-Why is it wrong to steal?
-Because you might get caught.
Is it wrong to have a date with someone who has a partner? Well, have I any obligation to that partner? No, though she has; and she might hurt herself, too; though this might be the destructive act she needs to take to decisively move on with her life. Then again, if he might get angry with me that might be a practical rather than moral consideration. Even if we were to get involved, I might have no obligation to protect her from harm, only not to deliberately harm her myself. That sort of protecting could be enabling bad behaviour and encouraging unhealthy dependence and so, er, wrong. It is better to treat each other as adults. So it is her obligation to consider any duty to her partner, not mine; but seeing that she did not value that obligation I might choose not to get involved.
I could meet her, though, simply out of interest. People are interesting. No-one can be summed up on a side of A4.
I am interested in moral considerations. What is right? I will feel uncomfortable with something I think wrong, though might persuade myself it was not. Or I could meet her simply for a coffee and a chat- or tell myself that; but while the frontal lobe was telling itself one thing the amygdala might be doing something entirely other.
All this is apropos of nothing at all.
Moral considerations are separate from impulse. Something happens and all your attention is engaged. Hang the consequences. A friend said, “Of course you still fall in love; but you don’t act on it, because you are in a partnership”. This is a matter of self-interest, not just noble self-sacrifice. Then there are practicalities; and finally concepts of right and wrong. “I hurt you because I want to and I can” revolts me, and contradicts Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law. Though that may be slave morality, for the good of the community rather than the nobility of the strong.
Oh! Why can’t we all get along!
It seems to me that I am a communal body, that I want people to support each other, to bear one another up with a tender hand, and I suppose that could just arise from circumstances rather than being a character trait. “Can I get away with it?” I am nervous round that question. The allegation against the Christian is that he makes a virtue of his weakness, but in the war of all against all we all suffer. One answer is that there is no possible overarching understanding, and that moral frameworks are only there to make us feel better, until we want to break them; whereupon we need only a new rationalisation. I am quite clear that physical intimidation is wrong in a civilised society- but then, I am not physically intimidating.