Why be good?
Why don’t more of us steal the things we want? Is it because of our moral code – or because we’re afraid of getting caught?
Years ago, me and my friend Myles would sit around in the evening and speculate about all kinds of things, a glass or two of homebrew helping lubricate our thought processes. Neither of us were that keen on the whole ‘work’ thing and would often say: ‘let’s just go and rob a bank’.
Needless to say, we never did get round to pulling the bank job. However, the concept of what makes the majority of us law-abiding citizens was fuel for thought. This is even more of a conundrum for an atheist: we’re here for a limited amount of time and then it’s over, so why not do whatever you feel like? What’s the point of scruples if you’ve only got one shot at existence? (Once you’re dead and gone you’ll never have to deal with the consequences.)
Personally, I do have a moral code – which is why I’m neither a gangster living on my riches on a tropical island or locked up in prison. (There’s also this thing called society – the balance varies but we all give to it and take from it in some way.)
However, as a writer, this question of why more people don’t steal things made me wonder about if we should expect our morals to apply to people with no stake in society. I thought about how an unregistered child born into poverty and never receiving any education or other benefits from ‘normal’ society would act. Should we really blame them if they take what they need?
That was the background for my novel The Tale Of Findo Gask – which in 2005 won the national prize in the Undiscovered Authors competition. (Findo came out on Kindle earlier this year – and is currently free to download!)
Basically, Findo is an adventure story. It’s about a young boy growing up in the criminal underclass of a British city, the things he does to survive and how he becomes a master thief. There’s adventure, drama… lots of crime… and even a bit of young romance.
Underneath though I hope there’s a bit of a moral. As much of a question as a message.
It was a book that I had huge fun writing, imagining all the things that a young boy with no restrictions and few hang-ups might get up to.
The Kindle version is free for the next couple of days so, whether you want to ponder the question I’ve posed or just be entertained, please download it, read, enjoy… and then recommend it to all your friends. Alternatively, any out there got any foolproof plan for robbing a bank and not getting caught?