Why Should I Be Moral?
The question of morality proves to be a complex interrogatory. Should I be moral? If I should be, then why? Why is morality important to society? An assumption can be made that morals derive from a purely religious perspective or the Golden Rule approach. We are told that it is right to be moral. This is an ineffective answer, since it does not apply to someone outside the moral circle (Olsen, 79).
This in mind, there is really no way to prove this too a person who wants to know why he/she should be moral. According to Olen, the only answer to them would be "because you are". Happiness could also be included in the list of moral reasons. I personally feel that this is the best supported reason for being moral. Although there will be times when the moral decision will not be pleasurable, it will eventually lead to happiness. Morality is important for society as a whole, as it makes life livable. Now expanding on the happiness theory, I will discuss the ideas of Aristotle. Aristotle believed that happiness is the quality of whole human life. We all have misconceptions about happiness. Most of us believe that happiness is experiencing a lively feeling of joy or pleasant feelings. We can be happy at one moment, but not the next. Aristotle on the other hand said that true happiness includes pleasures, joys, and successes as well as many pains, griefs, and troubles in ones life. A happy life is not cause by the pleasures we've had, nor marred by the displeasures we've had.
Aristotle also contended that children could not be happy as the requirement for happiness was a complete life. For instance, an old man looking back on his life and being able to say that it was good, is happiness.
Aristotle defined the things that make happiness as health, wealth, friendship, and good moral character. Aristotle stated that happiness was also the highest good leaving nothing more to be desired. Life is made perfect by possession of all good things. We seek happiness for its own sake. All others are sought for happiness. Aristotle believed to become happy one must have good character and be willing to suffer to obtain the greater good later on. We should seek the good in the long run. Most men/women will not do this. We take the immediate pleasure. Most people think that happiness is unique to each person. Aristotle believed that there is only one true conception and that it holds the same for all humans. Power is not an attribute to happiness because it would preclude some people from being happy if they are ruled. Aristotle believed as our for fathers that everyone has an ultimate right to the pursuit of happiness.
He believed that this pursuit must be cooperative, not competitive. All this said, it is clear that it fits into his belief that everything in nature has a goal towards which it naturally strives (i.e. happiness). A morally virtuous person is one who is moderate in his actions. He chooses the mean as opposed to the extremes. Aristotle was more concerned with the real world than with the theological world. His bottom line view point was that we have no answer to the question "Why do you want to be happy?" other than "to be happy." He believed that we must be moral in order to obtain our life long goal of happiness.
I find myself in agreement with Aristotle to some degree. When I as myself "why do you want to be happy?" I am stuck. I just want to be happy. I can see where society as a whole must practice morality as a whole to allow everyone the non-competitive pursuit of happiness. I can also relate to the fact that following the immediate pleasure doesn't unnecessarily attribute to the future good. I have not been able to live one city longer than a year at a time. As a result of this, I am unable to purchase my dream home because the financial tolls.
I am however happier when I first move to a new state. I am not totally...
Bibliography: Olen, Jeffrey., Persons and Their World. McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1983
Wallace, Patricia M., Goldstein, Heffrey H., Nathan, Peter E.,
Introduction to Psychology. Brown Publishers, 1990.
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