How To Decide What Is Right And Wrong Philosophy Essay

4901 words (20 pages) Essay in Philosophy

5/12/16 Philosophy Reference this

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People are aware most of the time that certain act is a right thing, but still they stick to their wrong action. However, they do not wish to be seen as wrong doer.

How much time we spend to decide what is right and wrong. We sit on judgment all the time and form different opinion about a person which may not be correct. We call something right or wrong according to whether or not it helps achieve our moral values. But it is difficult to enforce what is right or wrong on others. There are no moral principles that we can follow blindly.

What is wrong or right depend on specific situation and personal judgment. Suppose you found a person victim of road accident and needs to be immediately carried to hospital, otherwise he may die. He needs to be given immediate attention. No vehicle is available, but you see a vehicle nearby parked. It is not a good to take away somebody’s vehicle; however, there is the person who needs help in terms of immediate shift to hospital as otherwise he is on the brink of death. While taking vehicle in the ordinary course may be wrong, but most would also violate that rule in a case like this. Immediately, we would feel that it is right to save the life of the road accident victim. It is because the moral value of life is a higher value than that of protecting property.

Telling lie is an action generally considered to be wrong by most moral systems. Telling truth is considered a virtue as much damage is done to others and to society from too much dishonesty. But what if telling the truth violates higher value in life? A killer asks about whereabouts of your neighbor with intention to harm and murder him. What a person will do in this situation. Hold on to truth and allow your neighbor to be robed of his valuables and life. Despite the fact that people advocate telling truth is a virtue, telling a lie is the right thing to do in that particular situation. It achieves the higher moral value: the preservation of the life and valuables of your neighbor.

Hence, a right or wrong action cannot be viewed in isolation. It depends on circumstances and underlying purpose. Every individual based on his teachings and understanding has the capability to know what is right or wrong. It depends on what a person aspires in life. People may not be able to adhere to the right thing but through intuition and observing other people, they know that there is higher level of humanity. People may continue to adopt wrong doing but that does not indicate unawareness of right action; they know about higher level of living that is based on truth, refinement and spirituality.

What is right or wrong comes out of individual opinion, often driven by guide of judgment. You feel something as right to be done at that particular moment, but someone else looks at it differently. People adopt right action with hope of getting some reward or benefit. This is a narrow view of right action. Someone adopts right action because so many people adopt it and it could help to gain in reputation. A person, who is consistent, will look upon the question of right and wrong from a higher standpoint, and acts in a right manner irrespective of immediate gain.

How do we judge an action to be right or wrong? A thing which is deemed to be right to you may not be viewed with same intensity by the other person. How strong your moral beliefs determine which action of yours is viewed as right. It calls for adjusting your conduct according to this moral standard. That which is in accordance with a rule is right. Religion often provides data of what is right and wrong. Right and wrong being relative terms, and difficult to define these precisely. People feel puzzled to observe something which was treated as wrong turn to be right with the change of events. There is no absolute right or absolute wrong in this world.

A person wishes to be seen as right in front of others. Despite certain weakness, it has become habit of so many people to deem themselves right in all situations. Does it show enough maturity? A person ought to be magnanimous to admit his mistakes, and takes corrective measures to not repeat such mistakes. However, it has become habit with so many of us to avoid admitting mistakes and trying to prove our actions as right. Wherever, there are only opinions and nothing can be deemed to be right or wrong opinion, still people persist and think their opinion as right. Carrying this too far creates certain attitudes which are not in tandem with moral values.

Look to various discussions, people will assert their own rightness than truly seeking to be right. Surprisingly, in matters of general discussions, where nothing can be strictly right or wrong, but still views are labeled as ‘right view’ and ‘wrong view’. These impulses exist independent of anything being true or not. The need to be right overshadows real right and wrong act. The wrongness of the action or inaction is in conflict with need to be right. This is a basic aberration in our behavior and attitude.

