This week’s A Thought for Every Thursday question continues along our recent path of asking serious questions.
We’ll come back to the easy stuff eventually.
This particular question is a favorite of mine.
More than most Thought for Every Thursday questions, I really, really want your answer.
We Didn’t Ask to be Here
Since we are, none of us, responsible for our own presence in this world, meaning that none of us created ourselves or willed ourselves into existence, does that reduce any of our personal responsibility in this life?
In other words, every human alive was given life without his or her consent. We didn’t ask for this particular existence, and in fact, if given a choice, many humans might have chosen a different existence altogether.
Does not having chosen this life allow for a certain moral flexibility?
Must we accept a moral responsibility whether or not we asked for it?
And if so, why?
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Past Thought for Every Thursday entries are right here.
If you like these kinds of questions, try these on for size.
If you prefer something gentler, go here.
Until next week…
Well, there is an argument to be made that your entire Premise is wrong. If you believe our souls (or whatever word you use to describe the part of us that makes us ‘us’) are eternal, as many cultures do. Then, it is possible that we did consent to live this life, and are simply unable to remember having done so. But, I will leave that and continue under the assumption your premise is true.
I believe that each person has a personal moral compass which guides them, and that whatever moral responsibility they have is determined by that moral compass. That is, we must each decide where the lines in the sand are to be drawn and then live with our own conscience when/if we cross that line. I do not believe any one moral compass is more correct than another, in theory. There are undoubtedly things I find moral that others find immoral and vice versa. This doesn’t make me right and the other person wrong, it just means we have a difference of opinion on the subject.
That being said, in my eyes, and from my moral compass, there are certain things others can do which cross the line from simply immoral to unacceptable. People who cross these lines are to me no longer deserving of the basic respect due to other humans. The majority of people do not come anywhere near these lines, even those who I think act immorally. And I will generally try not to judge someone for what I consider an immoral act so long as their commission thereof did not cause direct harm to me or someone I love.
A thought-provoking and highly intelligent answer. Thank you, Brandon. You make the internet a better place.
I get what you’re saying, but to me “personal” or “moral” responsibility is too vague. Moral or personal responsibility to what? Or Whom? And what does that even look like? One perosn’s morals are totally different than mine. And I find most people’s so called morals really just come down to guilt.
So under the assumption that man has any actual good in him- choosing to be here or not really doesn’t matter. If someone drugs you, and you wake up in a foreign country- you didn’t choose to be there- it doesn’t give you licence to start killing folks (other than possibly the one that drugged you!)
Lots of things have happened to me that I didn’t choose or want. My choice wether to be a douche or be the best me I can be through the circumstances. That’s my thought anyway.
I guess what I’m saying is….why can’t one wake up and start killing? Other than being imprisoned or themselves killed, what’s the impetus for someone to adhere to any morality (whatever that is) at all?