Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The Story of the Moral

Recently, Sarah Hey in a Facebook post wrote,

"I grew up on Aesop's Fables -- and I'm wondering who else did? It's striking how much practically every fable's moral has had some kind of impact on daily, weekly, yearly choices.
Of course, as with all morals, one may note -- with some bitterness & cynicism too -- the striking exceptions.
That's okay -- the world is a better place when people work towards the attitudes of most of those stories.
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.'
From The Lion & the Mouse, Aesop's Fables"
I too was raised with these stories, and I expect my parents were as well.

For thousands of years children have listened to, enjoyed, had their imaginations stimulated, and their morality shaped by stories. I suspect that for much of human history, the number of stories used in this way was limited to a few of the best and most memorable such as the stories from the Bible.

Today, we and our kids are awash with new stories. Many of these books, videos, and films are of no moral value, and more often than not, they teach either moral relativism or a new morality (previously called immorality).

What are children really learning?

By the time they reach school age, each has a library of stories in their heads that may be quite different than what is in the minds of their classmates, and entirely different from what their forefathers learned.

The accumulation of useless or harmful "fables" does not end with childhood. Adults too are susceptible. We are attracted to the new stories rather than being drawn to study the old. Have you not heard or said yourself, "I've seen/read/heard that before" as you chose what to pay attention to?

Our generation has lost the common story that is society's strength and the basis of humanity's transmitted wisdom.

The multiplicity of stories in today's world creates a multiplicity of muddled moralities. Is this how a culture should transmit its moral code?

 "Once an objective standard for morality is neglected, there is no longer any means for a proper appeal to objective reality whenever disputes arise; that is, there is no longer a way to settle disputes. Harmony is lost because the culture has no common tuning fork by which that harmony might be achieved." C.S. Lewis
No "common tuning fork" not due to a lack of stories but due to a plethora of them.

The moral of the story?

The story that no one wants to hear is the story of the moral, and that has caused much of our current trouble.

We would rather be entertained,

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