Ethics for Modern Life: Opinion Essay

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When we navigate the world around us, we use our morals as an internal compass that compels us to choose between the things that are unobtainable, and at the same time, our morals tell us the choices that would be beneficial for the majority. However, some of us waver from following our own conscience and choosing between choices based on what gives us instant pleasure, albeit its consequences harm the people surrounding us and, the worst case, is that it causes long-term harm to us.

Although it’s true that all of us are driven by our morals, we also need to examine why some people waver in choosing what their morals tell them. All our lives we are often pressured by people surrounding us to choose what’s best for us, not knowing that sometimes it’s actually these people who are already choosing our choices on behalf of the person being affected by the choice itself. For example, when students are forced to take a course that their parents want to, overriding the students’ interests, inspirations, and dreams. These happen when a person’s relationship with other people (i.e. students’ relationship with parents or family, government, etc.) allows them to invoke moral superiority over that person. Why do they invoke moral superiority? It might be because these are the people who raised you, who gave you the skills and ability to live and navigate in this sometimes cruel world. They can override your choices as a form of return for the services they have given you. At face value, these things sometimes sound justified. However, people need to understand that first, these people using moral superiority invoke them on people they are superior to based only on their responsibility to them (i.e. It’s the parent’s responsibility to raise their children). Just because these people performed these responsibilities perfectly does not mean that they have the right to override their children’s decisions. Why? Because it was their parents’ decision to bring their children into this world, to satisfy their parental instincts, and their role is to honor their decision and make sure that their children live a life spared from pain and live as comfortably as possible and discipline them if needed if that’s what it takes to make them avoid any harm. It was never the children’s decision to be brought forth in this world. With that logic, the child never had any debt owed to the parents which makes them morally superior to the child and dictates its every move. A child who is often dictated with their every move up to his/her adulthood will build frustration all throughout the years as to why he/she was never given a chance to make his/her own decisions, and that built-up frustration will increase the likelihood of rebellion that would cause him/her to make poor choices in the future.

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To avoid this from happening, what a parent should do is GUIDE their children, explain to them the meaning of their experiences if they aren’t mature enough to define it themselves, and allow them to process their experiences up to their core so that it will build their character in a way that gives self-satisfaction whether or not the experience was pleasurable. It’s okay to sometimes let a child fall and be in pain as long as the child has their parents’ shoulder to cry on. When a child is able to fully absorb their experiences to their will, mind, and spirit, with the guidance of the parents, that is the time when their character is able to develop and most possibly be more morally guided in the future; when he is thankful for the wonderful life his parents gave him and becomes more compelled to make the lives of other people be a bit brighter. This the child grows up un-constrained and is free to choose different paths depending on how he took his experiences with guidance.

However, morals are not that simple, sometimes there are seemingly morally correct choices that are sometimes not possible to coexist. For example, there was a guide question during the report asking about who we should choose to spare between a mother giving birth and her child. Us, if we put ourselves in the shoes of the immediate relatives of those people, we would be distraught and not know what to choose. That’s why we would somehow view this situation in the eyes of the mother. If that’s the case then it will be a very wise decision to choose to live. Why? First, it is because a child living in a world without a mother is a very painful life, imagining the child filled with jealousy and emptiness all throughout the child’s life is certainly not a life worth living, the husband would be very busy trying to provide for his children and probably would not have the time for his children. Second, in the event that the child’s life is chosen over the mother’s, it would be a selfish choice on the mother’s behalf, why? Because then it will only be a fulfillment of the mother’s maternal instincts to have a child and maybe that would make the mother happy, but the child will be left to face the consequences of not having a mother. The child will never have the companion of his/her biological mother in facing the challenges in this cruel world. Third, it is always a possibility that in the future the child will constantly blame him/herself for the death of his/her mother. That constant wrenching and crippling thought eating at the back of the child’s mind will cause him/her pain all throughout his/her life because he/she was put in a situation without the choice of whether or not he/she wanted to be there in the first place. For us, a parent’s role is to always, first and foremost, spare our children from the pain that this world gives them, especially if that pain is useless in honing their character for the better. We would rather face the pain of losing a child rather than fulfilling our selfish parental instincts while the child faces the world in pain. We get that people’s lives are not ours to take, but if compelled to do so, let’s choose the path of lesser pain.

Morals do not stay to become only individualistic in nature but also evolve into ethics which becomes a set of rules that a society of similar perspective follows. Say, in the scientific world, it is highly unethical to forge data and plagiarize. However, ethics also evolve over time and is not always the basis of what is considered absolutely correct. For example, in the US around the 1900s slavery was considered okay and in the 1500s burning of people, especially those who are accused of witchcraft that caused civilian discomfort, was considered acceptable. All of these things are now abhorred in modern society because our ethics have changed.

Because of the existence of our ethics, we may be led to believe that what our ethics says will always be the correct choice especially when presented with a situation where we are torn between what’s morally right versus what’s ethically acceptable. These situations may not be that common but one way or the other, we have already faced or we will have to face such a tough choice. However, no one can really say what the right thing to do in these situations is. Our morals may dictate something ethically wrong or our society’s ethics may dictate something we consider as morally incorrect. Nevertheless, we must always bear in mind that our morals are sometimes biased towards our own personal safety or gain while our ethics are only a social construct based on what our current society believes in. This may or may not be true all the time. So the choice is still in us, that’s the power of free will after

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Ethics for Modern Life: Opinion Essay. (2023, July 20). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 25, 2024, from
“Ethics for Modern Life: Opinion Essay.” Edubirdie, 20 Jul. 2023,
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