Community | Morals and Codes

The growth of cities furthered looser, less intimate social relations; and, whilst the individual gained personal freedom by being emancipated from the intimate ties which characterize smaller societies, he became vulnerable to anomie, the alienation which results from no longer conforming to any traditional code.5

In living outside of a community we are subject to our own standards; of honour, justice, kindness and so on. Everyone has their own moral compass to guide them through the variety of day-to-day encounters and decisions, and we all attempt to live by the standards that we set ourselves. There are inevitably moments that test our resolve and through these moments we are able to define who we are.

It isn’t always easy to do the right thing, or to even know what the right thing is. For example, we may be required to invest our trust in someone else - if this trust is abused we can be left feeling humiliated, with our ego bruised. At this point we may be tempted to listen to the recriminating voice of our ego, to not make the same mistake again and leave ourselves vulnerable in such a way. This reaction would only be natural, but in causing us to build our defenses higher it is also a small defeat.

In being part of a community you are witness to the actions and standards of those close to you. Your moral compasses combine, and a group ethic can form. In such an environment, the honorable act of one person can create a precedent; when noticed, such acts can inspire equally honorable behaviour in others. Most of us want to be good people: often we need only the opportunity or the excuse.

Being part of a community that values ethics may lessen the humiliation felt from an encounter like the one mentioned above. In being surrounded by people who understand and value your actions there may be no need to feel humiliation at all.

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