Mark Blasini

Thoughts & Outlooks

Morality vs. moralism


Morality – a person’s limits of concession – i.e. what a person will allow for or not allow for. Morality has nothing to do with what a person should or shouldn’t do, but with what a person can or can’t let happen. Morality is unique to the individual, although it can certainly be shared with others.

Morality is not about ideals, but facts. The fact of a certain action expresses a morality. The fact that a person lied in a certain situation expresses that person’s morality in that situation. It reveals what that person is able or not able to do.

In this sense, morality is self-expression. Every person expresses him or herself as a moral being – i.e. as a being with values, with limits – whether he or she is aware of what those limits are or not.

Moralism, on the other hand, is about power. It is the specific way in which an individual or institution attempts to convince or influence others to invest in a certain organization of behavior. When a person says, “You should do this or think this,” he is acting moralistically. He is attempting to influence another to invest in a certain behavior.

Contrary to popular belief, a moralism does not evaluate the behaviors it promotes or criticizes. Telling someone that doing x, y, z is good or bad is not an evaluation of those behaviors. Rather, it simply uses the image of those behaviors as a way to evaluate its own desire for self-expression. Preaching values preaching, leading values leading, indirection values indirection.

Thus, it is the act itself of the moralism that must be evaluated, must be measured, in terms of its usefulness to the individual – its set of possibilities for the individual. A preacher evaluates preaching by preaching. And stands disappointed that his preaching is not on its own able to move mountains or part seas.