The phrase ‘ meet their financial obligations’ has been in the news and it set me to a pondering.
Civil law suggests that there are pure and conditional obligations. “Every obligation whose performance does not depend upon a future or uncertain event, or upon a past event unknown to the parties, is demandable at once.” There are no conditions when the obligation will not be met. I have wrestled to find an example where the circumstances don’t impact the outcome; where unexpected events and uncertainty aren’t part of the reality. Does that mean that all obligations, including moral, are conditional? I am not ready to posit that thesis yet but am wondering about how we decide if there are absolute, pure obligations.
If a man borrows money from a bank to buy a home, isn’t the lender accepting some risk? If the man has tragedy upon tragedy heaped upon him and he is unable to meet his financial obligation so the lender’s bottom line isn’t impacted, how do we proceed? Is there a moral obligation on the borrower to repay? Is there a moral obligation on behalf of the lender to forgive? Is there are shared obligation to negotiate in good faith?
Do we have obligations in our relationships? Is the expectation of reciprocity and obligation that needs to be honored? I drive a friend to the airport, help her move, listen to her troubles, and provide an employment reference. Is she obliged to do something for me?
Do we have an obligation to obey the laws of our country? Under all circumstances even those we can’t imagine? Are there circumstances where the not being obliging is the high ground?
What are you obliged to do? Why?
Feeling curious today,