“What is morally acceptable?” That question is enough to stump the philosopher and the peasant alike. Two years ago, my English class read Of Mice and Men. Steinbeck’s book has made an impact not just on my life, but my entire mental psyche, because of his concept of morality. Lennie, the essence of innocence and ignorance, represents the childlike concept that morality has very clear “black and white” lines. George, the idealist, sees the world for what it is—gray. Decisions will not always have a clear and easy answer. Just as George is portrayed as the adult, so is morality. It is simple for a child to wonder “It is right to jump on the couch?” but the judgments we make as adults are difficult, and there often is no right answer. George had to make the decision to kill Lennie, because Lennie had become a detrimental and fatal threat. George’s struggle symbolizes the struggles of mankind throughout our history; we have made hard decisions, and sometimes they have been the wrong ones, but those hard decisions will never stop coming.
Two years ago, I knew there were difficult choices to make in the world, but never before had I viewed those decisions as “gray”. I always assumed that everything was either right or wrong and anything in between had to have an easy explanation. This new idea, the idea that there is “gray” and that every major decision I make in my life will not have clear boundaries has given me an entirely new perspective of the world. To no longer view this world as “black and white” has led me to open my eyes. As I grow older and wiser, I will encounter situations and people that will stump my judgment. I can look at these new situations with new eyes. No amount of parables or preachers could have prepared me for what was to be by far the most embracing stretch my mind has ever made.
I began to view my newfound idea of morality as a sort of mental superpower. I obtained an ability that makes a person a true adult. My expectations of...
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