It is not always difficult to find what is wrong or right. People are aware most of the time that certain act is a right thing, but still they stick to their wrong action. However, they do not wish to be seen as wrong doer. The attempt is to misrepresent the fact, adopt tactical representation and put blame on others to divert the attention from the wrong action. These days corruption, kickbacks and other favors are common in various business deals. Those who indulge in it try to justify it as special privileges for being in that position of power. Professionals charge exorbitant fees for the services offered by them and try to justify it as price for their expertise. If we look to the moral values, charging something exorbitant is not a right thing. A person who is sympathetic and have empathy towards others will not take undue advantage of other person. The chances are that he will avoid doing anything wrong.

Doing something wrong over a period of time, becomes attitude and part of your behavior. You may then feel it as normal. The habit of proving to be right all the time is an obsession with so many of us, which is a big impediment to bring moral values in life. It blocks every opportunity to learn and evolve better person. Unfortunately, our attitude to prove as right all the time draws us to extreme level of wrong doing which remain uncontrolled till we fall crashing down. This is the reason that people who commit big blunders are not able to see these until world comes crashing on them. Look to criminals, fraudulent people, killers; they will hold on to their wrong action and keep on defending it.

There are two vital issues for consideration and self- introspection. First, what is right or wrong depends on so many factors and one has to look to the higher purpose that underlies any action before you deem someone as right or wrong. One has to be very discreet in his judgment to deem someone as wrong. We will be doing lot of harm to someone by labeling that person as wrong without understanding fully the circumstances. Further, we have also to look for inner consciousness and develop inner strength so as to discriminate between right and wrong actions. The basis of our right actions has to be whether these are good for self and not in conflict with the interests of other person. Also, we have to learn to admit our mistakes and not to prove to be right every time. This way chances are that our attitude and behavior may avoid rigidity and negativity that could be damaging for holding good moral values. Admitting mistakes shows humility and respect for others. It provides opportunity for self improvement.

Life will provide us many opportunities to decide what is right and wrong, and to choose right course. Sometimes these situations become quite confusing as nothing can be deemed straightly as right or wrong, good or bad, and worth to be chosen or rejected. Each person, situation and an object has both good and bad aspects. Hence, the comparison can be mostly misleading; at best we can term good and not so good person, object or situation. Taking an extreme view is not appropriate. It creates tendency to misjudge the situation. Then, the confusion also gets further aggravated by listening to two voices; one that is dictated by mind and brings rationality, and the other dictated by inner feelings. Any decision has two aspects; one that fulfills immediate need of body and other that looks to fulfilling inner consciousness. A person who is fully conscious of his physical self, will be dictated by meeting bodily needs that looks for gain, reward, comforts, and material possessions, Another person who is fully conscious of meeting his inner need will not aspire for these things, but love, compassion, sincerity, honesty and peace. Now, most of us are not fully conscious of inner self (soul), hence this dilemma will continue what is right and wrong, rather what is right and relatively less right. In such situations, the best way to decide about right thing to do is to pick one which fulfills higher purpose of life. It is the way to bring higher values in life.

Are we losing moral values?

The loss of moral values in the present world

Description: The core moral issues are aligned to the inner consciousness. It recognizes each other person as close to own self. Hence all those actions, principles, behavior and beliefs which treat other person with respect, love and do not harm others are moral values.

Short words: inner-consciousness, legal issues, self-disciplines, honesty


What are moral values? Who decides these values and how we can reinforce these values in life. People often look to religion to guide moral behavior. However, religious beliefs often confuse people through various doctrines.

It is important to know what factors lead us to lose moral values. Morality being sacrosanct is mostly dictated by inner consciousness. This consciousness is our true being, inner voice and direction emanating from Ultimate. People realize this consciousness constantly, but try to ignore it. This is because the mind and the attention flow outside, and rarely inside. Everyone is aware that something lying inside is driving us.

We relate to self with body consciousness which is changeable, often unaware and remains absent during sleep, but “Inner Consciousness” is always present. How we create more awareness of this inner consciousness depends on how much we practice the core moral values in life. During sleep, we lose our awareness, but still our heart and other organs keep on doing its function. Who makes them to perform all these functions? It is the inner consciousness that is driving force and plays its role without our knowledge. Real moral values have to align with the awareness which remains with us forever.

