Monday, July 16, 2012

Chaos And Misrule

How moral are you?

How righteous (if that’s the right word)? Do you do the right thing just because it is the right thing or because you fear cultural retribution? The law might be an ass but it cannot be denied that it keeps a good many of us on the straight and narrow. Without it do you ever wonder how many of us would be potential thugs? Potential murderers, even?

Without the thought of being someone’s bitch in the prison showers or snuggling up to Mr Big for a couple of quid’s worth of phone cards most of us, I suspect, would at sometime or other snap and bludgeon those around us to death with a Chubb fire extinguisher (or whatever heavy blunt instrument you happen to have at hand).

That might sound over the top but just think about it seriously for a moment.

When faced with an insanely infuriating work colleague or an overly unhelpful shop assistant or a belligerent neighbour who has yet again cut a mammoth sized limb from your precious Leylandii and dropped it onto your marijuana nursery don’t we all experience a Reggie Perrin moment or three and imagine taking a Black & Decker hedge trimmer to their jugular? Or pulping their face into bloody Papier-mâché with the mortar and pestle you bought on-line especially to grind up your Valium tablets for easier absorption?

Daily I have hacked, maimed, peppered and pulverized the people around me with a mental arsenal that, if it were real, would see me institutionalized for life. Reservoir Dogs style I have removed ears, noses, fingers (individually), various genitalia (some of them pre-cooked with an oxy acetylene welding torch), limbs and, when the devil inside has really taken me by the horns, internal organs which I then fantasize about sending to the local police inspector Jack The Ripper style accompanied by a note informing him that the bits I kept went down rather well sautéed in butter with a side order of fava beans.

And the weird thing is I don’t even know anyone named Clarisse.

If it were not for that metaphysical something deep inside that stops me every time I would be the desperately evasive fruit of a massive countrywide police hunt and, no doubt, the pin-up of every kitchensink chained chav this side of Watford.

But is it an inbred morality that stays my hand? An innate instinct toward decency?

Or is it just societal conditioning? Fear of the jug? An aversion to Big Vern’s personal, phallus-shaped soap-on-a-rope?

How can I call myself a decent morally-upstanding person when the only thing keeping me from eviscerating the pathetic organs of those around me is a desire to not be incarcerated for the rest of my born natural?

That isn’t morality! That isn’t righteousness!

It’s a weird kind of cowardice. It is self denial. At best it is a bizarre form of self-sacrifice for the good of the many.

And though in theory that is noble it is still not moral.

I leave you today with a thought from Voltaire: I have no morals - and yet I'm a very moral person.

It is so true.

But is it something to be proud of?



vegemitevix said...

But you see this just reminds me of studying The Spanish Tragedy (look it up) at University and debating whether revenge is ever just, or moral. My cunning plan to despatch people who annoy me typically involves feeding them something wonderful, like a cake laced with cyanide. I'm just passive-aggressive like that.

Steve said...

Vix: plainly I harbour a yen to be aggressive-aggressive. Poisoned cake is all very well but I like the blood spatter patterns you get when a viciously swung chainsaw collides with living meat.

Unknown said...

Killing a man isn't easy, Steve. I know. I killed the plant and the heavy burden's with me forever. However, I do think the morals are kind of in-printed in us culturally... I think if you were in the situation to kill for survival, you'd not falter for a second… but killing ALL the annoying people around us, would be rather tiresome… : ) x

Expat mum said...

Phew - big topic for a Monday morning. On a serious note - (as a former Criminology student), the difference between you and those who would act out your blood-thirsty fantasies is nothing to do with fear of incarceration etc. Having talked to many of them on my numerous trips to prisons, they never think of the legal consequences, even (as we see in the USA) when it includes the death penalty. They might give a brief nod to the possibility of being caught, which is why they sometimes try to cover their tracks, but in general they are just psychopaths with no sense of anything and no deterrent.

