Against nihilism: the intuitive correctness of moral parameters

3 min read



Even intentional misspellings in memes? Doesn't that trigger certain people? But that's a different topic. I actually want to argue here for the existence of an objective, cross-cultural, and temporally permanent morality. I avoid the word "eternal" to avoid this other discussion, namely whether this objective morality is God-given. Also, that they are innate seems implausible if we consider what purpose binding morals have for societies: they always serve a cooperative purpose; by definition, there is no morality that is anti-group. Anything else, on the other hand, that calls itself moral but actually serves the purpose of distinguishing itself from other groups is not moral in this sense, but a smokescreen.

In this context, morality is acquired through social learning, but it persists intrinsically through the prosocial function. Therefore, we call the abnormal behavior of not having a basic ethical concept or, practically speaking, moral boundaries, "sociopathy" (another word for the clinically defined "antisocial personality disorder"). This condition can almost always be justified biographically and traces back to neglect or mental and physical abuse by protected persons in childhood. Thus, social learning has not occurred and abnormal behavior is the result. The whole thing remains harmless if this one eats his sandwich "upside down" and there are of course also high-functioning sociopaths.

The meme now mocks the general accusation, often voiced from the theistic side, that without objective moral concepts everything is allowed. Literarily, this was elaborated by Dostoevskii (compare his highly recommended and also comparatively short work "The Grand Inquisitor"), philosophically it is attributed to Nietzsche's general "warning of nihilism".

That this is not so is actually self-evident. We do not kill fellow human beings if they do not directly threaten us in our existence. So that this "directness" can become less abstract, in the case of a professional soldier, for example, already further building blocks (values) must be added to the catalog and it is obvious that we have changed from the field of morality to politics.

The reproach formulated in the meme is thus predominantly invoked because of a consequence, which cannot occur at all with morally inclined beings (at least in relation to their own kind). Presumably, such warnings serve to enhance one's own moral code or even just to divide societies. The consequence here is sometimes no longer of a prosocial nature, but instead intends other things.

However, we should not forget that morality practically never restricts us existentially. We can still decide to be a completely different person than the one we were 5 minutes ago. However, we will not get rid of the basic moral orientation so easily and we will certainly not be able to get rid of it completely, otherwise we would already be talking about sociopathy.

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