(Preclaimer: last week’s post had some stimulating discussion both here and on my FaceBook page,. Thanks to all who participated. This week is a follow-up, and definitely writing-related. I will probably go back to my writing challenges in the following weeks.)
Does our society have morals? Should we writers have our characters display morals to parallel today’s society? What and where are the standards? The Ten Commandments from 4,000 years ago only recently were outlawed in public schools, with a quick and dramatic increase in activities counter to those ten simple “rules.”
You would think to not tell a lie is a rather basic moral choice: Truth, good; Lying, bad. Three off-the-top-of-my-head acceptable to society examples of lying today involve cheating on tests to get into schools (e.g., stealing answers or taking drugs to enhance metal abilities) , or not paying income taxes, or fabricating stories in memoirs. Even the leaders of our country do this. What about our doctors or other health care people?
On sexual behavior (or some who use moral standards like those 4,000 year old guidelines may call misbehavior) — what are the consequences of our actions? And bottom line, who pays for said consequences? If one engages in sexual activity outside of moral laws, of course, that is one’s own choice. But if said person insists that others (e.g., the government or insurance companies) pay for the consequences, who owns the individual behavior?
So my question comes down to, if we can no longer use ones which have worked for thousands of years, then what are the moral standards today?
I challenge you to make your own list. Even thieves and murderers have their own standards they follow. Can we writers for children and teens agree that there is such a thing as morality today, and if so, what are those new standards?
Yes, I often wonder – will people read books if characters have morals that today’s folks deem old fashioned?
On another note – things are really getting sad for the human race if you ask me.
One of my favorite movie quotes: “Never give up. Never surrender.”
That said, I also like TV character Martin Fraizer’s line: “People stink.”
So… take your pick, like I do, depending on your /my mood and circumstances.