Let me first distinguish the terms morals and ethics. Morals are the issues of good and wrong, while ethics is the study of morals. Ethics or morality are a social construct not measurable by singles. The individual acting with benefit to his own interest cannot be called an ethically good person although the result of his intentional act if satisfying to himself. Ethics is a social construct, man cannot be both the receiver and source of his own goodness by ethical standards. Individual man is incapable of moral behavior, for morality is the intentional application of ethical acts on fellow man.
Man cannot be moral when inactive or ignorant, it requires a purposeful act of goodness to another to become a moral being.
For example, the outcome of an action by an animal can be judged a good deed by its coincidentally beneficial outcome to one or some, but it cannot be called a moral deed if the intent is not a priori present.
Similarly, can we call a man with noble thoughts a noble person if he fails to act upon them? Although good intent is present, no result of this nobility can possibly be perceived or felt.
Then, how about man who makes an intentional effort to achieve goodness in life, but who simply fails, as it may be the case even due to other forces outside of his control. This man indeed should be called a good man, because he acts upon his good intent. Although the outcome of his action may not differ from the a-moral man with good intent who fails to act upon it.
In addition, here begins a central matter in man’s struggle in life. For moral goodness is the most respected, social feature of a man’s character, but it requires a conscious and intentional act of goodness to another. This presumes a clear understanding of what is socially desirable, or at least what is desired by another, and secondly a profound self-consciousness. If these are present, it thirdly requires an intentional act, but man is by nature selfish and expects the rewards for his actions to fall upon himself. If the rewards of man’s actions are not designed to belong to the person who is the cause for them, that man will tend not to act. The incitement for man to act is to pluck the fruits of his actions. These are the impediments by nature to man’s moral being.
But the moral intent is innate to man’s constitution, moral behavior is a disposition of man’s nature, but it depends on his achievements to overcome the impediments of moral behavior.
If man is incapable to overcome the spiritual and physical hindrances that prevent him to accomplish his moral state, it is impossible for his innate nature to find satisfaction. Man therefore needs to be free from his psychological, physical and social constraints in order to achieve a moral state of being. This liberation however is in opposition to the objective of his liberation.
Freedom of hindrances can only be achieved by a disengagement of the social hierarchy, because it is the social hierarchy that imposes restraints on the individual behavior. If freedom of choice is not achieved, it is impossible for the intent to be morally good. If the intent is not of free choice, but by compulsion, than no ethical state is achieved. For a forced intention is not an expression of determination or purpose.
Only man who separates himself from the herd is able to liberate himself from the hierarchical restrain and achieve the freedom of the sheppard. Only the sheppard can be a good sheppard, there are no good sheep in the herd. But this elevation or liberation inevitably comes with a certain loss of moral nobility, because this individualization or liberation, liberation the intent and thereby boosting the moral potential, comes with a weakening of the moral urgency. This quest is the catastrophy of the individual and personality that so often finds no resolution. The moral urgency weakens with the increase of the moral potential.