The core moral issues are aligned to the inner consciousness. As inner consciousness does not undergo change, so these core morality values also does not undergo change, but these moral values are often ignored. It recognizes each other person as close to own self. Hence all those actions, principles, behavior and beliefs which treat other person with respect, love and do not harm others are moral values. Morality thus demands being honest, trustworthy, compassionate and loving in nature. The more we think about it, all aspirations will be judged from the broader perspective. Everyone talks about need for building these values. These are universal in nature. Anything which is done to harm somebody is not moral. While everyone agrees these to be real moral issues, but these are often sidelined and ignored by other arbitrary and emotional issues dictated by society and religious groups. Such moral issues which are mostly subjective in nature often become focus of discussion and disagreements between different individuals.

We observe divergent views on adhering to the moral values by social reformists, religious leaders and politicians. These dialogues talk on those morals which are not touching the core issues. Honesty, love, compassionate and truthfulness are indisputable moral values that are expected from each individual. Unfortunately, we are gradually diverting from these real moral values to something on where universal anonymity is not reached.

Morality goes beyond legal and social values. You may be within legal rights in performing certain acts, but if these create discomfort to others, it may not be moral. It depends on each individual to interpret as how much and what actions are harmful to others. There are people who are operating within the law of the land but still not leading a truly moral life. It is difficult to point any blame on such people as nobody else can force other person to be moral. It is self imposed adherence to be truly moral.

We come across number of incidents in day to day life when people lose the touch with real moral issues. What we observe these days is insensitivity by the people who command authority on issues that impact common people. They will take refuge of legal system and feel satisfied that their actions are completely in conformity with the norms set by the society. People have become so busy with their own life, and often try to ignore pain and suffering of others. These common problems have multiplied so much that it is considered more practical to be insensitive to the suffering of others. To move ahead in life, we prefer to dilute on these moral values in life. Those who devote time to take care of others are not fully appreciated by government or societies.

People try to mould rules to their own benefit or to the benefit of their core support group. This happens mostly in every organization. This is the reason that chief executives of many organizations are able to gain much beyond their efforts while ordinary worker is left behind with fewer privileges. It is deemed completely normal in a competitive world where a person is able to bargain better due to his strength. But morality goes a step further. It expects a person to be more considerate towards requirements of others. Such person will like to grab only so much which is felt genuine and appropriate to the efforts made.

We observe professionals charging exorbitant fees much beyond their efforts. They are within their legal rights to charge for these services. However, it is up to each individual to decide whether one ought to put some restraint looking to the reasonableness from the moral stand point. There are innumerable instances when people take advantage to extract full benefits of their bargaining power. Such insensitivities have crept in the various developed societies and each person have to look for own self interest unmindful of common welfare of all others. Lot of reasons will be given to justify large privileges which some small section of people enjoy. It is justified to foster efficiency and for attracting good talent in the top level in the organization. However, the real truth is that strong moral values have shown a decline trend. People who have the authority do not feel moral responsibility to justify what is morally right and wrong.

Your organizations may be incurring huge losses, but chief executives will continue to claim all benefits. There will be layoff in your organizations, but you try to secure your job and the privileges that go on with it. Everything looks fine from the legal stand point, but it is indicative of fast moral degradation happening all around. How can a person try to remain insulated from the sufferings of others? People have to stand above the legality of issue and understand pain and suffering of other people.

If a person is wealthy, he has every right to enjoy and spend his money in a way he deems it appropriate. However, a person who has certain moral values feels his obligation towards others to help them out of his surplus wealth. He may not prefer to engage in conspicuous consumption and big luxuries. He will look to wealth as a means to support others, and sees himself to be mere trustee. All these feelings come out of the inner consciousness to treat others with love, respect and compassion. Suffering of others will affect a moral person and touch his heart to be helpful to others. Being wealthy and not thinking about helping others may be normal, but looking to higher moral values; it is expected of a person who is in a position of advantage to support others.

The world has thrown opportunities to capitalists to improve their net worth through industrial and economic growth. We observe millionaires and billionaires. It is true that in a capitalist society, when a small section of people accumulate lot of wealth, they stand benefited in a number of ways. Their actions influence large section of people working under them. They are able to influence policies of government. There is nothing wrong in accumulation of wealth. However, morality demands self imposed responsibility to repay back to society.

