After every doubtful action we made, sometimes we ask ourselves: have I done the right thing? Well, in fact, the real question is: do we really know what is right and wrong? We can provide answers to these questions depending on our moral development. Though, we should put in our minds that we have different answers and none of us actually have the correct answer. Morality undergoes a process in every stage of our lives. It judges what is right and wrong in every aspect that we do base on our experiences. It develops in every stage of our lives and can reach to three different levels: pre-conventional, conventional and post-conventional.
The pre-conventional is the first level of morality. It takes place in our early childhood. It develops through our social environment, like any other levels of morality. It is processed through the actions based on people around us. The first factor that contributes this level of morality is the physical consequences we get from our actions when we were young children. The second factor is the benefit that we can get from our actions. And the last factor is concerned on what is fair but is not concerned with the real justice. Children tend to make an action that they will benefit from and to do what is fair. Through these factors, good and bad are gradually defined based on the rewards we can get from our actions and they contribute to the early stage of morality.
The second level of morality is the conventional level. This level, which takes place during our adolescence to our adulthood, is where most adults find themselves in most of the time. In this level of morality, there are two factors: the first factor is the expectations we try to live up for others to seek for their approval, and the second factor is the rules of the society which we made basis for what is right and wrong. It is different from the pre-conventional level, where morality is based on the consequences or rewards we get from our actions. In this level, the social environment is very much important because its rules are based on an individual’s morality.
The third level of morality is the post-conventional level. It is a step further above other levels of morality and only few people reach this level. This level is complexly processed through the greatest good. In this level, an individual sees morality as a matter of entering into a rational contract with one’s fellow beings to be kind to each other. It takes a personal commitment to the universal principle of equal rights and respect. Unlike the conventional level, it does not base its morality from the rules of the society. An individual knows what is right and wrong and does the right thing selflessly for the greater good. The post-conventional level is most likely the aim for an individual’s morality.
Of course, we can’t immediately know what is right and wrong easily and directly because, morality, which judges what is right and wrong, takes process in every stage of our lives. In each stage, we learn from our experiences and may or may not make it the basis of morality. But we should put it on our minds that not everyone defines morality the same way you do. Because morality depends on you, not from other people or the society.