Do We Need Morality Anymore?


  • Mikhail Pushkin


The origins, functions and reasoning behind morality are part of an ongoing debate, stretching through time, societies and disciplines. This paper, however, proposes a more radical stance; suggesting that with the emergence of the Internet and the connectivity that mobile and wireless technologies provide, one is not only forced to redefine, but perhaps abolish the notion of morality altogether. By subverting such basic social and personal categories as identity, community, society, religion, crime and punishment alongside the traditional materiality of human existence, the multiverse that is the Internet takes away not only tools for the enforcement of morality, but also the very need for it given the near absence of measurable ”˜good and evil’ behaviors. Both primal in its unrestrained emotional expressivity and highly sophisticated in its technological and social structure the Internet functions by its own flexible set of behavioral prescriptions.

I propose a comparative analysis of preexisting moral codes of behavior, illustrating the discrepancies between them and their virtual partners. For instance: access to intimate and or pornographic imagery was once condemned and limited to obscure adult entertainment venues whereas today such content can be accessed via web/mobile cameras and websites in an unlimited and unrestricted manner. Or just as commonly available is today’s- access to videos and manuals on drugs, weaponry and self-harm; areas which were once seen as immoral, illegal, and limited to the domains of criminal and military services and that are now within the reach of every child who has access to the Internet. Such traditionally decried practices as raw pornography, piracy, acts of perversion and images of death are created, shared and practiced without restraint and with public acceptance, leaving popularity with the peers to be the new moderating factor. This helps to establish the ”˜morality’ of an emerging generation that is composed of “digital natives and migrants.” [1] The question of whether one should or is even able to influence this process remains open.

  1. Marc Prensky, “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants,” On the Horizon 9, no.5 (2001): 1.