You make a fun of someone because of his certain limitations. It may be quite normal for you. However, look from the perspective of other person. It could be quite stressful for that person. You may have not violated any law in creating stressful situation for other person; however, still it is not moral to magnify other person’s shortcomings and limitations. There are innumerable such instances where our conduct and dealings are not moral but well within the legal framework. We often ignore certain acts of immoral behavior. Morals are based on reality, reason and logic. People often try to suppress logic and reasoning to justify being low on moral values.

Let us examine why people are losing moral values. The most important factor is the advantage people have got through external development. Most parts of the world have been benefited from the economic development since last several decades that improved the life style and standard of living of so many people. Hence, people have believed that move ahead in life externally is the solution to the all problems of life. Our experiences with the development of science and technology have also reassured that it can offer solutions to so many problems in life. People have gradually forgotten to think and look within. Nobody has time to reinvent own self. Everyone is in competition with every other person. As long all these activities are within acceptable limits, these are healthy signs of development. However, our minds are always stressed to think about external development, progress, comforts and achievements. It is always thinking about own self. Rarely people engage in thinking about other peoples’ welfare. Why this is happening. It is outcome of losing own inner consciousness. The moment we think about our connection with God and inter connection with others, it creates more love, peace and desire to be in close harmony with others. Losing this inner connection prompts us to think about self. It makes us to look outwardly.

Looking outwardly, people tend to look to values that satisfy your individual identity. You feel right if you follow certain legal and society norms. People also get impressed by religious philosophy that impacts moral values. Hence, the real moral issues which are core to existence are lost. There is not much pressure either from legal, social or religious groups to be honest, sincere, loving and compassionate in behavior. Each religion, society and legal system has its own doctrine and philosophy. The real truth about our existence gets hidden in these doctrines. Lot of energy and time is spent to find about the real issues. The fight often goes in interpretation of what each society and religion demands. These views are mostly narrow minded and confined to the benefit of particular section of people. Unfortunately, no great leader propagates universal brotherhood and living in harmony.

As long as people forget to look within and realize their spiritual essence, moral issues will often be narrowly woven around emotional issues. We will talk about sex, corruption, favoritism, excessive consumption and nepotism as main issues. Everyone will have different views on these issues and it will occupy lot of attention. For some societies enjoying sex openly is normal whereas for conservative societies it is immoral. Taking business favors is normal with some nations that make corruption a normal phenomenon. It is still looked as immoral act by so many countries. Hence, the attention moves to all the issues that are secondary in nature.

People are not able to improve on core moral issues as it needs self discipline and a broader picture of life. This can come only to people who emphasizes on real self. How many times we practice to be honest, truthful and loving to others. Are we able to offer something as token of respect, love and compassion to others? Do we see comfort in helping others? Are my activities in tune with these ideals? Do I really mean and believe what I state. As we look to these issues, it will be evident that real moral values are missing to a varied degree with most of us. Our actions and behavior do not demonstrate attitude of forgiveness, gratitude and compassion towards others. Even people, who are in a position to afford to help others, do only a paltry service in comparison to other engagements. Despite economic development and rapid progress in science and technology, the present day world problems are mainly manifestation of losing in moral values.

What is good and bad?

Are we capable to decide about good and bad actions?

Descriptive: The inquisitiveness of the mind leads sometimes to misunderstand other person, underestimate the future challenges and disregard other person’s view. Except for universal moral values, there is nothing like good and bad action, but mere different approach to life.

Short-words: Judgment, good, bad, Mind, Prosperity


Mind perceives various situations and tries to judge self and others. In the process of judgment, it is required to deem various situations as good or bad. Hardly, we are able to bring mind to rest and divert it from thinking on various issues and declaring these as good or otherwise. Everyone knows that something which appears to be good at the first instance may be more complicated at second sight, for things may have different interpretations from different perspectives. It happens to all of us. How many times we discover something as true has been proven subsequently wrong.

