The Moral Conundrum
While we all could be armchair critics and say what we think is right when we are not in the situation itself, how many of us would actually uphold what we said when we are in the predicament? And for when we can’t account for our actions, we console ourselves by whitewashing the truth and attributing our inaction as a series of events where we are not in absolute control, and thus we were unable to act on them at that point in time — just so that we will be able to sleep better at night.
Our values in life are essentially flawed if we are unable to follow through with them. To say that we are a totally morally upright person will be a misnomer as the tenets of a morally upright person is one who takes responsibility for their actions and ensures that he does not compromise his beliefs either for himself or for the sake of others. Moreover, the bedrock of morality is built upon altruism; the action of giving without expectations of reciprocation, and ethics; being a socially responsible person.
Despite this, we all have the inherent ability to be uphold our virtues in life as long as we do not let our feelings dictate over our values whenever we are placed in a situation which draws on our tenacity in our beliefs.
On the other hand, it is imperative for us to differentiate between following the rules and doing what is morally right. At times, we could be overly fixated on doing the right thing and we tend to forget that there are times where there should be a leeway to err on the side of altruism instead of being a cynic whenever someone solicit empathy from us. And what we ought to do is to be less sceptical and not doubt those that are soliciting for help; after all, they wouldn’t have done so in the first place if they had the means to find a job which could put food on their table.
Just the other day, someone in their mid-50s tried to peddle their wares on behalf of their disabled friend and she wouldn’t take no for an answer. And as a sceptic, I couldn’t see myself acceding to her request, so I decided to walk away from her and went on my way in spite of all her pleadings.
After the incident, I was perpetually bothered by it and I have been asking myself these questions:
What if she was indeed trying to raise funds to support her disabled friend?
What if she genuinely requires financial assistance but couldn’t humble herself to ask for help directly?
Have I not fulfilled my moral obligation then?
Have I not gone against the values of my life which I wanted to uphold myself to?
I still think about the episode almost every single day, but moving forward, I will rather take things ad-hominemly than be abject to any iota of guilt should I be a cynic again.