Gransnet forums



(18 Posts)
vampirequeen Mon 12-Jan-15 19:40:02

Btw no one was hurt during the enjoyment of my Jezebel period grin

vampirequeen Mon 12-Jan-15 19:39:07

Even in the past I think people were more worried about being ostracised by their community than the threat of hell fire. After all they could always confess and receive absolution whereas communities have long, long memories.

That's why I was so careful when I was being a Jezebel. People wouldn't have approved and I would have got a 'reputation' and it could have affected my job. I signed a contract with a morality clause. These were introduced after a headteacher had an affair with his deputy head. Massive scandal and much embarrassment for the Church. When an unmarried colleague became pregnant she had to meet with the head of governors who was also the parish priest to discuss the situation. Fortunately he decided to support her. If he'd chosen otherwise she could have been sacked.

absent Mon 12-Jan-15 19:14:32

Sorry Lilygran, I forgot there was a philosophy thread. However, I would argue that just because hell fire seems to have been sidelined by many churches these days, doesn't mean it wasn't a pretty terrifying prospect in the past.

janerowena Mon 12-Jan-15 12:43:00

I do always try to do the right thing, and as it isn't always easy, I disagree because sometimes it would be easier to do the wrong thing - like step aside from seeing someone being bullied or seeing vandals wrecking the shed at the bottom of an elderly neighbour's garden. I do step in. Sometimes I have wished I hadn't been quite so moral - I wish I had cheated on Ex for a start. It took me a long time to work out my own code of morals, I'm sure they differ for all of us.

So, perhaps it should be on the philosophical thread, but my own version of morals it that what I do should not cause anyone else any harm, and my conscience should be clear. Sadly for me I have a very noisy conscience.

Lilygran Mon 12-Jan-15 12:19:52

Leave aside Oscar's cynical take on most things, I think people behave ethically (or don't behave unethically) for lots of reasons. One aspect of it is public shame. VQ says she was very discreet when kicking up her heels. Why? Because of the difficulties and embarrassment if she was 'found out'. I wonder if fear of hell fire ever had much effect? Fear of being hanged doesn't seem to have worked, just as fear of going to prison doesn't seem very effective now. Then some people try to be good because of religious beliefs or because of the way they were brought up or because they feel happier in themselves. Shouldn't this thread be in the 'Philosophy' section?

petallus Mon 12-Jan-15 12:03:10

If I thought I could get away with it, I'd probably steal from Harrods or Selfridges. However, I would never do so from an individual unless they were very rich.

Having said that, the first scenario would probably still leave me feeling morally compromised. But it would be worth it. grin

ninathenana Mon 12-Jan-15 11:44:43

It wouldn't be fear that would stop me from committing a crime it would be conscience.
There are however, things I wouldn't do for fear of retribution not conscience. Like telling spermie exactly what I thought of him !!

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 12-Jan-15 09:46:54

I think "in more religious times", those times being a while ago now,the fear of being hanged would have been the pretty powerful force. Putting desperation aside, of course.

I think today, conscience would be behind the doing the right thing for many people, depending on the level of desperation in their life circumstances.

Why do you seem so adamant Oscar Wilde would not be your moral compass?

absent Mon 12-Jan-15 09:07:49

I think the issue is such things as, say, robbing someone of some money. If you think you might be caught, then perhaps you wouldn't. If you think you might not be caught, then you perhaps would. If you think it is wrong to do so in the first place, then you wouldn't even consider it. You can, of course, extrapolate such a simple example to all sorts of other aspects of moral behaviour.

My feeling is that I have a sense of what I deeply believe is right and wrong. That doesn't mean I don't sometimes find myself faced with a moral dilemma but I have some core values that have nothing to do with being caught by the police, exposed by family and friends or consigned to eternal damnation.

However, I do think there is an element of human nature that believes if it can get away with it, then it's okay – conscience and cowardice, perhaps.

Nelliemoser Mon 12-Jan-15 08:56:57

I don't think its cowardly not to want to climb a rock face. We do not need to climb rock faces just because they are there.
That is a matter of choice and for a lot of those climbers its an obsession to achieve a first and gain some kudos with the rest of the climbing fraternity. I don't quite regard that as being brave either.

I suppose to do something risky to save another person is being brave although many people do that out of instinct without thinking of the risks.

Firefighters and rescue workers, the medical staff out fighting the Ebola do know the risks but still go out to help others That is really being brave and altruistic. IYSWIM

feetlebaum Mon 12-Jan-15 08:43:26

@vampirequeen - Good for you! So long as nobody else was harmed, of course...

Anya Mon 12-Jan-15 08:39:57

While conscience and cowardice are not the same 'thing' they can have the same outcome of modifying behaviour which I thought was Wilde's point, especially in the times he was living.

Still now, there are things I wouldn't do (like rob a bank eg) for fear of being caught.

janeainsworth Mon 12-Jan-15 08:22:44

Conscience and cowardice aren't at all the same thing.
I would be too cowardly to climb a vertical rock face - that has nothing to do with conscience.
There may sometimes be an element of cowardice in modifying people's behaviour - fear of retribution (divine or otherwise), fear of ridicule, fear of disapproval etc.
But I think that most people have the capacity to act altruistically as well as in their own interests.
I have never studied philosophy, but thinking about your question absent made me wonder if there is a difference between a moral code and an ethical code, and if so, what it is.

absent Mon 12-Jan-15 08:21:33

And surprsing smile

absent Mon 12-Jan-15 08:21:04

Interesting. smile

vampirequeen Mon 12-Jan-15 08:18:48

After I escaped from ex I had a Jezebel period. I had a great time and my confidence and self esteem shot up but I kept it very quiet from people I knew for fear that they would judge me.

After all I was a conservatively dressed, middle aged, Catholic school teacher and we're not supposed to ever think about being let alone be Jezebels.

I wouldn't have missed it for the world though grin

ninathenana Mon 12-Jan-15 08:00:36

Basically yes, I agree with what Oscar said. I think I'm one of those he's talking about.

absent Mon 12-Jan-15 04:54:59

I recently read a book that quoted Oscar Wilde (not exactly my moral compass) who suggested that conscience and cowardice were much the same thing. People did the "right" thing – or, perhaps, more accurately, didn't do the "wrong" thing – because they were afraid of being caught not because they truly had a genuine and strongly held conviction about right and wrong. Certainly, in more religious times, the fear of eternal damnation must have been a pretty powerful force. I think he was mistaken and just being controversial Oscar, which, of course, he relished, but I suspect that there is an element of truth in his laisé faire judgement. I am not talking about criminals – just day-to-day moral choices.