Perception and Morality

Gaza, Palestine

A Gallup poll has revealed that the recent BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has altered the American people’s opinions regarding environmental protection and energy production. For the past three years the poll has revealed a downward trend in people’s concerns about environmental protection, but since the BP disaster a majority of people are now more concerned with environmental protection than they are energy production.

I attribute this altered opinion to altered perceptions: the images of the BP oil disaster have raised people’s awareness of the danger offshore drilling poses to the environment. Even before seeing the images of oil-soaked birds in the Gulf region people knew, when they heard about the spill, that the images were soon to come; because they had seen these kinds of images before.

Anyone with a heart has their heart broken upon seeing the images of birds that have become soaked with oil; birds that—without people’s help—are soon to die. The images reveal a truth that we’re usually unaware of: that we are selfishly using and abusing the earth.

This same image-perception-awareness phenomenon occurs regarding other moral issues too. Consider abortion. We never see the images of aborted babies on television; therefore we’re often unaware of the truth about abortion: that abortion is the intentional, violent destruction of a human being. Likewise, we never see the images of the many thousands of people who are killed in Iraq and Afghanistan; therefore we are unaware of the truth about these wars: that tens of thousands of innocent people are being intentionally and violently destroyed.

The recent Israeli raid on a humanitarian relief ship, during which Israeli commandos killed 19 people, raised people’s awareness of the crisis is Gaza, Palestine. Image, perception, awareness; images are perceived, awareness is raised, and moral decisions are forced upon us due to this image-perception-awareness phenomenon.

Imagine if the mainstream media ran the images, which do exist, of innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan who have been ripped to shreds by modern American weaponry. Imagine if the mainstream media ran these images constantly. People would demand an end to the wars. People’s perceptions, via these images of the horrors of war, would be altered, they would be made aware of the truth, and they would be faced with the moral decision to help to bring about an end to these wars.

Anyone with a heart would want the killing to stop.

As I said in my last post, we, as a society, need to respect life. Pope John Paul II—for over 25 years—taught and encouraged us to work together to build a culture of life. We have a choice to make: we can choose to succumb-to-and-participate-in the culture of oppression, the will to power, and death; or we can choose to work together in order to build a culture of freedom, moral law, and life.

I, for one, choose life. And I hope you do too.

(Last post for a while)

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About ajmacdonaldjr

writer, author, blogger
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