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The world changes on a daily basis, with many different aspects, including the people, the cultures, along with different opinions and values. As the years pass, we can see the significant changes that are happening, but sometimes forget to take note of the things that remain the same and the aspects that are consistent. One of these aspects that can be seen in the world today that will always remain is morality.
Morality is one thing that will always remain, regardless of how many years pass, due to the fact that whether a person’s morality is good or bad it is something is instilled in someone. Morality is a personal choice, but sometimes one’s morality can be swayed by the social influence of one’s peers and decisions can then be made based off another person’s viewpoints or their feelings. Social influence can be shown when, “They hanged the lady, and I threw a stone at her, although in my heart I was sorry for her; but all were throwing stones and each was watching his neighbor, and if I had not done as the others did it would have been noticed and spoken of.” (Twain). Twain was referring to the incident, where a woman was hung for being accused of being a witch and was being stoned at the stake & was implying that people may not necessarily always feel the need to follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing, but there are social pressures that are placed on people and that if we do not follow after what the majority is doing, we may be looked at in a different light and looked at as the minority and even in certain circumstances, something may happen to us for not following.
This social influence can still be seen in current day as well. Even though the consequences may not be as severe today, there are still certain instances that occur. You can see examples of the social influence that peers have on morality in things such as politics. While there will always be differences of opinions in matters like this, there will be people that will try to change one’s perception of how they view certain events and may try to get them to agree with the majority or even some instances, the minority group. For example, during this time of political events, there has been a recent conversation over separating immigrant families. Whether a person’s morals told them that it was right or wrong, people were still influenced. A majority of people believed that it wasn’t right, making the people who believed it was right the minority, meaning that people who believed it was not right may have tried to persuade people from the minority and vice versa. With situations like this, people will try to change morality by changing one’s perspective of a situation.
Another aspect of morality that can be called into conversation is a person’s ability to look at themselves as superior and put other people beneath them. Many times, as a group, there is a tendency to put people below us if they do not meet a certain criterion or are not living out a certain expectation. Twain makes the remark when Satan takes Theodor to the French village that, “The proprietors are rich, and very holy; but the wage they pay to these poor brothers and sisters of theirs is only enough to keep them from dropping dead with hunger.” By making this remark he is implying that as people, there is a tendency to treat people almost as if they are nothing and only trying to provide them with the bare minimum to make sure they are okay, instead of treating them fairly and on the same level who may be in a position that is better off than them. This can be seen as a morality issue, due to the fact that it should be a natural instinct to treat people fairly and equally, but instead people can be seen treating others in an inhumane way.
This issue can be seen in modern times as well. Specifically, in past couple of years, there has been a seemingly increase in treating people unfairly and inhumane. This demeanor towards people can be seen, because of differences in things such as difference of opinions on many different topics. If one’s morality is leaning more on seeing the good, it would be seen that someone may treat others kind and no better or less than them, but equal, even if there is a difference in opinions. When one’s morality may be focused on seeing more of the bad in things, they may look down on others and treat them as less and that’s when you can see the inhumane actions occur such as the living and work conditions described in the French village, “ The work-hours are fourteen per day, winter and summer—from six in the morning till eight at night—little children and all. And they walk to and from the pigsties which they inhabit—four miles each way, through mud and slush, rain, snow, sleet, and storm, daily, year in and year out. They get four hours of sleep. They kennel together, three families in a room, in unimaginable filth and stench; and disease comes, and they die off like flies. Have they committed a crime, these mangy things? No. What have they done, that they are punished so? Nothing at all, except getting themselves born into your foolish race.” (Twain). Showing that people will make themselves superior and others not, even though they have no control of the situations that they were born into and get treated in such ways regardless.
As it can be seen morality has remained one thing that is there throughout the years, but based on social influence and a person’s motive to make themselves look superior or not, can change the way morality is viewed. Though it might be said that morality can’t be changed due to peers or people don’t make themselves superior, it is seen that peers can change our decisions for fear of being shown as the minority in a group. It was also shown that morality can be swayed by how we view others compared to ourselves and based off of that we make decisions.
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