Morals and Martyrdom

Photo by Isabella Mariana on

‘Morals and Martyrdom’… kinda sounds like a treatise on political courage or personal convictions. In an era of impeachment, as a nation facing it’s own moral crises, we’ve seen a need for courage while at the same time needing to endure forms of gaslighting and martyrdom seldom seen in this post-modern era. The word “dystopian” comes to mind all too often. We live in times where trauma and addiction are the buzzwords (and common experiences) of the day.

Let us define both ‘Morals’ and ‘Martyrdom’ to provide context for this commentary. ‘Morals’, defined at the broader level, are ” lessons, especially those concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience”. As defined at the personal level, ‘morals’ refer to “a person’s standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do.” Do you see the connection between these definitions of ‘morals’ and that which is taking place currently as a nation in both politics and in our communities?

Martyrdom is defined as “a display of feigned or exaggerated suffering to obtain sympathy or admiration.” There are very few who have been spared the experience of either feeling like a martyr, being chafed or seriously affected by the martyrdom on display in those they know and even love. Although frequently applied to religious ideology and history, we mustn’t forget that the martyrdom of everyday life is deeply connected personal, community, and indeed national moral sensibilities or “nonsense abilities”. Let us allow ourselves the freedom to transcend moral arguments and spare ourselves the experience of martyrdom in ourselves and others. To end on a semi-related quote for this piece: ” Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.” –Mark Twain

Published by Dr. Rick Barnett

Licensed Clinical Psychologist-Doctorate, Addiction/Recovery Specialist, among other things...

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