And while it's an interesting question, your being a moral person or a scaredy-cat, I'm quite happy with whatever keeps you on the straight and narrow. Now I'm going to be walking around all day wondering who else is harbouring such grizzly thoughts!

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

From the crime fiction I have read, both you and Vix are falling into the expected pattern of male / female murderers--women apparently are more likely to murder with poison, men with violence.

I suspect there must be some innate morality, I just can't imagine that we are so meek that laws control us. Or perhaps it is just conditioning from a very early age, and laws just sort of guide people who condition us (our parents and their parents before them...). And religion acted as laws before laws did (?!) which gets us confused between laws and morality (which is based in religion) I suppose.

Studies have shown that punishment is not a good deterrent. If we 'feel bad' about an action we are less likely to do it, so I guess being conditioned from an early age is what makes us feel good or bad about things.

Thought provoking as usual!!!

Steve said...

Hannah: I honestly think I could do it without ever getting tired or bored. ;-)

Expat Mum: here's me writing off the cuff and producing a fairly glib response to an age old question and then I actually get a well thought out, intelligent reply to my query. I feel dead ashamed as a consequence. But it is nice to know that the chief difference between me and the inmates is that I'm not a psychopath; I just dream of being one. I'll sleep much easier at night now. ;-)

Michelloui: it did occur to me too that Vix and I were falling neatly into the stereotypes... though there have been plenty of murderers of both genders who buck this. I think religion tends to mess up our natural instinct towards morality by loading us up with guilt and bizarre ways to achieve redemption. I agree that punishment is no deterrent - let's face it, no punishment has ever worked in the history of mankind: people still commit crimes. Maybe we all need anger management from an early age? Or group therapy? Or Oprah?

Gorilla Bananas said...

It's the chimpanzees who are experts at ripping off the bollocks. But being a lone killer doesn't work in the jungle, you've got to belong to a tribe, otherwise your bollocks will get ripped off. You could learn a lot from the chimpanzees.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: you're saying I need to get me a crew? All this time I've been sneering at the hoodies when I should have been roping them into my posse.

the fly in the web said...

You have a vacancy on your crew?

Steve said...

The fly in the web: I need a wing-man if you're interested?

Owen said...

May I bring my flame thrower ?

(Note I asked "may" and not "can"; even in a basic choice of words for posing simple questions there is a certain morality to observe)

Being Me said...

Question: Is there a Chubb fire extinguisher within eyeline of your desk at work... just by some strange coincidence?

libby said...

The Human condition....what a curious thing.

Jon said...

You don't need to join a gang: a trade's union will do.

I think the human ability to fantisise rather than act is probably the safety valve that keeps the lid on society. That, and it provides amusement when there is nothing on TV.

Steve said...

Owen: you are definitely in the team.

Being Me: no, it's a Phoenix. See, I'm just not that obvious.

Libby: it certainly makes me scratch my head.

Steve said...

Job: bugger. I machine-gunned the union guys yesterday.

TimeWarden said...

It's a good thing there are laws to keep us all out of Slade prison otherwise you'd be going down for doing Keeley and I'd be doing time for gooing silly over Billie!

Steve said...

TimeWarden: I'd gladly go down after doing Keeley... oh hold on, that's not quite what you meant, is it?

Nota Bene said...

On the basis of this confession, the Precrime Police are sentencing you to 25 years. You will be sharing your cell with Big Vern

Steve said...

Nota Bene: I think you'll find I finished serving my presentence 15 years ago.

Rol said...

You quote Voltaire, I quote Springsteen...

"Well, your honor, I do believe I'd be better off dead
And if you can take a man's life for the thoughts that are in his head
Then won't you sit back in that chair and think it over, Judge, one more time
And let 'em shave off my hair and put me on that execution line"

Steve said...

Rol: shit. I'm fucked, aren't I?

John Going Gently said...

you have hinted and commented before about how awful you can be, especially at work
is this a truism...? or is it more a product of how you THINK you are like?
hummm interesting

Steve said...

John: to be honest, most of it is just wishful thinking.