Saturday, November 19, 2011

Morality is a disease (by Luce)

As humans, we like to pride ourselves in having morality, that it is something special that nothing else on earth has.  We can see good and bad, right and wrong, and act according to this moral sense.  This, then, exalts us above the other animals who lack the sense of morality.  I argue the opposite.  Morality is what makes humans the lowest of the animals.  Morality is an ungodly disease.

Case #1: Supposed moral authorities
Many of us let morality go to our heads.  For instance, take GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum.  They pride themselves as morally superior authorities who find it acceptable to legislate their own moral views upon everyone else, especially in cases where survival is not an issue.  Santorum has been particularly vigilant to rail against homosexuality, claiming nothing short that it is an abomination.  How does he know that it is an abomination?  He does not.  Homosexuality is not a mortally threatening practice like murder, so why does he care?  Santorum’s moral sense is to force others to follow what he personally deems to be the “right” practice, where there is no justification that what he believes is actually right.  Moral sense corrupts.

Santorum is but one in a litany of people who presuppose a morally-than-thou mentality.  Michelle Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, the Pope, most priests and pastors, most Christians, and probably your neighbor.  The issues these moral authorities care about and might even die for range from homosexuality and abortion to clothing style, parenting techniques, and eating practices.  These people want to enter your lives and make you change your beliefs and ways to suit them.

Case #2: Animal cruelty
Have you heard of teenagers putting cats and puppies in microwaves?  In 2008 in Alberta, Canada, two teenage boys broke into some home, put a cat in the microwave and cooked it to death.  They listened to the cat’s screams for 10 minutes till the cat died.  These boys found pleasure in such an act.

Have you heard of animal poaching where humans find rhinos and elephants for their horns and tusks?  These people rip the horns and tusks right off the animals and leave the animal alive to die an agonizing death.  I’d include a picture, but it turns my stomach so.  Humans see “value” in those materials.  They pay handsome sums for them, and thus, people search out these treasures.
Would a cat put a human in an oven and cook the human for fun?  Would a rhino find a human and pull off its arms to sell?  No.  Such animals would never even think of such things.  They cannot.  We call them “brutes” because they cannot have such thoughts, but to be a brute appears to be a lot better than these creatures who have this moral sense.  We use the term “brute” as a pejorative term; I rather find it a compliment.  Moral sense is a disease.

Case #3: The history of humankind
Have you pondered the history of human “civilization?”  We call it “civilization,” but it is nothing of the sort.  To be “civil,” is to be respectful, well-behaved, and kind.  Human history is nothing but a continual assortment of wars, conflict, and domination.  The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, British, French, Germans, and Americans (to name a few), all “progressed” through war and colonization.  We celebrate Thanksgiving without understanding that we raped, pillaged, and killed many of the Native Americans.  But that is how humankind operates.  We left England because of Morality.  We dominated the Native Americans because of Morality.  All war is based on Morality, or rather a difference in Moralities.

We, as humans, don’t know how to live peacefully with one another.  Moral sense corrupts and disrupts.  Many today still look at someone else’s skin color and deem the person morally inferior.

I know that some of you will say that many people are still “good” (though I don’t know how that would apply to the macro view of our history).  Yes, there are many who abuse this moral sense, but there are many who are responsible.  I ask, is it worth it?  I say that we do not know how to control this disease and it has spread in all of its vile ways.  It has done way more harm than good.  Are you blameless so far in your life?  Have you ever committed some act of cruelty or made someone feel bad because of some triviality?  If so, the world would have been better without you having moral sense at all.  All your good will never make up for even the tiniest act of cruelty.  Humanity was not ready to handle the burden of moral sense.  Our disease is consuming us.

My pillars: Mark Twain, Dostoevsky, Schopenhauer.


  1. you've done nothing to support your notion that morals are bad

    you've just said that some people suck at morals


  2. girl, maybe you're trying to be ironic in flippantly rejecting the supports given in the argument by saying there are no supports. I don't know if you misunderstand what "support" means and how the poster is using support, but why don't you engage the argument instead of being simply dismissive.

