Tag Archives: Morality

Not Enough Compasses

We have too many laws and not enough compasses.

I was going to write about Mr. Marsh of Marsh Supermarkets and his curious claim that he was unaware of being under a code of conduct during his employment.  I have strong opinions about morality versus law (or code or policy or commandment).

Obeying or not obeying some edict or other has little to do with being moral. Many religions drive me crazy with their specious claims to morality. If you are only doing or not doing something for fear of punishment by the Big G in the sky, the policeman down the street, or your mum and dad, you may be curbing behavior but you are certainly not automatically being moral.

Instead, you are just a dog not pissing on the carpet for fear of the master’s lash.

I thought I would write on this and segue into Boy Scouts territory with a deconstruction of “morally straight” in their oath. I would talk about the shallow absurdity of believing that straight refers to “put your penis there but not there.”

But I think I might write about a dead raccoon instead.

Living in the city, I do not see a decent variety of wildlife. But my husband and I have started feeding the stray cats that come by and that has attracted other creatures, like birds and dogs and squirrels. And, until now, the raccoon.

He loved our house. After eating, he would shimmy up the wooden beams on our porch and hang out on our roof.

Last night I came home from the SGI Buddhist Center. As I parked in the street I saw him about fifteen feet in front of me. Dead.

Ran-over. Killed. Murdered.

He was so beautiful up there on our roof; a beautiful that will be no more.

Today I sent a service request to the Mayor’s Action Center. It’s an efficient site. I just picked the correct options from drop down boxes: dead animal — raccoon — location.  There are laws governing such things and I did my part, my civic duty, by reporting it.

But such action on my part wasn’t moral. It was functional,  behavioral, and responsible, but not moral. Morality can certainly include those three things, but those things can also be separate.

Instead, morality is the feeling I get when I contribute to the beautiful, whether on the rooftop or elsewhere in the world. It is the pit I feel in my stomach, like it’s been hollowed out, when I see the once beautiful now just so much discarded meat in the road.

Morality requires action, but it also requires a feeling; an emotional pull on the needle of your personal moral compass that keeps you heading in the right direction.

Passing laws or policies has little to do with instilling people with their own moral compasses. But the good news is that compasses come pre-installed. There just aren’t enough compasses being used as we too often settle on the ease — and empty morality — of simply obeying the rules.

It is time for us to move beyond canine obedience into human compassion.

Think Progress.

Drug Testing Dilemma

Next to my computer is my ePassport™ for a pre-employment drug screen at Hendricks Occupational Medicine II in Plainfield IN.

Such screens have become frighteningly routine. More times than not when you fill out an application for work, you must consent to such testing. In fact, I have yet to see a not. I have a huge problem with this. But unfortunately I have to weigh this moral reservation against the need to bring money into the household.

And it is a moral reservation, because there is definitely something unseemly and insidious here.

First and foremost of course is the invasiveness of it. They are taking bodily fluids from me. Am I the only one who finds that a little bit creepy? People should have the right to be “secure in their persons“. Such testing violates at the very least the fourth amendment.

Second, it is exploitation. Drug screening isn’t free. There may not be a cost to the employee, but people are getting paid; there is currency exchanged. Now this may sound all good from a capitalist model. But the source material that is being used is your very own bodily components. In the past I’ve given plasma and received a check. But here I am giving for someone else’s benefit — I already know my medical information, so I gain no knowledge from it — and am not being compensated for it.

Third, think about the big-picture implications. It probably sounds innocuous to many folks when you say it as “drug testing”. But let’s reword it for better accuracy: companies have the right to perform medical testing on their employees.

I’m sure some people will read that last line and say I’m just being extreme here for the sake of fun and argument. But one must bear in mind how much medical technology has advanced and is advancing. We can do all sorts of testing if we want to do so, all of which could have the same good-of-the-workforce argument made.

Brain scans, genetic testing, vaginal ultrasounds… and on and on and on. Think such a scenario is far-fetched?

There is an old joke about a man asking a woman if she will sleep with him for a million bucks. She says, “Yes.” So he then asks her if she will sleep with him for a dollar. She gets offended and says, “What kind of person do you think I am?” He replies, “We’ve already established that. Now we are quibbling about the price.”

We have allowed the establishment of medical testing as a “routine” occurrence.

Now we are just quibbling about the details.