Monday, August 1, 2011


In the backmatter of the book I just finished-- THE HEARTS OF HORSES by Molly Gloss, one of the discussion questions is about one's moral compass. It cites how the main character uses "how people treat their horses" as her moral compass. And it asks what's your moral compass?

My mind when sorta blank at first, then started shifting through all the things I know about myself -- like common characteristics of people I like to surround myself with, what's important to me, what things in this world make sense to me and what don't.

I decided my moral compass is gray. As in, lots of gray area. I'm not particularly rule-bound, don't buy into any one political or religious framework, and definitely like to go my own way. I believe we are on this planet to love one another. I don't have a lot of patience with folks who are content to follow the herd, don't dive deep into themselves, don't value family and memory and meaningful relationships. I think one's relationship with oneself is the most important relationship of all. I get frustrated with people who wait for things to happen to them instead of going out and making it happen. But I love them anyway.

Gray enough for you?

Turns out, one's moral compass is actually a specific function of a specific spot in the human brain. I wonder if we inherit these traits or if they're pre-programmed or can be learned or shaped by environment?

Probably all of the above.

See? Gray.

Not sure about your own moral compass? Take the quiz at quiz farm.(I scored Pacifist-Conqueror-Guardian.)

Or this one, although it is more about the balance of your morals and seems geared toward business owners. (I'm pretty balanced.)

Now I'd like to read this book by William J. Bennett, also on the topic:

And yes, I should say: me and Margaret, the main character in THE HEARTS OF HORSES do have a few things in common, including using how we see people treat others as a way to form opinions about them. Great read!


  1. Sounds like a good book. I understand gray. But I want to talk about yellow. It took me a few visits to get used to the change. I think because I really liked your original blog, but this is growing on me. It makes me think of sunshine and daisies and your sweet spirit.

  2. An interesting post, Irene. I tried to take the first quiz but it took to long! So much for patience. Heart of HOrses sounds like a lovely book.

  3. I scored Guardian - Pacifist - Citizen
    Don't forget we share books... remember when that book was given as a thank you gift is had "me next" on it...


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