Posts Tagged ‘Mores’

WHAT IS MORALITY? A Moral Government Is A Sustainable Government & Reciprocally

September 28, 2019

Here again, I address the question at the largest civilizational scale: where does morality come from? What justifies it?  (That brings an immediate problem, as regimes, let alone governments, are constantly shifting; consider in China alone the “Warring States”, followed by Qin, followed by Han, then Tang, Sung, Yuan, Ming, etc; these are called dynasties, but they were actually different regimes, constantly shifting; however, pretty much the same morality; so I introduce meta-governance, meta-civilization, etc.)

A criminal regime has criminal laws. They, of course, can be more or less criminal.

***

Wayne Straight Indeed but it got me to thinking about whether there is or can be any such thing as a “moral” government. One of my long-time original (at least I think it’s original) quips is that any large organization is only as ethical or moral as it’s least moral member. That would seem to be particularly apt when applied to governments.

Serious Abomination was always legal, making it even more abominable… [Actually the Holocaust of Jews was not even legal according to the Nazis own laws passed in 1935. The Wannsee Conference attempted to persuade the Justice minister and others to allow the bending of Nazi laws… to exterminate Jews, and others…

***

Answer to Wayne: One has to define first what “moral” is. For doing this, it helps to go back to the etymological root: moral is from Old French moral (14c.) and directly from Latin moralis “proper behavior of a person in society,” literally “pertaining to manners,” coined by Cicero (“De Fato,” II.i) to translate Greek ethikos (see ethics) from Latin mos (genitive moris) “one’s disposition,” in plural, “mores, customs, manners, morals,” a word of uncertain origin.

Conclusion? Morality is defined in a society as what enables sustainability, of said society.

For example neither Assyria, not Imperial fascist Rome, nor the Mayas, nor the Aztecs, nor the Nazi or Stalinian regime were moral, because they were not sustainable. But of course they were more or less sustainable, thus moral: Rome and the Maya lasted millennia, Assyria, centuries, whereas Stalin’s regime lasted 30 years, the Nazis, 12.

Another related notion is meta-governance. Morality arises from meta-governance, not simple governance, because morality is a civilizational notion (after the Nazis were killed by the Allies, Germans immediately recovered the moral sense coming from Western civilization; same thing happened in Russia after the demise of Sovietism).

The West has had metagovernance even as the Occidental Roman state crumbled and partly collapsed: Goths, Burgonds, Franks and remaining Romans agreed, in their various states/kingdoms, upon the basic civilizational structure, namely, mostly that of the Roman state.

Within a century, the Franko-Gallo-Romans had installed a Roman like metagovernance (everybody became a Frank while Frankish and Celtic languages faded, replaced by bastardized Latin).

In the details, the IMPERIUM FRANCORUM looked extremely gory: Frankish leaders, having done away with Goths and Burgonds, and the like, were busy killing each other, in most unpleasant manners. However, on the largest scale, the Imperium Francorum was an important moral advance. The Imperium Francorum became so highly moral, it superseded morally the Greco-Roman meta-civilization preceding it.

Indeed the government of the ruling monarch, the Frankish queen, Saint Bathilde, outlawed the slave trade (of Frankish citizens) around 655 CE (1,210 years before the good old USA outlawed in turn slavery…)

In contrast, metagovernance of Mexico, pre-conquista, was terrible, highly immoral: Aztecs insisted to eat their enemies, so Cortez found plenty of allies, multiplying his army by a factor of 40 or so. That gigantic army overwhelmed the Aztecs (who had boasted countless times that Cortez will never have enough men to kill them all). The immorality of the Aztec regime was the direct cause of its demise: it gave the Spaniards the excuse and capability to exterminate it.

A similar mechanism occurred with Nazism, and other fascisms, of course: their very immorality caused them a mass of enemies bigger than themselves, and provided those enemies with plenty enough motivation, namely the enemies will to survival, for the extermination of the fascists. Nazi laws were so immoral, so unsustainable, the Nazis themselves couldn’t obey them (they had to bend them, hence the infamous Wannsee conference).

So then what to extract from the preceding drastic moral fundamentalism, looking forward?

Well, any new ways and means increasing humanity’s potential survival will define a new and better morality, looking forward.

Patrice Ayme

P/S: What happened to the ethological (somehow genetically, or congenitally imprinted) morality (which advanced animals can be experimentally determined to have)? Well, it’s subjacent and implied in the preceding discourse: the exact same force, the WILL & IMPLEMENTATION of SURVIVAL, which established morality at the civilizational level, established morality ethologically and etiologically at the scale of the evolution of species.

What Is “Moral” To A Lion?

February 13, 2017

What Is Moral To A Chimpanzee?

What is the Origin of Human Morality?

Individual Morality May Vary, But Social Morality, Which Also Varies, Is Absolutely Dependent Upon Circumstances:

Natural scientists will say that one has to start with human ethology, the behavior of man au naturel. However, that’s a bit delicate, as there is nothing natural about man, since the genus Homo wages war and uses weapons and tools, to the point man cannot do without.

