I have to say, morality is one of my favorite topics. What exactly is it and how is it formed? Many would say that morality is relative because all of our morality differs to some degree, however, I would say that this is only a half truth. Although our morality may differ on certain subjects, the truth is that we all live by the Golden Rule, which is to do unto others as you would have done to you. Why then does our morality differ? Take, for example, the subject of slavery. Back in the 1800's it was seen as "OK", however, today it is seen as absurd and evil. Why? It is because we adhere to authority figures that influence our morality. Some may ask, if our morality is based upon the Golden Rule, how can it change like this? I would say that in order to violate the Golden Rule, you must first use rationalization. This comes in many forms, however, in this particular instance what is going on is that people were dehumnaized. This is key, for you see, if someone is not your equal, then you are free to treat them as you wish. In fact, slaves were often compared to glorified apes. We see this done throughout history, and even today. For example, in Nazi Germany Jews were equivalent to vermin, today the unborn child is merely a fetus, and in the MIddle East we have the infidel etc. In fact, we can even see how the general morality has chaged with abortion in regards to legal reform. Before abortion was legalized the general consensus was that it was immoral, however, after years of legalization we now people say it is OK. It is a mirror image as to attitudes regarding slavery in reverse. Even though you may not agree with all of my conclusions, you must still acknowledge one fact which is that human beings are basically lemmings, but we all cannot escape the inner voice. In fact, even though we may rationalize the voice away, it is my belief that it still eats us inside, causing various psycological issues. In the end, truth will prevail. To sum up, authority figures that influence our morality come in various forms. They could be your parents, the state, the church, or even your peers. They all try to appeal to our sense of the Golden Rule, but when they are to violate it, they must use intellectual gymnastics to do so. In fact, every law in existence is a play on morality in terms of what is "good" for society and what is "bad". The only question becomes, who do you look up to and view as a position of authority and to what degree do you let them drown out your inner voice?