"Moral Obligation"

in dropintheocean •  2 months ago

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I'm not real fond of the negative connotations associated with the word, 'obligation'. To me, it elicits a loss of freedom on some realm.

That said, I've learned so much from the other DITO topics that I wouldn't normally choose as a writing assignment and perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised by this one as well!

The definition according to the Collins Dictionary:

  1. an obligating or being obligated

  2. a binding contract, promise, moral responsibility, etc.

  3. a duty imposed legally or socially; thing that one is bound to do by contract, promise, moral responsibility, etc.

  4. the binding power of a contract, promise, etc.

  5. a. the condition or fact of being indebted to another for a favor or service received b. a favor or service

  6. Law
    a. an agreement or duty by which one person (the obligor) is legally bound to make payment or perform services for the benefit of another (the obligee)
    b. the bond, contract, or other document setting forth the terms of this agreement

Source

I can get behind the notion of 'moral obligation' because this more closely resembles my current state of mind in my own life.

I put moral obligation in the category of 'obligation' because there are some things that affect the whole of society and future generations. Therefore I find things that fall under this heading carrying a particular importance and should activate our moral navigation systems.

One that I find particularly important is the environment. I think we have a 'moral obligation' to be responsible stewards.

Another one I find particularly important is how the use of toxic chemicals and procedures severely degrade health and genetic viability of both humans and animals and plant-life. It is a moral obligation to me to push against such actions that do great harm - therefore, I also don't participate in the use or support of these practices.

I feel it is also a strong moral obligation to be the voice for the voiceless as well. Those that slip through the cracks of society or have been harmed by our current society/judicial system.

Moral obligations are not bound by contract nor do they have any binding effect - they are based on principle and ethics accumulated with a great deal of observation and study as well as compassion and moral decency to preserve life and humanity/future generations. So in this sense, it is almost a moral obligation to educate ourselves on issues that affect our world/society, too.

“Not until the creation and maintenance of decent conditions of life for all people are recognized and accepted as a common obligation of all people and all countries - not until then shall we, with a certain degree of justification, be able to speak of humankind as civilized.”
― Albert Einstein

Further, Immanuel Kant's “Categorical Imperative” gives some meaningful philosophical discussion on the topic of moral obligation.

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The Imperative states that a deed is a moral imperative if its universal application would be positive for society (or if its universal opposite has negative effects for society). Source

In this case:

“If everyone tried to learn, that would give society moral knowledge, which would be productive and make people happier. Therefore, learning should be morally obligatory.”

“If nobody tried to learn, that would ensure social stagnation and a decline in society, making everyone unproductive and unhappy. Therefore, learning should be morally obligatory.”

In Kant's "The Humanity Formula":

This formulation states that we should never act in such a way that we treat humanity, whether in ourselves or in others, as a means only but always as an end in itself. This is often seen as introducing the idea of “respect” for persons, for whatever it is that is essential to our humanity.

“It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.”
― Albert Einstein

How about you? Do you have some personal moral obligations that you feel are important?

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This was a fascinating and thoughtful post - and it really has me thinking. As a race, we humans seem to have perfected shirking many a moral obligation whilst suffering very few pangs of guild. I know this is a huge generalisation, but I bet that not one of hasn't thought "that's someone else's problem" at one time or another. I often find myself wondering who this mythical someone else is.

I agree with one of your other comments- you do have to choose your battles- you can get bogged down by the weight of moral obligation. But I also think it's key that each of us plays our part in these issues which are larger than ourselves. I support a charity which focuses on rehabilitating prisoners. The system is set up in such a way that they are caught in a tight spiral of decline once they've entered the justice system- making it a drain on themselves and society. It's wonderful what they are achieving, and what the people they are helping are giving to their communities. Truly inspiring.

The other thing, closer to home, is working towards using as little plastic as possible. A daily battle these days, but one so well worth the fight- for all of us.

