Re: virus: Morality

Andy Cheyne Service-LL (
Thu, 29 Feb 96 10:52:43 -0000

Bill Godby wrote:

>Isn't there something very facistic about the idea that some constrant
(order) be imposed to
>allow for "intellectual endevour" to be fully realized? Aren't morals
sometimes used in a very
>repressive way? Consider all of the art that has been banned under the
premise of it being
>"immoral". Did not those who banned it, representing the majority, feel
that they were insuring
>order as well as morality?

No, I don't think that this is of itself "fascistic". I agree that formal
codes of behaviour and moral frameworks can (often, unfortunately, all
too easily) be subverted to serve represssive purposes. But again, it
seems that some higher "meta-morality" usually conspires to defeat such
regimes eventually. I also agree that in any society, there are areas of
intellectual activity which are proscribed - such concepts as blasphemy,
obscenity and defamation, for example. Though these values change, and
(with varying degrees of ease) be challenged, there is always going to be
a compromise. What I'm saying is, I'm reasonably content to live within
that sort of compromise because I rather like the benefits that societal
civilization gives me. (Of course, this may merely be a case of
better-the-devil-you-know, because I've no way of knowing how anarchy
would pan out. I can guess, and I don't much like the projections I come
up with, but that's a different thing altogether).

Damien R. Sullivan wrote:

>There probably is something to this, but while you acknowledged that
>this is simplistic I think it may be too simplistic to be useful. I'm
>an atheist, raised by two atheists, but when I was young and cowering
>under Chicago thunderstorms I could manage the odd prayer "To whom it
>may concern" regarding our safety. And this may be after I'd been told
>lightning was electricity, et al. Of course I had already been vaguely
>exposed by society to the god concept, and I knew my Greek mythology,
>but I suspect basic spiritualism comes first from assuming that Someone
>is behind Things, particularly big nasty Things. Then you can have a
>morality-enforcing religion based on why Someone is being nasty to you.

Actually, I agree with this. My point is that religions (good old
collective, organised, structured religions) came about because of a need
to codify and provide incentives for moral frameworks. The quest for
spirituality, and for spiritual explanations of difficult phenomena, is a
separate issue and, as you say in the last two sentences of the extract
I've quoted above, a precursor and important building-block of organised

Anyway, who said I was trying to be "useful"! :-)

Andy C