Friday, February 12, 2010

Morality Is Character

Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing’. These great words are reflection of President Lincoln’s legacy of redefining republicanism and his invaluable infusion of morality in politics. His religious and philosophical beliefs are most respected even today, as is his significant contributions towards ending slavery through emancipation proclamation. Inspirational words from great people like Abraham Lincoln and many others are not just to fill up blogs, write papers or use them in an extempore but more importantly inculcate these in our thoughts and vision. 

Morality in simple words is the chastity of our heart, ethicality of our actions and rectitude of our mind. It is our conscience or that small inner voice that guides us through right and wrong. Commonly known as our superego, morality is mode of behavior that is formed during our early childhood years by internalizing teachings and trainings of our parents and teachers. However as we grow older learning through our own experiences and our immediate support group (other than the family) becomes our newer mode of moral development. Imbibing values through experiences or by means of inspirational success stories are life’s precious lessons that go miles in helping us adapt to our surroundings and situations in life. 

The emancipation proclamation of 1862, signed by President Lincoln, in my view is a great moral lesson. Abolition of slavery was not the reason behind President Lincoln’s holding the highest office in United States. However, implementing the abolition policy and making it a national goal became one of his presidential accomplishments. Keeping intact such moral psychology certainly seems like a challenge amid the allures and maneuvers of position, power and control in the field of politics. History reminisces the feelings of President Lincoln on signing the emancipation proclamation, "I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper’’. This precisely illustrates the depth of his moral precept and the charisma of his character. Such altruistic mission motivates us to think and act differently.

There have been many great leaders whose integrity and individuality have personified a nation and its ideals. Fortunately for America, it was Abraham Lincoln. His leadership is an invigoration of hope that once again encourages us to get guided by intuitions and emotions to realize the actual purpose of our life, something that is beyond our routine goals. Capitalizing on virtues and shaping them as our core competencies bolsters our capacity to withstand any change or crisis in life. Getting motivated through moral values is also a form of intrinsic motivation which is a key aspect of self-coaching. Such inner reinforcement can never lessen or dry up. It is an internal reservoir that erects and evolves stronger reasoning and deeper intellect for shaping ethical temperament and human character.

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Photo Courtesy:  Barkha Dhar


  1. Great blog, I totally agree with your preception on moral values. The early Presidents showed great empathetic intent. Although does the modern American capitalist society go against these moral values and putting material and personal pride as the most important thing? Surely the moral intent that these early presidents showed America should not be afraid to have a free health care ETC. As much as the public should be allowed to strive and prosper individually morally it is wrong if our own libertys and ego's cause a unequal society.

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  2. Awesome blog indeed! This is certainly a great problem of young people in India and everywhere else-they just can't seem to talk straight, polite and clear. Nobody believes in one's integrity and morals learnt from chldhood, and believes that honesty is certainly not the best policy of life. Abraham Lincoln has put it very rightly indeed.


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