Morality is a compulsion while technicality is an intention. Morality demands, but technicality offers. Morality is the compulsion of and demand by truth while technicality is the room-to-maneuver offered by questionable and convenient interpretation of laws governing truth. Morality is the righteous path clearly marked by truth, which is straight-tracked and unidirectional. Technicality is finding ways to work around truth so that one does not necessarily have to adhere to truth, still, can portray oneself as abiding by the laws of truth. It is not that difficult to differentiate morality from technicality though we are prone to seasoning by technicality to the extent that we often miss out morality and go with technicality without any compunction. However, one unambiguous factor is that morality is not the diametrically opposite of technicality and vice versa. The difference between them is a measure of purity and timeless non-negotiability that a person attributes to truth.
A dilemma that many people often confront in life is whether to choose morality or technicality. More specifically, the dilemma boils down to choosing between morally right and morally wrong but technically right. It is easier to decide on something which is morally either wrong or right and that which is independent of any technicality. In other words, decision-making is straightforward when a person has to choose something which is morally right or wrong – he/she decides depending upon him/her siding with morality or not. But, which one – morality or technicality – to go with when we confront something which is morally wrong but technically right? Should we choose morality or technicality in such a situation? In this scenario, one goes through this dilemma which gets accentuated when both morality and technicality have equally powerful arguments on their sides. A simple example to illustrate: suppose that you are a taxi driver who picked up a passenger from point X to drop at a point Y. Also, imagine that the straight road traffic from X to Y costs US$10 for the trip, but due to your ignorance of the route you drove more and the fare came to US$12. You are technically right to charge US$12 from the passenger, but, is it morally right to do so?
At personal level in our daily life, we confront ourselves with events where we have to go through this dilemma of choosing between technicality and morality. And most often, many end up the day with a mix of them. Ideally, it should only be of morality without allowing technicality to creep in. Many people, however, choose technicality over morality. On personal front, there are many incidents to cite where morality takes the hit and technicality wins. However, let me cite a recent incident where someone upheld morality over technicality. It happened in Spain where the long-distance runner, Iván Fernández Anaya, refused to take advantage when his competitor, Abel Mutai, short the finishing line by a few meters. Instead of racing ahead and winning, he guided Abel to the finishing line and let him cross first. At the end of the race, these were the words of Iván, “I didn’t deserve to win it. I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn’t have closed if he hadn’t made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn’t going to pass him.”
Technically, Ivan could have raced to the finishing line and won the race. But these words: ‘didn’t deserve’ and ‘rightful winner’ of Iván echo the spirit of morality. The questions that we need to ask: Do I deserve it? Am I the rightful winner? The answers to these questions will decide on which side you are: with morality or technicality. When an individual begins to choose technicality over morality, he/she might gain in the short-term but loses out in the long-term. And a stage will reach when he/she unwittingly loses the sense to differentiate between these two variables. A journey through technicality is torturous, demanding a lot of mental space and time for doctoring and spinning, and in this process, one misses out simple, good things of life. But the virtue of morality, though challenging, courses through as the rules that govern it are straight and self full-filling.
We are witnessing a disturbing phenomenon in societies across the world where elected leaders are replacing morality with technicality as a platform of governance. Public governance demands respecting and accepting societal values and norms like honesty, accountability, respect for minority views, etc. in both letter and spirit. However, the emerging trend is that leaders are finding ways to work around the letter of the laws, with scant respect for its spirit. This trend setting by elected Chief Executive of a nation has cascading impacts on millions of his/her followers and others who get seasoned by this rampant but looking-okay new normal of technicality as the acceptable societal norm. It percolates down and permeates across the social fabric of a nation, damaging morality in gargantuan proportion. It is morally wrong for one political party to orchestrate divisions in another political party and make political capital out of it though the former may justify it by citing various laws. It is morally wrong for elected leaders to ignore advice of subject-experts on social and economic matters, instead, put forward their own lopsided arguments and theories to augment their electoral prospects, even at the cost of people’s life and livelihood.
Replacement of morality with technicality is erosion of values that we are facing today at both individual and societal levels. A society is destined to retrograde when its people go with technicality, instead of morality. Every time an individual or a society chooses to take technical route to justify a wrong, then morality dies and technicality triumphs. The gradual death of morality and its supplanting with technicality are worse than a moral breakdown, for in the latter, there is a chance for conscience-pricks, hence, possibility for mid-course correction while the former does not offer any such leeway.