Throughout these series of blog posts related to my chosen design agendas, I have spoken frequently about my desire for empathy, compassion and understanding within design. It has only recently occurred to me that these desires mirror my morals which had me thinking:
"where do we obtain our morals?"
The most obvious root is an environmental one. How we were raised, where we grew up, who we grew up with, what we were taught, what was the 'norm'. There's that word again: norm. This begs another question:
"are our morals shaped by the norm?"
What exactly do I mean by that? Well, if we are taught our whole lives by the people surrounding us what is right and wrong, do we fail to question that and just take those thoughts as gospel? As a society we need to question as often as we can otherwise, as I've mentioned previously, we are tempted to stick to the 'norm'.
I've been questioning myself more recently for this very reason and thought about where my morals have stemmed from as some are very apparent in my design.
I was lucky enough to be raised by two very-accepting parents and for times where one was a little less accepting the other would often have my back. We were, and still are if you ignore the distance, a very close knit family. I grew up with a younger sister who suffers from severe autism so I learnt at an early age how much I despised injustice and learn compassion for all people. In no ways am I perfect, I judge and criticise like anyone else but I learnt to admit when I am being this way and find ways I can overcome this prejudice I have created. I have my sister to thank for that. Aisling is an incredible individual and will probably accomplish a lot more than I am capable of because she is tackling challenges that I cannot fathom. It was from growing up watching people judge and mock her that built my morals and that I truly believe led me on my current path. A smaller aspect of my life was my early vegetarianism. I disliked the texture of meat and loved animals which became an easy equation for vegetarianism. Encompassing these beliefs at such a young age set them in stone for my life. My veganism was much more difficult as I made those changes twenty years into thinking one way and having to alter those beliefs slightly to accommodate my new morals. In not ways do I regret but I'll admit was more challenging.
While experienced or primary morals are most effective, throughout time a lot of secondary morals have been created through literature and teachings. These art forms are seen all over the globe in different religions and cultures. Following are three I have experienced in my life
morals within tradition & culture
Mythology can be seen through a spectrum of cultures under old terms including legends and folk tales.
A moral is described as 'a lesson that can be derived from a story or experience' or knowing the difference between right and wrong. In no part of that definition does it indicate all morals are the same. Experiences shape morals. Hateful morals can be taught giving conflicting definitions to what is right or wrong. Experiences are real. I have learnt we cannot criticise a persons morals because you do not know where they stem from. If you want to educate a person with hateful morals you must first empathise with them and then they will listen. Closing individuals off that are 'narrow-minded' only fuels the hate for what you deem to be right and push them further away from ever agreeing with you. We are only human and we must be humane. Education is better experienced than forced. Within our design can allow people to educate themselves through experience and allow them to rethink their questionable morals. 'If you build it they will come.'
En.wikipedia.org. (2016). Cautionary tale. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cautionary_tale [Accessed 12 Nov. 2016].
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