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Have you ever wanted to have superpowers? Or Have you ever wanted to be a superhero? The one who flies around and saves people from villains? Superheroes are known for being good, fighting evil and saving the world from villains. Spiderman, as we all know, is one of the well-known Marvel heroes which acquires the power to shoot webs, wall-crawling, and swing from one building to another without even touching the ground. He could technically fly with the use of “spider webs” alone.
Regardless of those facts, is behind that red spider outfit and a mask we usually see in the movie is an ordinary high school boy named Peter Parker. Apparently, it just happened that he was bitten by a spider from a laboratory he visited prior to the present time. Spiderman faced a lot of challenges throughout the story which involved bullies, scammers and villains. Thus, all his experiences have a certain moral explanation behind it.
The given article was entitled ‘Why Be a Superhero? Why Be Moral?’ which was written by C.
Stephen Layman. The article talked about Spiderman and the moral explanations behind some scenes and events that occurred in the movie. First and foremost, it talked about the problem with Spiderman, then some answers to the problem and followed by several reasons as to why is it rational for us to be moral. The author’s thesis contradicts the claims of ethical theorists which states that the strongest reasons always favor our moral duty. Layman, in opposition of the statement, argued that the strongest reasons or overriding obligations do not always favor nor support what is morally required.
Actions that are ought to be done depending on the situation. Doing what is morally right or wrong depends on how a person interprets a situation he/she is in. In some circumstances, people will choose not to do what is morally acceptable, especially if it involves themselves, their family or something that is meaningful to them.
The article discussed the film, Spiderman, in which it has included the ethical and moral principles portrayed among chosen characters in the movie, and most especially, by Spiderman himself. Also, it was focused on him, as a hero in general and followed by those events that conspired during the movie.
The main idea of the article is why should we be moral? Why be a superhero? The author stated that there is a problem for Spiderman. The world of Spiderman somewhat depicted an environment of separation between good and evil. That there are good people which in connection to the movie, the hero and bad guys who are identified as villains or antagonists. In the movie, there are several villains, namely, the main villain, the green goblin, who was in fact a friend of Peter Parker. There were also lowkey villains such as Flash Thompson, the bully in their high school. The characters who displayed moral virtues was not only Spiderman but also Aunt May and Uncle Ben who were shown to be very honest and trustworthy people. As we read the article, here we could see that Uncle Ben was the one who said the legendary line that still goes on up to this day, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” The line, raised the question, as to which it led to the author with his argument of if power comes with great responsibility or burden, then why be a hero? Layman also stated that why should we be moral in a world where a lot of people so often don’t? More so, having power also comes with great desire to satisfy one’s personal cravings especially now that they have the means to do it.
With each question asked, ethical theorists have answers that contradict the author’s point of view. Ethical theorists assumed that doing our duty is favored by our strongest reasons. The theorists argued that our perception of seeing someone doing something odd changes when we are informed that, that person is doing his or her duty and is the rational action to do. Shifting to the author’s point of view, Layman argued that there are situations wherein the strongest reasons do not favor our moral duty. In order to support his argument, he stated five reasons to be moral.
The first reason says that failing to fulfill your moral duty, you may be affected by negative consequences directly or indirectly. This reason believes that if you do not do what is morally right, you will face consequences for your inaction. Consequences that would affect your life tremendously which includes pain and suffering. The next reason is that we have to be moral because it is right. Many people believe so that doing something good, basically means it is right. The article simply shows that superheroes attend to their job just for the sake of their image to be looked at in a good side and not for selfish own reasons. Next, being moral will give you peace of mind by having harmony in your soul, as Plato stated. Some people choose to do what is right because it relieves them from guilt. There are some people who feel guilty whenever they feel that they violated some kind of rule. The fourth reason, states that having a good moral character is the greatest reward anyone could get. The author of the article gave the case of Norm Osborne and the arachnid girl to support this reason. The girl who is innocent but falsely accused is spending her time in jail for something that she did not even do while Norm Osborne who is a very suspicious individual is living his life comfortably.
Looking at the fourth reason, it is seemingly unfair to a great extent that the person who is technically good, is suffering in jail while the other is being admired by some people. Lastly, the fifth reason involves delayed gratification, which means that if you are morally good, you will get your reward in time, including life after death. This reason portrays more of the religious aspect of life. Wherein, there are some people who happen to believe that a supreme being is watching over us. However, Eastern doctrines also emphasized the term, karma, upon this reason. The doctrine stated that if someone is doing his/her moral duty in this life, he/she will live a good life in the next one. He concluded by saying that how we answer the question on “why be moral?” reflects how we live our lives.One thing we could observe upon reading the article is that, it showed no signs of bias or favoritism. The author showed both sides, such as pros and cons to every reason he uttered in the article and most importantly, emphasized what he was really trying to point out. Moreover, as an author, the right thing to do is to show no bias so that the readers themselves would take the time to analyze the message and decide which side they would go to on their own, and not under the influence of the author, so to speak.
