What is morality, ethics, tolerance?
From the book by Andrey Sokolov and Tatiana Sokolova "The world and humans for students and their parents".
Morality, ethics, tolerance?
We promised in the foreword that we would be honest. And we honestly declare to you that many people are confused in the issue of morality and ethics. And parents, and teachers, and priests, and police officers. And they are not only confused. Sometimes today they consider one thing to be moral or ethical, and tomorrow or in a year - another. And it so happens that they consider their act to be moral, and when someone else does the same, then they consider his act immoral. This happens because people often adjust the concepts of morality and ethics to what is convenient for them. And it is convenient not yesterday or tomorrow, but now.
And here science comes to our aid again. This time - philosophy.
German philosopher Immanuel Kant almost 300 years ago deduced very simple laws of morality and ethics, just as Newton discovered the law of universal gravitation a hundred years before him.
But Kant's laws were less fortunate than Newton's. It turned out to be much easier to deceive people than gravity.
And Kant came up with this.
He said that any of his actions or thoughts can be tested on the subject of whether it is moral in a very simple way. He called this a categorical imperative. (You don't need to memorize this name, especially since we promised to avoid scientific terms and complicated words).
So, Kant's way of testing his thoughts or actions is very simple. You just need to imagine what will happen if everyone does the same. Absolutely all people.
For example, I really want to misbehave. Checking whether it will be good if everyone around them starts hooliganism right now. And those people whom we see, and those whom we do not see. In general, everything. For example, a surgeon who is currently performing heart surgery. Or the driver who approaches the pedestrian crossing your mom is walking on.
Or you want to take someone else's. Without asking. For a time or forever. Well, at least an eraser. And then you can check - is it good if everyone around starts taking and appropriating other people's things without asking. For example, a neighbor will take your pen, and the teachers will take your bag, and some stranger will climb into your apartment and take a cat, a TV or a box of chocolates.
And so with any action. I want to hit, I want to swear, come up with an offensive nickname, call. What if everyone does this? And someone will start pulling mom's hair, calling dad names, coming up with nicknames for you and your friend.
A very convenient and testable law for determining morality and ethics.
The only pity is that not everyone observes it.
And not everyone correctly defines what is moral and what is not moral.
For example, adults often say that wearing short skirts is immoral and that it is immoral to wear makeup.
But let's check it out with Kant's law.
What happens if everyone dyes or wears short skirts? Will something terrible happen? Or the maximum that happens is that everyone will be funny.
And in this case it is necessary to speak not about morality and ethics, but
What is tolerance?
Imagine that your deskmate comes to school with green hair that has been styled into an incredibly fantastic hairstyle.
Now imagine the teacher's reaction. Will she be tolerant or not?
But your neighbor's body is his body and his property, just like the clothes in which he walks. And if he does not call names, does not fight, does not make noise in the lesson, i.e. does not interfere with his behavior other students learn and teach the teacher, it is only his own business, how to look and what to wear. A tolerant person will not reprimand him.
It's the same with a long skirt or makeup. It is a personal matter for the person who put on the skirt and applied the face paint. His face, his body - whatever he wants, he does what he wants, so it looks. And if someone is distracted or pays attention to his (hers) appearance, then this is not the problem of the one who dressed and put on makeup, but the one who reacts to someone else's appearance.
And this has a direct bearing on Kant's second law.
Kant believed that a person should follow only those rules that he invented for himself or that he himself voluntarily accepted others. Of course, if his rules meet the first law - what will happen if everyone does this?
And for example, you can take a school uniform.
The rule to go to school in the school uniform was not invented by schoolchildren. And not a specific student going to school today and standing in front of an open wardrobe, choosing an outfit. The uniform rule was invented by others. The student can voluntarily accept this rule, making it “his own”, or he can accept his own rule for himself, for example, to walk in jeans and a sweatshirt. This is his body, his clothes. By abandoning the school uniform, he does not violate Kant's first rule. If no one is wearing a school uniform, the school will not collapse and the learning process will not freeze.
Moreover, it was once so. And this did not prevent them from learning, and teachers - from teaching.
But if the teacher and the director punish the student for the lack of uniforms, or even if they just make comments to him, they will behave not tolerantly and immoral. In full accordance with the laws of Kant. Indeed, in this case, they not only begin to dispose of someone else's property - clothing and body, but also violate Kant's first law - "what if everything." Indeed, what if everyone, including the students, starts making comments to teachers about how they are dressed, and demanding some special dress from them. Will it be good? And will teachers be happy about this turn?
And a very curious conclusion follows from this. Adults believe they have a right to comment on children. And you shouldn't deny them this. Sometimes their comments are very useful for the life, health or learning of the child. But the right of adults to make comments to children, according to Kant's first law, means that children have the right to make comments to adults. Children are a part of those “everyone” on which we check whether our intention is moral or immoral, our behavior is moral or immoral.
And here we again come across a very intolerant attitude of adults towards comments from children. And sometimes even rudeness and, even worse, assault, i.e. to beatings.
And it turns out that adults are again acting immoral and immoral. After all, if everyone is rude and beat each other, it will be bad for everyone.
Is it good to complain “he started first”, “and he does that too”?
Indeed, according to the second rule of Kant, it is morally, when we set the rules for ourselves, and do not “nod” at others. And will it be good, according to Kant's first law, if everyone says - "here he is", "here is all," - nodding at the neighbors, trying to absolve themselves of any responsibility and following someone else's rules, not their own?
As Immanuel Kant wrote: "Have the courage to use your own mind."