Moral rules are cultural1 Guide & Control devices designed by relatively stable2 systems3 to increase survival capacity.4,5,6
Moral rules cut both ways.7
Charvakas, designating ‘pleasure’8 as life’s goal and, as Lokayatas,9 applying common sense to achieve it, would have been shrewd enough to select those bits of local morality that furthered their aim and reject those that didn’t.10
© 2021 by Victor Langheld
1. For ‘cultural’ read: locally adapted, i.e. group specific. Culture emerges as localised, thus seemingly artificial) adaption to or elaboration of the natural emergence and survival procedure.
2. i.e. relatively well integrated
3. i.e. both personal and/or group specific
4. They serve to mitigate, by means of adjustment, the brutality and divisiveness of natural, hence non-local, hence anarchic survival rules/procedures.
5. The ancient Indian Charvakas are reported (by their opponents) as denying the efficacy (via rewards and punishments) of morals to sustain personal or group stability by denying Karma and Rebirth. They were vilified by religious fantasists of different hues as putting natural, i.e. egoic goals first.
6. Anecdotal evidence (i.e. dodgy testimony) down the centuries suggested that when personal or group stability disintegrates both individuals and groups revert to natural, indeed bestial survival behaviour (viz. the riots, lootings and murders that happen if and when social (or personal) order disintegrates or is deliberately skewed, as with the Nazis).
7. Since individuals and groups change and evolve, morality must do likewise or become repressive. If so then the rules are either infringed or abrogated (i.e. to sustain personal or group survival). To the common sense regulated Charvakas (totalitarian) rule by religious fantasists was always questioned, indeed since ancient Vedic times.
8. Rather than national, social or religious goals.
9. Loosely interpreted by Stcherbatsky to mean: ‘Those who care only about the earth and not about heaven.’
10. In other words, they would have ‘played the system’ as both Socrates and Epicure did in Greece. To what extent the Charvakas accepted the given morality as skilful (survival) means is not known since their whole philosophy has not been transmitted.S