Living with Moral & Ethical Dilemmas

“Any sense of morals must not prevent doing what’s right”

This is a thought-provoking and awkward statement. It challenges traditional notions of morality and highlights the complexities of ethical decision-making.

At first glance, it may appear contradictory or controversial, as we often associate morals with guiding our mores – the sense of right and wrong. However, it is worthwhile delving into the realm of situational ethics and moral dilemmas.

Being rigidly straight-jacketed into a fixed set of morals might sometimes hinder us from making the best decisions in certain situations. Whilst it is acknowledged that ethical choices can be complex and difficult to violate, doggedly following moral principles without considering the broader context or consequences can lead to unintended harm or hinder the greater good.

In essence, this notion encourages us to embrace a more nuanced approach to ethics, one that involves critical thinking, empathy, and flexibility. It implies that there may be instances where we need to set aside our preconceived fixations of what is morally right to address the immediate needs or challenges of a situation effectively.

For example, consider a scenario where telling a white lie could prevent unnecessary pain or suffering. A strict moral code might dictate that lying is always wrong, but in this situation, doing what is right might involve deviating from that moral principle to achieve a positive outcome.

However, it’s important to interpret this with caution. It is not as if one is advocating the abandonment of morals altogether or condoning unethical behaviour. Instead, it encourages one to be open-minded, compassionate, and adaptable in one’s ethical dilemmas. This is what Gandhi must have gone through prior to the partition of India, taking into account the prevailing winds of ethnic violence and the least undesirable outcomes and setting aside the higher value of one integrated nation.

Learning that your spouse has a child from an undisclosed affair and having to accept that child into your family poses a serious dilemma for you. Distraught as you may be for your spouse’s gross violation of a moral principle and marital faithfulness, to extricate yourself from the gripping situation you may be guided by your inner compass to finally take the child into your care because the higher value of an innocent human life prevails over the efficacy of your marital life.

This wisdom serves as a reminder that life is filled with complex moral dilemmas, and sometimes, doing what is right may require us to transcend the boundaries of traditional moral norms. It calls us to approach ethics with a deeper understanding of the circumstances at hand, the potential consequences of our actions, and the impact on others.

Ethical thinkers have to continuously evaluate and reassess their principles in the context of real-life situations. By doing so, they strive to make decisions that align with spirituality while also considering the broader implications of their actions on other individuals and sometimes society as a whole.

“Break your moral and ethical codes a thousand times if each time it takes you forward”

Anil Kumar