E x

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What a thought-provoking and interesting response, @eveningart

In the sharing capacity, educating others, I have found when I share too much I lose people (some people, probably the people that need to know the most) so I drop seeds laced with cute That's my recipe LOL Personally, I'm into a vast amount of truths and I do extensive researching on all the topics that plague our society. There are a few that I feel are at the top of the list only because once we go down that path far enough, it could have devastating consequences. Like genetic manipulation and environmental factors that 'mutate genes'.

Yes, definitely plastics are a problem but the interesting thing is 'hemp' could very easily be utilized in so many materials (even plastic like materials) that also biodegrades. Building materials can also be made from hemp (there are structures in Europe that are still standing that were made with hemp after 500 years) and it has other positives like mold resistant, fire-resistant, pest resistant, anti-bacterial. It would also boost the economies of many countries. However, it is not 'petroleum based' sooooo There are so many environmental solutions even enzymes to break down the plastics in the oceans, fungi to clean the air, water, soil of chemicals and radioactive waste.

So many things we could be doing and should be doing.

I think that most of what we see in the world are symptoms of shirking ;) Symptoms that are there to bring our attention to it and they will persist until we address them and modify. That said, as a society we are very disconnected and not educated enough in the social sciences/environment/citizenry to connect these dots. It truly does require personal investigation in order to achieve some understanding. And then we have a lot of people that have been traumatized by this system as well and without the personal skills to assimilate, heal, resolve - we end up with a lot of self projection that spreads - which can lead to 'that's not my problem, I've got my own problems to deal with'. Right?

I think Kant is so right about education - I do think that's where it starts. You have to have an educated society with critical thinking skills and compassion.

Another one I find particularly important is how the use of toxic chemicals and procedures severely degrade health and genetic viability of both humans and animals and plant-life.

I so very much agree with you! And on the plastics point too. I wish more people felt the obligation to take care of our planet.

Love this post and you've got my vote.
~T

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It would be so easy to switch to hemp though. People do what they're used to. Once upon a time, we didn't have plastic and society moved to it because it was what was available to use. So if what was available to use was hemp type plastics, people would use that.

Thank you, @tamala

When I hear obligation, I usually jump to priority. We have all kinds of obligations, some less strict or important than others. It's how we decide to try to fulfill our olbigations - and which ones we prioritize over others - that shows what kind of person we really are.

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Yes, I see your point. It's the word itself, not the intent behind it that I was referring to. I do have an obligation to be a healthy and good parent to my children and make sure they grow up to be healthy and good people. In that context, obligation carries a different meaning for me.

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@youhavewing some great voices speak in this post. I think that just by our tagname you can see where our obligations lie. However I would not call it obligations, but rather passions. True, we are to respect all life and also true that we are educate and to empower but I feel that creating a better life for another, especially a poor and hopeless soul embraces love and understanding. Blessings!

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I know that you've been practicing and 'doing' this for a very long time, @papilloncharity Quite the example for everyone.

Thank you so much for your wonderful response.

Take care and blessings to you.

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The law of equivalent exchange...you ever wonder if Einstein was an alchemist?

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I think if not alchemist then flow state master....like Tesla and John Keely

I certainly think we have a moral obligation to try and leave things better than we found them. I like that last quote by Einstein you used.

I don't always get as socially engaged as I should. There are a lot of issues worthy of attention, far too many to meaningfully address unless that's all you do. So you you have to choose your battles.

Perhaps a bit selfishly, I tend to focus on the social issues that most directly affect my interests. They may not be the most important or most urgent issues, but they are the ones that catch my attention most often.

Ren and I are in love with our National Parks, and are very aware that we only get to enjoy them today, because of those who fought, and in many cases dedicated their lives to protecting them. We also feel our generation has to continue the work, to make sure oue descendants can enjoy them in years to come. Its not the most urgent social issue of our time, but its where our passion is.

Great post.

