WARNING!!- This post may make you think that I am a bitter cynic and jaded with life….if so, so be it…it doesn’t mean that tomorrow I won’t be full of optimism and hope for humanity!! If nothing else, I hope people get out of this blog that opinions are just that, opinions, and they also have the uncanny ability to make people mad, depressed, worried, concerned, disconcerted, etc. So please, don’t write saying “I’m praying for you,” or “You need to seek help,”- because this blog is supposed to be all about life, the ugliness of it as well as the beauty. I feel as though I have to preface some of my comments to reassure people that I’m OK, that I enjoy debating, arguments, and opinions for their own sake, and that I do not necessarily BELIEVE in everything I write (as though it matters anyway) but that I enjoy provocative discussion (maybe the lawyer in me?). It’s not SUPPOSED to be safe and bland. SO anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!!
Everyone acts because it in some way gives pleasure or they wouldn’t act- we cannot get past our selfishness and why should we not accept it? Everything is done because we value something else enough to go through the “bad” part of it. As far as Immanuel Kant’s theory, doing an act disinterestedly, under duty, is the only way the act is moral. But that act isn’t moral either. If you hate an act but do it out of duty, it’s because in some way, you prefer “doing your duty” and the accolades or reprieves it gets you over the bad ramifications of not doing it.
A truly moral act would be one undertaken that gives the actor no good OR bad feeling at all. But I can’t see how that’s possible. It would just be random and meaningless. No one does good acts for no reason. At the least they want “brownie points” with God for the next life. Or they just want to “feel good” by helping. Another conditioned societal trait. It wouldn’t feel good to give to the poor if we didn’t have it drilled into us how important “alms-giving” is, for good works.
It shouldn’t be surprising. Like all animals, we strive to the extent possible to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. The difference is, we rationalize the acts, think about them, analyze them to death and come up with elaborate reasons why we act in the ways in which we do.