  3. Last commenter here, I should add, girl, for clarity that the irony is that you offer no support for your dismissiveness. If anything, your comment is what's boring.

  4. Do you realize that you would have no argument without the very thing you are calling evil, or bad, or "diseasish" if that's even a word. It's like saying language is unnecessary, the irony being, you need language to say that. If you had no morals or morality you would not care, thus have no argument. But, you do, so you do have an argument. I find your whole post kind of funny because of this.

  5. I never said that I was immune from morality myself! My goodness people. It must be so hard to break out of your thinking and love of morality. My conclusion, and one I believe is well supported in the very least by case #3, is that the world would rest in better harmony without beings running around with this morality-thing in their heads than if they lacked it. We disrupt nature's balance.

    1. Immorality disrupts nature's balance, you liar.

  6. Morality is directly tied to knowledge. If you get rid or one you get rid of the other. Having a bow to hunt with is good. Without the "good" there would be no bow. A knife is good for carving meat. Again without the "good" no knife. So what your really asking is would nature be better off without humans? Well since nature has doesn't think, thus has no sense of good or better. It is an irrelevant question. How can the world rest in "better" harmony if better is gotten rid of?

  7. Funny how you mention Schopenhauer as a support..because you question the value of morality altogether, and that sounds pretty Nietzchian to me. Nietzsche basically came to the conclusion as well that morality was a disease, but I think for different reasons than you've stated.

    If I remember correctly, Schopenhauer believed that compassion was the root of all morality, so I would say people who mercilessly torture and abuse animals for whatever reasons, don't have any sense of compassion for these living, feeling creatures, and are thus simply without morals whatsoever, given Schopenhauer's sense of morality. Thus, having this compassion-driven sense of morality would actually stop people from harming animals, therefore it wouldn't be the "disease" you claim it to be.

    So while I agree with your point about animals practically having better morals than humans (since they don't torture/kill other animals for fun and whatnot like us humans do), I'm not sure how well it really supports your argument that morality is a disease. Just because you look at animals and don't see them doing some of the horrific things humans do does not mean that it is humans' sense of morality that somehow makes way for our destructive behavior. Humans have the ability to reason in order to appease a passionate will, while animals can only act instinctively when it comes to appeasing their will (which is mostly made up of natural drives to reproduce, eat, etc..). So humans can fulfill their complex desires (however destructive and wicked they may be) to a greater extent than animals can fulfill their simple desires, because of our ability to reason.

    So overall I think the argument can be made that morality is a disease... but your reasoning for it kind of doesn't make sense, because your whole post is about people basically acting immoral which says you obviously hold morals of your own. So you still must value morality to an extent (like what Anon 5:14 was saying).

    The fact is, it's not the morality in our heads that causes us to malfunction, it's more about the complexity of our brains. We are capable of fulfilling all kinds of unhealthy, complex passions through our unique ability to reason, yet we are also capable of compassion which grounds our morals (according to Schopenhauer at least). So, we get confused, and if we lack compassion, we lack morality. And if we just try to use morality as a tool of power or something, well that's just being immoral and actively "reasoning" a way to fulfill the desire for power. I think it was Schopenhauer that said reason is the tool of the passionate will... and Nietzsche said we were all driven by the will to power.... so yeah. Combine the two, and guess what?

  8. I listed Schopenhauer as a pillar. I did not claim that I was a Schopenhauer-ite. What I like about Schopenhauer is his views on suffering and his sentiment on the "vanity of existence." I will agree that if everyone truly embodied compassion, that my outlook would be different. So I am clarifying my argument to be a practical argument.

    Think of my argument as one not on the inherent nature of morality, which all of you seem to be taking - rather think of it as an argument to the inevitable practice of morality. Inevitably, everyone will commit some act of cruelty. We've even witnessed such acts on this blog. And in one person's life, one act of cruelty performed by that person counts against the entire lifetime of the person, no matter how much good that person does. The act of cruelty becomes an indelible mark on the person's existence. Pain and suffering trump pleasure and good feelings any day (a la Schopenhauer).

    Contrary to others here who keep saying that I am only pointing out that some are immoral, I claim that all are immoral because we all commit some kind of cruelty. Necessary? No. Inevitable? Yes. We are human after all.

