WHAT IS “MORAL”

Simple Test of “Morality”

Ethical Musings By Vikram Karve

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WHAT IS “MORAL”…?

This story happened around 45 years ago in the 1970’s.

It was quite late in the night.

Our ship was in harbour — and — I was sitting in the Wardroom of my ship (a frontline warship — a frigate) — in a relaxed mood — enjoying my favourite after-dinner liqueur “digestif” — Bénédictine — while leisurely smoking my pipe — listening to some soothing music being played on the gramophone — yes — those days we had “record players” which played “records” — at 78 RPM, 45 RPM and 331⁄3 RPM or 33 RPM (Long Playing Records).

Two of my shipmates entered the wardroom — discussing something quite animatedly — and this disturbed my serene “reverie”.

One of the shipmates had “broken up” with his girlfriend.

(in today’s parlance — he had “dumped” his girlfriend)

He had “dumped” his girlfriend because he wanted to marry the “back-home-type” girl his parents had chosen for him.

The other shipmate was reprimanding him for being a “coward”.

I looked at the shipmate who had “dumped” his girlfriend and asked him:

“Tell me — how are you feeling after “dumping” your girlfriend…? Are you feeling good — or — are you feeling bad…?”

“I am feeling good…” he said, “In fact — I am feeling really relieved — yes — I am feeling good after “breaking up” with her…”

“If you are feeling good — then — what you have done is “moral”…” I said.

“What do you mean…?” the other shipmate said, “he had a “good time” with her and then he “dumped” her. How can you say that what he has done is “moral”…?”

“Well — you may do something that seems “immoral” in the eyes of the world — but — if you feel good after doing it — then for you — it is “moral”…” I said, “since he feels good after “dumping” his girlfriend — for him — it is “moral” — even if you may think otherwise…”

“Your theory on “morality” is all bullshit…” he said.

“It is not my theory…” I said, “it is a quote by Ernest Hemingway:

“What is moral is what you feel good after — and what is immoral is what you feel bad after…”

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QUOTE ON MORALITY

“So far, about morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”

― Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

(This quote about morality is from Chapter 1 of the book “Death in the Afternoon” by Ernest Hemingway. Death in the Afternoon, originally published in 1932, is a non-fiction book by Ernest Hemingway about the ceremony and traditions of Spanish Bullfighting. The book delves into the grandeur of bullfighting and contemplates on the nature of fear and courage)

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CONCLUSION

Sometimes you do something — and — you wonder if what you did was “moral”.

Like me — you too must have received many “sermons” and read many “pontifications” on the subject of “morality” — but — the above quote about “morals” by Nobel Laureate Ernest Hemingway is my favourite definition of “what is moral” — and — I found it in literature.

(in fact — I have learnt most of my philosophy of life via literature).

Morality is not always absolute — moral issues often differ along cultural lines — and — from person to person — and also from situation to situation.

In a nutshell — if you feel good after doing something — for you — it is “moral” — even if it may seem otherwise in the eyes of other people.

Conversely — if you feel bad after doing something — for you — it is “immoral” — even if other people think otherwise.

In my opinion — this is the “test” of “morality”.

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Dear Reader — do you agree…? Please comment at tell us your views.

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VIKRAM KARVE

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Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story is a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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Link to my source post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2021/03/test-of-morality.html and also posted in my writing blog at url: https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/03/11/what-is-moral-simple-test-of-morality/ etc.

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

A creative person with a zest for life, alumnus IIT Delhi, Lawrence School Lovedale, Vikram Karve is a retired Navy Officer turned full time Writer and Blogger