Scott

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Oh yes, @xcountytravelers, you definitely have to choose your battles because the amount of problems we have are far too great. We all do our part and wherever our passions and knowledge are, that's where to put our energy rather than spread out thin amongst them all. It's better to fully know the topic at hand so you can educate and open the eyes of others as well as do your best work to improve the situation. My analogy anyway.

I definitely think our National Parks are important and a worthwhile social issue. They are worth protecting for sure. I have always supported this myself but I had some interesting experiences with conservancies that opened my eyes to putting my blind trust in those that masquerade as protectors, too. Perhaps a post for another time ;)

Thanks, Scott for your feedback and insights - enjoyed reading them.

Hope you and Ren enjoy your Monday - happy travels

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Thanks

You certainly have to choose your allies wisely and with your eyes open.

You will always be more effective if you are passionate about what you are doing. Passion grabs people and makes them pay attention, more than a hundred reasoned arguments.

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Oh yeah. I feel the older I get the more moral obligations I pile up. I've spent a fair fraction of my life trying to do the 'right thing' and there is a price for that. Moral Obligations.

When I read Kant's words about education I thought of a statistic that I saw relatively recently. In the US, 33% of the population never reads another book after they finish formal education. 33%! 55% read less than 5 books in the rest of their lives.

I rest Kant's case.

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Good for you, @bigtom13 It certainly understand your sentiments.

Yeah, Kant is very interesting and I think it's worthwhile to delve into his work and others just to get a deeper perspective on things we might not normally consider.

As to educational statistic, yes it is sad. And I believe your statistics because there is 'stagnation'.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

no I don't have much in the way of morals or moral obligations. ha no just teasing.. wow I didn't know Albert Einstein had those quotes, he was more of a social activist and philosopher than I realized.

Hey.. loved this post and you are so right about our moral obligations as individuals and as society on the points you mentioned. great post and I was reading the equally great comments! brilliant job youhavewings! what is the dropintheocean tag?

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LOL!

Yes, it's interesting about Einstein....he actually had a lot of deep and wise thoughts. As person in general though, he spent very little time with his wife and children but I guess I can see also see that he had a place in history and a mission that perhaps drove him more than personal relationship and had he had these relationships, perhaps he couldn't have achieved what he did. I seemed to remember letters that appeared some years back between he and his children that spoke about this.

The tag is through buddyup and they do a topic every week. You should check it out! I would send you an invite but I don't know how to do that! But here is a link to the dropintheocean post: https://steemit.com/dropintheocean/@buddyup/drop-in-the-ocean-021-goals

Have a wonderful day, @janton Always wonderful hearing from you and thank you for your kind words.

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howdy this fine Tuesday youhavewings! thanks for this information and I think Einstein would make for a fascinating series of posts wouldn't it?
at least for me it would be a series, I don't have time to do long ones usually.
I mean how many people really know what he was like?

but anyway thanks for your kind words, you are a real blessing to steemit and we need more like you!

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Hey Texas! Well, I think you should go for it! It would be an interesting series of posts.....the real Einstein. He was also involved in the A bomb project....wonder if he had the same reaction as Oppenheimer (ever see that video of Oppenheimer? It's pretty profound).

Awww What sweet words, @janton That made my day - nice to hear things like that every once in a while. You are too, engaging people to talk and discuss.

I'm working on my IFC Final entry and trying to beat the hurricane that is about to hit us here! LOL Hopefully I can get it in before electricity goes out ;)

Enjoy your Tuesday

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oh my gosh, I didn't know how close to the coast you guys are! if you're still online let me know what the situation is, we're following it on the weather.

what is a IFC Final entry?

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We're like two hours from the coast. Look up Raleigh. It's suppose to stall and sit on top of us with 24" of rain for days! Gusts 80mph. We shall see....I've been through quite a few on the Gulf that were really bad but you know the deep south Gulf states know how to deal with these things....not so much here. Hopefully it will change its mind.

