Sunday, July 17, 2011

Is Morality in the Eye of the Beholder?

To give the quick answer to the question posed by the title: yes.  My dictionary defines morality as "conformity to the rules of right conduct".  Regardless of whether or not universal truth is something you ascribe to, our perception of the morality of a situation is mutable.  Since everyone agrees that we humans make mistakes, our system of morality is also subject to mistakes -- and to a lesser extent, it is subject to personal perceptions.

The woman in the previous entry has every right to condemn my actions as amoral.  From her perspective, condoning alternative sexuality is a very grave act.  While it is true that my position is that she doesn't make the most reliable judge due to her own actions (also a grave act in her belief system), that doesn't directly preclude her from finding me reprehensible. 

I would have hoped that several steps ago she would have noticed that she was heading towards a position that might undermine her argument.  We all know how much easier it is to judge someone other than ourselves: actions seem quite plain when seen on the tableau of someone else's life and existence.

It's difficult to write about being judgmental.  After all, I basically spent the last entry poking fun at their relationship, after setting it up in the context of an affront to my own morality.  Does that mean there's room in my morality for mocking people behind their backs?

To that very incisive question, I have no good answer.  The simple reading says that I too am guilty of hypocrisy.  My only qualified answer is this: I do not make fun of people who leave room for doubt.  Had the two people mentioned previously each come to the independent conclusion that they were not happy in their current lives, decided to make changes and break relations with previous partners, and then found a new life in each other, I would not make fun.  In fact, I'd probably congratulate them on their desire to change and the force of will to make scary alterations to their lives.  I'm certainly not striking for change that far from MY personal comfort zone.

Doubt is one of the most powerful senses we have.  It's what help us to decide if we're about to do the right or wrong things.  It's what makes it possible for us to change our minds.  We even take doubt into account when deciding criminal sentences. 

What offends me is the presumption that anyone can continue to make forceful declarations about other people's morality, even after showing themselves to have been untrustworthy in love (where we tend to be our most trustworthy -- or the opposite), love being as close as we're likely to get to a "universal morality".

Had my acquaintance shown a hint of contrition or care, you would have had no play from me today.  The entry would have been about something more generic, such as whether or not treatment of homosexuality is an issue governed by "morality".  

A terse play in five immoral acts.

I consider myself to be a moral man.  I conduct my life with a rigid sense of right and wrong, I try to be consistent in my application of principle to both people I like and ones I despise, and I always try to "do unto others" in a way that would engender honorable... er... "being done unto".  I scrupulously analyze decisions to avoid the sense of talking from both sides of my mouth -- very careful I am to be fair.

What that means is that when people attack principles I posses, I tend to take the criticism to heart.  For at least the short term, I act with an editor working through my thoughts.  Do the accusers have any merit?  Am I blinding myself to seeing what they're seeing?  Likewise, I'm slow to bring the full brunt of my criticism to bear unless I have a very good reason.

Being told I'm immoral by someone I consider immoral is one of those good reasons.

New look on the back end

This is going to seem weird, because you won't be able to see any of the changes I'm talking about.  But just like you have to trust the guy at the on-ramp who says that Marilyn Monroe and Deng Xiao Ping are whispering sweet nothings in his ears, there are large cosmetic changes afoot in the Blogger design side.

They're not reflected up front because I've always selected the design for the blog anyway.  The composition screen for new entries is now of the spartan and white design that I associate with iPads.  It looks very clean and "Apple-esque", but it's also devoid of most color and things are VERY far away from each other on my new computer monitor and its HD-tv resolution.

I'm typing on a comically small window for text entry in the upper center of the screen.  There's at least 3-4 inches of gray space to the left, right, and below.  Having finished the previous sentence, it suddenly expanded the column to the screen bottom, allowing me to write in the approximation of column.  I can only hope that the width of this is exactly the same as the width of it on my actual published screen. For years, I've dealt with entries not quite looking like I intended.  Most of the time, it requires an addition retreat to the design screen, some tweaking, another publish, more changes, etc.  This all hopefully occurs invisibly for visitors, since I don't want people to get bogged down in update logs for each entry.   

FYI, I've just looked at the preview screen and confirmed that it still isn't quite the same pagination.  Oh well, baby steps.

In summary, everything looks white and sparse on this side.  Most likely their reason was to fall in line with the new looks of Gmail and Google Calendar.  And THEIR reason was most likely to facilitate bare-bones looks to simply tablet and phone editing.  Whatever: I can still use it just as easily, though the large amount of white does tend to annoy my eyes if I use it full screen.  I assume this is still a work in progress.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A Chased Wedding ... or is it "Chaste"?

Last weekend, I attended a wedding.  It was the first of this year (2011) for me, and it seems likely to be the only one.  It's a slowdown from last year which saw me attending four weddings, including the marriage of one of my brothers.  It took me as far afield as the Olympic forest in Washington and the vine fields of southeastern Missouri -- to the center of bohemian culture in Kansas City and the heady elegance of a manor home.

This wedding was domestic, by comparison.  Having said that, the bride *was* imported...