14 January 2010

Can We Not Be Moral?


No matter how diverse our opinions are, we, as human beings, could agree on some things. We often ponder upon the very idea of happiness because it is our very reason to live. Laughters, after all, are the universal sign of happiness. To ask how we can be happy is to ask how we should live. If our lifetime quest is to solve this mystery, it is necessary to attend to the questions of ethics. But does the universal pursuit of happiness necessarily follow that we must arrive an objective view on morality? The study of anthropology reveals to us that people from other places in the world persist on the values which most of us are not accustomed to. Most of those customs many modern readers may find absurd. But the case is otherwise in Hong Kong. The Society of Truth and Light wishes to redraw our moral landscape and stand up in defence of the objectivity of moral values. They invite us back to the moral sentiment of The Middle Ages.

This society has a strong urge to re-educate us. They hope, with their supreme moral standard, to instill into our minds what is right and wrong. The society, for instance, opposes prostitution and pornography. It restricts our liberty to gambling. It condemns premarital sex and teen models who wish to make a fortune off of wearing bikinis. If these matters are cordoned off questions, part of the reason is that the society believes it is deemed too implausible for them to be the targets of scrutiny. As it also has strong ties with the Evangelical Church in Hong Kong, it is of utter importance that we should stifle our doubts and follow its standards in order to purify our sins.

But what is wrong with holding diverse views on morality? All prohibitions should not be justified on the ground of preserving the man himself from harm, but of preserving other people from harm. If a bunch of men and women wish to perform promiscuous sex in their own house, let them do so. I do not see by what right we should prevent them from having sex with one another as long as it is done in private. It is not our business to interfere with what they are doing because no outsider can know whether they are good or bad. Moreover, the society lays down rules of conduct rather than ends of life. And morality should promote the latter, not the former. 'Sex is wicked.' This lays down a rule of conduct. It is a dogma. 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.' This lays down an ends of life. What the society does is not just the instillation of false knowledge, but it also prevents us from thinking for ourselves.

The indoctrination of the Society of Truth and Light breeds intolerance. It embraces the values of tyranny. It destroys our freedom to do what we want. If democracy is to be desired in Hong Kong, a system which cherishes diverse ideas and opinions, we must conquer the world with free intelligence. Yes, it is divine to be moral, yet it is more human to be immoral.

W

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