The inquisitiveness of the mind leads sometimes to misunderstand other person, underestimate the future challenges and disregard other person’s view. Except for universal moral values, there is nothing like good and bad action.

Good actions ought to increase prosperity, happiness, and pleasures. Irrational or bad actions undermine those values. While most actions are matter of preference and cannot be deemed as good or bad, but certain basic actions never change in terms of good or bad actions. The rightness or wrongness of those basic actions does not vary according to opinion, or from person to person, or from generation to generation, or from culture to culture. Universally good or bad actions are objectively based on the basic human truth that anything which protects life and dignity of human beings is a good action. But other actions cannot be judged in terms of good or bad because they are a matter of personal preference determined by individual differences.

There are certain core moral values and nobody can have argument on these values being right for the person. Love, Honesty, Sincerity and Commitment are life enriching attitudes that brings calmness, peace and happiness not to self but all other people around you. These morals are not determined by anyone. The same moral standards exist for each and every human being throughout all locations, cultures, and ages. Those standards are independent of anyone’s opinions or proclamations.

Feelings and emotions, on the other hand, cannot be considered as standards. A person’s life-style, desires, needs, and preferences can vary greatly without altering that person’s character or without making that person morally right or wrong. Still, moral absolutes do exist. The moral absolute essential for happiness is to know reality, and what you do to be in touch with your real self.

Leaving behind moral and real issues in life that differentiate what is good and bad, everything else in life cannot be described in terms of good and bad actions. There are host of activities which are mere responses to the demand at a particular time. Something good at a particular moment may not look good for all the time. Someone wishes to be happy and casual in life while other person remains more serious. Both these attitudes to life have definite advantageous. Remaining serious all the time brings stress and expectations. Casual approach in life may at times affect you by losing available opportunities. It is desirable to be both casual and serious in life depending on the circumstances. We have been taught to accomplish a task in a particular manner, and if someone does the same thing differently, it makes us to find fault in other person. This attitude has gone too far and everything looks like a fight for being good. Is not it worth to avoid treating labeling everything either good or bad. Thinking in this manner will help to accept the divergent view as one other view. Differences will not trouble much. Our beliefs and attitudes are personal choice. We need not to justify these as good. This type of attitude is helpful to remain calm.

There is nothing good or bad in doing a particular act. It is a relative comparison and best way to describe these is ‘more’ or ‘less’ in comparison to other activity. Love and hate are often treated as good and bad activities. Similarly honesty and dishonesty are opposites and thought to be good and bad activities. It does not work like that in life. A person, who is seen to hate others, is actually showing less of love compared to other person. He may still be lovable in comparison to third person. Similarly, honesty is a relative comparison and nobody is fully honest or dishonest. Looking to these analogues, it is not appropriate to label someone as bad. By doing this, we are creating negative feelings against other person. There will be number of similar instances where something deemed as bad is as per our perception, but actual situation may be different. It is better for self improvement to be discreet in labeling someone bad; it creates negative feelings and spoils our inner condition.

People often sit on judgment on what is good and bad for others. These judgments are your subjective opinion. A completely different opinion is held by some other person. It is therefore imperative to not sit on judgment of others on issues which are subjective in nature. We may be by doing so hurting other person.

Let us not think of extreme situations when dealing with others. It is easy to label someone dishonest, lazy, incompetent, irresponsible or selfish. It has become habit with so many of us to amplify a behavioral pattern of other person. It is not always true that a person who shows a small act of dishonesty in a particular situation will always behave in a dishonest manner. The same is the case with other personality traits. A person who disciplines mind to avoid thinking in this manner will be able to restore his poise and calmness. Once mind decides something is bad, based on whatever information is available, it then tries to justify it. This is the biggest trouble that comes from within, which is much bigger and permanent than any other trouble inflicted by others. Mind when reacts in an indiscipline manner creates havoc. We ought to avoid thinking that whatever we do not like is bad. If we do not like someone, it ought not to create us a bad feeling. The real truth of existence is that all of us are in some manner equal and attaching too much of external attributes of good and bad is damaging to inner self. Let us be very discreet and humble in seeing something bad in other person. It will help to retain inner-purification.

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