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Morality Is A Contract





This was my entry on one of the OWF topics about Morilism.


As a person who usually holds his cards pretty close to his chest, I'm going to do something uncharacteristic and speak at length about something that not only am I interested in, but have studied, observed, and discovered over the course of many years.

Morality is a contract.

It is a contract between a person and society. The details of that contract differ from culture to culture but everywhere it is an intricate balancing act between the needs of the individual human and the needs of the societal human.

The end result of what a culture regards as proper conduct is derived from a complex equation, in it which is placed a multitude of variables, such as: the preexisting values of the society involved, the context of the situation, the ramifications, what parties are involved, ect.

To understand morality as a system with definable elements, there are two concepts you have to hold simultaneously.

The first, to discover what something is you have to understand what is not. If you take a look at all the actions considered 'immoral', if you take all the great sins, and compare them, you will find a trend that runs through them all. A sin is an action that gratifies the wants of a person- at a detriment to society. It takes from the whole and gives to the one. Conversely, all great acts are sacrifices of the self for the benefit of the whole. The dichotomy of human intention is brought about by attempting to balance the demands of both in order to ensure not just survivability but prosperity.

The second concept is the web of connections one has and what degree they make up the in-group/out-group phenomenon. Every person rests in the center of his or her world, like the bull’s-eye in the middle of a dartboard. Around him or her is the group they hold the closest. The person identifies with their goals, values, philosophies, and usually has the strongest of all emotional connection to them. Radiating outward, like those rings on a dart board, is web of connections that make up the groups this person knows and has affinity for, seeing their success as tied to his own, outward to neutrality and to the extreme edges that are made up of those the person sees as working against them. To be sure, the border of these associative ranks are fuzzy indeed, but there is at least an appreciated line at which a person or group is “in” and those that are “out”.

The farther away from the various in-groups an act if perpetrated, the less immoral it becomes.

Conflict arises when people encounter others that not only have different values but different spheres of who is in the in-group and who is in the out-group.

While some hold only the closest to them as recipients of their group sacrifice, others hold a much wider radius.

To give one's self to another is an act of trust. To extend that sacrifice to the farthest extremes of the web has the greatest risk, and possibly the best payoff.

Morality is a contract of implied reciprocation. It is the gold rule. It is an extension of trust that says, "I will give, if you will return the favor. If not to me directly, then to the groups I support or even society as a whole."“

For those of you who say that morality in a game is asinine or other such things, that is simply not true. That would only be true if there weren't alliances or any cooperative nation to nation contact. Even in most pragmatic sense, people who act in accordance to their moral code consistently create honor for them selves and build trust with their allies. Honor and trust is political capital. A person or group that consistently uphold their part of the contract prove themselves to be worthy allies.

Now, why a person would even help another person at all has to do with how they perceive their success as dependant and tied to the success of the group (not to mention the good feelings that accompany it), as this is brought about by the understanding that "many hands make light work." People are a powerful resource, the more you have behind you, the greater acts you can accomplish. The more potential there is. Which is why how politically or FA adroit an alliance is always factors into one's calculation of their strength.

Moralism, to me, is a path of truth. It encapsulates human behavior and is an illumination of other's motivations. It is also a discipline. When the urges of the lower self call for fulfillment at the cost of a brother, it is will power and righteousness that fends off those demons in the night.

It requires patience, attempt at understanding, and a benevolent desire to let people speak from their hearts without the fear of retribution. It is not about control or power over others, it is about studying the very bonds that holds society together and working to create an environment where everyone can enjoy their brief sojourn on this mortal coil.

To extend a hand to those, even far removed from your own in-group, is an act that ultimately benefits the whole, even if those in their narrow viewed groups, blinded by want and fear, cannot see it. It is the investment in people, even those foreign, that will increase the wealth of the world and angle international cultural development towards a unified cause. Even if that cause is simply friendly competition and entertainment.

Now the question is this: would you prefer to be a good ally only to yourself, or maybe just a narrow scope of people, or to the whole of human kind?



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