To elaborate, I have a number of habits, goals and choices that I believe to be moral. The question is, how did I arrive at these, and why am I committed to them. For example:
- Am I just blindly following what I have been taught, or what familial or cultural expectations demand of me?
- Am I motivated mainly be fear, guilt, attachment to comfort, or avoidance of personal pain?
- Do I even understand why I believe in certain values? Do I have any justification for them at all?
How skillful am I? What is my level of predictive efficacy in executing my chosen course? Do outcomes from my decisions and actions align with my intentions?
My contention would be that if I am not being motivated by love and compassion — for myself, for others, and indeed for all of planet Earth and the very essence of life itself — then my “moral” framework is counterfeit. It is not really grounded in my own moral convictions and perceptions. And if I then am unable to reify compassionate outcomes in my own life, or be helpful in doing the same in the lives of those around me — and do so via means that likewise conform to these orientations — then my level of skillfulness and discernment is insufficient for me to justify my own level of morality; I am not “being a moral person” in my own eyes. These are the fundamentals of my own ethical framework.
However, these fundamentals are not dependent on what anyone else believes, or what society expects, or what the ruling elite (or anyone else in a position of power) uses to manipulate others. They issue from my own inner contemplation, intuition and insights, and it is my own rigor in holding myself accountable that matters most to me…not how I am perceived by others. In this sense, “needing to be a moral person” becomes a quality of character that itself is grounded in loving kindness.
As a final note, I just want to point out that the current “ruling elite” in the United States have a demonstrated knack for moral hypocrisy, and for an “any means justifies our ends” lack of integrity. There appears to be no basis for their moralizing than a lust for power and wealth. This is often true of anyone who holds a position of power and influence for too long, and becomes corrupted by it.
My 2 cents.
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