On Covid-19, And Morality

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” Aleister Crowley, fraudulent English occultist.
There is a scam doing the rounds. You are called by someone claiming to be from the NHS. You have been traced as being in contact with someone diagnosed with the Corona-19 virus. You need to take a test. We will send it by post, cost £500. Banking details please.
Most people spot it. Some do not, which is how scammers make their money.
As someone on my Facebook page asks, how do these people sleep at night? Making money out of all this misery?
Rather well, I suspect. Criminals need to make a living, and they do so by committing criminal acts.
Let us conduct a small thought experiment. (Sorry, this is one of my regular musings on philosophy and morality. No religion involved, I promise.)
You are in a queue at the bank, say, and there is ahead of you an elderly person, obviously not well off. He or she walks away from the counter and accidentally drops a £20 note. Which he or she clearly needs more than you do.
What do you do? Rationally, you pick it up unnoticed. You spend it on a couple of good bottles of wine, a (pre-lockdown) night at the cinema, whatever. There is no downside, you just get something enjoyable for free.
Yet you don’t, do you? Because you would not enjoy it, knowing your enjoyment came from someone else’s suffering.
This is called conscience. From the Latin, knowing with. The ability to feel others’ pain, and not add to it. It is the basis of most religions and most moral systems.
Now put yourself in the place of someone whose response would be to surreptitiously pick up that £20. They have no conscience. They are, without getting too technical, sociopaths.
I have interviewed any number of business leaders I believe were sociopaths. It is sometimes easy to rise up the greasy pole in business, politics or anywhere if you can treat colleagues, subordinates like pieces of furniture, to be moved around according to your will, without regard to their feelings.
I have worked alongside several others I also regarded as sociopaths. (Being very careful here; some of you who know me will know why.)
I am forever glad that I am not, and never will be, one of them. If you are on my Facebook page, neither are you. Take a brief moment to celebrate your good fortune. How awful to be like that. No matter what the material rewards.

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