Saturday, January 20, 2007

For Strength and Honour

Today I watch Gladiator the movie again, about Aelius Maximus Decimus Meridius (a.k.a Maximus, The Spaniard). To me, it is not about the war, the fighting, the blood or the revenge. It is about the strength, the honour, the need for righteousness, about humility, about not doing evil, about the good old story on how the right shall prevail.

I still remember how we are thought about Moral in school, the principle of right and wrong. First and foremost, I think the subject is a total crap, as nobody actually learn moral from a book where its sole purpose is to teach moral. For god sack, just drop the damn subject and save the sanity of thousand of students in the country. The subject serve not practical purpose (fiction one perhaps), and it achieve nothing. Do you actually believe someone would actually have more moral after going through the book? Do you think people actually have more ethics after studying about business ethics? Do you actually think people will change just because the book says so? Moral is built upon good example, real life role modal, influence from religion, inspiration from story and movie, the righteousness instil since we are young. Moral need role modals, moral need inspiration. And most of all, there is no perfectness in morality, as to err is human. The society can be so unforgiving at times, but isn’t forgiveness and merciful a good virtue?

I have no plan to become a moral role model for someone, but I shall try my best to maintain strength and honour. I never quite understand the importance of moral virtue, about righteousness, about honour or dignity. I know what they are, but I couldn’t quite understand or feel them. To what extend will you actually do to make more money? Will you cheat? Will you tell lies? Will you tell white lies? Will you hurt someone? Will you not take care of the interest of the opposite party? Will you bribe? Will you go against the law? Will do evil? Will you work against moral and ethics? Will you go against your principles, or do you have any? Have you actually done some minor evil in the process of achieving your goals? How much are you willing to compromise? Where do you stand?

Of virtues and ethics, there is a lot of guidance out there. Plato's Symposium suggest the Four Cardinal Virtues - prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. Besides that, we have the teaching of Aristotle or Confucianism, and many more. Do they have the influence to make us a better person; it is just another book after all. I have some confident that it might work better than the moral books we have in school. Perhaps what we need is slightly more inspiration, rather than just education.

I think we need our own set of virtues and principals to guide us through life, for work and relationship. I need Strength, Honour, Perseverance and Humility.
  • Strength to give me courage to embark on my journey, and to protect my beloved ones
  • Honour to prevent me from doing evil which might haunt my sleep every night
  • Perseverance to keep me going ad make sure I don’t give up
  • Humility to make sure I don’t go overboard and screw myself in the end

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