Morality - Subjective or Objective?

in philosophy •  14 days ago

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”A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.” - Thomas Jefferson

Morality is a controversial topic, with opinions varying widely between individuals, as well as cultures. We talk about what’s “right” and what’s “wrong”, assuming everyone knows what those words mean and agrees upon their definition, if not their particular applications. I would argue that in many cases we actually do… but only intuitively. We often know, but do not understand.

The first point of contention that must be resolved is whether morality is objectively or subjectively derived. In modern times, it’s often argued that morality varies with time, place, and culture - what may be considered right in one place, is considered wrong in another. However, this doesn’t definitively prove that morality is subjective; it may simply be a case of varying levels of understanding relative to objective moral precepts. The observation of cultural divergence alone won’t nearly suffice to establish a basis for morality. A closer examination is needed…

Subjective Morality

Morality is often considered a personal matter – something unique to ourselves. Often, this is thought to be broadly informed by the culture, with some variation existing between individuals. There’s a sense that it’s presumptuous to criticize another’s morality, except where it starkly conflicts with the most widely-accepted notions, or our most precious personal tenets. But what do we really mean when we talk about morality, and how does this apply to a subjective model?

The word “morality” indicates a standard, or a set of rules, for human behavior. A standard, by its very nature, must be hierarchically above (out of reach from) that which it standardizes (in this case, human beings). If we have the power to create or alter the rules, then we are the standard for the rules, they are not the standard for us.

It also can never be the case that standards mutually standardize each other. It must be a one-way relationship. I cannot have the power to define the parameters of a standard, while at the same time the standard has the power to define parameters for me. If man defines moral prescriptions – an act of creation, or fabrication – then morality is powerless to prescribe anything to man; as he is the source of its content, and thus prescribes to himself. In this scenario, there is no thing called “morality” acting upon man; there is only man alone, engaged in a masturbatory intellectual exercise.

In all creative endeavors, there must be a creator and that which is created. The creator acts upon the creation, but the creation does not act upon the creator in like kind. A painting does not paint the painter. There is no mutual power in this relationship - hierarchy is implied. In this case, man is hierarchically above his creation, and thus he is the standard for it, not the other way around.

Consider an established standard of behavior in the workplace. The employee handbook states, ”Employees may not drink beverages while at computer stations.” This rule is established by the employer – it is subjective relative to him. He created the rule and may alter it at any time. Thus, he is not bound by it. To the employees, however, this rule is objective – it is thrust upon them as an external phenomenon - and they are powerless to alter it. Their only choice is to conform to it, or to ignore it and bear the consequences of that decision.

This must be so, for if the employees had the power to alter the rule, they too would no longer be bound by it, and the illusory “standard” would fail to standardize anyone’s behavior.

To assert man as the creator of morality is to say, ”We have made up this standard and are bound by it… unless and until we deem otherwise.” And this ability to alter is necessarily implied, as this is the inherent power of a creator relative to his creation. How can this relationship to morality standardize man’s actions? How can it bind him in any real sense? If you have the power to change the standard, you may do so the moment it would bind you, and thus remain unbound. It has no power to standardize your actions.

Calling this morality is to make morality indistinguishable from any other act of decision-making – an unbounded process of personal evaluation and subsequent conclusion. I may choose to refrain from eating steal because I deem it too expensive, because I don’t like the taste, or because I think I “shouldn’t”, but that’s all just opinion, or personal preference, regardless of what rationale is concocted to support its formation.

Subjective morality obviates the very concept of morality as a standard for human behavior. The notion of a “subjective standard” is oxymoronic. Of course, we can set up rules for ourselves, but we’re really just playing a game of pretend. It’s like a child saying, ”The floor is lava” or ”I can’t step on the cracks”. There’s no real rule there, any more than when we make New Year’s resolutions – we’re free to alter the rules at any time, and often do, so in reality there is no rule at all.

