The Stranger The Stranger 9.0分

Are "we" legitimate moralists or are "we" lynch mobs?

2018-05-12 看过


The trial gives me the uneasy feeling that the self-righteousness and moral superiority of the prosecution is much more revolting than the unaffected amorality of Meursault. The demand to impose a single set of religious teaching and moral values on all is the greatest kind of arrogance, yet we implicitly relish the moral superiority felt when we judge, condemn and pity those “outsiders”. But do we, the righteous, the innocent, the privileged, do we wholeheartedly subscribe to all those doctrines? Or are we just masquerading as pious moralists for fear of being condemned by our fellow men and by God just in case he exists? To me, the dismissive hastiness of our judgement, the conceited conviction in our righteousness and the cowardly fear for being the outsiders are greater evils than Meursault’s crime, apathetic nature and disbelief in God.

Kant once argued that some people are born to be nice, someone are born to be nasty, so we should not confer moral praise based on the luck that one is born with a nice nature. Indeed, there is nothing superior in being a super sensitive and super kind person full of expansive emotions. Correspondingly, on the other end of the spectrum, we certainly should not label those who lack a moral sense as "monsters" that ought to be lynched. I am not advocating for amorality here, but I do believe that the moral system in the book is deeply flawed. It is rigid, ignorant and prejudiced, lacking the kind of receptiveness that respects every soul.

Apart from his insensitivity, Meursault's atheistic attitude was also deemed as an evidence of his corrupt and devilish nature. Belief in God was seen as a panacea that can rid him of all sins and fears. Yet, no coherent reasoning has been given as why so. The ardent exhortation of the magistrate and the compassionate tears of the chaplain seem almost comical in face of Meursault's unmoved disbelief. I personally respect his unwavering courage in holding on to his true feelings and his resolution to face the terrifying ordeal of dying without the convenient consolation from religion. I respect people's religious beliefs, but I do not think that the best reason for a man to believe in God is to seek salvation after his crime and solace before his execution.

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