I See it, I Want It, But Should I Keep It?

A Calvin and Hobbes comic that teaches viewers about the morality behind keeping things in captivity.

Calvin and Hobbes comics are usually short and sweet, and either in color or black and white. For works of art that seems so simple at first glance, it’s a wonder how Bill Watterson mangaed to fit in such profound pieces of life advice/philosophical dilemnas within them. This comic in particluar is only four panels with no color. The comic is aesthetically pleasing to those who appreciate the minimalist line art and exaggerated expressions, and is fit with a sense of nostalgia for others who grew up reading Calvin and Hobbes comics.

Yet, with only one exchange in dialogue and two extra panels of silence, the comic speaks volumes. It gives us a simple message that questions the morality of keeping creatures in capitivity. In most cases, whether it be children or entire ogranizations who are looking for a profit, when humans see something they consider beautiful or interesting, they feel the need to keep it somewhere they can look at it whenever they want to. Children who capture insects or uproot plants from their habitats do so because they don’t know any better. When Hobbes implies to Calvin that keeping his newly captured butterfly is morally wrong, Calvin lets it go. Despite this, there are plenty of older people who keep beautiful things in captivity for their own gain.

Again, the message here is simple. If a child can understand the consequences of keeping beautiful things in captivity, why don’t we all follow Calvin’s lead?

A Little Dramatic Turn of Events

It is pretty fun to see someone who are not as “rational” or “realistic” as people from past hundred years. Especially people like Hume, Locke, even Machiavelli. These people are more realistic. Their focus of the world, the society, or the way people should interact with each other are much more based on a realism perspective. This means that their opinions are more established with consequences and foundation principle.

Then Kant appears with his idea of morality and metaphysics. These ideas are not totally novel. When churches are still dominating the European land, seeing ideas and studies of the metaphysics and morality are very common. However, Kant appears in the time period where people are gradually becoming secular and more interested in consequence rather than the intention behind the consequence. One can argue that this recurrence in the study of metaphysics and morality represents a sign, a sign that marks the inner division of the Enlightenment movement.

But coming into a modern perspective, I do believe that Kant’s idea of “intention is more important than the result” is much more applicable to today’s world and there are indeed enough space for us to think about out intention that prompts us to make our decision.

Finally, here is a meme picture I found on internet that I find to be unexpectedly inspirational. Hope this picture can make your day.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Kant brings about the topic of “moral law.” He reasons that the morality of an action is good based on its intrinsic values; those actions cannot have any root in anything evil. For a long time, politicians have given many promises and cannot come through with all of them. It is honestly tough, as there are many checks and balances as to what a single politician can do. Would those promises violate Kant’s moral law? It’s also a matter of perspective as to what is evil and just.

This site tracks the promises of recent and current presidents. Many presidents fail to uphold their promises and even try to stall for more time. This “problem” has been going on for a long time. It’s understandable why they do so: to get more possible voters and pander to their emotional side. Would Kant’s perspective affect future votes and indirectly those promises?


Morality: We or Worldview?

One of the ideas that Kant has is that morality is universal. He comes to this conclusion because he believes that the concept of reason is universal to all men and therefore morality can be derived from just thinking about it. I find this interesting because according to this school of thought everyone should value the same things and have similar if not the same thought processes. If that was true, then there would be nobody to disagree with this process of thinking, which was obviously not the case at the time.

But in today’s western world, we have moved away from the idea that everyone should find value the same things, and moved to a holistic view of morality. Now, we understand the your environment influences your idea from morality. Every culture places an emphasis on different things that are important, therefore different places/cultures would come to have a different set of morals. We have moved away from the idea that morality is a single way of thinking and if they do not follow this universal way then they should be shamed. Instead, we have more understanding for the differences that arise due to cultural differences. The link below explores the idea of how worldview and social groups affect one’s set of morals.