Objective Morality

If we acknowledge that it’s been sufficiently demonstrated that subjective morality cannot exist, morality must either be objective or non-existent. If objective, it must be rooted in something unalterable by man, lest it become subject to him, and thus subjective. What source, then, may morality have that is unalterable, out of man’s reach, not subject to his input?

God would presumably be one such source, and this seems a viable option. It may very well be the case that morality is what God says it is - a matter of omnipotent caprice. If this be the case, then all further discussion is moot. But this challenges one to prove not only the existence of God, but definitive knowledge of His will. A tall order, to say the least.

A second option would be nature, reality, that which is extant and immutable - Truth, or that which has undergone the formality of actually existing. This has the potential to include the God option as well; as a case could be made that our cohesive reality suggests intelligent design - a creation that implies a creator. If God’s will may be known by any means, it may reasonably be known by His creation. However, the inclusion of this addition need not be accepted (or even entertained), as we need not know the source of nature for us to know something about nature itself.

The use of the word “nature” here is not meant to imply the physical environment or the behavior of all the various species that abound. Morality is being considered as a standard for man’s behavior, particularly in dealing with other men*; as morality concerns both the actor and that which is acted upon. So the relevant aspect of nature is the inherent nature of the being in question, or human nature.

(It is not my intent to ignore the relevancy of man’s actions toward other species, however it is surely the case that whatever defines appropriate moral action toward other species would apply to action toward other men as well, whereas the opposite may or may not be the case. In light of this, focusing our investigation on human interactions will serve as the broadest basis for understanding morality on the whole)

Human nature is a divisive study, but by seeking the lowest common denominator we find characteristics such as the need for air, food, and water; the formation of thinking patterns in response to perceived phenomena (implying susceptibility to conditioning), and free will. This latter quality, I believe, establishes the most relevant basis for objective morality concerning human interactions.

Man apparently has free will to choose his own behavior. Though this is sometimes challenged by citing the aforementioned aspect of human nature which makes man conditionable, or the fact that man does not even choose which thoughts arise in his own consciousness. However, to found a denial of free will upon these observations is to ignore where free will ultimately resides - in the free will of attention.

We may not choose our next thought, what suggestions are offered by others, or the phenomena we perceive, but we maintain the ability to either dwell upon these, holding them within our conscious awareness, or to let them go in favor of other ideas. ”As a man thinketh, so shall he be”, and it’s the preponderance of our thought that contains the creative power. Thoughts long held become beliefs, which in turn determine our worldview – the foundation of our decision-making process - which in combination with emotion, inspires our actions. In this way, man may choose his conditioning deliberately by this focus, and thus assert his free will.

Free will, then, being a truth of man, must be duly acknowledged in our dealings with him. To fail in this acknowledgement is to operate in denial, or fallacy. To ignore this aspect of man’s nature by asserting our will upon him is no less destructive than ignoring the laws of physics - inertia when driving a car, or gravity when approaching a cliff.

Such acts of ignorance are “wrong” because they are incorrect; if not in assessment (we may know our victim wills to remain unharmed), then in expression (we harm him anyway). Nature shows no mercy and offers no consolation for knowing gravity exists but launching ourselves off a cliff anyway. Nature yields its effects based upon our actions in its realm; with no consideration for our knowledge to the contrary.

This founds the argument for consent as a factor of great moral import, but consent alone is not the basis for morality – the whole of man’s nature is. The rights of man (those actions which do not deny his nature) are immutable, and thus unalienable; such that even his consent to being acted upon without due consideration of his nature offers no hope for circumventing the ill effects that must naturally occur.

So we see that morality is a term that describes the particular subject matter (man’s behavior), but not the relevant overall endeavor (alignment of our actions with Truth). It is merely a branch of science, and need not include any beliefs or assertions than would not be necessary in that arena. We also see that, by this natural definition, the existence of morality cannot be questioned – it is an extant reality, and cannot be altered by any action of man.