Nevertheless, morality has stabilized in the last 25 centuries in most ways (especially now that women are treated with natural equality).

The mos maiorum (“way of the elders”; plural of mos, behavior, is “mores”).  The unwritten code of the Republican Romans, comprising: Fides, Disciplina, Pietas, Gravitas, Religio, Cultus, Dignitas, Auctoritas, Virtus…  

This is where the concept of “Moral” comes from.

These behaviors, as a set, enabled the Roman Republic to survive for 5 centuries (or more, if one considers the empire and the subsequent “Christian Republic” as an extension of the Republic, as the Roman did; de facto, we are still under basic Roman secular law, 25 centuries later).

This gives a philosophical hint. Philosophy is the art of guessing what could be, may be, could well be, ought to be, etc. For morality, it is beyond a guess:    

“Mores”, “Morality” has to do with survival. Morality is the set of behaviors which insures survival. 

Temple of Baalshiman, Palmyra. Insulted by the Bible in Connection with Human Sacrifices. Its Destruction by Islamists in 2015 (right).

Temple of Baalshiman, Palmyra. Insulted by the Bible in Connection with Human Sacrifices. Its Destruction by Islamists in 2015 (right).

There is a continuum between natural and (epi-)genetic ethology, and cultural ethology: the study of chimpanzees shows this. The very Christian Jane Goodall found, to her dismay, that the chimpanzees she studied made, over many years, a systematic war of extermination against another group of chimps.

The origin of morality is survival. The set of all moral behaviors (“mores”) is the set which enables survival. Survival of the individual, the group, a society, even a civilization.

Carthage was, in its times, 25 centuries ago, one of the most advanced societies. Its sailors captured gorillas, and circumnavigated Africa. Trading with Black Africa for fish was intense. Carthaginian agriculture in semidesertic conditions was so advanced, Roman preserved the book (while destroying all others). However, Carthage practiced childhood sacrifices extensively and routinely (archeologists seem to have demonstrated, confirming the stories already found in the Bible, Leviticus).

Another example: Polynesian societies needed to corral strongly behaviors and human population on their delicate islands. Hence taboos (don’t fish there, don’t go into that valley, etc.) and cannibalism (often entangled with religion, as Captain Cook experienced).

The Aztecs, deprived of massive proteins aside from a giant salamander (differently from other civilizations around Mexico, which had access to large quantities of fish). The Aztecs made a religion centered on human butchery, up to thousands eaten in a few days… (This made the Aztecs unpopular in Mesoamerica, and enabled Cortez to rise an army of 80,000 natives to fight the Aztecs, enormously amplifying his very small army of few thousands Spaniards).

Astrophysics professor, and proud principal investigator Coel Hellier states:  If “it is morally good” doesn’t mean “I approve of it” then what does it mean? When Stephen Law says that science cannot tell us “what one ought or ought not to do”, what does the phrase “ought to do”, as used there, actually mean? These are fun questions to ask a moral realist. We ought to do it because it is morally good … and it is morally good because we ought to do it, and … but so far I’ve never come across an actual answer.”

A society determines what it ought to do to survive, and derives a morality from it, that all individuals “ought” to obey (“mores”, social morality). However, to survive, or lessen pain, a given crazed, or, simply, distressed, individual may well decide that she/he needs to violate the social morality, and follow her/his own ways of doing things.

Hence morality is relative between societies, and between individuals and society. However, given a long-established society, morality is absolute.

Roman Republican morality cracked around 150 BCE, due to Roman globalocracy (which enabled Roman plutocrats to come into existence, and ever grow in power). The collapse of that morality proximally brought the non-enforcement of anti-plutocratic laws (although the assassinated Gracchi tried to reinforce them). Soon plutocrats were at each others’ throats, as they dominated the Roman world (contemplate the situation today!). Massive and continuous civil wars ensued, followed by Augustus’ Principate in 27 BCE, as that wily youngster was able to muster the declining strength of the moribund Republica to his command.

However, the basic Roman Republican morality was embodied by Republican Roman law, whose basic framework survived even the Christo-fascism of the Fourth Century. Roman secular law was refurbished under Roman emperor Justinian (529 CE to 565 CE), and separated from Christian Sharia. Roman secular law was transmitted by the Imperium Francorum: it fit well with the Salic Law of the Franks. Roman secular law survives to this day as the basic legal framework of the present civilization. (This partly explains why the present civilization is not Christian: it does not fllow Christian law, but Ethological Law, also known as Roman Law.)

That morality is time-tested. It’s also the morality closest to natural ethology. So it’s not relative. It’s pretty much absolute. Hence a very good foundation on which to wage war in its defense.

Patrice Ayme’


SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For The Best Thinking Possible. Morality Needs Intelligence As Will Needs Mind. Intelligence Is Humanism.

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For The Best Thinking Possible. Morality Needs Intelligence As Will Needs Mind. Intelligence Is Humanism.

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For The Best Thinking Possible. Morality Needs Intelligence As Will Needs Mind. Intelligence Is Humanism.

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism