“Morality, like language is an invented structure for conserving and communicating order” (Jane Rule)

When this week started I had some ideas about MORALITY whom I considered “the facts”. The more I read, watched some videos and thought about this abstract word I have more questions and my so called facts are no longer facts.

So here are some of my questions:

  •  Is there such a thing as absolute international morality? 
  • How do we get our moral codes and beliefs, can we choose them? Can we change them?
  •  Is it even possible to treat everyone equally regardless of their beliefs, morality and actions?

But first thing first, what is morality? After a long week of doubts I decided to adopt this definition,: Morality is a value system that the  society accepts willingly, in order  to be able to live within society without causing any damage to its members. I think that the sentence “without causing any damage to its members’” calls for defining what is damaged and who  considered members. I decided not to put right and wrong in my definition because I believe “right” and “wrong” are relative.

And now for some answers:

  •  I don’t believe there is such thing as international morality. I think one’s morality is a combination of culture, education and character.  Let’s take murder for example, I think most people from most cultures believe murder is immoral, but what exactly is murder? Some believe abortion is murder while others disagree. In some cultures vendetta is considered a moral act while others will argue there is no difference between vendetta* to murder. Another example I adopted from a TED lecture I recently watched but I will present it differently: it’s about how women in some countries, some religions dress. A few years ago Sarkozy’s government in France issued a regulation declare it is forbidden for students on schools property to cover their heads and face.. I remembered being shocked  at the time that a democratic government of a free modern country  doing such thing. The reaseon is that in the society I grew-up, the way a woman dresses is heron choice. I studied with lots of Jewish  and Moslem religion women in Israel who choose to cover theirself as part of their beliefs, nobody force them to dress like that.
  • Our morality or at list my morality is a combination of my formal and informal education and the culture I grew up in. I think religion or atheism  might be another important factor in a person’s morality. Growing up in a society where the religion is part of the culture, I decided that religion cannot be separated from culture so by were saying culture I mean also nation, religion, race and so on. 
  • Can we choose our moral? I believe a very small part of our moral is chosen. Morality is so deeply inserted into our value scale from such a young age that we have a very small choice. Yes even in the modern free world. Every society has its moral codes and those codes are being taught since a child is born. Can someone change his moral when moving to different culture/country? It’s a hard question for me to answer, I think one might pretend at first and in time might adopt some of his new society morality.
  •  What about health care professionals? In Israel there is a law of  patient rights and one of the most important part of this law says:” any  Clinician or facility are not allowed to discriminate between patients on grounds of religion, race, sex, nationality, country of origin, sexual orientation, age or other such grounds” (free translation from Hebrew). I deeply agree and think we should treat any patients no matter what his morality and beliefs are. The only exception is when our life as the health professional is in danger or when we get harassment by the patient. Even in these severe cases the patient still has the right to receive a treatment but by another clinician. But the question remains whether we give the same treatment to different people with different morality? I believe each patient gets a different treatment, depending on many factors among them are the connection between the patient\therapist, the patient willingness to be treated, the patient beliefs and even his personal appearance. I definitely set my self’s a goal to give each patient best and right treatment regardless of his beliefs and actions. I truly hope I’m succeeding in doing that in most cases, but I know sometimes I fail.

To conclude, a person’s morality is load carried up from home and society. Morality is a set of beliefs that guide us how to act in different situation and how our surrounding should response. The fact that each therapist comes with his own morality perspective and yet we all need to follow certain common guidelines and treat many people that have different set of morality Is a serious dilemma. In some cases the patients morality is so different from our own that we definitely wouldn’t choose them as friends but still they are our patients and our duty is to provide them the best treatment we can. How should we deal with this dilemma? I think we need to actively remind ourself not to judge our patients, to remember to focus on our job  and be modest enough to remember our morality is not the only one out there.    


*Vendatta- a private feud in which the members of the family of a murdered person seek to avenge the murder by killing the slayer or one of the slayer’s relativeImage



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6 responses to ““Morality, like language is an invented structure for conserving and communicating order” (Jane Rule)

  1. Pingback: Discussion~Morality « Victoria ELD

  2. Hi Noam, I really like your closing comment that we should be “modest enough to remember our morality is not the only one out there”. Too many people try to push their morals on to others. We should all spend the time to think about exactly what our own individual morals are.

  3. Hello Noam,
    What a very thoughtful post, and your final statement is superb – I wholeheartedly agree with it.

  4. Pingback: wendywalker

  5. Great post… I completely agree with you on the complexity of each individual’s moral character and our role as health care providers when dealing with ethical or morally-challenging dilemmas. Like you, I am also of the opinion that there is no universal moral code. Loved the quote by Jane Rule.

  6. Pingback: Religion, Law and Morality | The Pacific Bull Moose

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