Morality?January 9, 2006
It seems everyone agrees that both Superman and humans are both moral to some degree. However, is morality what is actually being questioned? I have taken the time to read everyone's well thought out responses, and I believe we are not talking about morality at all, but something very closely related.
I would like to take you back to my childhood and give some insight to my thoughts on morals. As a child, I recall conversations I have had while daydreaming with my younger brother or cousins whom I used to often play with, about what I would do if I had $1 million. At the time it seemed like an amount so large that anything was possible. I recall saying that I would feed all the starving children and house the homeless and so on. I was not alone in my ideas, as my brother and cousins all agreed they would do the same. Of course, I did not have $1 million nor did I have the means to obtain that amount. I do believe that even at such a young age I would have done exactly as I said, had I had the means to do so. I had the belief, but I did not have the ability, therefore did nothing. Was I immoral?
Vidor, Texas, a man has his young daughter swept away in the strong current of the Trinity River. The father, not a strong swimmer, jumps in to save her and subsequently loses his life as well. He did not have the ability to save her, but did not let that fact stop him from trying. Although failing, did he act more morally?
Webster's Online Dictionary describes the word moral as conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right and wrong the basic moral values of a community. My actions pale in comparison to the father who gave his own life in the attempt to save his daughter, however, I believe the we both had the same accepted notion of right vs. wrong. Webster's Online Dictionary also list synonyms for the word moral as ethical, virtuous, righteous, and most importantly noble.
Noble implies moral eminence and freedom from anything petty, mean, or dubious in conduct and character had the noblest of reasons for seeking office. Whereas morals refer to an individual belief system, being noble refers to one's actions in response to that same belief system.
Humans are by nature imperfect. We make mistakes. Many a time someone has seen an injustice take place and has done nothing about it. Maybe out of fear or for some other reason, but never, in a moral person, because they condoned the action. This person is moral. They would never repeat the injustice they witnessed. They understand it was wrong. But they are weak and not very noble in their actions.
Superman is moral, the end. But he is no more moral than anyone who wishes they had the same abilities in order to accomplish the same tasks. One's ability or actions does not define their morality. Superman sets himself apart in his actions. Never is he one to stand by on the sideline when others are in need. He does this not for self-gratification, but because he is uncontrollably compelled by his morals to act in such a noble way.
Now we can ask, is Superman more noble than humans due to his abilities? No. He is not stopped as often as humans from running into a burning building or jumping in front of a speeding vehicle for fear of injury, this is true. But when the chips are down and the situation calls, Superman is as willing to nobly lay down his life to protect a moral belief system as seen in "The Death of Superman". In this respect, anyone who is willing to do the same (our police, firefighters, military) is equally noble, and I thank you.