The concept of moral codes determines the difference between right and wrong. They are developed from the principles from a code of conduct relevant to a certain culture, religion, or philosophy. Every community has its own views about the relation between right and wrong what shapes some sets of rules for personal behavior. As a rule, moral codes are supposed to be basic, and they are implied in operation in the community. Personal moral judgements imply into the development of the social level of moral development and the construction of moral codes. Although moral codes are supposed to be a constant phenomenon, some people break them searching for better life pursuing their own interests. Moral codes are supposed to be a stable set of moral judgements that should stay with a person during his or her entire life regardless of different circumstances.
How Do People Construct Moral Codes?
Morality is a distinctive human characteristic that differentiates them from animals. Thus, morality identifies the human conduct in the society, shapes particular behavior, attitudes ethical norms, beliefs and traditions. Every individual develops his or her moral code that forms his way of conduct. People, therefore, can live a normal life in society without moral codes are relevant to this society. Moral codes are not inherited from birth rather they are developed during life under the influence of parents, social norms, and personal moral judgements. Thus, they depend on the community where a person lives and their cultural, religious, racial, and gender characteristics. Living in a diverse society, a person can realize that different people have their own traditions, believes and judgements about different things. However, moral codes seem to be unique for everyone. For example, every ethnicity believes that killing a person is immoral, and this assumption exists regardless of the differences in race, gender, or nationality.
As a rule, people develop their moral codes under the influence of their parents, friends, role models, etc. Individuals construct their moral codes in the young age on the basis of their personal ethical standards. Therefore, moral codes help them to develop their characters and serve as the key for their personal identities. Moral codes identify a set of general principles as to how an individual should act in different situations. In other words, he or she finds the answers to the questions that appear in everyday life. Moral codes formed on the basis of personal morality and ethical norms help people formulate their thoughts and make decent decisions. However, not all individuals conduct in accordance with ethical and moral norms, and some of them conduct immorally breaking moral codes.
What Makes People Break Moral Codes?
Nowadays, morality is very similar as it was in the past. Although moral codes seem to be a universal phenomenon, there are many instances in history when people break them. For example, Hitler has created Nazi Germany that was judged to be immoral by the entire humanity. Moreover, there are many instances of immoral conduct of different states that have been waging wars now and in the past. There are still many cases of discriminations, although people understand that it is immoral to judge someone according to his skin color. These instances justify, however, not the intention of people to reinvent moral codes but rather to show themselves superior to others. People who break moral codes have different reasons for this. Some of them behave unacceptably because they have difficult backgrounds that shape their bad morality. Different cultures have different standards of how they are supposed to behave in different situations. Some individuals may assume that only the stronger may win, and this assumption makes no difference for their moral conduct, i.e. they do not care about their morality in their search for survival.
In everyday life, there are very many instances of breaking moral codes because of personal self-interests or benefits. For example, criminals make decisions that are morally and legally unacceptable in the society. Therefore, they are far away from moral standards based on community or cultural standards. Over-lapping reference groups are a good example of people who lack moral codes. However, there are many instances of breaking moral codes by people who seem to be adequate and live a regular life. They seem to have no ethical qualities and live in accordance with self-interests attempting to reach personal goals regardless of the methods they can achieve them. The modern world makes many individuals cynical and shameless in their search for money and private benefit. Unfortunately, many of us can rarely rely on friends like some decades before.
Are Moral Codes Relative or Absolute?
The question whether moral codes are relative or absolute is a philosophical one, and it may have a different answer for different people. Thus, those who have stable moral principles may answer that moral conducts are absolute while others may consider them relative. As for me, I consider that moral codes are absolute because they are formed on the basis of personal moral traits that cannot be changed in accordance with a certain situation. I have developed my moral standards in accordance with my personal traits such as reliability, honesty, fairness, etc., and they cannot be changed because I am a person with solid values and moral views. They are cautious. People who leave decent lives cannot change their culture, race or identity. Once, moral codes were established, it is hard to adapt them to various life situations with the purpose to receive personal benefits or self-interests. Obviously, people may appear in different situations that encourage adapting their behaviors, but not moral codes.
However, some people consider moral codes as relative when they pursue their own benefits, adopting their moral behavior to the situation. These people are chameleons, and it is impossible to rely on them in difficult situations because they may stay close only in case you are successful or have the money. They will not support or help others if they do not see self-interest. Usually, it is hard to determine such individuals because they are cautious. But, once a person can identify a real nature of such people, it can be very frustrating. Unfortunately, the number of such people is not rare, and many of them are around us. It happens because they lack ethical norms or their cultures encourage shaping certain moral codes that do not coincide with the standard. As for me, I try to stay apart from people with relative moral codes because you may never know how they will behave in different situations.
Moral codes are an important issue in a person’s life. They are based on ethical norms and determine personal code of actions. People who pursue certain moral codes that identify their characters and identities are more open than those who can change their moral codes in accordance with their private benefits. As a rule, individuals develop their moral codes under the influence of their parents, friends, role models, etc. in the young age on the basis of their personal ethical standards. Morality is a complex issue that requires decent personal traits that determine personal behavior. It takes a lot of efforts to develop moral codes, and only honest and reliable people live in accordance with them. Therefore, only those individuals who have moral principles and want to live decent lives can develop such codes and follow their rules.