Furthermore, I would contend that no other wholly rational definition of morality can be offered; as subjective morality is impossible, the God model alone has no rational support, and no other objective source may be imagined.

In conclusion, morality defines an objective standard of “right” and “wrong” behavior, with “right” actions being those which duly acknowledge the true nature of the being in question, and “wrong” actions being those which do not. Man is powerless to alter this, and it is not dependent upon time or place. No amount of declarations, rationalizations, consensus, social rituals, or perceived “necessity” will have the slightest effect upon it, and man will eternally be bound to its cause-and-effect consequences.

Consider this in all you do, and have no expectation that conformity with culture will equate to conformity with morality. Man-made problems abound, and no system or methodology that denies the laws of nature holds any promise of reprieve. As inconvenient as it may be, resolution of the world’s ills will never come by external means of control; it must be rooted in widespread internal mastery.

Morality is the only solution that actually solves.

Thanks for checking in!
Brian Blackwell

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But what if the conforming to culture is from another era, one in which the new society has changed the rules? This to me, is what it feels like growing old, for I bought into something when I was young and impressionable and those rules of right and wrong have shifted.
Also, if we believe in more than one experience in the human form, then don't we in some way psychically (though not remembered) bring with us a knowing of truth, the truth that always is and never shifts and each lifetime we come closer to holding to these ideas of light and dark?

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Hi Kim! It seems likely enough that as we progress through physical incarnations, we carry with us (in some measure) the previous knowledge gained. This is all rather speculative, but the "old soul" theory seems to have some merit. In addition to this, I believe conscience grants all access to morality, though for it to speak to us clearly, the mind must be in close alignment with Truth, or made to move aside so we can hear clearly.

To your first point, that phenomenon demonstrates well how cultural conceptions of morality cannot be in alignment with Truth, for moral Truth is eternal and unvarying across time and place.

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Yes, eternal truth's and not moral's based on convenience or to be aligned with what is degraded through societal norms which often enough are attached to someone making money off from that debasement.
Thinking too of the importance of keeping our bodies healthy so that our consciousness can reach us too.

Good lengthy read here :)

I think some people push hard for a subjective or relative moralistic view is because they do not like the idea that they are governed by something outside of their control, so they would rather invent a point of view where that does not exist. This of course does not change the truth of the matter, as you have described in your article, you can believe you can fly all you want, but you go jump off that cliff and you will plummet to the bottom. The Laws of the Universe are universal and binding, they do not require your belief or non belief for them to be in effect. If we were wise, we would be spending our time trying to align our time, effort, values into discovering those laws and aligning our will to those laws and the Will of Creation.

Your explanation of "right" being things that align with truth and natural laws and "wrong" being anything that doesn't is a correct definition, but could probably be put simpler in that a right is anything that is not a wrong. It leaves us to only have to define what is wrong... as anything else would be right. If you are a fan of Mark Passio's work, he describes this in detail in his Natural Law series.

I am really glad you spent the time to explain that we are bound by the consequences of our actions whether we like it or not as well as the focus on our internal shadow work that we all need to be doing. You are right that we cannot hope to change things in this external reality (the plane of effects), we need to focus internally, mentally (the plane of causation) to transmute our consciousness from lead into gold.

Great article, thanks so much for sharing!!!

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And thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to read this and reply so thoughtfully. It's great to know others are out there who have come to the same conclusion, and are lending their voice to these discussions.

Yes, Passio has done humanity a great service by both explaining natural law thoroughly, and whittling it down to its bare essence. My thoughts on morality have certainly been honed by his contributions, and I believe him to be one of the great teachers of our time.

Part of the cultural indoctrination that politics and media promotes is getting the people to think on a scale far outside their natural scope. A person is Florida is encouraged to consider how problems in California should be addressed, as justified by their mutual participation in the same Federal government. This results in most conversations centering around large-scale "solutions".

