These days, those who are considered the most successful in life, are also those who hold the dual abilities of being able to commit the most atrocious of actions whilst instantly providing themselves with a sense of justification for doing so.
If you look at those who have made it to the top of their fields, regardless of whether or not those fields are considered prestigious or dubious in nature, very few of them, if any, could honestly claim to have never once used, abused or in any other way taken advantage of another, in order to get there.
Given that our society consistently tells us that it’s okay to lie, cheat or steal the pants off a business competitor if it better suits our own purposes to do so, it’s little wonder that this same message has begun to transfer over into everyday life.
Where often all it takes to make it okay to rip off strangers, friends, or even family, is the ability to convince yourself that your needs outweigh the needs of those you are taking advantage.
We’ve all heard of the stories of con men that convince their own elderly parents, without any remorse what so ever, to invest in their bogus business schemes, for no reason other than to enable them to get their hands on the family’s money sooner, rather later.
Or the drug addicts who think nothing of stealing from their friends, family or complete strangers in order to feed a habit which also provides them with a built-in sense of justification in that their “immediate needs” are more important than the needs of whomever they’re stealing from.
The saying that “all is fair in love and war” appears to have become the justification for almost any form of malevolent behaviour that one can think of.
This used to be a saying that was predominantly applied to the dubious behaviours of those in the business world.
Where many of those in positions of power have been known to do things such as releasing harmful products, most notably pharmaceuticals, onto the worldwide market , in the belief that their products potential to cause harm were vastly outweighed by their products potential to create profits.
In fact if we look back at the history of medical developments, the vast majority of the work that has been carried out in order to create our current day medical break throughs, have been premised on the justification that the potential benefits of the many out weigh the suffering of the few, (upon whom early medical experiments were conducted on).
This type of moral trade-off, or justification, is also the moral device that provides many with the ability to experiment on animals.
So as a breed of beings we do indeed seem to have a propensity for believing that our actions, no matter how morally horrific they may be, are still somehow okay if they can be viewed as justifiable in any way, shape of misbegotten form.
This leads me to wonder just how potent a device for excusing bad behaviour justification has become in our own lives.
For instance, if you found a wallet in the street with a few hundred dollars in it two days before Christmas, would you hand it in to the police, or would you choose instead to believe that the universe had provided you with an unexpected means of being able to afford those extra little Christmas treats you’ve been longing to buy for those you love?
Or what if your family were severely financially struggling at the time?
What if keeping the wallet meant the difference between you family having power and heat on Christmas day or not?
Would keeping the wallet under those circumstances be justifiable?
Dilemmas like this, on a small-scale, show just how untenable the concept of justification can become as a mode for defining the rightness or wrongness of our actions.
We all know that handing the wallet in, under most conventional circumstances, would be considered the morally right thing to do…. But….. My question is this…….
‘Can the keeping of the wallet any longer be viewed as the only morally right thing to do if one can justify doing otherwise?’
And if all it takes is a sense of justification to overthrow those once clear lines of delineation between right and wrong actions, then how much longer will it be before we lose all concept of a collective sense of right and wrong all together?