    Of course, I am using morality to make my argument. Why is this so bothersome? We make arguments criticizing reason all the time without thinking there is some gross reflexive problem going on. There is nothing wrong with what I am doing. And to clarify again, I am not using morality to question the "inherent" nature of morality, but our inevitable practice of morality. (and I admit that this is a clarification I should have made in my initial post for I fear this is now causing confusion)

    Let me ask you this simple question: have humans made this world better or worse? Practically-speaking, I cannot see how you can say anything other than that we have made the world worse. How many wars will it take to convince one that we have fucked ourselves? In my mind, if there is a God, that God should wipe us out and start over. We squandered our ability. It made us ill. Terminally ill. And if there is a version of us that can attain the unfathomable ideal of perfect compassion (if we are to take Schopenhauer like you suggest), then that version should take over.

  9. The world is a better for humans because of humans. I guess you could say that it's worse for everything that is not human. Thank your fellow human when your in your nice warm soft bed tonight instead of being out in th freezing cold.

    Is it better "morally speaking" that's more complicated. Morals change with the times. So I'd say that there is no definitive answer. I'd probably say morally speaking, regardless of the bad I'd say it's better. One cruel deed doesn't get rid of all the good. I guess it depends on the severity of the cruel deed. I value good over bad. Is it not morally good to forgive? I won't deny that our ability to do bad has surpassed our ability to do good. We can level a city in seconds with a bomb, but we can't rebuild it in seconds. It's harder to be morally good than morally bad. On the other hand we have cured a lot of diseases, and gotten rather good at keeping people alive. So it's more or less a matter of opinion. Do good deeds supersede bad deeds or is it the other way around?

  10. Actually, I think your argument would be better suited to be a critique against reason. Reason, I believe like Schoepenhauer would say, is what drives our ideals of morality and what drives us to do such mad things that no non-reasoning being could ever do. Reason has always been humans' claim to being superior beings when really all it does is make us cleverer in satisfying our will to live. Reason is a disease that we just can't seem to master.

  11. Ok... Now I'm really confused. Why is morality a disease again? I mean, it's obvious that we are inevitably going to act "immoral" at some point in time. So, by saying morality is a disease, would that not be to discredit anything as "good" or "bad", and thus, just do as we please with no remorse or conscience of which (as animals do)?
    So basically, I don't get your point, Original Poster. I don't understand your argument, really....
    And your question, "have humans made this world better or worse?", is not really a relevant question, because to answer it, you need to obtain some kind of moral grounding (which is impossible, or disease-like, whichever you want to say). So, no one can say whether humans have made the world "better" or "worse" than it would have been if we never evolved or something... unfortunately, we came into existence via a natural process of evolution... so, that in itself just happened. And humans did not make the world "better" or "worse"... they just made it.
    And 11:12... I agree with you. Unfortunately, we are humans that have both reason and passion to deal with. If we just had passion and no reason (like we could say animals do), we wouldn't be able to use reason to get around the "obstacles" we encounter when it comes to fulfilling our passionate will. Then again, these "obstacles" themselves include morality, which we can say is either a spawn of reason or a spawn of compassion (and if it's the latter - what drives compassion? Reason?).
    I dunno. This post pretty much is too emotional and not as logical as it could have been given what was being argued.

  12. "Last commenter here, I should add, girl, for clarity that the irony is that you offer no support for your dismissiveness. If anything, your comment is what's boring."

    it was a 20-word comment, so yeah. I offer no support for my dismissiveness because I feel that the onus is on the person who has written hundreds of words in purported support of an obviously-overreaching claim. maybe you're right, though; maybe the onus lies with every single person who happens to observe the original argument's lack of foundation?


  13. You are lumping what cannot be lumped into a singular category. Morals differ from person to person and ultimately everyone has their own code they follow. I see what you are trying to say though I think you are trying to target a specific line of morality as the idea of "morals" is subjective.

  14. Whoever claimed that morality as being a disease is a big fat liar. Morality is IMPORTANT!! If you think that morality is a disease, then how about I do immoral things to you.