It’s a question that you may not want to answer too quickly. It’s a sign that you may be answering more on blind faith than actual self reflection. Really think about this.
Have you ever wondered who you would be…if all of life’s consequences were removed? No punishment, no jail time, no revenge, no fear of judgement or some sort of hell bound sentence for your soul when it’s all said and done? What if you could do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted…and never once had to pay for your actions?
What would your sense of morality be like? What would your relationship to the rest of society be like? How would you determine right from wrong? I mean…we see it all the time, don’t we? The rich, the celebrities, the athletes, the politicians…they get away with stuff that NONE of us could ever hope to get away with. The drugs, the cheating, the mistresses, the sexual assault, the thievery. The Bill Cosbys, the Donald Trumps, the R Kellys, the Harvey Weinsteins, the Brian Singers…what if you could go years and years without ever having to think twice about being caught? They’ve got an army of lawyers and fixers that guarantee that they’d stay swimming in champagne and lobsters for as long as they’re willing to pay for their services. They’re too ‘big’ to go to jail.
But…what about YOU? Are these ‘other’ people all crazy and deranged? Or is it the complete freedom from consequence that causes them to tap into the darkest parts of themselves? And if the latter is true…what darkness would YOU tap into…if given the opportunity?
Can morality, discipline, guilt, and shame…exist in a vacuum free from punishment?
“That’s a very thought provoking question. I like to think that I have a good sense of morality, and would continue to maintain it no matter what, but I know that probably wouldn’t be the case. I think that, like most people, my morality would slowly erode as I keep testing the boundaries and find out there are no consequences. Almost no one has this “Ned Flanders turns serial killer” moment, but it’s usually little things at first, like a bit of shoplifting, then it escalates as you start to feel invincible.
As for me personally, I’m not sure exactly what I’d do. I know there are 2 things I would really want: financial security, and companionship. So first, I’d probably find a way to make myself rich enough that I don’t have to work another day in my life. And second, well…I’d probably adopt a boy (or two, or ten). I mean, why go out and rape innocent boys, when there are Dustins out there for me to hook up with? Maybe I’m being naive, but I just want to have a ‘connection’ with someone, and that someone happens to be a boy. So yeah, I would love to have a son/lover, and I would be sure to make that happen. And sure, I could get away with taking any boy I want to bed and having my way with him, but, why do that when I can just go out and find a special boy and have the same kind of relationship as everybody else?” –Anonymous
“With no consequences, I think I’d stick to some basic core principles that I choose to live by, which has nothing to do with the law because these are opinions I have which were the case before the law supported them, and also ones the law still doesn’t support. They matter to me, because I think they’re important principles to live by.
Things like equality to all people, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, sexuality and so forth.
The right to pollute your own body (smoke, drink, inject, inhale, whatever).
I’ll want to educate society about the consequences of taking various drugs, (just like we do with unprotected casual sex,) but I wouldn’t incarcerate them for self-harm. That’s always been nuts to me. I’d treat it as a medical issue, if they have an addiction they want to kick. Not a criminal one.
The same case with death with dignity. You should be able to decide to end your life on your terms when you want to, especially if you’re terminally ill and suffering in a lot of pain. I understand it can be tricky, because we need to know that greedy relatives aren’t trying to push grandma to have an early death to get her inheritance.
And you should have the final say in who gets to use your body for their own needs, even if that means they die without access to it. So organ donations, pregnancy, sex, those sorts of things. But if you don’t put yourself on a donor list, you’ll be last on the list, should you need one in the future.
So basically, harm no one, except in self-defense (which includes body integrity), and make sure anything you do to, or with another person is consensual.
I’m not sure what other laws I’d break (if those examples above include breaking some) cause I think most laws, at least in my country are pretty OK (within reason). I wouldn’t want to own a gun, or steal someone else’s property. I do have some issues with our laws being too strict around free speech, even speech I strongly disagree with, but I can’t think of anything else. There is, of course, things like wealth inequality, wars, and tax laws and loop holes, that I feel strongly about, and so forth, but that digresses a little too much from the subject.
Oh yeah, paying for, or selling sex too, seems a little silly to be a crime. I don’t see the harm in sex being sold as a product, as long as it’s consensual.
Just like gambling. I know it can become a serious addiction, but so can a lot of things, fast food for instance, we have an obesity epidemic across the west, but no one’s talking about banning donuts. Although there are things like sugar tax which I disagree with. Eat yourself to death, after you’ve been educated about eating healthy, first.
If it’s your money and you earned it, use it to eat crap, buy sex, or gamble it away in a casino. It’s your right to do so, I think.
I’m not even sure this is what you were asking? I hope I haven’t totally missed the point. 😛
Basically, if I lived in a society free from the legal consequences of my actions, I’d do what I wanted as long as it didn’t hurt someone else, or violate their rights without their consent. But I don’t think there’s much I’d want to do, that I can’t do already.
If I was the king of the world, I’d just want a big mansion, nice things, lots of sex with beautiful people, and pay some scientists to find a way for me to be able to drink and smoke without fucking up my health in the process 😛
I don’t smoke, and I don’t drink that often anymore either, but I do miss it. That probably sounds a little silly, but it is what it is. I like the feeling of tweaking my state of consciousness, for a short period, occasionally. That’s my vice. 😛 But since 2013 I’ve put my health first.” –Mike
“I often wonder about this sort of thing…
Because I really DO think of myself as a good and moral person, and that’s not really based on anything other than the fact that I haven’t done anything that has gone beyond my conscience or my sense of humanity. I won’t lie, I am an empath of the highest degree! I HURT for other people, because I know what it’s like to be hurt. Or lonely. Or struggling to find yourself when the whole world seems to be working against you. I FEEL that! And it’s in my nature to want to help wherever and whenever I can. Even when people are obviously trying to take advantage of me…I only see that as a deeper problem and a louder cry for help. You know?
But…where does that craving come from? I think that’s the big question for me. I govern myself and my actions by thinking about the positive or negative impact that my actions may have on other people. What happens if I just stopped caring about those consequences? If they didn’t exist? What if I could get rich by taking advantage of other people and I never had to feel any guilt about it? What if I could see a 14 year old boy that was gorgeous and sweet and funny and I could date him without worrying about going to jail? What if I could eat whatever I wanted, drink alcohol, or do drugs, and not have to worry about dying of a heart attack before the age of 50? I mean…would I do it?
Sometimes, in all honesty…I think I would. I think my curiosity alone would cause me to bang up against every boundary that was set for me, and I’d be tempted to see just how far I could take things until actual consequences became a reality for me. And that would be a BAD thing!
I have values, and morals, and line that I don’t think I would ever cross (murder, rape, etc)…but I’ve always based those ideas on the concept of future consequences and punishments to come. If they were to ‘vanish’ tomorrow…then I’d still be the same moral person that I am today. But…if I had grown up without any accountability for my actions at all? I think I’d be a completely different individual for who I am right now. And not in a good way.
Thank God for a balanced perspective in these matters. Right?” –Comicality
If you guys want to add your two cents to any one of the ‘Q & A’ sessions for future issues of Imagine Magazine, we’d LOVE to hear your input and your personal stories on the forum! Feel free to attach your screen name, or do so anonymously! Drop by “The Shack Out Back” forum on the 1st and 15th of every month for a brand new topic of conversation! We look forward to hearing more from you! 🙂