One of the most important things in life is having a sense of morality. But what is it, exactly?
While there can be endless debate on this topic, a few professionals have weighed in on why morality is so important.
Here are their insights:
Derek A. Colvin
Attorney, The Law Dept
Morality is the key to peace and success
Ironically, people often disagree about what is morally right or wrong. Morality is a simple concept — doing the right thing for the right reason.
This means treating people equally and being fair and even-handed in life and business. An easy mantra to live by. In my profession, morality is not always a highlighted attribute to the public.
There are thousands of lawyer jokes that illustrate this point. This, too, is somewhat ironic. The United States is a nation of laws forged by concepts of morality, and within the legal community, there is nothing more important than honesty and integrity.
It can lead to good lawyering and can create a positive culture
Good lawyers recognize that zealous advocacy does not require a compromise of moral principles. There is always a line that should not be crossed.
Strong legal advocates protect their clients from the good, the bad, and the ugly without sacrificing values. This approach leads to good lawyering and can create a positive culture in all avenues of business and life.
Good culture is created because morality is infectious
Strong values at the top of any structure establish a foundation for long-term success.
- Parents can create good humans when they demonstrate and instill morality in their children.
- Community leaders can make their communities safer.
- Business leaders can create a culture that fosters happiness and operational excellence.
Strong moral principles should serve as a guide to both personal and professional success. I strive every day to become a better husband, a better father, a better lawyer, and a better human to others.
Some days I do better than others, but I always try to demonstrate morality by doing the right things for the right reasons.
Teacher | Digital Marketer | Associate Producer, Tats Talks
Morality is a term that’s become blurry with time. As society and culture were developing, morality seemed to be the basis for which people lived. Do the right thing, help, care for others, and be the best person you can be.
As time evolved, priorities shifted. Money became dominant, sexuality public, and supporting others a personal choice, often when in your best interests. That doesn’t conclude that morality has lost its value.
There’s nobody more important to you than you. Living a moral and quality life will only prolong life and quality. Doing the right thing for yourself will make you feel good about yourself.
It can influence youth’s decisions
Morality is also essential for society. We influence our youth whether we agree or disagree, so why be the person to teach them wrong? Wrong is discretionary, but the basics society can agree on, as can the law.
It has lasting effects on everybody
Lastly, why not be what you want to see in the world? Honesty and a strong value system make the world enjoyable for all. Why not participate? Being moral has lasting effects on everybody. Let’s keep that effect positive.
Legal Specialist, Adamson Ahdoot LLP
It’s tough to win back people’s trust when you’ve lied to them
That’s why morality matters. People fundamentally expect other people to be honest with them. Honesty is the line between right and wrong. When they discover someone hasn’t been honest, it ruins their perception of them.
We saw one example of that eight years ago in California. Stephen Glass, a former journalist who disgraced himself nearly 25 years ago while a writer/editor at The New Republic, tried and failed to attain a license to practice law in this state.
He was denied because of what he did as a journalist in Washington D.C., which was fabricating stories. He created fictitious people doing fictitious things at mythical places and events — and passed it all as fact.
The scandal was explosive. It made national news and spawned several in-depth stories, one of which became the basis for a Hollywood movie. One could argue that the Glass controversy was even more egregious than what Jayson Blair did at the New York Times a few years later.
Glass retreated from public view for a while (although he tried to cash in on his notoriety by publishing a book, a work of fiction inspired by his own life as a journalist). He finished law school, moved to California, and worked as a paralegal.
To his credit, Glass has tried to atone for his previous indiscretions. He reportedly paid back the outlets which paid him for stories, which he now admits were fabricated.
He has made apologies to those he hurt. Despite that, the California Supreme Court unanimously voted against him in his pursuit of a law license. In its ruling, the high court stated, in part, that Glass “has not sustained his heavy burden of rehabilitation.”
If there is ever an example of how difficult it is to win back the respect of people after you’ve lied to them, look no further than Stephen Glass.
Real Estate Investor | Architect of Acquisitions & Founder, Best Texas House Buyers
I learned about morality from my father. When he was young, he was afflicted with polio and grew up physically handicapped. I never got to play ball, wrestle, or run around the park with him.
He couldn’t teach me how to ride a bicycle or shoot a basket. He lived a life where he couldn’t do these things himself. From that, I learned the world is an unfair place.
It is our code that we live
Morality is crucial because it is our code that we live by, and how we see them ultimately interacts with the world. Without morality, I could be bitter and angry, having missed out on the idyllic childhood seen in every sitcom.
But because I did care about morality and was taught how to reframe life lessons, I believe the following. The world is unfair; therefore, we must raise each other.
