Why morals matter: a poker analogy

My little brother playing poker re-enforced my moral, 99% of the time afterall we are all only human, approach to the world. He told me, after his mates had left, “I won” and I was happy for him and thought ‘ay he must be pretty good at poker, that was a decent pot’ but he followed up with (cheesy grin and all) “I cheated”. I removed my initial happiness and told him he didn’t really win coz the others didn’t have a fair playing field & that he was the one who had to judge himself, even when noones looking. He attempted to excuse his immoral pragmatism by not accepting responsibility and instead he tried to blame it on the nature of the game. He saidsomething along the lines of “cheating doesn’t matter in a game like poker” I sort of get where he’s coming from but I counter that the game is not inherently cut-throat and it is what you make of it; the game is socially constructed and if the actors (in this case the players: my bro and his mates) were to play morally and honourably it would APPEAR that that is the nature of poker, ideas are constructed and can be re-constructed.

Poker involves money, which is another social construct that can negatively influence the manifestation of human nature, but as afore argued greed sinot the inherent trait of human nature but merely the assumption based on repeated ideas and negative behaviour of actors involved. The pot could be earned through merit, skill and honourable adherance to one’s perception of fair (i.e. not stealing other people’s chips when not looking to get one up on them). The next question to address is ok nobility’s nice but why do it, here’s why:

Morals might:

  • A clean conscience is the best pillow: if you act in fairness and respect others and the nature of games/social settings/institutions/workplaces etc then you have no guilt nor psychological turmoil from wrongdoing
  • You know yourself as a person well and do not need external validation for your perception, which can be pragmatic at times and built upon through experience, of what’s right/your moral compass/objective facts/subjective opinions or situation ethics.
  • ‘Clean money’ feels better: you can spend and reinvest without looking over your shoulder for people/police watching you.
  • You are your own judge. At the end of the day you live with yourself so I say may as well be at peace with one’s actions. Moreover, maturity involves considering ones actions on the lives of others; we are not in this world alone hence lots of what you do affects others such as in this case one’s friends being out of pocket and trust being iffy if the action is caught out.
  • World view and optimism of human nature: morals, and adhering to them as often as possible, can be part of a holisitic optimism: for society and human nature. This facilitates harmony and co-operation and balancing and rebalancing different interests to ensure everyone can do as they please with some comprimise. There is also essentially a reverse harm principle effect of this way of life: if you do good it encourages others to do good hence there can be knock-on effects resulting in moral conduct and peaceful ways for people to make money or trade or just go about their business in general in peace. *Insert cheesy quotes like “bad of the world don’t stop so why should the good & all it takes for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing* feel like living like this can encourage a grass roots cultural shift coz shows ur not afraid to go against the grain (In capitalism money encourages competition and unhealthy social rels so people can be shocked/suprised when people are good) and can highlight one knows where one’s from n wants to make the world a better place when they leave than it was when they were here.