This post is kind of coming out of left field here. I’m not usually someone who feels the need to spout on about ethics and morals. This isn’t due to the fact that I don’t have any (although, maybe I don’t?) but the simple fact that I don’t like to preach about things to other people. I don’t mind offering my viewpoint or giving some advice, but I don’t think that my way is the only way and so therefore, I do my utmost best to not televangelize people about things. So, if someone feels the need to do something that I find wrong or dishonest or what have you, then that’s their business and I’ll be sure that the door doesn’t hit my fat ass on the way out (after telling them that they’re wrong).
This stems from two blogs that I follow both having their work plagiarized this weekend. One blog, House of Ellegua is due to her pictures being posted via Tumblr without permission or without giving her any credit. Considering the hard work that she puts into her work, I think it’s a travesty that anyone would do that. The other blog is the Witch of Forest Grove, who has had numerous blog entries and images of hers posted by some egomaniac (sorry, I don’t know if he really is an egomaniac but he sure doesn’t sit well with me at this point) on FB. She even posted about the whole thing on her blog and has since filed with FB about his plagiarism.
In both of these instances, I found myself morally outraged on behalf of the people in question. In both cases, these weren’t just some opinionated rants or words. In the case of Sarah, the images were ones that she had drawn herself and the blog posts were there to help others who don’t know what the hell they’re doing. In the case of Caroline… The images in question all have to do with her job. These aren’t pictures of a fanciful nature that she thinks will make beautiful artwork that she posts on Flickr, but images to sell items she creates. …And you know, these aren’t the only people who have noticed these things: Miss Dirty has also been at the other end of this, too. Not only are people stealing her images without credit, but they’re also trying to take her livelihood right out from under her.
Okay, so back to ethics and whatnot.
The thing is that morality is, to me, something that you make up as you go. You can base it off of things, such as the Ten Commandments or the 42 Negative Confessions, but this is pretty much something that a person has to work on their own. It’s a person-by-person basis. What I think is morally outrageous and so, therefore, wrong may not end up on the same scale of “wrongness” as the next person. And since each person is busy crafting their own moral code at any given moment, this poses a larger problem especially in the arena of paganism.
There isn’t any single, concrete thing to base each pagan’s moral code on.
In my practice, I would base it off of the 42 Negative Confessions. I can’t say for anybody else’s pagan practices what, if anything, they would base their moral codes off of. Paganism is an umbrella term used to describe so many different sects, solitaries, temples, and religions that there isn’t any unity when it comes to these things. And so, when it comes to instances like plagiarism or being made fun of, where do we draw the line before we’re in the territory of moral outrage? Where is it that we can all sit together and say, “Yeah, that was wrong.” And I’m not talking about big things like murder or rape. I’m not talking about things that can go either way (depending on the path) like animal sacrifice. I’m not talking about things that most anyone with a conscience and a soul would be disgusted by. I’m talking about the smaller things, like plagiarism or kicking a cat. I’m talking about the things that some people might notice, but not everybody.
So, where does that leave us? Where does this whole thing leave us?
Confused. Uncertain. Upset. Angry. Confused. And, of course, asking ourselves: Where in the fucking world do we draw the line?
(All images in this post are courtesy of Google image searches for the word “ethics.”)