You can make the world a better place
In other words, the world is unfair, but if you have it in your power to make it a little bit better for another human being, it is your moral duty to do so.
You have that chance every time you interact with people.
- When it is your time to hire someone, do so at a fair wage.
- When it is your time to screen for a tenant, do so with a fair process and charge a fair rent.
- When it comes time to pay for services, do so with appropriate compensation for work well done.
- If someone is in need and you have the funds, then donate to their cause.
We see the world now as it was affected by the pandemic, where communities were separated and weakened. We see spikes in mental health crisis cases because the world is a hard place to live in, and being human is complicated.
It means taking the hard path and doing what is right for others and ourselves
Morality is simply doing the right thing. The right thing lifts people and improves their life. It is never wrong to err on the side of kindness. We can give others the benefit of the doubt, a smile, and when possible, a helping hand.
It can shape a person’s life in a good way
My father would not have been able to grow up without his siblings carrying his books home from school. I couldn’t have grown up without my father’s lessons and my mother’s strength of character.
The world was unfair to them very often. But at the end of the day, they did their best to always do the right thing. They raised me to do the same, and it has shaped my entire life.
Head of Growth, Instrumentl
It helps to regulate our behavior as individuals
Just as laws regulate our behavior in society, morality helps to regulate our behavior as individuals. Morality is a set of principles that directs our behavior and teaches us to distinguish between right and wrong.
It can help us make better decisions
One crucial reason for having a strong sense of morality is that it can help us make better decisions. Knowing what is right and wrong increases our likelihood of making decisions that are consistent with our values.
A more contented and satisfying existence may result from this.
It can make us better individuals
Having a strong sense of morality can also make us better individuals. We are less likely to lie, cheat, or steal if we know that doing so is morally wrong. We may also be more likely to help others in need because we know it is the right thing to do.
It can help us to build better relationships with others
Finally, a strong sense of morality can help us to build better relationships with others. If we act in moral ways, we are more likely to gain the trust and respect of those around us.
People with a strong sense of morality are usually seen as more reliable and trustworthy than those who do not.
Business Development Manager, Patriot Coolers
It serves as our guiding star
Without morality, we are adrift in a sea of meaningless decisions. Our morals and ethics are like the stars by which we steer our ship. And our destination is our true selves.
In our lives, we are faced with an unending series of choices:
- What do we do?
- How do we behave?
- What actions do we take toward others?
Without morality, our choices alone can be guided by one impulse: serving ourselves. When we live this way, we can have no meaningful relationships, no true connections with other people. A life without morality is a very lonely life.
Being true to your morality is a key to being true to yourself
Some people base their morality on a religious tradition or organization. This often serves people quite well, as it gives them moral guidelines and a community that shares the same morality.
However, every person is ultimately responsible for their own morality. This is important to remember because some encounter moral positions within their religious community that they disagree with.
A religious group may accept you being a member with some opposing views, or they may remove you from the community. Either way, being true to your personal morality is a key to being true to yourself.
It is the central tenet
Regardless of how one’s sense of morality differs from others, just about any moral code shares some version of the following: treat others how you would like to be treated.
In a sense, this is the central tenet of morality. It suggests that we should treat others with kindness and respect.
What makes it a moral code, and not just a self-serving behavior, is that we don’t do it just because we want to be treated well; we do it because we believe it is right to treat others well. This is a good foundation for building a more individualistic sense of morality.
Consultant & Writer, Seniorstrong
It brings organization, order, and peace to society
Morality is vital in civilization to bring organization, order, and peace to society. Many of our laws are based on moral codes. A moral foundation is essential for leading a purposeful existence with dignity.
It enables us to uphold the law
Morality is crucial because it enables you to uphold the law. It allows you to treat other people with decency and respect. The ability to care for others is facilitated by moral principles.
Trust is the ability to put our faith in the moral character of another person. Empathy and feeling for others came from learning values and morals. Moral principles make sure we respect ourselves and one another.
Shared moral principles serve to create a sense of community. They teach humility and honesty. If you give it a deeper thought, your conscience is led by your moral teachings. You are encouraged to do good because of your moral principles.
They guide you through life and give you purpose
Furthermore, strong moral ideals are the starting point for many other excellent things. One could argue that having a strong moral code is necessary for living a happy life which is true to some extent.
Moral principles make you desire a problem-free, peaceful life. They serve as a guide that aids in our decision-making.
CEO, Hello Music Theory
Morality is indispensable to leading a happy, wholesome life. Morality is something that we acquire over time. Moral values vary from person to person depending on the style of upbringing, ideals, and the society one lives in.
