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How to use a Moral Compass, and Where to look for one?

Updated: Jun 3, 2023

Those of you who were lucky enough to be born in the era of Cartoon Network might remember cartoons like Dexter’s Lab, Justice League, Batman, etc. My personal favorite was Superman. Especially, because I learned one of the most important lessons of my life after 20 years of first watching the Superman series. And yes, it did take that long for the lesson to sink in. I am sharing this lesson with you today. You might recall that Superman had a disguise named Clark Kent. When duty called, Superman flew around the town and saved people. When there was not real saving to do, he would work as a reporter at the Daily Planet. I always wondered why no one recognized the most popular guy in town. Things a pair of glasses and a decent tie could do for you back in the 90s. So, bearing in mind that Superman and Clark Kent are one and the same person, here is a question for you, What is the one unique difference between Superman and Clark Kent? Some people say, it is the glasses, some say, it is the underwear. But it's not really a superficial distinction. When Superman is Superman he is flying around, lifting heavy objects, shooting laser beams from his eyes, and so on. He is not afraid of showing off his superpowers in the crowd. However, you could never see Clark Kent lifting the office desk with one hand to look for a fallen pencil or jumping out of the office window to get to the bottom floor (apparently, the Daily Planet had 22 floors). Clark Kent was known to be NOT Superman because despite having his superpowers, he never used them. Superman was known to be Superman because he was always using his superpowers. I mean, the guy never walked for God’s sake, he used to levitate 2 inches above the ground even whilst speaking to Lois Lane on the road. The point is, if Clark Kent used his superpowers, people would identify him as Superman no matter what clothes he wore. So, the key difference is the fact that Superman exercised his superpowers, and Clark Kent did not exercise his superpowers. Exercising your superpower makes you Superman and not exercising them makes you Clark Kent i.e., one who has the superpower but does not use them. So that being said, what is YOUR superpower? A superpower has to be something unique. Something only, you possess. And it should have the potential to change circumstances. When I ask people what makes people unique, most of them say it's intelligence. Whilst intelligence sets us apart, it does not make us unique. There are Chimpanzees who can perform mathematical calculations faster than humans, monkeys who are aware of their self-image, dolphins who hunt strategically, and many other creatures who use their intelligence on a daily basis to survive. Intelligence is common, albeit in different capacities. The one thing that makes us unique is our ability to make moral decisions. A hungry lion would never question his conscience whilst pouncing at a wildbeast. However, if you were hungry, and someone asked you for a sandwich you were holding, you might decide to either share or give it away completely. People are known to sacrifice their own comforts for total strangers. This is not how the animal kingdom operates.

Humans defy the "survival of the fittest" rule by sacrificing for others, even strangers. They selflessly give up food, sleep, and sometimes their lives. This moral sense contradicts the instinct for survival. We possess a unique moral compass. This allows us to do good to people who might have wronged us. It allows us to be honest in a dishonest world and show kindness to people who are rude to us. This moral compass is hard-wired into our conscience. It is that voice that says, ‘hey you, don’t snatch the cornetto from your daughter’s hands’ (that's what I heard last). The good we see in the world is due to people using their moral compass. It is what makes this world worth it. So the question that remains now is,

Are you going to use your powers or hang about like Clark Kent?

Author: Vijith Vijay Twitter: Facebook: Instagram: @mrvijithvijay Email:

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