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Voluntary morality!

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    The other day I saw a limousine overtaking my humble car by cutting across the yellow line. As the car sped ahead of me, I saw its rear screen plastered with the logo of a famous international service organization. I could see a distinguished gentleman at the wheel having an animated conversation on his cell phone. I had the pleasure of meeting this gentleman later when I visited his club as a guest of a member there. I came to know that he was a senior member of the outfit in Chennai who usually addressed the members on the Objectives of the Organisation and allied subjects. On the particular day he was talking on Morality being the underlining principle of the Organisation. It was a thought provoking speech that drew a standing ovation on conclusion. He had more admiring glances thrown at him that day than any other Club luminary ever got on any given day. If the lights had gone off at that moment, we could have even seen a halo round his head. I was appalled by this spectacle of Sainthood thrust upon an unworthy man because I had witnessed this man breaking law on two counts on a single occasion. At my very first encounter with him, he had not only cut across the yellow line but was also using the cell phone while driving, both actions considered illegal in this part of the world. He was doing it right under the Logo of the Organisation that he so proudly displayed in his car.
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    I recall what Lincoln Steffens had said about morality. He said “Morality is moral only when it is voluntary.” There are two kinds of law-abiding citizens in this country. A majority of us are law abiding only in the presence of law enforcement agency and the rest, which is a small percentage, are law-abiding in all situations. How often we respect traffic signals if there is no traffic or a policeman in sight? We drive in the wrong direction in one-way streets at dead of night telling ourselves it is beyond <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:time Hour="23" Minute="0">11 p.m.</st1:time> <o:p></o:p>
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    I have seen some buildings with their compound walls painted with the pictures of gods to discourage the public from committing nuisance, which is an expression commonly used to refer to people who consider any open space as public toilet. I am told that the results of such an experiment are excellent though there are a few hardcore law-breakers who remain unmoved by such methods. The presence of his Club’s logo in his car and workplace should be as much of a deterrent to breaking laws as that of gods’ pictures on compound walls to people who consider the whole open world as a public toilet! Whether or not there is a traffic cop around or there is total absence of any traffic, the sheer presence of the logo should dissuade him from breaking the law of the land, however minor the offence may be. <o:p></o:p>
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  2. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Yes, morality has to come from within and cannot be thrust on one by rules and regulations.In that case, it vanishes the next second.
    I think the saying
    Padikkarathu ramayanam
    Idikkirathu Perumal kovil
    is very true in the case of many people.
    Your line
    If the lights had gone off at that moment, we could have even seen a halo round his head.
    is very enjoyable that I feel tempted to say
    Humour, do you have another name Cheeniya ?

    Your are educating by your posts very subtly but enjoyably.
    Love,
    La C.
     
  3. Vysan

    Vysan Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Sri,
    I tend to agree with you... The MGR's great song... Thirudani parthu thiruntha vittal thiruttai ozhikka mudiyathu.... Yes, the morality should come from with in... We cannot force others to follow the morals...
    But... Rules/regulations... We can force it on... For that to be effective, the punishment for breaking the rules should be stingent and unbiased... This will give a fear psychosis... Classic example... Singapore for cleanliness... Australia/Newzealand for the environmental... It again goes back to the law enforcing agencies....
    But India... Money is the law... If we have money, we can buy and do anything... Law will always be in our side...
    So people with money and power think and act they are above the law...
    Under these circumstances.... Morality has to come from ones own self...
     
  4. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Chithra
    Thank you for your nice words. About padikkarathu Raamaayanam, you must have observed that the dreaded dacoits of Chambal Valley are the most God-fearing and considerable portion of hundi collections in Temples come from people who dont earn them the legal way! The forest bandit Veerappan had even built a temple in his hide-out!
    Sri
     
  5. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Veda
    Enforcing law through stringent punishment may be effective in ensuring that law and order situation in the country is always maintained in top gear but it does not, per se`, have any effect on the morality of the individual if it is not an in-born quality.
    I know a Singapore national by name Abdul Jabbar who visits Chennai regularly. He always brags about the cleanliness of Singapore and tells me that if anyone is found spitting on the road there, he'll be fined $100 on the spot for the first time. After saying all that, he'll spit on the portico of the Chennai Airport and continue his lecture on the merits of the Singapore law enforcement agency punctuating it with few more bouts of spitting!
    Sri
     
  6. Vysan

    Vysan Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Sri,
    I can only laugh... I fully agree with you.... What I wanted to convey was that element of fear will make them little more watchful.... I always used to wonder... When Indians go to other countries they follow the rules and regulations strictly.... But when they come back to India they forget all those things and get mingled with the others... This includes me also... Is this called the "Mannin Magimai"... hahahahahaha...
     
  7. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Veda
    You hit the nail on its head, buddy! Mannin magimai is the right diagnosis! Kudos to you!
    Sri
     
  8. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    It is as much Nam Mannil Naam edukkum Urimai as is Mannin Magimai.
    We are on our best behaiour when we go out, prim & proper etc. When we get home, we just unwind & let ourselves go !
    Love,
    Chithra.
     
  9. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Your point is well taken, Chithra
    But the question is why is this desire to unwind more marked in the Orient than in the West? Why no one including the bhoomiputra unwinds in places like Singapore(in spite of being in the East!) ?
     
  10. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    particularly in South India ( I am not very familiar with N I customs), we are not fastidious about formalities, not that we are not formal, but I would say less formal.
    I do not think, the phrases Thankyou, Please etc which we "sprinkle liberally" in our conversation now, were very often used at all. I feel, expressions were different.I would call that also unwinding !
    We were thankful ( or sorry) at heart, as the case may be, but were not eloquent about our expressions.Perhaps it dates back to our customs? - I am not sure ! In our early years of marriage, it used to surprise me, if Vish used to say Thankyou to me, even for his morning coffee !

    Well, about places like S'pore I am not competent to talk at all, having never moved out of Chennai.

    I realise, I am deviating from your main topic ! So,tsk
    Love,
    Chithra.
     

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