As you can see, I’m diving into the deep end this month. I’m fascinated with how much of reality is created, rather than objective, and I believe this gives us vast freedom to create the life we want. We discussed this a little in last week’s post, but I want to address how this idea works with different topics.
To Recap: Most of how we experience reality is subjective and something created by our thoughts about a neutral event (a fact). In other words, we form opinions about the facts in our lives that determine how we narrate our story and what we create in the world. This is why, for example, some people see the world as a nasty place full of evil and others see it as a wonderful place full of healing and kindness. Neither view is right or wrong—they are both interpretations. The trick is choosing the interpretation that is most beneficial for you and those around you.
How does this apply to morals? I do not believe morals are objectively determined. They are based on evolution, how we feel, and cultural or religious values. How do we know morals are subjective? Because many religions espouse different morals (this varies VASTLY even within a religion, such as nondenominational Christianity, where one individual will say gay marriage is a sin while another will say it is a blessing, both pointing to the same Bible for evidence).
One religion might say sex before marriage is sinful. Another will say certain words are harmful and should never be spoken. Others say drinking is bad, gambling is bad, kissing before marriage is bad, and that you should never steal.
Likewise some religions will say sex before marriage is a-okay as long as you respect yourself and the other person, that swear words are fine, that drinking and even getting drunk is okay, that gambling is cool, kissing while dating is absolutely fine, and female religious leaders are valuable.
And then there are the more universal morals: love yourself, love each other, do no harm, take care of your environment, do not murder, do not torment, do not be cruel.
Once you recognize the vast difference in morals, you realize that people groups are selecting morals they think will be helpful to themselves and others. The problem is when any one group tries to tell you these morals are intrinsic or push them on you. Don’t believe them. Instead, recognize that people use morals to create a world they want to live in. They are using them to create reality, and you can, too.
The trick is for you to look over the morals and pick (or create!) your own. Maybe you decide speaking swear words does no harm to you or others but you sense that stealing from others isn’t the reality you want to create. You can pick your own morals—the ones that allow you to lead your best life and benefit others (can you pick up which morals are important to me yet?).
Now, that being said, there are consequences at times for breaking morals humanity (or large people groups) as a whole have decided to create. Such as the moral code that states that if you murder, you’ll go to prison for life. And, to be fair, I WANT to live in a group that has collectively decided to categorize murder as “wrong.” While I doubt moral codes are objective (murder probably wasn’t useful for evolutionary/survival purposes and certainly doesn’t make us feel good), there are a few big ones that span the world over, and I can’t conclusively state whether these are intrinsic or created. So don’t tear my head off. I don’t know everything, and while I can’t speak fully to the larger moral codes, take this post to apply to the “smaller” moral codes (swear words, when to have sex, when and how hard to party, etc.).
What I want this post to do is to open your awareness to how much of reality (even things like “right” and “wrong”) we create. And then to re-evaluate things you may have taken for granted to see if they still make sense for your life. For example, I was raised to think swear words bad but now I often use them in casual conversation or to express emotion. My personal choice has been not to use swear words to demean other people or to shout at them, because of the collective meaning we have created for those words, which give them a certain amount of negatively-charged power.
This is a lot, and I’m sure you have many thoughts and questions, and maybe you’re feeling some emotions in response to this post. I know this topic can be a little more controversial than most of what I post here, but this is an important concept for being aware of the type of life and world we choose to create.
What are your thoughts? Questions? Insights? Are there some moral codes you’ve felt like you “have” to follow that you can now release some anxiety over? Are there moral codes you’ve applied to your own worth that you can alter (“I’m a bad person for having sex before marriage” vs. “I can decide it’s okay to have sex before marriage within my own life and believe I am a good person.”) Are there certain moral codes you’ve wanted to implement but you felt silly or ridiculed for them? Share your experiences and thoughts below! And, as always, have a wonderful day!