Is there a Moral Code?
What is a moral code? I feel that a moral code is a “unwritten code that one lives by,” This code is indicating how I should live. There is not anyone watching over me judging my moral code; just I am responsible to my self for my actions. However, a moral code should always be in my head and tells me how to act in all situations. An example would be littering; is it right to throw that gum wrapper out the window of my car? No, just put it in a pocket, I can throw it out later. If you I throw that wrapper out the window I might feel what Dick Gregory (433) calls “shame”; the feeling of regret or disgrace over an action like throwing a gum wrapper out the window. The moral code would make me feel this way because I would disgrace my own moral code by throwing that wrapper out the window. I might even consider why, should I cause some one else to clean up my mess and feel shameful for causing that to happen?
Another example would happen when driving in traffic. Sure, I could be that guy who doesn’t let anyone in traffic and be the one yelling
and honking, but why? It’s not going to help me go any faster. Just relax and let some one in the traffic. Then some day when I really need to be let in traffic, the person who I let in will let me in or another person who I let in will recycle that good deed and let some one else in and in time it will get back to me.
When one does a good thing it will always come back to help in time. In the end, I feel that one must treat others the way he/she would like to be treated. An example of this happened when I was on Phish tour. I lost my wallet in Albany a few years back. The kid that found it remembered me and knew he would see me at a Phish show eventually. He used my ticket for the show he was going into, but he saw me a week later and bought me a ticket for that show. In return, this past tour his car broke down so I let him jump in and ride with us. Therefore, his helping me get my wallet back helped him out directly in the long run. This is the type of person I want be, the person who helps out, and then is helped out in the end.
This interpretation of a moral code reminds me of Existentialism and Jean Paul Sartre’s view “that there is nothing else of man but what he makes of himself” (451), so the moral code is a part of man. There is nothing
else but man. So man and his will is all there is. His total existence rests on himself and the moral code he made for himself.
Moral philosophy is just how one should live. I like to think of myself as a person who lives for fun, always trying to enjoy myself, just like the Epicureans(417). I feel that I have my whole life to be busy and earn cash. So why not enjoy myself now, go on that trip with my friends, step back and take the back road to enjoy the scenery? If I do not enjoy life, why live? However, I do have to do certain things to enjoy life. Just like the Epicureans, I must first satisfy my moral code before I engage in pleasure seeking. This means to me that I must fulfill my moral obligation to myself to finish school and stick with my moral code in order to enjoy myself. In order to enjoy life I need to have summers off, have a few dollars, and some one to enjoy life with me. To do that I now realize that I need to get my schoolwork done in order to get a degree, which will entitle me to those summers of fun! Therefore, I need to do my work now, instead of taking that one more drink or playing one more Dart game. Plus, at the end of the day I will feel better about myself since I did what I was supposed to do in upholding my moral code. If I
stick to my moral code, it will enable me to reach what the Epicureans call “Hedonism”, better known as pleasure. When seeking this pleasure, though, I must put the surplus of pleasure over pain always. To do this I might have to endure “pain” as in writing papers and going to school for four to five years in order to reach sixty years of pleasure. If I do not put myself through four to five years of pain to reach pleasure, then that would be immoral, according to my moral code.
I also feel that it is immoral to step on others in my pursuit of pleasure because it’s just not right to hurt some one or ruin his/her pleasure in order to achieve mine. I would not like it if some one else stepped on me in my pursuit of pleasure.
In following my moral code, I want to be treated with respect, and I want to live life to the fullest by not sitting around a keg and being a beer dreamer, but going out and seeking pleasure. I want to seek the things that are important to me and go to that Phish show in Las Vegas, restore my Volkswagen bus, take that trip to Cape Cod, but not sit at a bar and wish it.
My moral code would be to have the most pleasure in life as possible. I will not look back at college and be
feeling that those were my best days. Every moment will be as enjoyable as possible, like the Epicureans.
If I follow my moral code then I will have lived my life to the fullest and with the moralitys that was important to me. This includes treating others as I want to be treated, feeling that when I do something good it will come back to help me, and seeking a surplus of pleasure over pain every day.
Strodach, George. “The Philosophy of Epicurus.” The Courseof Ideas. Second Edition. Jeanne Gunner and Ed Frankel, Washington: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991. 417-420.
Sartre, Jean Paul. “Existentialism.” The Course of Ideas. Second Edition. Jeanne Gunner and Ed Frankel Washington: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991. 451-455.
Hoffer, Eric. “Long Live Shame.” The Course of Ideas. Second Edition. Jeanne Gunner and Ed Frankel,Washington: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991. 433-438.