Examples to Understand the Difference Between Morals and Values

Understanding the Difference Between Morals and Values
The morals and values that one possesses determines the type of individual that person becomes. They dictate all his actions and thoughts. While these two concepts share many similarities with regard to molding a person, they are completely unique constructs.
OpinionFront Staff
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
"We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we acted rightly."
―Aristotle
Morals and values are concepts that help determine the behavior, outlook, and self-identity of an individual in society. Both the concepts are co-dependent and correlated to each other, especially, in the personal development of man. Despite this, they are distinct aspects, and have non-similar implications.

Morals constitute the belief system of a person. It dictates whether the behavior and This sense of good and bad stems from a general awareness of what is and isn't socially acceptable in the society. In comparison, values are personal priorities that an individual sets over the course of his lifetime. These priorities are set depending on what is and isn't important to that particular individual. In general terms, a person's inherent values help determine whether his own actions are in his best interest, and also, whether he is following the path he believes is the best in order to achieve his goals.

Despite the fact that both these constructs help in defining a person's personality and individuality, they do exhibit quite a few differences.
MORALS Vs. VALUES
"There is no such thing as moral phenomena, but only a moral interpretation of phenomena."
―Friedrich Nietzsche
"It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are."
―Roy Disney
Origin
╬ From Latin "moralis", from "mos", meaning 'custom'.
╬ From Old French, "valoir", meaning 'to be worth'.
Definition
╬ It relates to principles of right and wrong behavior while conforming to society's perception of right behavior.
╬ It relates to the judgment of situations and actions from a personal viewpoint, and is subject to that person's bias, i.e., they are an internal reference point for actions and behavior.
Influences
╬ Societal views and the set of acceptable behavior allowed by the community.
╬ Morals, religion, spirituality, self-awareness, life goals, etc.
Flexibility
╬ They do not vary and act as established rules of conduct that guides one regarding what is right and wrong.
╬ They are flexible and vary according to an individual's outlook and world view.
Hierarchy
╬ No such pecking order exists, and all principles are regarded as being equally important.
╬ Each individual has a unique hierarchy of objects and ideas that he/she values. This order implies degrees, in the way that one object may be held in higher value as compared to another.
Lack Thereof
╬ People who lack or have very few morals are termed immoral.
╬ No term has been given to describe individuals who do not have values.
Propagation
╬ They are communicated via religion, political system, education, societal norms, customs, and traditions.
╬ They are inherent qualities that are inculcated, nurtured, and developed in a person during the course of his lifetime.
Adherence
╬ Strict adherence to a pre-established moral system in the society.
╬ Possess fluid adaptability to the experiences and needs of each individual, and hence, changes accordingly.
Examples
Stealing
╬ Wrong Actions -
  • Stealing
  • Violence
  • Murder
Politeness
╬ Right Actions -
  • Charity
  • Politeness
  • Respect for others
╬ Vary from person to person, but can include qualities like
  • Courage
  • Faithfulness
  • Humility
  • Love
  • Honesty
  • Compassion
  • Honor
  • Responsibility
In society, a person molds his beliefs and values based on the pre-established norms. In doing so, his values are based on acquired morals. Also man's inherent need to congregate and live in groups causes him to modify his own behavior and thought processes in order to better fit in with the community. Thus, leading to him model himself according to notions of acceptable and appropriate behavior.