When trying to explain how morality is essential to man's survival and thriving, it is often met with resistance; being deemed impractical or utopian due to the seeming impossibility of getting everyone on-board. It seems more prudent to support a widespread control system to account for those who will not adopt a moral stance.

But each individual only has rightful (or even extant) authority over themselves; and the prescription is for that individual person to commit to the internal regulation that morality demands, regardless of what anyone else is doing. I have found it very difficult to get this point across, as people seem to think as though their personal decision will become an immediate replacement for the system currently in place; and deeming it untenable, will reject the personal shift. They then resort to citing the fallacy of the "necessary evil" to justify their own unwillingness to commit to true morality; but in reality, it's simply an excuse to avoid the aforementioned "shadow work" and to remain in fear.

In the final analysis, morality is not about Law; that's just an elementary model of what morality will look like when applied - it's descriptive rather than prescriptive. What morality is ultimately pointing us toward is Love, and viewing it from this advanced perspective irons out all those "grey area" wrinkles that a limited, Law-based conception fails to answer satisfactorily.

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Sorry it took a while to get back to you. I had to take a much needed brake from social media for a few days.

Thanks! Yes, I totally agree about Passio. Cultural indoctrination among many things are what fuel our enslavement. I agree these "Big picture solutions" are nothing but the majority imposing its will on the minority. (even if it's a minority of 1). We will never be free as long as people do not understand self ownership nor take responsibility for their own actions as well as the illegitimacy and immorality of government.

Morality and Social decay are inversely proportional. The less morality we have in society the more social decay we will have and vise versa. I realized a long time ago that unfortunately not everyone can be saved or see the light on these issues. If people argue with me with fallacies like that I no longer engage because they are not even open minded enough to consider what you are saying and are more or less a lost cause and not worth the time to help.

That is an interesting perspective about what law is. I will have to give that some more thought but I like your premise. I also agree that love is exactly what morality is pointing us at. Thanks again for your great analysis and insight! :)

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Hey, wanna frustrate yourself? Here's a great example of the statist's inability to follow a chain of thought (as I'm sure you've encountered a million times). As Passio has stated, these people are literally broken (in more ways than one). They can’t think. That ability has been crippled by the misuse and atrophy of the relevant organ.

And the deeper problem is that they don't duly value the ability to think clearly. It's way cooler to be a sunglassed hotshot driving a sports car around the circular drive of his mansion than to be a lucid thinker. The philosopher is imagined as one who falls in the well while his eyes are on the stars. As though anything could be more practical than Truth. It's not going to get you the money, or the girl, though, so what use is it? What a deplorable state of depravity man has been conditioned to embody.

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I could only watch about half of that before wanting to scream lol. I couldn't imagine how many times they went in an circle in the entire two hour conversation. Some people like that are not capable of seeing outside the purview of government.

Morality is a system to keep unconscious beings sane.

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Yes, having an electric fence around the pen helps. Hahaha

I agree with you on that. However, I would have to ask you which source of knowledge you use and how you alone can answer such questions when someone around you asks you: Where do you get the strength to do the right thing in a very difficult moment? What are your sources of strength, what principles do you apply to attain this mastery? Where do you turn in times of despair and insecurity?

Whoever seeks help from you needs some kind of label and traditional source. No one will believe you that you have developed your inner strength and wisdom all by yourself. So the question is legitimate to ask about the influences so that a person seeking your help can rely on what you say offers him the way to draw strength and wisdom. He must bring it to the test himself and make sure that what you tell him can be explored by him. In some ways, therefore, we all need some form of guidance and recognition that there are norms out there that form a community.

As long as such a question is not asked and someone feels comfortable in your presence as a matter of course, you have consensus, it is unnecessary to tell someone his sources without being asked. But what if someone wishes this? What do you tell him what has helped you personally? From my point of view it is not enough, for example, to list the great philosophers. It does indeed need a methodology and a conclusive concept. The only thing I have found so far is Buddhism. I wonder why you don't mention it because much of what you say seems to come from these teachings.

