The Written Word, The Writer, and Morality

Sam Harris, philosopher, neuroscientist, writer and author writes, “Human well-being is not a random phenomenon. It depends on many factors – ranging from genetics and neurobiology to sociology and economics. But, clearly, there are scientific truths to be known about how we can flourish in this world. Wherever we can have an impact on the well-being of others, questions of morality apply.”

     I believe that Morality is complicated. Morality is subjective. Morality is ethics. Morality is judgment. Morality is not universal. Morality is societal, Morality is personal.  As writers, we often write about heroics, doing-the-right-thing, righting wrongs, standing up to injustice, caring for others, human rights as moral convictions, judging as a moral imperative, life-saving as a moral imperative, killing evil-doers as a moral imperative.

    What I do know is that morality is in the eye of the beholder’s belief systems. Writers, whether consciously or unconsciously, liberally sow the seeds of morality reflecting their visions of the world at large. Writers often change concepts of morality by storytelling. Writers suggest ways of behaving by allowing the protagonist to behave in a moral or immoral sense of their own belief system, that either promotes heroic actions, self-sacrifices, doing good needs or “its every man for himself.”

  I wonder, do writers have the moral obligation, as Sam Harris states, “Wherever we can have an impact on the well-being of others, questions of morality apply.”  Yes, morality is complicated.