Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Ethics of Cattiness

So I've been thinking through an ethical dilemma as of late, and I wanted to involve those of you who so kindly read my blog. See I have a friend who experienced the pain of cattiness the other day at work. The friend expressed her opinion in a meeting, taking the moral high ground, only to be shot down and humiliated by a group who didn't necessarily disagree but simply hated that she took the high ground. My first inclination is that misery loves company. And believe me, I'm trying so hard to flee from self-righteousness, but I'm bothered by this because I see it in myself so often.

For example, there is a group I know that has resolved not to watch "R" rated movies. Nothing wrong with taking that position. Many "R" rated movies are pretty smutty, and yet my first inclination is to rally my tribe and talk about how stupid it is to make such a decision. Its not that they are doing something morally wrong, I do personally disagree on some level, but why do I feel the need to react in catty fashion? Why do we have the tendency to attack those who act in moral superiority to us? Its like the drunk who makes fun of someone for choosing not to drink, who doesn't look down his or her nose at the drunk, but simply chooses a different lifestyle. A drunk certainly knows that an overabundance of alcohol can wreck his or her life, and yet because someone else chooses not to partake in his misery, some drunks make fun of those who have chosen a different path.

For me this isn't a question of relativism. I get it. We live in a relativistic culture, but why even in a relativistic culture would we demonize or act cattily toward someone we know acts with more integrity and higher moral standards than we do? Even when we know that their ethical integrity will make the world a better place. Is it a coping mechanism? Is it perceived self-righteousness or even projected self-righteousness? Is it projecting feelings one has towards oneself on the person they admire? Or is it something else? Can we just talk about it though? Cause I feel like there is a silence on this subject that all too often gets swept under the rug or called ethical or religious fundamentalism or judgementalism. I vote that we stop the cattiness.

Live Love.