Is Moral Behavior Necessary for Happiness

Ethics is a field in moral philosophy that distinguishes the concept between good and bad, and right and wrong. Ethics provides different standards or laws that should be followed by the people in a society, this definition of Ethics could be seen in both the article of Stephen M. Perle entitled Morality and Ethics An Introduction and The Encyclopedia of Philosophy under the topic of Ethics.  For the most part, these standards and laws are implemented in order to prevent crimes and avoid inflicting harm to others. Without these, chaos would   probably take place. Most of the time, ethics is viewed similar to morality this is because morality and ethics both deal with the right and the wrong. These two depict the different ways on how people should do and be knowledgeable of what is right and what is wrong in order to be in harmony with other people in society.

Morality is a system of rules on which a society bases the standards of the right and the wrong. Morals serve as a guideline for individuals to follow to live in harmony with one another, promote peace, and avoid chaos this is also how the writer in a journal entitled Morality by Design, interpreted morality. In any society people needs to co-exist with one another without morals, people would not be able to survive. It is unimaginable how a society would be without its morals as these morals are the basis to distinguish what is good from what is bad. Individuals are given these rules which they are expected to follow. Abiding by the rules or the standards creates an image of a moral person while the violation of such leads to an image of an immoral person. The decisions to follow or violate these rules will either have a good or bad effect to oneself as well as the other members of society.

As members of the society, people are expected to follow the morals, but some would still go against these standards and later on suffer the consequences of their actions.  The result of any action or decision has its corresponding reward and punishment. The action done by a person could have a huge effect on the other members of the society.  Hence, in any decision a person makes, he or she should always consider the end result or the end effect of such acts, and one should also take into account the morals in every decision that he or she makes. Since individuals in a society need to co-exist, they should consider the effect of their actions on the other people in society. A violation of the morals present in the society entails a corresponding punishment.

For example, a teenage girl asked permission from her mother to attend a party but the latter did not grant it. However, because the girl really wanted to go the party, so she sneaked out of the house. When she got home, her mother found out that she still went to the party even though she forbid her to do so. As a result, the girl was grounded for a week. This is an example of a violation of a rule that is imposed by the mother to her daughter. The girl, being the daughter of her mother, has the responsibility to adhere to the rules imposed by her mother because she is still under the care of her mother and she is not legally able to decide for herself. The girls action resulted into a punishment because she was not able to follow the rules that her mother expected that she will follow and because of this decision the teenager now suffers the consequences. This example is likened to the theory of David Hume in his Moral Theory wherein there is a relationship between the doers of the action (agent) to the person directly affected by the action (receiver).

Based on the example, it can be inferred that the mother was directly affected by the decision of her daughter because the latter did not follow the rule that the former imposed, leaving a negative impression of the teenager and causing the mother to punish the girl. Here, we can clearly see what would happen if a violation of the rules would do not only to oneself but also to other members of the society.  This also shows that our moral behavior could affect people directly and indirectly. This means that in making any action or decision, not only one person is subject to judging a person by the choices that he or she makes. Being regarded as a person breaking the law is a negative thing that creates a feeling of despair and shame. A negative action causes not only the people directly affected by it but also the whole society to form a negative view of the doer of the action. Just like in Humes Moral Theory, the relationship between the agent, the receiver and the spectator, in which the spectator are the other people in the society that will also judge the agent according to what the action may be. This connection among the three is relative to what the outcome would be of the action that has been done.
Hence, the behaviors that people exhibit play a big role in how they get along with other people and in how they experience happiness as they co-exist with others. Emotions and behaviors are an integral part of moral assessment. It is evident that doing good or the right thing makes a person live a life of happiness, doing something that goes against the norm causes one to live a life of regret and suffering. This also means that if the act is done out of gratitude, it would bring only great things to that person, while the ungrateful would be given a corresponding punishment.

For example, there was a catastrophe that struck a society, and volunteers were needed to donate clothes and foods for the victims. If the volunteers willingly gave their donations to the victims out of sincere concern, then this will be viewed by many as a very compassionate action for the people who are in need. This reaction will make the volunteers feel good because they know that they did something that people loved. The society views this act of kindness as one that considers others welfare, and the donor as a good person. In turn, society rewards this person by means of happiness. Therefore, it could be concluded that the people that do good have a higher chance to be happy because of the rewards that they will get while the people who are ungrateful are likely to suffer because of the punishments brought about by this action.  This is also viewed by Adam Smith in his Theory of Moral Sentiments, wherein an action that appears to be an act out of kindness then that action must receive an award, while an act that is viewed as ingratitude, then that act must be given a punishment.

In applying this to the first example of the teenager disobeying her mother, we can say that the teenagers action of disobeying her mother is bad because she went against the rules of the mother. Therefore, the result of her actions should also be bad in a sense, a punishment that she will not enjoy. If the teenager only obeyed her mother, she would not have experienced the punishment given to her. In other words, goodness would be repaid by goodness, in the same manner as evil will be returned by evil.

This further supports the idea that people that do good will be rewarded. Being rewarded is one of the many reasons why people become happy. Being rewarded means being honored and recognized and that act triggers happiness in all. One example of this is when a person returns a bag full of money instead of keeping the money. He or she is not only rewarded by the police but is also given honor and recognized as an honest person by the people around him. Rewards are usually used to motivate people in reaching a goal or getting what they want if the reward of an action would be happiness, they would rather choose to abide by the morals and experience happiness than go against the morals and receive punishment and suffering. Plato viewed the same thing in his Republic, wherein he mentioned that those people who are likely to suffer are the people that are mostly immoral people are those who are mostly experiencing suffering than those who go by the rules receive happiness as a reward.  People would prefer to be happy than experience sadness and suffering after all, there is no one who would ever want to go through suffering.

According to an article entitled Moral Development- Behavior moral behavior provides good feelings, understanding, and deep interconnection with the other people in the society. Following the standards that is expected of each person to do, our moral behavior is the main principle in order for us to live in happiness,.

Given all these arguments, it is clear that a persons moral behavior is essential for one to achieve happiness. A person that lives a life bound with morals are usually rewarded with happiness while those who disregard morals are most likely to experience despair in the end.

Individuals who always choose to do immoral acts will more likely experience unhappiness and suffering. This means that people who abide by the rules or morals of a society will experience nothing but happiness as they live on, while those who choose to go against the rules and standards of society will most probably experience suffering in any means possible. This clearly shows that there is a relationship between ones decisions to its effect to a persons emotion.

From these different points and examples, there is one thing that is evidently common among all of them, and that is the effect of abiding by moral behaviors in achieving happiness. From all the points given, doing the right thing or abiding by what is universally accepted as right or moral is mostly rewarded in the end with good feelings and happiness. While those that choose to disobey rules and opt for what is wrong are mostly considered as immoral and therefore must rightfully deserve a punishment. This suggests that our moral behaviors are the key to achieving happiness. There is clearly a relationship between a persons moral behavior and a persons chance to experience happiness. In order to experience happiness, one should be able to comply with the rules and the morals imposed by the society. This act not only makes one a better person, but also makes a person live a life of happiness together with the other members of society.


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