Sunday, January 13, 2013


"Therefore I urge thy oath; for that I know
An idiot holds his bauble for a god
And keeps the oath which by that god he swears"

- Aaron the moor, from Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus

Gotta love that character.
Anyway, the villain in that scene is using empathy and pre-existing religious indoctrination to manipulate another's morality to his own ends. In terms of moral development, Aaron is despite his immoral stance quite capable of post-conventional moral thought. His deeds are more than crimes for which he would be punished by a legal authority or flaws in some socially-imposed attempt to play nice with others but acts of cruelty which any objective judgment of fairness would condemn. He derives his pleasure not only from iconoclasm but from breaking the highest, undeniable ethical principles with no pretense of excuse.

Ever seen a politician get sworn in? There are layers of deceit to be peeled away. Do you believe he believes the words he's speaking? Do you believe the higher authority he swears by has any hold over his morality? Does the institution he is entering truly function according to those principles and even if it does is it capable of policing the intent of an oath? Or is the entire farce played out only for you, the viewer's appeasement, because that villain fondling a bible for the cameras knows you're stupid enough to buy the idea that he will act against his own interests simply because he lip-synched through some antiquated social ritual?

What's worse, how much of the population still believes in the mystique of swearing that it is still profitable for social and legal institutions to employ such play-acting to placate the masses? Even worse, why are we imposing this nonsense on more elevated minds? Though there is nothing to stop undeveloped moralities from lying through an oath, truth as a fundamental ethical principle is a very real hurdle for any individual advanced enough to hold an internal locus of morality. Lying is undignified and you are being asked to lie implicitly by spouting some "so help me dog" aberration.

Stop encouraging the idiots. Stop even pretending to buy into their bullshit. If you are asked to swear an oath, preface it with a statement as to its utter pointlessness. Never ask anyone to promise you something in daily life, and refuse to promise even when faced with emotional entreaties. If an individual asks something of another, any expectations should be based only on an evaluation of the other, not on social pressure. These ritual verbalizations act only as a nuisance and hurdle for the best of us, in favor of the unscrupulous and always to the great detriment of the gullible. Stop feeding Aaron the moor tools for social control.

Individuals who cannot follow an acceptable morality of their own accord should be excluded or executed, not brainwashed.

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