The grey area of morality: Incest, Cannibalism, Child Pedophilia, Nudity, Polyamory, Pornography.

How do we define morality?

What is right and wrong? It is significantly influenced by  ethics, social norms, religious values, cultural beliefs, laws etc. The funny thing is – morality can deviate greatly from era to era, cultures to cultures, and societies to societies. What is socially accepted in one place or time period, might be taboo in another culture or community. e.g. Cannibalism, child marriage, domestic violence, incest, rape, polyamory, genocide, nudity, ostracisation, child labour.

You only need one person to start to make that change in mindset and response towards an issue/community, and people will slowly start to follow suit. This is how a paradigm shift occurs in society.

How do changes in morality code happen? 

When the majority becomes the minority, or when the minority becomes the majority.

Behaviours or rights of minority groups initially being condemned, discriminated or ostracised. The minority community will start to speak up, and the general population will slowly reflect on it’s ethics, question status quo, and be influenced to perceive them as socially acceptable, or deserving to be treated equally in society  e.g. LGBT, Women, genocide.

OR

Behaviours or rights of majority groups observed by a few to be morally wrong. A few minorities will start to speak up, and people will slowly reflect on it’s ethics, question it’s status quo, and people will be influenced to perceive them as socially inappropriate, or morally unethical to be allowed in society e.g. slavery, hitting children/wives, nudity.

Are societal rules important?

Yes. It provides structure and regulation in our society, by setting a benchmark, and inculcating into the community what are appropriate and inappropriate behaviours, which does at least one of the following: 1) prevent human behaviours from deviating too much from the norm which will lead to stability, as there is regulation provided to social-ethical boundaries 2) prevent people from harming others or themselves 3) simplifying human relations e.g. family structural norms.

Homosexuals cannot procreate naturally, babies from incestual relationships come out with intellectual deformities, sexual awakening comes at a certain age, our bodies mature and stop growing after a certain life stage, kiilling leads to death. All these are tell-tale signs, which guides our human race on what should be the ideal moral norms of the majority population, to ensure societal stability. But this is not necessarily to say that all who do not fit the ideal moral norms are wrong or immoral. It depends on the context, considerations, circumstances, factors connected to the issue etc.

But once again, we cannot deny the importance of societal norms and regulations which shapes our population at large, and ensure social stability for our larger community 🙂

My categories for Morality:

0-0.5 mark: Person’s action is moral

1 mark: Deviant and questionable debatable grey area, as other parties could be harmed by the person’s action

1.5 mark: Harmful action to oneself if you consider looking at the long-term

2 mark:  Person’s action is possibly immoral for almost all cases, with self pleasure/interest leading to possible severe harm to others

3 mark: Action is strongly determined by state, leaving citizens with no choice.

Watching ethical porn 

Informed consent: Yes

Self harm: No

Harm to others: No

0/3

Paying a willing party in return for sex

Informed consent: Yes

Self harm: No

Harm to other: No

0/3

Polyamory

Informed consent: Yes, everyone’s consent is given in the relationship.

Self harm: No

Harm to other: No, as everyone consent is given in the relationship.

*For polygamy, consent should be made for all parties involved.

0/3

Nudity

Informed consent: No, as people on the streets would be uncomfortable, or be sexually stimulated. But humans were naked in natural form, just that we were inculcated to wear clothes in our current cosmopolitan society. (0.5)

Self harm: No

Harm to other: No

0.5 /3


Consenting to paying others for organ trading

Informed consent: Yes

Self harm: No

Harm to others:  Yes, the person loses an organ. (1)

1/3

Extra-marital affair you openly have (with your current husband/wife knowing), because you have stopped loving your current husband/wife:

Informed consent: Yes, with third party.

Harm to self: No

Harm to others: Yes, your wife/husband. (1)

*Side notes* Love can’t be forced. If an individual’s husband or wife continues the affair and has stopped loving their wife/husband, divorcing him / her would be a better choice, than to stay sullen in the marriage if stopping the affair does not work.  The individual would be able to find someone that treats her/him than how her husband/wife treated them.

