Your Better Self > Get Oriented > Man is a Moral Being

Man is a Moral Being in Two Senses

Humanity & Society

THEE is an account of being human, and this involves social life. Humanity forms itself into societies. So «humanity» is the broader unifying category, and «society» is the partial and divisive notion.


Societies cannot alter the essence of these transcendental Root phenomena. The Primal Quests are essentially the same everywhere. Sustenance of humanity and the battle between good and evil within the human heart are also invariant, as are the Primal Injunctions that emerge from the Quests. As a result, the production of goodness must be identical across humanity.


We all exist in highly distinctive societies, which each have values, culture and ethics defining their identity. Although it is not generally appreciated, two sources of ethical values can be identified in a society:


The Primary Hierarchy of Purpose and Value-PH6 generates the ethical rules and ethical authorities, as universally found in societies via the above two mechanisms. However, all these ethical entities emerge from value systems-PH6L6, whose defining feature is their divisiveness and partialness.

By contrast, the system of structures found nested with the Root Hierarchy's Purpose-RL6 are not restricted in this way. At the end, they become dominated by ultimate values-PH6L7, whose defining features are their universality and goodness. So we are in the realm of humanity.

Freedom & Responsibility

Within the Primary Hierarchies, THEE entities are categories ("Platonic forms" in philosophy-speak) that allow for freedom and responsibility. So while there are numerous categories of value or ethical principle, it is up to each society to determine what exactly should be chosen or done within any particular category. Many values are held in common amongst societies, especially those relating to biological needs like food and shelter. But it is common for an ethical principle or a membership right or virtue necessary for acceptance within one community to be irrelevant or even abhorrent within another.

In the transcendental Root Complex, by contrast, there are specific choices or activities demanded as part of the various Frameworks. There is far less freedom here: we are human beings and we are not free to be rocks or trees or fish. The only issue for us is: what sort of human beings will we be?  This is a freedom we can exploit by creating ultimate values.

The implication of all this is that man is by nature a moral being in two senses:

Freedom in society is a right, or a privilege, or an immunity. It is not something a person just «has». Society decides just how much and what sort of freedom you «have». What society is always in danger of doing is invading and deforming natural freedom and the natural responsibility that accompanies a commitment to goodness. In many societies, authorities have no hesitation in labeling the virtuous man as a public enemy.

Originally posted: 28-April-2012

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
All Rights Reserved.

comments powered by Disqus