Right versus wrong

What is wrong and what is right?  Have we ever pondered upon this fundamental question that draws the crystal-clear line between morality and immorality? Throughout my travels, I have met thousands of people and had the chance to converse about this subject with many of them. Many told me that what is right or wrong is very subjective, that it depends on the self-definition of what is right and what is wrong. I was told that others can impose the definition of right and wrong on someone. I disagreed then and I disagree now.

Though to some extent what is right and wrong is subjective but not entirely. We live in a society made of norms, that is a normative society. In this normative society, we have laws that dictate what is acceptable and what is not. We cannot go against the norms of a society, otherwise we will fail to live together and we will sow only division among ourselves. Hence, we are to bound to respect the norms of a society. We cannot go against them. Now, laws do not dictate the nitty gritty of our lives. They do not go at micro level, giving people the liberty to make their own decisions based on their subjective acceptance of what is right or wrong. In this case only, one can listen to his or her heart.

One example will help better understand what I mean by subjective and objective morality. Subjective morality is our own version of what is right and wrong. Objective morality is the version accepted commonly by the society. For example, killing someone is a crime, is illegal, is considered heinous and is unacceptable by the society. Hence, this is a norm in the society that we have to adhere to. Saying something bad to someone in view to hurt the person’s feelings is something that we must weight by our own judgment. If we do it, it can be bad for someone and to someone else, this act can be just acceptable and fine. This is an example of subjective morality; where the law does not go.

Hence, we must never say that we define entirely what is right and wrong. This does not make sense, at least to me.

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