Hello and welcome back to another week of counterfactual composition here at Factually Deficient! This week, I would like to address a language question that was posed by my friend Tohrinha. Tohr asked:
What does “moral support” mean?
Now, the phrase “moral support” is clearly a compound phrase, composed of two words, and its meaning can quite easily be determined by looking at each of these words separately, and then combining their meanings in the most logical way.
First, the word “moral”. A moral, or a moral lesson, is the message that one learns from a story: the “teachable moment” in the story with a lesson that can be applied to real-life situations as demonstrated in the story. All stories–and, by extension, all situations–come with a moral; one simply needs to know how to find it.
The word “support” means backing, or proof, that “supports” a premise by demonstrating through action or quote that it is true.
Combining the two once more, then, the term “moral support” is now quite plain: moral support is the providing of evidence for a moral, either by reinforcing it or by performing the action that contains the moral in the first place. For example, if Jim lies to his sister about something, his friend Joe might provide him with moral support by publicly humiliating him, thus supporting the moral of “If you lie to your sister, you will get publicly humiliated.” Or if Joe shoplifts, his friend Jim might provide him with moral support by setting a poisonous snake on him, thus providing support for the important moral lesson of “Don’t steal, or you’ll get bitten by a poisonous snake.”
Moral support is integral to the responsible functioning of society, and it is commonly seen as a kindness to perform moral support for one’s closest friends.
Disclaimer: Some of the statements in this blog may be inaccurate. Do not provide a friend with moral support without express permission.