Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Morality, contextual or absolute.......


I commented on the above post by Ammar but it lead me to serious thinking about the ramifications of his question. The first thing that springs to mind is that in Eastern philosophy, if you ask a serious question, the first response would be who wants to know, i.e. who is asking. The point is that the answer is framed according to the context or perhaps the identity or intellectual capacity of the inquirer. Does this mean that our morality is flexible enough to accommodate the needs of the moment and that we do not have any absolute morality?

Was Shree Ram morally right when he abandoned his wife Sita, to appease a minority section of his society?

Is it morally correct for a secular state to provide Haj subsidies to its minorities?

What would you call someone who leaves his wife and infant son in the dark of night and shirks from his responsibilities in order to pursue his own agenda? Imagine that this person lived and died as a common mendicant after taking this path. You would perhaps consider his act irresponsible and immoral. Now imagine what your response would be if that person was named Siddhartha and this happened at Kapilvastu a couple of millenia ago?

Is YOUR morality flexible enough to change according to the context? Do you believe in absolutes when it comes to morality? Are we as a culture, so focused on survival that we would compromise on moral issues when it becomes necessary? A lot to think about and raises more questions than it answers.

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