In discussion regarding the changing roles of men and women in the last 50 years, there came an outpouring of weighted responses from a great number of students, both male and female. These weighted responses stemmed from an emotional reaction regarding gender discrimination. It was said that, because racial discrimination is unethical, gender discrimination must follow similarly. However, the idea of ethics is relative at its core. What is moral and immoral changes as the general sentiments of society evolve.
Expanding on this idea, the evolution of morality within society does not necessarily mean that the ideas of society become more pure, as this is also relative. From a purely factual standpoint, there is no tangible evidence to support the fact that men and women are created equally. Humans possess the ability to dictate the intricacies of society as we so please. Somehow, at this point in time, it is generally felt that discrimination is wrong.
However, it is illogical to consider that anything deemed immoral is truly wrong, it has merely been categorized as immoral or unethical and these ideas exiled into undesirable parts of society. In short, these societal attitudes are based on emotion. These feelings have a rational basis. In nature, one could argue that each organism contributes and influences the world and every other living being in a subtle, yet profound way. However, it could also be argued that selection in nature allows the strongest, most able to survive as the least able are consumed or discarded.
From the latter viewpoint, equality is futile as progress is unattainable. Nevertheless, finding a rational basis for equality is not necessarily nonexistent, but rather open to interpretation. Feelings unequivocally have a “rational” basis. The distortion lies in the fact that the rationale is influenced by emotion. In order to yield a more pragmatic view of such issues such as equality, opinion must be derived from the rationale. In spite of the distortion of emotion and its effects on society and on the individual, emotion is essential to the normal function of an individual.
Emotions have basis, but are never truly justified. They are based on instinct, a combination of courage and fear. Emotions allow one to determine absolutes in an environment in which very little is known, specifically regarding one’s purpose as a human and the significance of life in general. Although pragmatism has its values for society as a whole, emotion is necessary for the individual to find a place within society. Emotion allows for a sense of belonging and sense of self. In this way, the significance of emotion cannot be refuted.