The next thing we like about the article, is the fact the author chose to focus on the very little details and events in the movie, wherein we ourselves didn’t actually notice it first-hand and not until this day when we happened to pass by this article. In addition to this, the article is not only detailed but also able to portray different moral perspectives to almost all the events which took place in the movie.
The author was able to show deep analysis on the characters and shows what they were trying to portray. As an example, to this, it was the moment when Peter Parker found out his capabilities and powers then impulsively joined a match just for the money. However, things went sideways and different from what he expected it to be and deep inside, he was triggered to act for revenge on the game master, so when the opportunity came, he quickly took it. As an analysis to this, Peter Parker used his powers for his own benefit and satisfaction rather than the greater good. As we ponder on it, when we usually watch a movie, we won’t even think about it that way, rather we would just think of it as something such as the game master deserved it for, he did something wrong to Parker.
There are certain situations that would determine whether our actions are for the greater good or not; depending on the intention and motive itself. As for what Spielthenner (2005) has said, if a person used their money to donate it to innocent civilians in a war-torn country, then her intentions are judged to be morally good, however, if that person uses their money for self-satisfaction and luxury, the action would not be as morally accepted. This goes to show that in the very small details in our lives, we could still see the value of being moral. It simply shows that our actions will depend on the intentions behind it before it will be judged whether right or wrong.
A lot of people are said to be psychologically disposed to prioritize their own self-interest above all else – which includes morality. For this kind of people, when morality and self-interest come into head-to-head conflict, morality loses out. But rationally speaking, that’s not how it should be. Rationally speaking, morality should always trump self-interest.
In the same instance, we could also remember what the real intention of Peter Parker behind joining the match is; to impress Mary Jane. Here we can observe the fact that before we do something, we should always think about it first, and never let our emotions get the best of us, because more chance that it would ruin us as well. In a theory entitled, “A Theory of the Good Life” by Paul Bloomfield, it is said that, by being good simply shows that while one can be passionate about something, the choice of what we are passionate about will always be ours; it means that you don’t let your emotions, desires, wants, and needs “get the best of you” and “make” you do things that you later regret. Evidently, we got to witness what exactly happened after Peter Parker let the robber go freely; it caused the death of his Uncle Ben, which later on led Peter Parker astray. As we come to think of it, he may be the main reason why it all ended up that way, simply because he let his emotions get the better of him.
Although the thing is, there are times that the principle mentioned cannot really be applied in general, because there may be circumstances where there are no countervailing negative consequences happens when we fail to do the moral responsibility, as said in the article, which counteracts the rule one of how to be moral. In an article entitled, “Why Don’t Moral People Act Morally? Motivational Considerations” by C. Daniel Batson stated that people who fail to act morally is usually associated with learning deficits or situational pressures. Considering the nature of moral motivation is considered to be one of the important factors we should always look into before anything else.
As for The Strange Case of Norm Osborne and Arachnid-Girl, here we can see through the injustices in the society we live in. According to the book entitled, “Superheroes and philosophy truth, justice, and the Socratic way”, it is not really true that the rewards of perfect virtue recompense for the rewards of wrongdoing and that sometimes, it is not everyone’s goal to achieve the state of being perfectly virtuous. This actually brings us to the main point of “Virtue is its own reward” is actually a problematic and not so accurate answer corresponding to the question of why we should be moral? As for what Rocchi (2018) stated in the article on Moral actions and context, every moral action can be judged as right or wrong, accordingly only to the context in which it is performed.
The actions of doing what is morally right or wrong is based on the circumstances a person is currently involved in. Factors such as family, peers and internal and external aspects play a huge role in influencing people in their situations; which may be considered as moral or immoral.
There’s actually a lot to be said and be considered in focus of moral dubiousness. There are many ways on how one person could explain something he/she does. We could barely conclude something that was done, if it is the right thing to do or not. A lot of times, people tend to misjudge an action of being immoral, only to find out that they based that discernment on what their morally stand is. Just because it is bad for your eyes, does not actually mean it is bad for everybody else. At some point, we have to consider the fact that there’s always a reason behind every action done. We should always see-through the bigger picture as to why an action was done, the reason behind it, so that we could be able to hold a better judgment whether it is moral or amoral.
The article is indeed, a must-read for all. One must see this article because it serves as an eye opener to all of us with regards to holding judgments to an action whether it is a moral or immoral thing to do. Also, it can be able to widen our perspective and views about the circumstances one might be in and teaches a great lesson on how oneself should handle their emotions in times when huge decision must be done. The article actually practices reflective approach, which also makes the reader love the thought and message regardless of how long the article is.
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