By Madge: Is Your Moral Compass in Your Head or Heart?

Madge Madigan


Everybody is so God damned preachy everywhere that they know what they would do or what someone else should do in a certain situation. Everybody has the definitive answer: “That kid wouldn’t mouth off if he just got a good ass beatin’!”, “I would tackle the gunman!”, “It’s because they’re all self-entitled, snotty rich kids that don’t know how to do anything!”, “Just suck it up; you don’t have it any worse than anyone else.” Assuming you have all the answers and already know all the background while you give an air of moral superiority is called being “self-righteous”. Homey don’t play that. (In which case I am Homey)

In most situations in life we are guided by our morals and values. We all have a moral compass. Well I hope so, I mean maybe your morals are that you don’t have any morals, so that kind of gives you your answer right there on that. Anyway, I have a theory that there are two kinds of moral compasses – a moral compass of the heart and a moral compass of the head. And I believe that every person is distinctly ruled by one or the other. Allow me to explain…

A moral compass that is guided by the heart is one that is based on “the greater good”. It’s ruled by emotions of love. And it can also be ruled by hate or fear.

A moral compass that is guided by the head is ruled by the ego and pride. It is ruled by principle and how it will benefit the individual.

Let me use a highly controversial example because that’s how I roll. The new Colin Kaepernick Nike campaign which is part of the 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign. The one in which the static ad has a picture of Kaepernick and the text “Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything.” The longer video version features several athletes that their dreams may seem unlikely (such as a double amputee wrestler) but urges them to think if “their dreams are crazy enough.” As I’m sure you are all aware, Kaepernick has basically lost his pro football career by starting the taking a knee during the national anthem practice. His intent was to not protest the anthem but to protest during the anthem to bring attention to racial inequality, bigotry, and the disproportionate shootings of African-Americans by police in the United States.

Ok, so I feel the people on the side of “Fuck Nike and Colin Kaepernick, he is disrespecting our flag, nation and veterans” have a moral compass of the head. Allow me to use a mathematical example, remember reducing fractions down to the lowest terms? The term is also called “simplifying” which is all too relevant for this example… The moral head person thinks the flag is being disrespected by a guy that has no reason to protest > the flag represents my country and the people in it > the country is me and I’m one of the people he is protesting > he is richer than me and wants to be treated special like he’s been wronged, damnit I’ve struggled too, I’ve been wronged in my life, where is my special treatment? Et voila – “Fuck him.”

So the people on the “You go, Nike and Colin Kaepernick”, feel like he is standing up for personal beliefs and the institutional, systematic oppression of African-Americans. Again, using reduction… The moral heart person believes he is standing up for a race that has been treated like shit by this country for 400 years and that he has the courage to risk it all and protest > that person feels love for other people and possibly some guilt for others being wronged > I’ve been wronged in the past and I know how it feels, I don’t want other people to feel that way, it should stop because it sucks. Et voila – “He rocks!”

And yes some on both sides have come to their conclusions through totally misguided means as well. Some think the protest is about hating Trump, some think the protest is about hating blacks. It may be about that for some people but I think you all are completely missing the point.

Whether we realize it or not all of our basic human emotions come from our personal experiences, subconsciously or not. It’s ok, it’s natural but perhaps we might take the time to step out of our personal experiences that allow us to empathize and try to sympathize with another group or person. This is where the “self-righteous” thing comes in. You are self-righteous if you believe your cause or belief is the absolute right way and above others. And in the Nike/Colin Kaepernick case, there are people on both sides who are self-righteous. As in the case of President Trump yelling and fist pounding about what scumbags the kneelers are and that it should be outlawed and they should be strung up by their thumbs (I’m exaggerating here). Why not have a discussion about it first before you proclaim war on it, after all the right to protest is an important part of democracy, no? I urge you to take a moment and think about the other side’s stance. Just for a moment.

We all need to start trying to understand each other rather than focusing on “winning” an argument. There is never a “winner” in a moral argument, because morals are subjective. The only winners in a moral argument are the entities who seek to divide us. Let’s get it together folks; we’re all in the same boat.

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