Definition essay: What is Morality?
I’ll tell you that morality is probably one of the biggest, most confusing things to look at
when you need to write a paper about it. After some deliberation, I have concluded a few
things about morality and what it is.
Morality is one of those words that you don’t hear very often, and use even less
frequently. It is perfectly described by Webster’s Dictionary as a set of guidelines that govern a
person’s actions. Without such a code, anarchy would rule supreme. Human beings are human
because we can limit ourselves and our behaviour. Moral values are a byproduct of a society
that must live together. Even though in Mother Nature the only restricting factor is that of
reproduction and supply of food, because our society groups together, (otherwise it probably
wouldn’t be a society), it needs codes of conduct. We have established government, religion
and moral character to regulate this population. All are fairly organized, with moral character
being left entirely to the self, while with government or religion often times another person will
tell you what to do. Without self-limitation, the Jones’s across the street would be hell to live
with. They would be insulting, perverse, lying and cheating neighbors. Morality, the set of rules
that limit excessiveness in our behavior, is the foundation of all government, religion. It
moderates our beliefs and laws; describes how one should act.
Moral rules, if you will, include several basic so called ‘golden’ rules: thou shalt not kill;
thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not commit adultery; etc. When people start losing some or all of
these moral rules, society falls apart. It has been proven, for example, by the Roman Empire.
Close to the end of Rome’s “glorious” rule, they ruled most of the known world. Also, people
would have sex with any living thing that had a suitable opening. Human life was taken for
granted: people committed suicide for stupid reasons; depression, shame, angst, my brother
died. To our fairly Judeo-Christian moral standards today, this is despicable, horrifying.
Because the collective moral standards of the Roman Empire decayed, so did its structure and
Morality is self governing. It is controlling what you believe, and how you interact with
other people. Without it, we’d still be wearing deerskins, throwing rocks at elk to survive.
Morality allows people to live together, it gives us a fairly common set of rules to follow. This in
turn opens up our personal resources to each other, for the advancement of society.