Morality is an Elephant and We Are the Blind Men

I was re-watching the pilot of Low Winter Sun, and was struck by Lennie James’ commentary on morality as they get ready to kill a fellow police officer. He explains that most people view morality as black and white. Then, some will go to a cocktail party and say it is gray. The character’s observation is that morality is a strobe, jumping all over the place. That made me think on the subject more deeply than I normally would. I don’t know what the writers’ intentions were there exactly, but it was an excellent line for an actor that is superb at playing complex, morally questionable characters.

Further thought led me to a more global view of the subjective morality strobe. The analogy that comes to mind is the story of blind men inspecting an elephant. Each has a different idea of what the elephant is. Since they can’t see from one another’s perspective, they don’t completely understand the elephant or each other. Their disagreement leads to conflict, and none of them know the truth, but presume they do or find themselves confused by a barrage of differing opinions.

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