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Hi! I want to answer your question satisfactorily, but you may have to help me understand precisely what you mean. It is rather easy to see that it's preferable to live in an environment of holistic peace and prosperity, rather than trying to create such a pocket of existence amidst a dangerous, zero-sum world.

This leads us to ask how that can be achieved. The behaviors that would produce this environment are equally obvious - people need to cooperate for mutual uplift, rather than live in selfish competition. Of course, for this to happen, each individual must exhibit this behavior; and I, being one of those individuals, must thus exhibit it myself. For me, that recognition provides adequate motivation for moral behavior.

I can mention teachers who have helped me come to this realization, but it seems your question is not served by listing names (the great philosophers, etc.). I do not mention Buddhism because I do not know much about it. Of course, I've come across it in my investigations, but I would be hard-pressed to describe the belief system thoroughly.

My personal philosophy is born of innumerable disparate areas of study, and the personal contemplation they've inspired. It is the work of many years, and I could not describe it as a step-by-step process that another could follow. I'm not sure this would serve as well as someone following their own inspiration and interest anyway. Though, this does require that they seek Truth in earnest, and not merely seek to justify their preconceived conclusions.

Please tell me if I have approached a sufficient answer to your question. If not, perhaps this reply can at least move the discussion forward toward the desired end.

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I suppose the key question from me is whether you really "own" a personal philosophy or whether ownership is not rather a problem. So I would provoke you by saying that if you believe that you own it, you also own other things like "guilt", "doubt", but also "generosity" and "goodness of heart". What if you are not the owner of these and other sensations?

By this I mean the view that everything in life is a process, an alternating vibration always in its second of emergence between living systems. No matter what quality I just call "mine" in these rapidly successive processes of interaction, it is always problematic to want to hold on to a quality like "anger" when I hang that anger on a subject, either myself or the one facing me. Or someone on whom I mentally project it. Because holding on to it already threatens to miss the next step in the incredible fast process and I actually always come "too late" when I want to carry an angry point home.

So what if you don't attribute a subjective weakness to the one or those you formulate in your mind because they don't want to recognize an objective moral truth? In other words, not seeking to find a subjective goal of subjectivity, neither towards you nor the others.

You may know the following experience: Someone in your presence has angered you so much that it was your turn either to raise your hand against him or to shout at him or to offend him caustically. But even though your pulse was racing and your inner excitement was threatening to overpower you, you suddenly paused and reconsidered.

What did stop you?

And further: Whose morals did you just save? Your own, that of the other, both?

Isn't it also more of a saving aspect/experience than that of a defining one?

To practice such in a less pronounced form, to always assume a probability that moral insight can always occur at the moment of a phenomenological event. It doesn't matter what law I use as objectively true, it's a coherent experience I make, isn't it?

When I write "LVOE I OUY": What do you see and what does your brain make of it? It goes the way of the strongest probability, doesn't it? It's so incredibly fast in its response, all the already determined patterns of recognition have been practiced through long lasting habit.

If one can no longer wonder about gravity, then "gravity" has become such a self-evident phenomenon that it is no longer suitable for good philosophical narration. It has long been scientifically overwritten and empiricism seems not necessary.

I'm probably annoying you with it, but I'd like to know more about your practical experience than your theoretical considerations.

... And maybe ... I just was not agreeing with your headline as I think morality is always having the potential to be both, objektive and subjective at the same time as the carrier of positive outcomes as well as negative.

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Hmm... Well, first, I find no annoyance in your commentary. Never concern yourself with that, as I always seek to investigate my position thoroughly to ensure it is sound. My writings represent the best of my understanding so far; a sort of snapshot, as it's an ongoing process.

