What is it that signifiers and drives our “moral behaviors” ? Are we born with a basic sense of morality or do we develop a set of moral “social codes” to maintain society from falling into pandemonium and lawlessness? In her essay “On Morality. ” Joan Didion dissects what lies beneath the surface of humanity’s morality. By telling several narratives and historical events. she shows that morality at its basic “most crude level” is nil more than “our truenesss to the 1s we love. ” everything else is subjective. Didion’s foremost narrative points out our trueness to household.
She is in Death Valley composing an article about “morality. ” “a word [ she ] distrust more every twenty-four hours. ” She relates a narrative about a immature adult male who was rummy. had a auto accident. and died while driving to Death Valley. “His miss was found alive but shed blooding internally. deep in daze. ” Didion provinces. She talked to the nurse who had driven his miss 185 stat mis to the nearest physician. The nurse’s hubby had stayed with the organic structure until the medical examiner could acquire at that place. The nurse said. “You merely can’t leave a organic structure on the main road. it’s immoral.
” Harmonizing to Didion this “was one case in which [ she ] did non mistrust the word. because [ the nurse ] meant something rather specific. ” She argues we don’t abandon a organic structure for even a few proceedingss lest it be desecrated. Didion claims this is more than “only a sentimental consideration. ” She claims that we promise each other to seek and recover our casualties and non abandon our dead ; it is more than a sentimental consideration. She stresses this point by stating that “if. in the simplest footings. our upbringing is good plenty – we stay with the organic structure. or have bad dreams.
” Her point is that morality at its most “primary” degree is a sense of “loyalty” to one another that we learned from our loved 1s. She is stating that we stick with our loved 1s no affair what. in illness. in wellness. in bad times and good times ; we don’t abandon our dead because we don’t want person to abandon us. She is professing that morality is to make what we think is right ; whatever is necessary to run into our “primary loyalties” to care for our loved 1s. even if it means giving ourselves.
Didion decidedly states she is speaking about a “wagon-train morality. ” and “For better or for worse. we are what we learned as kids. ” She negotiations about her childhood and hearing “graphic litanies about the Donner-Reed party and the Jayhawkers. She maintains they “failed in their truenesss to each other. ” and “deserted one another. ” She says they “breached their primary truenesss. ” or they would non hold been in those state of affairss. If we go against our “primary loyalties” we have failed. we regret it. and therefore “have bad dreams. ”
Didion insist that “we have no manner of knowing…what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong. ’ what is ‘good and what is ‘evil’ . ” She sees political relations. and public policy falsely assigned “aspects of morality. ” She warns us non to deceive ourselves into believing that because we want or need something “that it is a moral jussive mood that we have it. so is when we join the stylish lunatics. ” She is stating this will be our death. and she may good be right. Hitler’s thought that he had “a moral imperative” to “purify the Aryan race” serves as a affecting reminder of such a psychotic belief.
In 1939 Hitler’s Nazi ground forces invaded Poland and started World War II. World War II came to an terminal in big portion due to the United States dropping two atomic bombs. If the war had continued and escalated to the point of Hitler’s Nazis and the United States dropping more atomic bombs we could hold destroyed most. if non all. of humanity. the ultimate act of “fashionable lunatics. ” We may believe our behaviours are merely and righteous. but Didion’s essay makes us closely examine our motivations and ethical motives. She contends that lunatics. slayings. war felons and spiritual icons throughout history have said “I followed my ain scruples.
” “I did what I thought was right. ” “Maybe we have all said it and possibly we have been incorrect. ” She shows us that our “moral codes” are frequently subjective and unsound. that we rationalize and warrant our actions to accommodate our subterranean motivations. and our lone true morality is “our trueness to those we love. ” It is this “loyalty to those we love” that forms our households. so our metropoliss. our provinces. our states and finally our planetary community. Without these “moral codifications. ” societal order would interrupt down into pandemonium and lawlessness.