The Right and Wrong Conundrum


Seldom does the heart know what it really desires: at one point it knows every hidden dream we ever dreamed; but once we are closer to achieving that ‘dream’, it starts generating mixed signals which usually makes us question every single step we take in achieving that dream. Does this then, involve morality, propriety or worse still, sobriety?

We are brought up with a sense of righteousness, which usually borders on a strict conditioning governed by a strong sense of morality, which involves right and wrong paths. Get waylaid from the laid down path and you are a rebel, immoral and even wild; if you follow the rules, you are moral and deserving. But, who I daresay laid down these ‘ideas’ of morality? Sure, some things are plausibly wrong like taking a life or hurting someone knowingly; however, can the right and wrong be really compartmentalized by the society? Can all the wrongs and all the rights be labeled accurately? It would have definitely made this world a better place, if it were possible.

Different people perceive this conundrum differently; for Muslims eating beef is commonplace but consuming pork would be a sacrilege, on the other hand; Hindus consider eating beef blasphemous. Mind you, both the sides have very legit arguments and you are left wondering, what could be the right side. Ask a vegetarian why he refuses to eat meat and he will drone on about cruelty to animals; ask a meat-eater and he will rant about the circle of life and the animals taking over the world if not curtailed. Is it sufficient to claim then, that the right and wrong dichotomy is solved by people’s feelings; they project these feelings on the choices available to them and internally justify their actions to themselves? They are after all born in a society obsessed with right and wrong; how can they not choose one side over the other.

Interestingly, as we grow older the ‘right’ compartment of our emotional banks tends to expand and widen, the things which were wrong before suddenly seem right and moral. So, should I daresay that morality is flexible, but wasn’t it supposed to be rigid and water-tight? We find ourselves doing things that seemed immoral and downright wrong a few years ago but perfectly acceptable in the present. What causes this shift in perception? Does one start perceiving the gap in the right and wrong labels as one grows older?

Is there then a possibility of a grey area; the area between the societal right and wrong, which is perceived differently by different hearts. After all, hearts dwell in divergent heavens and fear diverse horrors. This grey area can be acknowledged as people’s choices: to do or not to do. People are faced with two choices every time; their choice will then determine the right and wrong. Hence, I can safely presume that right and wrong is not predetermined but depends on choices people make.

The basic question we are faced with everyday is usually on these lines: the rightness of our actions, the rightness of our thoughts and rightness of our lives. But why are we so stuck up on being right or rather doing right. Is being right just a state of mind then, since one person perceives rightness doing one thing and another person feels right doing something exactly the opposite. A murder is downright sinful as it involves taking a man’s life however it becomes right and even justifiable when it is resorted to in self defense. Does that make killing a man more acceptable?

This web of choices will never cease to entrap our sensibilities; it is completely upon us to salvage an escape route. The trap of stereotypes and clichés lulls us into a false sense of security because it feels familiar territory, something we have lived with since forever. Shedding our inhibitions and venturing outside into the unknown is akin to walking into a jungle with no sense of direction, however, this territory needs to be chartered and traveled into. How else will we grow as a person? There is nothing like falling down to teach us how to walk and there is nothing like making mistakes to teach us ‘right and wrong’. The society can’t do it for us.

We have to fight our own battles, this is our battlefield and we are the warriors.