Can We Take A Vacation From Our Morality?

Vacation - Morality - Food For Thought

“Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.”

— C.S. Lewis

Our bearing on morality has been instilled in us ever since we were children, and due to our upbringing and nurturing, we are told we should behave in a certain way. In fact, we do behave in a certain way because it’s deemed proper, however, personal morality varies from person to person, some stricter than others. If you want to believe you are a good person, you only have yourself to prove to, no one else.

When it comes to basic morality, the nature of social evolution has dictated that we have to act in a certain way, and as long as it promotes a certain level of safety, that’s where the social contract stands. You don’t murder, so you don’t get murdered. You don’t steal, so you don’t get stolen from. This is why laws were made to protect people, essentially your basic human rights. Now that aside, how about personal morality?

Personal morality is not so obvious. It’s the smaller character traits that we acquire. Think of it this way, why do some people find it easier to lie, while others don’t? Why do some people cheat on their spouses while others find it shameful? This is because our bearing on morality is subjective, but most importantly, self-imposed. Some people are very strict and harsh on themselves because they want to be good people. It is only through repeated good behaviour, and a slightly harsh self-imposition that people can become the person they want to be.

One side of the coin says we should always forgive ourselves for mistakes that we make, that we are human, that we are prone to fault. But the other side of the coin says that we should not make excuses for our bad behaviour. This all boils down to how genuine we are at our faults. Mistakes are excusable, but mistakes on purpose aren’t. Other people shouldn’t have to pay for our actions.

What people need to understand about morality is that it is generally, grey. Ask yourself, why would you feel bad if you took candy from a toddler but not downloading music off the Internet? They both are stealing, yet we only seem to care if we can actually see someone get hurt by our actions. Who are we to truly decide what is a victimless crime?

The question that begs to be answered is, is it possible for a person to take a vacation from our beliefs? Think of it this way, a person should be forgivable if they slip up, but not if they repeatedly do it. Own up and apologise and try to make things right. The thing about morality is no one can enforce it upon you, if you are not willing to submit to it. At the end of the day, you have to decide, what you really want out of life, to be the person you are, or the person you want to be.

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Nicholas Ng

Nicholas Ng is a restaurant critic, travelogue and opinion columnist which is curated on Food For Thought. He has been a freelance writer for 10 years and has previously worked as a lawyer. He currently is the Managing Director of Black Wolf Digital, a digital marketing agency.

22 Comments

  1. I found your article so special. Is hard to change people characteristic but we either will be rational or not rational when we grow up and mix with different environment. 10 years ago I am a temper person that keep revenge in hard but when i meet someone I love, I learn how to forgive and tolerant .Appreciate people surrounding me.

    • I agree with you Betty. I think that sometimes we can’t help feeling the way we do, that’s why its important to not repeat what we do when we know its wrong. Forgiveness is the way to a happy life.

  2. I believe that the most important thing is to be true to oneself. As long as we are happy, can sleep at night, then it’s OK.

  3. Very indeed… kita siapa untuk tentukan siapa salah siapa betul

    Amalkanlah sebelum tdo memaafkan org dan dimaafkan. Esok hari pasti akan hari baru yg lebih baik

    • That’s true. We really are not the judge of what is right and wrong. All we can do is do our best and try not to hurt those around us.

  4. I guess most of us lost morality because the living cost made us become crazy ! Oh my …

  5. I think its about finding yourself at the end of the day. Your article really made me think, i think its hard to understand yourself when you try too hard pleasing other poeple.

    • If your aim in life is to please other people all the time you won’t be truly happy. You will live a life that’s expected of you, not a happy one.

  6. I think we should these things from childhood so that kids can learn from example.

  7. Your article is very insightful. I agree on the the candy and download illegal music online part. It all boils down on how our conscious deep down inside. If what we did isn’t right, it’s still not right

  8. well, I was expecting to see some mouthwatering food picture and their infos before clicking to your blog this time (like always, you know what i mean right…haha) but this post made me drop my jaw or I should say a hard bang on my brain.
    A real crucial topip you have here.. I’m not sure what to say but somehow I can relate! You see, we all are the human being but how many of us think about humanity. and thus there is the absence of morality.

    • That’s the thing, we are raised to be selfish with the fear of losing out. But sometimes with us focusing on what we’re losing, we forget to see what we’re gaining.

  9. Nice piece of article, made me think what’s my morality? Am I doing it right or wrong? Hmm…

  10. It’s easy to lecture people about morality. But it’s another thing to apply what you preach to yourself. It all boils down to what the individual feels about morality.

    • Morality is easy to preach, but hard to practice. That’s why reflection on our actions is so important.

  11. sometimes in this recent day and time, morality takes a back seat to the need to make more money. ><

  12. Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching …
    I’m a bit emo currently ;( this post make think a lot …

  13. Vacation for morality? This is something really makes me ponder a while… haha~ Great sharing on your thoughts~

  14. This is really some food for thought! For everyone out there. Something to sit and digest on. Wish more people out there would be aware of this. Everyone should sit and think of what sort of a person they want to be and should be, bearing in mind how it would affect the surrounding. Self realization is so important which people tend to lack on. But at the end of the day it’s such a huge topic that we could discuss all day long.

  15. We tend to justify our actions. Immoral or not, it all depends on ourselves. It’s the basic tenets of do unto others as you would want others to do to you. Think of it this way, if you stole someone’s pet cause you thought it was cute, imagine if someone took your favourite dog or cat from you, one that’s been with you for years. If you want to make the world a better place, start at home. Sometimes we lose, but its ok, that’s life. As least you’ll get a good night’s rest. Your reputation is definitely not worth the selfish and non-assessed risk.

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