Friday, May 23, 2008

Social Justice

"All virtue is summed up in dealing justly. It is in justice that the ordering of society is centered. He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god."

"One of the gods came down to ask the Buddha: "There's an inner tangle and an outer tangle. This generation is entangled in a tangle. Who will untangle this tangle of tangles?" "Those established in morality and meditation," replied the Master, "untangle the tangle."
~Jata Sutta~

A Sutta is an entry, or an exchange of thought between the one who asked a question and the Buddha. - So Jata asked a question of Buddha, and the Sutta was the outcome. Buddha preaches social compassion, not individualism - from within, goes out.

I thought it prevalent to write a little something about morality only because I think people today have forgotten the true meaning. One must first recognize the difference between secular and social morality. I will write about only social morality, as it has been defined through the century's collectively through basic principle. I am not religious, therefore cannot write about what I think is an acceptable form of secular morality – especially considering the fact that there are too many religions and belief systems to go into at this time.

First we must look to the systematic study of morality, which is ethics. To an extent, everything we do is subject to interpretation - including morality. Taking things out of context, acting in a way juxtaposed to either acting or not acting in another way is a form of moral particularism (Jonathan Dancy) – picking morals where people see fit - but not necessarily morality for the betterment, or the holism of any given circumstance which are two things that society thrives upon to live. (Aristotle)

Given that statement of how morality functions in social holism, we can conclude to the following ethical and moral social stance; the betterment of a group of people, instead of an individual; large scale social events and conditions; the individual finds identity within a whole society; finding individual identity within a group means that the individual is ready to give up, or sacrifice, individualism for the betterment of a symbiotic social relationship. (Emile Durkheim)

Also given these statements, (not taken out of original context), social morality based upon actions affecting a group of people are defined as more than an individual view of how things are, and how a group of people define what is right and just by how we respect our peers through what is behaviorally acceptable as a whole. (Alfred Adler)

Morally wrong actions are sometimes necessary to achieve morally right outcomes. Actions can only be considered morally right or wrong by virtue of the morality of the outcome. (Plato) The subsequent virtue is then based upon consequentialism, or the value of an action derived solely from the value of its consequences. (Niccolo Machiavelli)

Violations of social moral etiquette include public disgrace; public defamation; mindful unrest; and slanderous canards. Snobbism, lacking in virtue, is the adoption of superficial mannerisms of an in-group, in the interests of social advancement rather than a concern for others, or conspicuous consumption. (Thorsten Veblen)

So, the conclusion I can gather is this: if something stemming from a canard has affected an entire group, rather than an individual, is it then not morally just to stand up for the virtue of society as a whole, rather than taking the subservient role of a self-centered belief that the only thing that matters is the individual?

Unfortunately, we live in a society – not individual seclusion.

Respect is taken, when respect is given ...

Namaste and Slainte

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