Why Should I Be Moral?


The question of morality proves to be a complex interrogatory. Should I
be moral? If I should be, then why? Why is morality important to society? An
assumption can be made that morals derive from a purely religious perspective or
the Golden Rule approach. We are told that it is right to be moral. This is an
ineffective answer, since it does not apply to someone outside the moral circle
(Olsen, 79).

This in mind, there is really no way to prove this too a person who
wants to know why he/she should be moral. According to Olen, the only answer to
them would be "because you are". Happiness could also be included in the list
of moral reasons. I personally feel that this is the best supported reason for
being moral. Although there will be times when the moral decision will not be
pleasurable, it will eventually lead to happiness. Morality is important for
society as a whole, as it makes life livable. Now expanding on the happiness
theory, I will discuss the ideas of Aristotle. Aristotle believed that
happiness is the quality of whole human life. We all have misconceptions about
happiness. Most of us believe that happiness is experiencing a lively feeling
of joy or pleasant feelings. We can be happy at one moment, but not the next.
Aristotle on the other hand said that true happiness includes pleasures, joys,
and successes as well as many pains, griefs, and troubles in ones life. A happy
life is not cause by the pleasures we\'ve had, nor marred by the displeasures
we\'ve had.

Aristotle also contended that children could not be happy as the
requirement for happiness was a complete life. For instance, an old man looking
back on his life and being able to say that it was good, is happiness.

Aristotle defined the things that make happiness as health, wealth,
friendship, and good moral character. Aristotle stated that happiness was also
the highest good leaving nothing more to be desired. Life is made perfect by
possession of all good things. We seek happiness for its own sake. All others
are sought for happiness. Aristotle believed to become happy one must have good
character and be willing to suffer to obtain the greater good later on. We
should seek the good in the long run. Most men/women will not do this. We take
the immediate pleasure. Most people think that happiness is unique to each
person. Aristotle believed that there is only one true conception and that it
holds the same for all humans. Power is not an attribute to happiness because
it would preclude some people from being happy if they are ruled. Aristotle
believed as our for fathers that everyone has an ultimate right to the pursuit
of happiness.

He believed that this pursuit must be cooperative, not competitive. All
this said, it is clear that it fits into his belief that everything in nature
has a goal towards which it naturally strives (i.e. happiness). A morally
virtuous person is one who is moderate in his actions. He chooses the mean as
opposed to the extremes. Aristotle was more concerned with the real world than
with the theological world. His bottom line view point was that we have no
answer to the question "Why do you want to be happy?" other than "to be happy."
He believed that we must be moral in order to obtain our life long goal of
happiness.

I find myself in agreement with Aristotle to some degree. When I as
myself "why do you want to be happy?" I am stuck. I just want to be happy. I
can see where society as a whole must practice morality as a whole to allow
everyone the non-competitive pursuit of happiness. I can also relate to the
fact that following the immediate pleasure doesn\'t unnecessarily attribute to
the future good. I have not been able to live one city longer than a year at a
time. As a result of this, I am unable to purchase my dream home because the
financial tolls.

I am however happier when I first move to a new state. I am not totally
convinced that the pursuit of happiness alone is just cause for morality. I do
believe that morality has much to do with a theological basis. I believe that
there is an obligation instilled in each of us by the current religious belief
of out society. I believe we make decision based on the consequences we could
face in our afterlife. I believe we discern right and wrong on the basis