Jaminism is a constantly evolving religion. It is laterally supported by five buttresses. The Five Buttresses of Jaminism are Journey, Perfection, Argumentation, Moral Growth, and Honesty. These are the guiding principles in use right now but they are subject to change and develop over time. In this article we will be developing an understanding of Moral Growth.
To the Jaminist, Moral Growth is a process of self examination and change. There is no ultimate morality which we must strive to emulate. If there were, we could all just accept that universal morality as the right one and there would be no incentive to examine our assumptions. Moral growth is a non-linear process with no fixed end point. The purpose of moral growth is to examine your assumptions of what constitutes right behaviour to test whether those beliefs are consistent with the reality you live in. The only expectation in this process is that the guiding values of your life will change over time to remain relevant to an evolving world.
There is a lot of confusion in the world about what is meant by moral relativism. A lot of people think it means simply making up the rules and doing whatever you want. This could be accurate if you were applying it to a person living alone on a deserted island, but in a society morality is more relational. Rather than being something which is arbitrarily dictated by a third party, moral relativism is a process of developing a shared moral framework through negotiation between interested parties. To use simple language, morality is an agreement between two or more people to treat each other according to certain mutual behavioural limitations. On a larger scale, it can be entire societies agreeing to hold certain behaviours in high or low regard, holding people responsible for their actions through collectively accepted moral consequences.
A good example of an evolving moral culture is the internet and cancel culture. Some people don’t like the term “cancel culture” because it is sometimes used to criticise the overreach of people using this system and liken it to an angry mob. The term itself is neutral though and there is no pressing need as I write this article to chase the latest terminology to avoid offending people. If you are offended, that is a price I am prepared to pay. Cancel Culture refers to a form of moral policing which happens primarily within progressive internet communities, where people whose success and platform depends on the support of their audience. When a person whose audience is primarily progressive says something that individuals in the community find problematic, they use their own platforms to call out the behaviour and encourage others in the community to deplatform the offending party. The followers of the person calling out the problematic behaviour then descend onto the accounts of the person who said something problematic and attempt to bully them into changing their behaviour by holding their platform hostage and assuring them that the abuse will end if they apologise. If an apology is offered they will then critique the quality of the apology in order to determine that a lesson has not been learned and they should therefore elevate the abuse to include threats of violence (and rape for female content creators) until the offender leaves the internet or dies. This is an evolving system of moral relativism where the understanding of acceptable behaviours is constantly shifting, with things that were funny and edgy at one time and allow a person to achieve popularity can later be weaponised against them by the same audience.
This is an extreme example of a rapidly evolving moral system, but it follows the same rules as all decentralised moral systems. New moral ideas are developed, they enter the group consciousness and are evaluated, they are sometimes accepted and then accepted as truth, at which point all evidence that this idea was not always true is then purged. The new moral structure then becomes reality and history is rewritten to accomodate the new reality.
Jaminist Moral Growth
The Jaminist approach to moral relativism accepts the premise that morality is something which exists through ongoing mutual negotiation but also adds that morality is contextual. An act can be morally abhorrent in one context and acceptable in another, because morality is not universal but is cultural. This is also moral relativism.
A Jaminist therefore seeks to establish consistent moral principles to function within their society within the geographic and ephemeral context in which actions arise, and to judge the actions of those outside of this context using the measures of the context in which their actions arise to the degree that it can be known.
Internal Morality VS External Judgement
The nature of morality is that it is dependant of personal experience and choices (as opposed to ethics). It is therefore acceptable you apply morality to your own behaviour, but it is counterproductive to judge other people’s actions on the basic of your own moral choices. As such, the Jaminist may decide on codes of behaviour which they will allow to dictate their actions until they choose different morals, but these moral choices apply only to their own actions. A Jaminist does not stand as an arbiter of the morality of other people’s actions. Rather, a Jaminist considers it the responsibility of each individual to determine their own morality rules and the circumstances by which it is morally appropriate to break or change those rules. If you think something is immoral, don’t do it.
When it comes to a conflict of morals where one person’s idea of right behaviour interferes with another persons ability to engage in their idea of right behaviour then there is a moral conflict. These events will occur and it is too simplistic to say “do what you want but harm none”, because the claim that you may not harm others will conflict with the morality of somebody whose genuine belief is that it is morally necessary to harm others. There will also be conflict between people about what constitutes harm. Some people genuinely believe that abortion is harm to a baby and that failure to pass laws protecting infants from harm would be a violation of their own morality. There are other people who are of the view that violating a woman’s right to decide what happens to her own body causes her harm and that it would be immoral for them to fail to act to protect the rights of women. The reality is that both the pro-choice and pro-birth positions are correct in their own assessment of their own morality. Neither side is violating their own morality in fighting against what they perceive as an injustice. Both would be acting immorally if they did nothing. A Jaminist therefore does not hold anybody as immoral for acting on their own morality, even when there is conflict.
In a context where there is moral conflict, the Jaminist seeks to give each voice a platform to convince others through argument that they should adopt a morality which allows for optimal moral expression of all parties. Ultimately, there is no ultimate decision on what behaviour is right, but there is behaviour which is consistent with maintaining certain personal perspectives of the self. If a person whose morality places a high value on personal freedom, rational thought and behaviour which is in line with reality is protesting that they should be allowed to attend public venues without being inoculated against a virus that threatens the population then their behaviour is not in line with what they claim to believe. A Jaminist in this setting would seek to guide the protester toward an understanding that expressions of personal freedom which endanger the wellbeing of others are not in fact in support of liberty for all, but liberty for some, non-consensual exposure to elevated risk of sickness and death for others. A person who claims to hold to a worldview of reason can be called to acknowledge that their position is irrational. A person who acknowledges that their desire to expose others to harm to avoid personal inconvenience is living their truth and the Jaminist would only need to address them when there is a personal moral imperative to do so. Jaminism itself does not require protecting the vulnerable from harm, but individual Jaminists may well hold personal moralities which require this action of them. The acknowledgement that morality is personal does not in itself form a requirement to allow somebody else’s personal morality to cause you to violate your own personal morality.
The Buttress of Moral Growth is therefore about taking personal responsibility to examine ones own moral positions in order to be conscious of the basis of your moral decisions and to adjust and adapt this framework regularly as your understanding of the world changes. There is no universal morality, so it is up to the individual to determine what moral framework they will apply to their own lives. It is nobodies responsibility to dictate the morality that somebody else should live by.