I don't know that I have a full grasp on what you're pointing to... I would not describe my current understanding as something "owned", as ownership is exclusionary (my owning it means you don't). That being said, we can both own two instances of the same thing (e.g. we both have an iphone 6, or an identical opinion), but a philosophy is really a perspective; a position from which we see the world. It would be odd to say that I own my perspective, treating it as an object, as it seems more like something I'm doing - the action of viewing from a certain point of view.

But, to your larger point, yes, it behooves us to allow the fluidity of conscious experience to remain unfettered by static intellectual positions (and their corresponding emotional conditions), and not to identify with them in the particular. "Truth-seeking" as an overall habitual action is an effort to remain authentic to what we truly are, so perhaps that could be said to be relate to our identity; but saying "I am an anarchist" is a bit inaccurate, as it does not really describe what we are, but what we are doing - viewing the world from that point of view.

Historically, I've had a "quick to anger, quick to laugh" temperament, though I admit to being less quick to laugh as of late, due to righteous indignation. I am a bit battle-scarred by having my efforts to uplift others (by sharing what I found uplifting) met with scorn and ridicule. This is what I'm working on currently, and I am finding it very difficult.

If others are doing wrong, and greater understanding is required for them to change that behavior, then their resistance to receiving that understanding is an act of wrong - and wrongs are to be defended against, as a ubiquitous moral imperative. And if raising a hand is an appropriate means of defense to stop an imminent immoral act, then is not forceful speech equally justified? Is there no place for it? I can't help feeling that there is, and yet, I also feel that I am misaligned by taking this approach.

Unable to resolve this, I feel rather stuck. I am capable of letting my anger go, and being compassionate and patient. What's stopping me is that this other person is actively causing harm, and so it seems wrong that the aggressor should be enabled by this soft approach, while their victim derives no such benefit from them (even if due to misunderstanding, rather than malicious intent). They must desist NOW, whether they understand or not. If they refuse the opportunity to change willingly, then more forceful means seems appropriate, as immediacy is imperative, by whatever means that requires.

In this way I hold on to my anger. If we are speaking of political support, for instance, it is not commonly thought justifiable to resort to physical force - were I to attack someone for attempting to vote, I would be demonized and punished. So words are all that remain. Soft words may begin the conversation, but if this is rejected, or due consideration of them is deferred, then stronger language - anger - seems necessary, to make the unacceptable nature of their actions more likely to be understood.

Morality is an extant construct in this reality - it is objective. We know it subjectively, we abide by it or deny it subjectively, but particular actions have particular effects, and that is not subject to alteration by us in any way. It is no different than gravity. Is there some other sense in which you would say it is both objective and subjective?

I still feel as though I have not addressed your question adequately. If not, please try again. I have patience to pursue it, and if you do as well, another attempt at directing me toward your point may prove profitable.

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Battle-scarred:) yes, that's a feeling I also know, but which I now try to experience less often, because I try to solve it alternatively. Which of course doesn't always work. Thanks for the honesty. It was the same with me recently, when I shared a wholesome experience and it was answered with ridicule, just two weeks ago. It hurts, but I told myself: My friends answer reflected more her own difficult relationship to the matter - and in the end it had nothing to do with me.

But why you also seem to be less inclined to report about an experiential dissolving of an angry impulse, I suspect, that people react much more strongly to your pain (anger) than if you don't offer them any of it. People usually react a lot more to expressions of anger and sorrow than to equanimity. You can hardly write an article with equanimity, people often don't know what to do with it. They only want to read about love too if it is really romantic or heartbreaking. The great stories and metaphors, as beautiful as they are. However, they are not real but illusory, even if they are well suited to represent the theatre of life.

