Can morality be immutable?
A dialogue between Luce the squirrel and Aurelius the angel. Luce thinks that males organize everything according to their nature and prefer to be independent so that she can live without concessions. Aurelius wants to be the guardian of classical Judeo-Christian thought while remaining attentive and compassionate.
Aurelius: Luce, I was looking for you, do you have a minute?
Luce: yes, of course, I collect the acorns I buried here a few months ago but you can talk to me at the same time, I can do several things at once.
Aurelius: do you think so? Maybe that’s why you forget where you put your stuff ?
Luce: did you come to lecture me?
Aurelius: well yes, in a way, but not on this subject. The Simones say that you have children with male squirrels but then throw them away. I know this is a habit of you and I condemn it because it probably comes from a failure of your will but in any case, I would be grateful if you could keep this to yourself. No need to advertise your weaknesses.
Luce: Aurelius, you have no sex and no emotions, why are you meddling in this? Your speech is typical of the masculine conception of existence and but what do you know about the multiple identities that the feminine species can take?
Aurelius: I know that the Simones are programmed to have only one partner but multiply the adventures encouraged by your example.
Luce: programmed! Programmed by culture and the prevailing machismo. Well I think they decided they didn’t like it. To be alive is to be able to make choices and it is high time that women of all kinds claim their uniqueness. Why should this be only for humans and males?
Aurelius: these are complicated theological discussions, Luce, do you really want us to talk about this?
Luce: but of course, do you think I’m stupid and only meant for reproduction?
Aurelius: not at all, not at all, but I didn’t expect my visit to bring us there.
Luce: you don’t know how to answer, maybe.
Aurelius: my dear Luce, it is well known that good but fallible free will has been granted to humans to test their faith and will. The rest of creation doesn’t have it, that makes it easier for them.
Luce: well then, why am I going to be lectured if I’m not responsible as you seem to be claiming? You contradict yourself and above all, you should drop your condescending tone and listen to me because it is you who take a little too much ease with free will. God changed her guidelines on division of labor and gender definition, she didn’t inform you about that?
Aurelius: I don’t know, I couldn’t attend the last meetings …
Luce: so you talk about morality based on old principles ?!
Aurelius: there are no old principles in morality because it is immutable. Good is good, evil is evil, we cannot change the definitions according to the times and the desires otherwise how to explain this to those who followed the rules and would now be wrong?
Luce: I grant you, it’s an interesting ethical issue, but you’d better ask the other angels what’s new. When the world gets complicated and new cases appear, don’t you think that we have to revise what passed for true because it is no longer true?
Aurelius: it’s impossible for God to change his mind or be wrong.
Luce: it is your conception of God that is in question, not her. Her designs are impenetrable, why are you trying to understand her?
Aurelius: her ?!
Luce: you don’t believe that god is a father, do you! It is an outdated way of speaking that does not correspond to the understanding of diversity, of the non-linear, of the circular. It was okay when minds were simple and little inclined to think but since then conceptions have come closer to the reality of the world and there is no doubt that God knew this from all eternity but wanted to unveil Her plans only gradually, when the moment would come.
Aurelius: you blaspheme, Luce, we cannot adapt our morality to circumstances because it is no longer morality but opportunism.
Luce: or equity, or good sense, or empathy, dear Aurelius, all qualities that God certainly loves. Considering your ideas, I would be curious to know what you said to the deer.
Aurelius: about their nocturnal excursions in the gardens of the manor? I made them feel guilty of course, theft is a sin.
Luce: it didn’t work, I can tell you, but I was talking about the fact that they live together.
Aurelius: what do you mean, they live together?
Luce: they are gay, didn’t you know that?
Aurelius: gay !? They are always together, it’s true, but from there to insinuate more, there is a leap. Luce, you spread rumors and that adds to all your mistakes. We need to have more discussions if you’re going to get back on track.
Luce: rumors! Have you ever seen how they look at each other? Heard how they talk to each other? I thought you had the gift of clairvoyance.
Aurelius: no, it is a gift reserved for God!
Luce: in any case, as far as matters of the heart are concerned, you are naive and it may be to your honor but that does not allow you to judge others. What would you tell me if I confessed to you that I much prefer female squirrels to male squirrels?
Aurelius: but why, and why do you also hang out with male squirrels in this case?
Luce: that’s what I thought, you don’t have no idea about sexuality and desire! Don’t you know Niccólo is a hermaphrodite either?
Aurelius: Luce, stop, my wings are falling!
Luce: oh, you’ll get used to it, Aurelius, you will. It is time for you to lose your virginity and believe me, you really need to go to all the divine meetings, the world is changing fast and you have to keep up to date.
Is a morality evolving over time and varying with locations still a morality?
For Aurelius, this is unthinkable because if we change the rules of good and evil, they no longer have the universality that gives them irrefutable strength.
For Luce, morality must adapt to circumstances because the world changes and brings new ethical problems that must be resolved. It is less important to have immutable rules than adapted rules.
If morality is relative, why follow it?
Are there universal moral rules?
Want to think a little more? See, for example, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Moral where Kant develops the idea of categorical imperatives that can be used when it comes to making a moral decision.
Want to contribute to these dialogues? Write your comments and questions below.
Want to know more about the tastes of Luce and Aurelius? Their favorite books are in the domain library.