Morals vs Ethics

Moral Thinker | Source: Public Books
Moral Thinker | Source: Public Books

So, what are morals and ethics anyway? Morals, deeply ingrained within us, stem from our personal beliefs, values, and cultural upbringing. Think of them as the gut feeling we have about what’s right and wrong. On the other hand, ethics are like the rulebook society gives us—the principles and standards we’re expected to follow when dealing with others.

History buffs, this one’s for you! Throughout the ages, great minds have pondered the nature of morality and ethics. From Aristotle’s virtue ethics to Kant’s dropping knowledge bombs about duty, ethical theories have sought to unravel the complexities of human behavior. Those brains have laid the groundwork for how we think right and wrong today.

Now, consider the surgeon faced with the choice of prioritizing one patient over another, the whistleblower risking their career for the sake of justice, or the bystander witnessing injustice and wrestling with the decision to intervene. Maybe it’s choosing between honesty and self-preservation, or standing up for what’s right in the face of opposition. We’ve all been there, sweating bullets as we try to navigate the mess that is morals.

Our moral compasses don’t just magically appear out of thin air. They are influenced by our upbringing. Yet, they are also shaped by our capacity for empathy, our sense of duty, and our commitment to principles of fairness and justice. Navigating these influences requires critical thinking and a willingness to engage with differing perspectives.

Sometimes, our personal morals clash with the ethical obligations society throws at us. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, awkward and frustrating. In those moments, we’re forced to reckon with the tension between doing what feels right for us and doing what’s expected of us.

In the face of moral and ethical complexity, there are no one-size-fits-all answers. Yet, there are guiding principles—integrity, compassion, and a commitment to the greater good—that can illuminate our path. We can take a step back and think about what matters to us and talk things over with friends or mentors.

In the mess of the human experience, morals, and ethics are the threads that bind us together. They are the foundation which we build our societies upon. Even if we cannot do so ourselves, let us learn from history and use that to navigate the complexities of right and wrong.


Bullhorn Newsletter

Receive the Bullhorn direct to your inbox!

Bullhorn Updates

Virtual Guidance Counselor

Submit Your Work

Wanna submit your work to the bullhorn? Articles, Art, Poetry, Film, and More!

Email your work to us at, and share it with us on Google Drive at