I take the liberty of asking you a few more questions:
The first situation you report seems to be personal and it seems to be about people you know?
Have you been instructed by the victim to act, in other words: is it an adult person? If so, then it is not only this person who bears the responsibility for what you then receive as the task of action, but also you. However, you would still have to get the official assignment, since you would be acting on behalf of another person. If words do not reach the perpetrator (which I could understand if I were the perpetrator now and someone with whom I don't want have to do speaks for my chosen victim), I would say that you wish to let fists speak. I doubt whether they will do what you want them to do, but I am playing the devil's advocate and going through a scenario with you. Since you would then commit an immoral act, you would have to bear the consequences accordingly and why not, because in fact we only have these principles because we violate them, otherwise we wouldn't need them.

Is this a life-threatening situation?
But: Are you quite sure that there is a clear separation between the interests of the people here? Are you sure you don't identify too much with the person you want to protect? The mandate of the person you want to protect, however, would have to be very clearly expressed and desired, otherwise you would not be acting on behalf of the person, but merely acting as if it were so, although you actually would want to act for yourself and the other is only a projection screen of your desire for justice.

But of course, I deliberately spoke provocatively, because in fact, if you don't have a personal dependent conflict with a person, but someone else, then it would be appropriate for the person concerned to exhaust all possible options before asking for help, wouldn't it? In any case, I am in favour of clarifying the orders cleanly and then accepting the consequences, which may be "punishment" if you violate a moral rule yourself. Yes, in this sense gravity catches us all.

So do you want to make it your own business or isn't there still a reasonable doubt that the victim presents the situation to you in such a way that it is a really crystal-clear victim-perpetrator business? In my experience, it is usually not so clear.

It could very well be that the matter really doesn't concern you from the perpetrator's point of view and it is logical that he thinks that you can save words anyway. Even the gentle ones. He may not listen to your words, but he may listen to someone else. Who knows?

Are you sure that you do not own your anger? And that you do not work more than the victim works?

I can objectively acknowledge morality as right and subjectively distance myself from explaining it to someone who is ignorant. I can criticize his immoral deed, but I can empathize with his human existence as a sentient being. The potential of another whom I want to encourage to morality can only be awakened if I understand how to communicate this difference perceptibly.

The effect of acknowledging objective morality and subjective absolutism in this matter would be that I do not distinguish action from man and thus make him an owner of a fundamental immorality, i.e. deny him his sensitivity.

It's a challenge, this conversation and I am thankful that you reassure me that I am not stepping over your borders.

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It is difficult for me to address these questions in the abstract (and it seems rather silly to do so), though I do not wish to speak of the details publically, and Steemit does not have private messaging.

I understand the idea of the helper adopting undue responsibility for the victim's cause while the victim fails to do all they can to save themselves first, but my situation is not such a case. The level of my participation is wholly appropriate and necessary, as the victim is entirely incapable of affecting their own solution. As for the perpetrator, they are unwilling - perhaps even temporarily incapable - of evaluating their actions clearly, being a person who has never valued such investigation, and thus is not sufficiently inclined or adept.

Do I own my anger? I don't know what's meant by this exactly. Are you asking me if I take responsibility for it? Or if I identify with it? Or if it is something I willingly carry as a possession?

I do take responsibility for it, I do not identify with it, but I do willingly carry it as a possession because I have yet to justify its relinquishment in my own mind. As I've described, it seems warranted, appropriate, and perhaps necessary - though I'm not sure of this. I feel conflicted because I simultaneously believe that though it is appropriate to feel anger temporarily, it does not seem appropriate to express it in its raw form, but rather to transmute it into an expression of a higher vibration. And yet, when a person won't listen to calm reason, is not anger a necessary tool? And if morally necessary, then it is appropriate to express it unmitigated, is it not?

Is it the rational, morally-justified person's responsibility to jump through hoops and appease the transgressor? Isn't it each person's responsibility to earnestly endeavor to align their own perspective with Truth? Many will not do this, so must we do this work for them? I think we should try from a place of compassion, but when immediacy is required, is this not a secondary concern that should be put aside in favor of stopping the immoral action? We do not have time to coax the rapist into acting differently, we must stop them now and sort out the details later, if they become willing.

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