Opinion: Views shaped by survival ethic
It is easy to think that with all the violence in the news today that the destructive side of human nature is getting worse. But a look at history will show that in fact our capacity for violence is not getting worse, but has stayed very much the same. Our potential for barbarity has existed alongside our potential for culture from ancient times up to the present day. The question has always been how to balance our instinctive drive for survival with how we view the world morally. It is our moral beliefs that inform our actions and these we learn at a young age.
As children we trust and believe what our elders teach us to be true. But, to later deny the truth of those teachings can be seen as a betrayal to our families and our communities. However it is necessary that all of us reflect on how our beliefs and assumptions can be transformed into policies that harm others as well as ourselves. We must look inside ourselves to form an understanding of our own morality and reexamine what we believe and why we believe it.
We should not accept at face value the moral lessons from schools, our government, our religious institutions or even our own parents, but for the hard work we must all do as individuals to divine what is right, what is wrong, and why it is so.
If we want peace in the world, economic equality, racial and legal equality, if we want a clean and safe environment for our children to inherit, then it is necessary we take up the uncomfortable tasks of questioning our own judgment, examining our own motivations, and dissect out the ways in which we think we are superior to anyone else.
Sean Parkyn. Sudbury