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Thursday
Aug182011

britain's moral collapse?

There is an awful lot of talk about rebuilding morality and saving Britain from a moral collapse but what is on offer seems shallow and wrongheaded about where moral sense actually springs from. The idea that morality is derived from a set of principles is something only modern philosophers need to take seriously. That’s the inheritance of a more ancient philosophy where the rules were always contingent on something suprahuman, something bigger than us, something awe inspiring, often, but not always, a recognisable deity. That’s the real well spring of any moral behaviour- the recognition that you are a tiny part of something massive and meaningful- you can feel it in the face of nature or perhaps in the face of intuitions of forces beyond our paltry abilities to know or describe.

Appeals to family and community and such like only work when you are in the right relation to the world, when you feel the abundant awe inspired by the planet we live on.

In the past such feelings were usually dragged along in the giant trawl net called religion. Where now?

It may even be the case, as others have pointed out, that a certain amount of moral collapse is due to take place before something new can takes its place. 

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