Conviction. That’s what forms the foundation of our morality.
We acquire conviction as children when we intensely follow Sunday school teachings. Because mother is going to ask us what we learnt. And if we can’t relay the lessons then we risk not wearing the blue dress that for two hours makes us the envy of our little friends.
We acquire conviction when mother catches us stealing sugar and decides not to just punish us for it, but to get rid of the demon of theft altogether. So she lets us go through the torture of choosing our own disciplining apparatus. It gives us time to see the error in our ways and consequently renounce the devil.
Conviction also comes to us when something funny happens and we open our mouths so wide that our intestines can be seen. And then society clutches its invisible pearls at us because how can a girl be so uncultured as to laugh like a barbarian?
And now we are adults on moral high ground because we are confident that we know right from wrong. Naturally, that gives the authority to look down on those that aren’t as ‘wise’ as we are.
Of course, being the good people that we are, we try to redeem those poor souls. But we find that they are set in their ‘amoral’ ways. We throw our hands in the air and decide to gossip about them. Somebody neglected to tell us that gossiping is wrong.
But now if anyone has the nerve to tell us that we are doing something wrong, we call them judgmental and self-righteous. They ought to leave us to be true selves. Accept us as we are. We say this without the slightest hint of irony.
So if there is anything there is to learn about morality, it’s that it is personal and intolerant.
We are intolerant of everything and everyone that doesn’t measure up to our personal levels of morality. We are also intolerant of those who “think so highly of themselves that they have the nerve to try and change us.”
In the end we spend our lives engaging in unnecessary strife and making enemies out of people that don’t agree with us.
But realistically, your truth is only yours. You acquired it from your conviction about things. And now you feel very strongly about it.
However, just because you feel very strongly about something doesn’t mean that it is the fundamental truth and yardstick by which everyone should measure their lives.
Of course in order to acknowledge this, we would have to first acknowledge the limitations of our humanity. And God only knows just how proud we are. We are in the business of rejecting new information because surely we know best and no one can teach us anything.
This of course, doesn’t stop us from accusing other people of ignorance when they don’t see things from our point of view. We do this without the slightest hint of irony. Ah humanity.