An Address By The Devil
Once a smartly dressed middle-aged matron would have regaled her audience with impressive respectability, but at the Manly writer's club in 1992, her talk was about her marital infidelity. She extolled the delights of allowing a strange male to grope her, as she stood in her garden only a few paces away from her husband in the sitting room. Nothing could compare to the bliss of illicit sex enacted in those stolen moments. The ensuing sordid affair gave her life a new dimension. Deceiving her husband, betraying her word, destroying her good name, ignoring the welfare of the children, nothing was too high a price for having such a good time.
It was like an address from an agent of the devil promoting sin: "discover the deep satisfying pleasure that comes from breaking the Ten Commandments". The beaming enthusiastic lady did not realise the same argument could be advanced for every crime. Her joy was naught compared to the ecstasy of the rapist or the thrill of the murderer. An ignorance shared by her enthralled listeners, all old enough to have known better. The loud long applause from mature adults, the average age must have been around 55, was undeniable evidence of their support. Confirmation that not only was moral restraint resented, but that people just did not understand the nature of the subject, or the implications of accepting sin as desirable.
Its Role Crucial But Untaught
One of the roles of Communal Morality is to identify sin and so apply restraints to our individual natures for the benefit of others; we forego private pleasure as evil temptations so the community prospers, and consequently the individual prospers. For example, despite the reward that may be gained by lying, truth is an essential quality for the community and we must all strive to tell the truth. But if we discard these limits and indulge our desires, while the individual enjoys an immediate release, the community suffers, and inevitably the individual suffers. This is obvious; nevertheless the lack of understanding of even this simple role of morality is just part of the common ignorance about the nature of morality, which is untaught in schools or universities, despite its crucial importance.