What is the weakness of a low morality individual?

In answer to Quora question "What is the weakness of a low morality individual?"

Thanks for the A2A Mizael Pena. In contrast to many answers here, I do not believe morality is subjective or relative. In my worldview, there are certain moral absolutes. However, as the differences between the answers so far seems to point out, there is a moral sensibility regulated by the group, which we would call "ethics," and individual morality, which is one's personal moral compass to navigate right and wrong. The latter moral compass may be influenced by culture, but is ultimately regulated by conscience, discernment and reason; whereas the former ethics are a matter of intersubjective agreement, and are regulated by social norms and expectations to conform.

So I will address your question about individual morals rather than societal ethics.

The "weakness" of an individual with a low sense of morals is that they are unable to judge right from wrong. Contrary to what some have opined - i.e. that this allows for a "flexibility" that can be favorable - this is actually a serious defect in character that will ultimately result in the either the misery of the individual, those in relationship with them, their immediate community, or ultimately larger and larger circumferences of social groups, depending on how much influence this individual can exert. The reason for this is simple: the evolution of the individual conscience into a prosocial compass was very likely (according to current evolutionary theories accounting for group selection) a way to enhance the fitness of the group in terms of survival over time. Groups that cooperate, think collectively, help each other, protect weaker or more vulnerable members and so forth have had a much higher rate of success in hostile environments and when competing with other species. We see this in modern studies of other primates as well. Individualism, as relatively modern invention, doesn't support group fitness in the same way, and is likely the result of our technological and social abstraction from the realities of basic survival, and a consequent suppression of many healthy prosocial instincts.

In this context, reactions that seem altruistic, kind, loving, forgiving, accepting, charitable, self-sacrificial and so forth make a lot of sense: they evolved to help our species survive. And as we abandon those highly successful reactions in favor of self-interest, we are likely putting homo sapiens at extreme risk for eventual extinction. More practically speaking, however, the negative impact of such "low morality" (i.e. lack of a governing conscience) is mainly a destruction of social bonds; if a person is not trustworthy, lacks integrity, consistently disregards the well-being of others and has no restraint with respect to hurting others, then they will disrupt the cohesion of every relationship in which they are even cursorily involved. And it is the acknowledgement of this destructive impact that leads society to brand such people "sociopaths" or "psychopaths" or "narcissists," because if "low morality" is consistently demonstrated, it is considered pathological and dangerous to the community.

But what causes this "weakness?" It could be many things - an abusive childhood, prolonged exposure to traumatic experiences, a mental disorder, a genetic defect, the consequence of drug or alcohol abuse, or simply extended isolation from a supportive community and a consequent sense of alienation or lack of belonging around fellow human beings. And as I mentioned, it is this last factor - isolation of the individual - that has been amplified by modern technology, a profound separation from Nature, a culture of affluence and consumerism, and ideologies that celebrate individualistic self-interest.

My 2 cents.


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