I was listening to this Best of the 90’s mix I downloaded from that popular bittorrent site, when I came across that dumb song from 1995 “I Believe” by Blessid Union of Souls. Since I was deep into writing a retarded paper I did not really notice until a line came up about ruining the future with things we do today.
Now, there really isn’t much debating about whether we actually do ruin the future with actions today. It is pretty well known that human beings as a whole don’t care much about the future unless it is there immediate future. When sacrifices have to be made today for tomorrow, we usually ignore them or do them half-assed. So is the way it has been and probably will be for a long time. Why? Probably something having to do with capitalism or being mortal and not caring about things that occur after we die.
However, morally everyone is inclined to examine their actions in reference to both the present and the future (as well as the past, if it were possible to time travel). It is the same kind of argument used to illustrate moral responsibility regardless of distance. The easiest example is the drowning baby. A baby drowning in a shallow pool, you walk by, morally you are bound to save the baby. What person wouldn’t? To illustrate why distance doesn’t matter, the details can be changed so that you can “mail in” your saving part, so you do not even have to be there. This is roughly equivalent to sending a check to a relief organization.
Time works in much the same fashion. Imagine that you know the baby is going to drown and by your actions today, you can save the baby. You are morally bound to do so. Of course in social science nothing is that exact. However, one can easily see the parallel is, say, calculating a 70% chance of baby drowning and putting in equal amounts of effort to keep the even from actually happening.
Sure this kind of analysis does not work all the time, and it is very easy to get around it by selectively predicting outcomes in the future that require no effort today (i.e. predicting the best case scenario). But I think if everyone had the same mindfulness to the future, they may yet be able to claim that they are moral people.
By the way, I am not moral, and make no claims to be. I like writing about morality because of 10 people I approach on the street asking if they are moral, almost 10/10 will say “oh yes I am,” which pisses me off to no end. That is about the time where I start systematically destroying their sense of morality. Remember, it is ok to be immoral. Most people are. Don’t worry about what God thinks either … even if he exists he doesn’t care.