Can We Ever Define Universal Moral Standards?


We each perceive reality through our own unique, interpretive lens. This lens acts a filter layered on top of the outer realm of the objective world and ascribes meaning and associations to it. Our interpretation draws from past experiences and the values derived from them, and is heavily influenced by its sociocultural context.

Discoveries in physics and quantum mechanics additionally substantiate the idea that perception itself is a very delicate construct of whatever happens to be in our center of our focus at any given time. There have been many fascinating discourses on the implications of this to the way our brains perceive reality.

It seems at times that life does indeed play dice with us: simply being born in a particular family inevitably does push you towards certain opportunities or inhibits the possibility of achieving others. Winning the lottery of life and being born in one country instead of some other may have a drastic impact on your future. It is interesting to contemplate just how much of what we are is determined by intrinsic characteristics, as it appears so much depends on the external world and its seemingly random properties.

Lottery of Life: The End of the Nature vs. Nurture Debate
Lottery of Life: The End of the Nature vs. Nurture Debate

Considering the flickering disposition of our mind, our proneness to outside influence, the specific cultural context in which we find ourselves being born, as well as the impulsive nature of the reptilian portion of our brain, I have to wonder: can we ever truly understand the nature of free will and objectivity in moral questions? Our minds are limited by the frames of reference we establish based on concepts already previously encountered, and we struggle to see outside the human ant-hill.

Furthermore, I was previously reading Dr. Alison Gopnik´s book and she makes an astute point by addressing the dismissal of family when focusing on moral choices by philosophers and other scholars, whom through ages have mostly been males. In defining what is acceptable or good, it makes a great difference who has the voice and the podium. It effects what we can address and with what concepts. Could it be that trying to define universal moral truths is akin to attempting to determine the answer to a complicated equation that is missing half of its variables? Just a though for the weekend. Would love to hear what you think….


3 thoughts on “Can We Ever Define Universal Moral Standards?

  1. Universal morals seems to be an impossible debate for any side. Morals are individual and as such there cannot be “universal morals.” But there could be universal ethics; the question is just if they’re plausible as well as possible.


  2. Our thinking takes personal forms, but the process is the same to all of us. If we emphasize personal aspects of perception and experience too much, we will never be one humanity. It is essential to see beyond the process and our differences to our common ground and work together so that peronal differences do not become a hindrance.
    Is it possible for two or more see or feel the same reality, to go beyond words? Of course it is, but not if they think that their individual perception is all-important.

    The key question is our perception of our mind. Is it personal or collective? Are our minds connected and how or are they separate and disconnected? Is thinking and thoughts “yours” and yours alone or do you share them with everyone? ;)


  3. I’m still learning from you, while I’m making my way to the top as well. I definitely love reading everything that is posted on your website.Keep the stories coming. I enjoyed it!


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