals from their own desires, whether sex or drugs or money or perfume or furniture. Every attempt to protect is also an attempt to control. Where to draw that line of personal freedom is a very difficult decision.

Biology gives us a very mixed message. That’s because biology has competing goals. I have little to say to those who deny biology, or evolution, in this discussion. The fact is, we evolved to love sex. We also evolved to have jealousy, and to make up social rules where unfettered sexuality might be bad for the family or tribe, and therefore for the individual. Like I said, Nature gives us a mixed message, but anyone paying attention knows Nature is a bawdy girl.

So, I think the individual has to decide for himself or herself. This fits with my previous post about “boundaries.” Knowing that behaviors have consequences, we make our decisions. Knowing that “everything changes, everything passes, everything breaks, everything finds its place,” (from “Exposed”) we decide what we want to do.

Sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes the consequences are severe. Sometimes the reward is exquisite and memories last a lifetime.

But do not label others who make different decisions “immoral.” At most you can say, “That doesn’t work for me.” And that’s fine, that’s your decision, I’ll honor it as I honor you. If we need to come to a compromise, we will discuss it like adults, and avoid the name-calling.


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