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The Necessity of Moral Virtue

Oftentimes, ironically enough, it is in fact the adherents to ideological centrism that are most culpable for political despotism. Whether it be a degeneration into fascist authoritarianism, ethno-nationalism, transitional Leninism or an abjectly Marxist state - it is those who aren't infatuated with a political ideal, and yet allow for unspeakable atrocities - that have ceased in their duties. And even so, history has indelibly shown that the inevitability of political affinity is as such, that it resembles a temptation far too appealing for even the most unshakeable centrists to ignore. The psyche very rarely allows for a passage of time wherein one's innate proclivities are insulated from collective sentiments - irrespective of how inhumane the material consequences of those sentiments may be.

It is my understanding that Nietzsche's beliefs, and those of a number of enlightenment thinkers, converged onto a philosophical singularity of ineffable importance towards the end of the 20th century - a belief in the transcendent. It needn't be a religious doctrine, nor a variant of spirituality. These, in fact, are the mere conscious manifestations of that very belief.

To describe it as a belief even, would constitute a terrible understatement. It is best represented perhaps, in the context of Freud's understanding of the psyche - merged with Jung's notions of the collective unconscious.

The transcendental values that Nietzsche believed formed the bedrock of human morality, in my estimation, rest in the primordial vestiges of the human psyche. They're not instinctually available, but rather a product of eons of ancestral immersion. Upon hearing this proposition, one may ask themselves - if such is the case, then why does one's upbringing play such a significant role in the determination of their moral virtues? To answer this, one may contrast these values with biological archetypes (such as phenomena characterized by collectivized behaviors, presumably for evolutionary utility). Not all patterns emerging from a collective unconscious are as observable as biological symmetries between organisms. In this case, one's collective unconscious consists of predispositions to moral virtue, as opposed to virtues themselves. These predispositions don't manifest on a biologically measurable level, but on a psychological one. They're akin, in that respect, to phonetics - most individuals are capable of uttering phonemes associated with several languages, up and until they're encouraged to attenuate to a single language (within 3 to 5 years) and its phonetic constituents. Their predispositions to specific utterances guide their verbal development. In an analogous manner, a child's predispositions to moral virtues may dictate his or her willingness and/or ability to acquire them. There are behavioral ethics that have been taught, instituted, enculturated and immersed over generations in civilizations of all kinds - who's to say they haven't forged into figures of the imagination or into archetypes of the collective unconscious? In fact, the truth of this hypothesis is ubiquitous today: a variety of well-known archetypes (heroic, caregiving, exploratory, familial and sacrificial in nature) are predicated on a distinct set of moral conceptions. Consequently, the conjecture that one's morality is entirely a product of one's environment shouldn't be granted the status of an axiom as it often is; it is ultimately just that - a conjecture against whom lies a substantive degree of evidence.

The composition of an individual's morality, is, of course, deeply entrenched in their superego (in the Freudian sense). And closely attached to this composition, is their ideal of the transcendent. It is dangerous to conflate this 'ideal' as being a 'religious' one - it is not an act of faith; it is an inevitable marker of your humanness inscribed into you. If this ideal were to be nested in the unconscious, it would manifestly be visible to the waking mind. To some, it may present itself in the form of a religious devotion. To others, especially those who have abnegated the existence of a metaphysical entity (atheists or antitheists), it will manifest as a confluence of intellectual ideas or material aspirations. Either way, the defining element of this manifestation is that it is driven by an ideal that is independent of human experience or survivalistic instincts. It may even be the sole facet of one's unconscious to exhibit this trait, thus also precluding oneself from devolving into a primeval, unsophisticated creature of Darwinian means. It may be by far the most significant byproduct of man's evolutionary disjunction from other primates - and the foundation of all schools of thought that followed. Preserving this inviolable ideal may be crucial to even the very sustenance of this species.

What unravels upon the conscious abnegation of this belief (atheism), or renunciation of transcendental truths, is even more unthinkable. When one does so, he or she isn't eradicating the belief itself - only its conscious form. The unconscious motive exists persistently, and reasserts itself elsewhere through other conscious states, and in a much more devastating fashion. At the political threshold, some may even reassign this belief to a material ideal, such as the infallibility of another human being - one that claimants to unilateral power and autocrats thrive on. This may also explain the repugnant actions undertaken by several amidst historical wars - such as those of the Nazis in the course of World War II.

It is therefore of utmost necessity, that the very constitution of human morality; that in a psychological and biological capacity, is not only recognized but fiercely protected - for the furtherance of all mankind and the eradication of all its evils hinges on it.

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