How does identity and morality relate in a human mind ? Can the two concepts be even considered separately; shouldn’t the problem be stated with the concept of moral identity? Is it possible to be unquestionably moral yet unique?
The first question will be answered, the second will be discarded for not having an unequivocal foundation and the third will be left for the reader to reflect on.
A typical scenario of an American life-style movie is the story of a person who lives a common daily life. That person is not particularly sure of -him or her-self but has more or less a stable life ; a family, friends, hobbies, work, etc.
One day, a special opportunity appears accessible to the protagonist; a prestigious position, a wealthy deal, a skill booster, a love affair, etc.
However, obviously or implicitly, a usually minimal moral precept has to be eventually put into compromise, as part of the deal. A friend must be deceived, a hazardous action must be undertaken, a promise must be broken, a lie has to be uttered, etc.
The popular modern expected outcome requires the protagonist to realise how bad it is to elude a moral rule and subsequently; to suffer from it. Then he or she struggles all the way back to reclaim what he or she traded off and lost. Since fiction has to be appealing, the protagonist almost always receives a supplementary bonus for choosing and restoring the moral way of conduct in his or her life. He or she either gains awareness of happiness, or an external agent rewards him or her for setting priority on morality rather than on personal achievement or notoriety, or anything else positive happens.
The point here is that when given the opportunity to raise his or her identity to a higher ground and be brought into the spotlight at the expense of breaching a moral rule leading to a minor impact (maybe just on one person); it comes out as natural that the protagonist would first consider accepting the deal and see what happens.
Image that the last chocolate cookie is left is the cookie jar. Any random child having a sibling would simply eat it, instead of calling the sibling playing outside to share half of the cookie.
There is a train about to leave and an old man with a large suitcase is still going down the stairs to the platform. A businessman could risk lending a helping hand to the old man and still be able to catch the train or just run down the stairs and maximise his chances to get on board and not be late for his meeting.
You could say the aftermath of the first situation can be influenced by education. However, even well educated and moral businessmen would not always be likely to put hazards on their time schedule.
So when exactly does a person decide to “be moral” or not? Rather than “when”, it is better to ask “how ?”.