The importance of morality can be summed up as follows:
A great portion of life decisions is guided by morality
Morality is our guiding light steering us through ups and downs, highs and lows. A major set of making life decisions relies on our moral stance.
Morality reflects the individual character and thought process
Morality shapes our thoughts and enriches our character. It also smoothens our sharp temperaments (if any) towards myriads of things and makes us balanced, poised, and neutral.
Surviving this world without moral values will be synonymous with living a half-life
No one can claim to be completely devoid of morality. If someone does so, they miss out on an essential aspect of life. Our moral perspective governs us. Morality plays a vital role in human life, from being guided about what is right and wrong to help us make crucial life decisions.
Our morality is our torch bearer
Morality lights our path and pilots our way. It is our torch bearer without which we would be plunged into confusion and utter moral dilemma. Our values help us stand out from the crowd by counseling us to be wide, kind, and brave. Our total perception is pretty much the deciding factor of our humanity.
Founder, The Karate Blog
It promotes good relationships which is the footing for unity in any society
Moral principles encapsulate honesty, fairness, and equality. Honesty as a quality is the foundation for trust in which relationships flourish. Healthy communications are also promoted in the presence of truthfulness, making misunderstanding easy to tackle.
Conflicts are easily resolved, and the mutual exchange of respect becomes common when integrity is made a norm.
On the other hand, fairness and equality prevent impartiality, which is the major source of conflict in any society. People learn to treat one another in a right and acceptable way that makes for peace and unity.
Morality builds nobility
By molding and modifying the human character and affecting choices to produce the desired response, moral principles help individuals demonstrate befitting behaviors that are “honorable” and worthy of admiration.
Traits of wisdom, courage, integrity, kindness, and selflessness become ingrained in individuals who submit themselves to the modifying power of morality. These individuals are not just held in high esteem by people around them but become a living standard that inspires and encourages others to live right.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the sources of morality?
• Religion: Many people derive moral values from religious teachings, scriptures, and traditions. These provide guidelines for what is considered right and wrong.
• Philosophy: Philosophers have developed various ethical theories to help understand and explain morality. These theories, such as utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics, offer frameworks for making moral decisions.
• Culture: Cultural norms and values play a significant role in shaping our moral beliefs. Different societies have distinct moral codes based on history, beliefs, and traditions.
• Personal experiences: Our experiences, upbringing, and environment can influence our moral values. As we encounter different situations and people, we may refine or change our moral beliefs.
• Empathy and compassion: Humans possess an innate ability to empathize and feel compassion for others, which can guide our moral actions.
• Social contract: Morality can also be seen as an agreement between individuals in a society to uphold certain rules and norms to maintain social order and cooperation.
Are moral values objective or subjective?
The question of whether moral values are objective or subjective is a longstanding debate in ethics. Here are two perspectives:
• Objective morality: This view asserts that there are universal moral principles that are true regardless of personal opinions or cultural differences. Proponents of this perspective argue that moral values can be discovered through reason, logic, or divine sources.
• Subjective morality: This perspective holds that moral values are based on individual or cultural preferences, meaning there are no universally valid moral principles. Proponents of subjective morality believe that moral values may vary from person to person or from one culture to another.
Can morality evolve over time, and if so, how?
Yes, morality can evolve over time. This can occur through various processes, such as:
• Changes in cultural norms: As societies change, so do their moral values. For example, the abolition of slavery and the civil rights movement have led to more inclusive and equitable moral beliefs.
• Advancements in knowledge: Scientific and philosophical discoveries can influence our understanding of morality, leading to more informed and nuanced ethical perspectives.
• Exposure to different cultures: Interaction with diverse cultures can broaden our moral horizons, allowing us to learn from others and adapt our beliefs.
• Personal growth: Individuals can experience shifts in their moral values as they encounter new experiences and challenges.
Is it possible for individuals to have conflicting moral values?
Yes, individuals can have conflicting moral values. This can arise from:
• Differences in cultural or religious backgrounds.
• Disagreements on ethical theories or principles.
• Personal experiences that shape unique moral perspectives.
Conflicting moral values can lead to ethical dilemmas, where individuals must weigh competing considerations to make a decision.
Can animals exhibit moral behavior?
While the concept of morality is often associated with humans, some animals have been observed to exhibit behaviors that could be considered moral, such as:
• Altruism: Helping or protecting others without expecting any benefit in return.
• Empathy: Recognizing and responding to the emotions of others.
• Fairness: Sharing resources or adhering to social norms.
However, whether these behaviors are evidence of true moral understanding or simply instinctual actions is still a topic of debate among scientists and ethicists.
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