Thursday 24 October 2013

Shift in Moral Values

Generally understood as socially accepted and ethical principles that govern the day to day living of life, moral values are losing their significance at a rather fast pace. This loss is purely of values that existed in past - it is not as if people are becoming immoral, rather the change is happening in social acceptance and understanding of what's ethical now.

There is rigidity in trying to live as society wants you to. After some time, resistance to rigidity and control become strong enough to make the society realise that a change is in order. This change is towards acceptance of new ideas, new understandings and new definitions of good / bad...ethical / unethical.

Back in the 80s, I was in IV / V standard, I remember there used to be 60 minutes (in a week) dedicated to moral studies. A teacher used to come, make one of the students to read stories from her book and in the end - try and explain the moral of the story. When I look back at this concept of 'moral studies' - the only rationale that comes to my mind is society's way to feed young minds with possible actions that were pre-approved by society.

Back in the day, probably moral studies were needed and even successful in imparting some moral sense in the young. Those were the days when kids had little to absolutely no exposure outside of school and home. That era can perfectly be described as "ignorance is bliss" - lack of exposure ensured young minds' ignorance towards ideas other than the ones fed into and parents & teachers were living a blissful life.

With each generation changing, concepts of morality and ethical have evolved. The most interesting bit is - morals and ethics are not common across any one generation now. In actuality, the acceptance of ethics and morals is now with individuals. Since I am part of this individual-based society, I am tilted in favour of how things happen now than they used to earlier. I am not saying things were getting done wrong, just that they may not be the correct actions in today's scenario.

The pressure has now shifted from society to an individual really - to live by some code. It is no longer considered a societal role to dictate morals and pass on values. Society still does that, parents and teachers still try and help, there are friends who contribute and then there is inner-voice as well - but onus entirely lies with the individual to define his / her own moral values.

Does the individualism of moral values pose a threat to society at large, well - no! All that it does is help usher in change - change the way actions are judged...change in the concept of society itself. And...change is always good!

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