illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)
« It is comforting to imagine that notions of right and wrong, good and bad, come predefined by some external authority, that there already exists a moral map, and that our job is merely to work out how to navigate it, to find our way to the given moral north. It is comforting because such a belief protects us from the responsibility, even terror, of truly having to make moral choices; choice becomes reduced to accepting or rejecting that which is already decided. Once we required such comfort because human societies were not sufficiently developed for us to imagine how we could create our own moral maps. Today we require such comfort because we have lost faith in our ability to be moral cartographers, leading many to recoil at the very thought of humans as moral map makers.
The human condition is, however, that of possessing no moral safety net. No God, no scientific law, nor yet any amount of ethical concrete, can protect us from the dangers of falling off the moral tightrope that we are condemned to walk as human beings. It can be a highly disconcerting prospect. Or it can be a highly exhilarating one. The choice is ours. »
— Kenan Malik, The Quest for a Moral Compass