1/3
Mutual adult incest

Informed consent: Yes

Self harm: No

Harm to others: Other family members would be affected, and if you do not use protection during sex, child born might have defects, and grow up with a confused perception of family relations. (1)

*Side notes* I think mutual consensual adult incest is alright, but protection has to be used if there is sexual contact, as I do not agree with child birth from an incestous relationship (1. Kid might be born with defect 2. kid will be confused with family roles e.g father is also the grandfather.) It’s a debatable area though to whether I think such a relationship should be ethically allowed. E.g. Between siblings is alright for me, or if one parent died, and the child (of am adult age) and his / her other parent decide to start a relationship together. But if the nuclear family is intact, I would condone parent-child incest relations cause family relations will be complex and may become conflictual, but once again,  love can’t be forced. And if it’s a family culture between consenting adults, it’s their choice.

1/3

Consented Cannibalism without killing the other person

Informed consent: Yes

Self harm: No.

Harm to others: Most likely. You remove the person’s meat, and the person might feel pain in the long-term when a part of his meat is gone . (1)

1/3

*Side note* Cannibalism is alright too, as long as there is mutual consent between adults, and the process of meat extraction does not put the individual in grave harm, or lead to death.

Addiction to external substances that could be harmful e.g. alcohol, cigarette, drugs

Informed consent: Yes

Self harm: Yes. (1)

Harm to others: No, but yes when you do it near them, or lead to negative social factors. (0.5)

1.5/3

*Singapore laws should keep drugs illegal, but when use for medical purposes, it should be allowed.

Working as a child labourer

Informed consent: No, child is too young to make an informed consent, though some might choose it to support the family finances, and when education is not a necessity in their society. (0.75)

Self harm: No basic education and childhood, could possibly affect child’s future prospects. (0.75)

Harm to others: No

1.5/3

Euthanasia / Suicide 

Informed consent: Yes

Self harm: Yes, you lose your life. (1)

Harm to others: It might affect your family. (0.5)

1.5/3

*Side notes* It’s up to the person. If they really want to die because they suffer in pain 24 hours, it’s alright. But if it’s not physical pain, it’s best to try ways to see whether we can relieve their mental or emotional pain, and prevent them from killing themselves.

Gambling addiction

Informed consent: Yes

Self-harm: Yes, you lose basic financial stability to survive independently. (1)

Harm to others: Yes, leads to negative social factors. (1)

2/3

Genocide/Murder

Informed consent: No, you selfishly take away someone’s life. (1)

Self harm: No

Harm to others: Yes (1)

2/3

Child Pedophilia

Informed consent: No. Child not matured enough to make an informed decision. (1)

Self harm: No.

Harm to others: Harms child. (1)

2/3

Self-bombing

Informed consent: Yes, to yourself. But no, not to others.

Self harm: Yes, you blow up yourself. (1)

Harm to others: Yes. Others get blown up. (1)

2/3

Rape

Informed consent: No (1)

Self harm: No

Harm to others: Yes (1)

2/3

Abortion

Informed consent: No (1)

Self harm: No

Harm to others: Yes, your child.(1)

2/3

Watching porn where stars are forced to act

Informed consent: No, the porn stars might not want the video to be viewed by others. (1)

Self harm: No

Harm to others: Yes, the porn star. (1)

2/3

Citizens to be engaged as soliders in war by state

Informed consent: No, they are doing it as an obliged national duty.

Self harm: Yes, country will be in a mess during war.

Harm to others: Yes

3/3

Death penalty / prison / institution by state, for an individual 

Informed consent: No

Self harm: No

Harm to others: Yes, imposing death or freedom restrictions on them, though sometimes necessary to prevent instability and security threats in society.

3/3

Debatable sexual relations

Sex with non-living things e.g. walls, cars, dolls are alright as even though there is no informed consent,  because non-living things are not able to consent in the first place. No harm is caused to the non-living things either as they cannot feel pain.

Sex with plants and animals are ethically debatable. We as humans step on plants everyday, kill them for food, so we cause them physical pain on a regular basis without asking for their consent. As such, I don’t know what is my stance on it.

For animals, if the animal shows interest, or response to you in a manner which suggest that it consents, then it’s alright (must use protection). But once again, it depends on the animals. Some animals may not be able to express consent clearly. Human-animal breeding is a no-no though.

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Featured image credits:  Paris Chia Photography (website), @Instagram@Facebook

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