The Evolution of Moral Values


Every society does not stay at the same place where it was decades ago. Constant development, which brings drastic changes in human life, has become the key feature of modern society. However, are these changes always aimed for good? This kind of question is less frequently asked by average citizens. Moreover, these average citizens concentrate too much on dealing with the consequences of the changes that they simply do not have time to think the matter over. Therefore, people prefer taking modern events for granted and react violently to them. As a result, the process of development caused the shift of moral values which left its trace on the notion of sexuality and on the phenomenon of relationship between sexes. In such a way, the issues of sexuality and relationship have become the most burning problems in modern times.


Nowadays, people are guided by the theory of modern liberalism, regarding any of their actions including sexual behavior. According to this theory, human body as a part of nature does not have any particular purposes. Therefore, people are free to use their bodies as they want to. In other words, they have to come up with the purposes for their bodies without imposing any limitation. This view is rooted in the Plato’s philosophy of dualism, which taught that the soul runs the body as an instrument of changing the world. Later on, Ren? Descartes expanded the meaning of dualism (Pearcy, 2). Daniel Dennett, a philosopher and an opponent of dualism, for his part, proposed his own interpretation of dualistic theory. He claimed that since seventeen century, people tend to believe in self as an unsubstantial force, which drives and controls the body likewise people drive their own vehicles. This is how people started admiring the desires of the self and indulging them (Dennett, 165).

The dualistic views became widespread in the secular culture, sexual culture in particular. The philosophic ideas of this theory reassured people that they are free to dispose their bodies using their own discretion, regardless of consequences. The theorists of dualism suggested that there are two levels of relationship – emotional and sexual. Moreover, they emphasized that there should be a line drawn between these two levels. Therefore, the supporters of dualism in modern times are so eager to differentiate physical relationship from emotional. In most cases, they make their choice in favor of sexual relations without any feelings or emotions at all (Pearcy, 3).

It goes without saying that the moral codes which were mandatory in the old days have been transformed beyond recognition or even disappeared. It is hard to recognize that in modern society there is no place for such eternal values as love, friendship, sincerity, respect etc. For example, a life situation depicted by Kate Chopin in her story “A Respectable Woman” would be regarded as unrealistic and old-fashioned by our contemporaries. The main heroine Mrs. Baroda tries to suppress her feelings for her husband’s friend and prevent herself from adultery. She struggles with her feelings due to her title “respectable woman”. In fact, this title is imposed to her by society (Chopin, 392). While imposing the limitations on her feelings, Mrs. Baroda defines her social identification of “respectable woman” more important than her individuality and biological identification of being just a woman. However, at the end of the story, the heroine informs her husband that she has overcome everything (Chopin, 396).

By means of the final statement, the author drops a slight hint about Mrs. Baroda’s overcoming the hesitations and making the choice in favor of affairs. Thus, Kate Chopin rises, in her stories not only the question of female sexuality, but also the question of female independence and their right to self-realization. Moreover, the author vividly demonstrates how many obstacles a woman face on her way to independence. On this challenging way, a woman has to deal with a lot of restrictions and struggle with many enemies, sometimes even with herself. Considering the fact that inner struggles are the severest ones, it only adds such masculine features as firmness and strength to the images of Kate Chopin’s heroines (Meyer, 14).

Coming back to modern times, it should be mentioned that sexuality has become the central incentive in relationship. Besides, this tendency is especially popular among teenagers and youth. Consequently, it has led to the hook-up culture where the dates are replaced by hook-ups, boyfriends and girlfriends turn into friends with benefits. Current state of affairs in teenagers’ world is described in “Friends, Friends with Benefits and the Benefits of the Local Mall”written by Benoit Denizet-Lewis. In his story Lewis summaries teenagers’ views on relationship, friendship and sex. According to Lewis’ story, boys and girls do not need stable relationship anymore; they prefer hook-ups instead. Most of them define the hook-ups as solely physical relationships which exclude feelings and emotional connection. They call their partners “friends with benefits”, but actually they are not friends at all (Denizet-Lewis, 7). Such kind of “friendship” is aimed at sexual relations without commitments. Teenagers are convinced that if they are involved in hook-ups, they expand their opportunities and under such conditions, nobody is hurt. In fact, they are hurt and suffer a lot because of these relationships.


All in all, people while concentrating on the satisfaction of their carnal desires forget about morality. Therefore, they take for granted uncontrolled sexual behavior among teens, the activities of sexual minorities and the decline of moral values. All these processes contribute to the loss of significance of monogamy, love and romantic relations. Moreover, regarding modern tendencies these things have all chances for disappearing. In such a way, people should better consider their behavior and come to right conclusions in order to save themselves from total degradation.

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