One’s Moral Compass


When one searches their experiences its possible to recall a time when a promise was made with the sincere intent to keep it, only to learn later that unexpected circumstances existed that were not taken into account at the time it was made because some of the conditions for whatever reason, were unknown. How does one’s moral compass deal with this kind of situation?

One could rationalize, after the fact,  that since the promise was made without all the information needed that its not as binding. On the other hand a promise made in good faith is a  commitment  made with the purist of motives, unless there were elements of manipulation at play on either side. But, whatever intentions existed, one comes face to face with a moral dilemma. How one deals with this situation defines one’s moral compass.

Its difficult to be objective especially when an internal conflict is in part created by all of our personal experiences, both positive and negative, influenced by subconscious impulses that instinctively pulls one towards a particular direction as trust becomes an essential part of the equation.

Ethics is less concerned with the point of view taken as it is with the process one uses to arrive at a position when faced with a moral dilemma. All it requires is a rationale that is based on either inductive or deductive reasoning. Ethics is not supposed to take a moral position or pass judgement, although its important to recognize that evil can also have its own ethics as long as the rationale it follows illustrates a consistent principle. In this sense, ethics is a step above good and evil, as either can use it to support its position.

There are no guarantee’s that a good person will do only good things, since we are all a composite of good and evil in constant struggle. So many promises can have ulterior motives and unanticipated results even though they were given with the noblest intentions. They can result in repercussions that are injurious to others or one’s self. But it is important to reflect on the process that got us to that place so that something is learned for the future – to be prepared for the unexpected so that better, more informed choices can reflect an expansion of consciousness instead of resulting in self doubt, and wallowing in guilt and anger at the other person the promise was made to for allowing one to feel that they were boxed into making what may very well be an unfair promise in the first place. Then, it makes it so much easier to rationalize that breaking the promise is justified as it makes one feel like they were too gullible in the first place to be manipulated into giving their word.