IFC Contest - I made it to the final two and then it tied so we've got to break the tie. Next season starts in October I think - You should join in! The topics change up and the quests change up so not always writing. Here's the link: https://steemit.com/contest/@ifc/ifc-championship-round-results

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howdy back youhavewings! well who knows when you'll get this but I'm going to be watching that storm very closely now because of you guys being there.

as far as the contest, I don't understand it but generally I don't do them, especially if they are games or something, I just don't do games or if they're writing, I'm not much of a story writer and I'm a big zero as far as creative writing.
but I'm thrilled to see you thriving in it!
stay safe!

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It's not all creative writing and you can submit anything that suits your fancy as long as it involves the topic. They also do a photo scavenger hunt which is really fun. And you don't have to do all of them, just the ones you feel compelled to join in. There is really something for everyone. Sometimes it's a topic that requires researching, too. Doesn't have to be creative writing - you seem to like to share facts about certain topics so it could be like that. Here's a little fact, I didn't know I was a storyteller until I joined steemit/IFC So, you never know what you'll find inside yourself until you try it out. I think that is why I support the IFC.

Yes, I'm getting a little freaked out about this hurricane. We've got FEMA here now and it seems the storm is on an exact path. Umph ! Boarding up windows today?

I've always loved that quote of Einstein's! I'm a firm believer that moral obligation is one of the things that makes or breaks a character; it's the kind of thing that's "right" to do, even when or especially if, no one else is watching.

As always, great post @youhavewings :) I'm submitting this to c-squared and asapers (not sure when you were last curated though:).

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Hi there, @lynncoyle1

I totally agree with your sentiments. And Einstein certainly does have some amazing words, doesn't he?

Thank you so much for always being so supportive and sweet with your words. As always, that is enough for me ;)

I see that you did submit this post :) Ha! Thank you again!

Hope you enjoy your day xo

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Hey @asapers ! Thank you so much for your support. Really means a lot.

I like this humanity formula, it is simple to apply yet the results can be daunting.

Need to subcategorize it according to ability, which is what I think a lot of idiots who yell into the void myself included about we need to do this or that get wrong, the worst is the fact that the biggest of them are the ones with the power to actually enforce the change. We need to make sure everyone gets food says Orange Squirrel yet that is directed to citizens and small companies.

The only moral obligation I have is to be sure I stay true to my morals and re-evaluate them when receiving new information and ability attained. I am just me and by that at the very least can take care of me and how I affect the world around me.

"They" are supposedly all of us yet this seems to remove obligation from them, society is kind of like that chain and apple metaphors, since people can infect but link can also be improved or ultimately be cast out.

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I can definitely relate to your thought process, @penderis. And you do so much just by keeping yourself open to learning and improving yourself. That's all anyone could ever ask.

I think that localized economies as well as dropping the 'green lawn police' would go a long way in creating more food for everyone - community gardens and such. But that might make us a little too connected and self-sustaining, huh? ;)

Thank you so much for your wonderful thoughts and feedback.

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Excellent post, we do all have an obligation to be responsible to the environment and little things like recycling, or only purchasing products with Biodegradable packaging is important to ensure we leave our planet habitable for future generations.

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#thealliance #witness

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I whole-heartedly agree, @c0ff33a

The “obligation” here is simply the prudence of acknowledging reality. Are you obligated to acknowledge gravity when considering whether to jump off the roof or take the stairs? Moral obligation is about recognizing the natural law consequences of our actions, and bringing the results of this cause-and-effect process in line with desired results.

Moral law is a lifeward set of guidelines. It rewards authenticity and punishes denial. No man is an island; we are connected by shared consequences, and shared origins (whatever you believe those to be). We are individual expressions of this body of sentient beings called humanity, and expressions of life itself, of consciousness in the aggregate.

Our obligation is to recognizing the reality of our true nature. Morality does not change with time or place. It is not culture-dependent. It’s not about the arbitrary commands of higher beings, or personal belief systems. It is simply true knowledge reflected through action. Moral behavior is synonymous with wisdom.