Morality vs. Obedience

Beliefs and knowledge are both dynamic concepts on all organizational levels of the human experience, from the individual to the global. Lets take for example the statement, “The Earth is flat. ” Five hundred years ago, this statement was knowledge. Today, it’s knowledge that this statement is false. Knowledge changes based on the information and evidence available to us at any point in time. This is also true of beliefs but in a different way. When most of us were young, we believed in the Tooth Fairy. Why? Because someone told us she was real.

However, this belief changed as we began to mature and rely more upon our own abilities to discern truth from fiction. Thus, we have established that both knowledge and belief are subjective but for different reasons. Belief requires no evidence, while knowledge requires evidence and/or experience. I would now like to make a comparative argument regarding morality and obedience. Simply put, morality is ‘doing what’s right, regardless of what anyone says’ and obedience is ‘doing what your told, regardless of what’s right. One can think of many examples regarding these concepts as they are defined but I will leave this to the reader’s imagination. There is a simple truth to defining obedience and morality in this manner that I find directly comparable to the examined quotation. Neither belief nor obedience require an individual or group to actively engage in an activity or thought process independently. There is no critical thinking involved and one must put their faith in the ‘rightness’ or ‘truth’ of another’s belief, knowledge or otherwise. Both knowledge and morality require active engagement.

One cannot possess knowledge without having evidence to back it up and one cannot act morally without understanding what it is that makes a situation right or wrong in their eyes. This is especially true when acting morally requires someone to go against social norms or established laws. The point of this paper is to shed light on the fact that we are all responsible for ourselves to the extent that we can be. No one person can know everything about everything, so belief and obedience are often useful and easy fallbacks. For example, I don’t snowboard on black diamond slopes.

This is not because I have knowledge of how hurt I will get but because I belief the sign posting and obediently board within my level to avoid possible injury. However, in every decision one makes there should be a component of knowledge and morality applied. In application to the snowboarding example, I know, from experience, that my snowboarding skills are not on par with a black diamond. I choose not to risk my health and the resources of first responders by making the moral decision to stay off of it, despite my desire to challenge myself.