The Psychology of Morality…

Date: February 08, 2017

01) Moral Maze: The Psychology of Morality

02) Direct Download [MP3]

“Go on – admit it. You like to feel you’re above average. Don’t worry. We all like to feel we’re somehow special – that our gifts make us stand out from – and above – the crowd. Psychologists refer to this phenomenon as positive illusion. It’s the sort of self-deception that helps maintain our self-esteem; a white lie we tell ourselves. The classic example is driving: the majority of people regard themselves as more skilful and less risky than the average driver. But research just published shows that this characteristic isn’t confined to skills like driving. Experiments carried out by psychologists at London’s Royal Holloway University found most people strongly believe they are just, virtuous and moral and yet regard the average person as – well, how shall we put it politely? Let’s just say – distinctly less so. Virtually all the those taking part irrationally inflated their moral qualities. Worse, the positive illusion of moral superiority is much stronger and more prevalent than any other form of positive illusion. Now, as a programme that’s been testing our nation’s moral fibre for more than 25 years, we feel this is something we’re uniquely qualified to talk about. Well, we would wouldn’t we? So, if we can’t entirely rely on our own calibration to judge a person’s moral worth, how should we go about it? Is the answer better and clearer rules, a kind of updated list of commandments? There might need to be a lot more than ten though. Does legal always mean moral? In a world that is becoming increasingly fractious, being less morally judgmental sounds attractive, but if we accept that morality is merely a matter of cognitive bias, do we take the first step on the road to moral relativism? The Moral Maze – making moral judgements so you don’t have to. Witnesses are David Oderberg, Michael Frohlich, Anne Atkins and Julian Savulescu.”

5 thoughts on “The Psychology of Morality…

  1. eqfoundation Post author

    This is worth listening too…Not least, because of the woman who admits, it’s not hard to imagine at all, that pedophilia could become morally accepted…And she didn’t seem terribly disturbed about that.

    I didn’t completely listen to this before making the post…otherwise, this comment would be part of the main post…I knew the episode was going to be interesting, at the very least…

    …I had no idea, someone who can think about pedophilia with a level head, was going to make an appearance…Unfortunately, she doesn’t explore this deeply at all.

  2. feinmann0

    “Unfortunately, she doesn’t explore this deeply at all.”

    No, she is not really allowed to given the machine-gun questioning, plus I sense that she changes the subject to get herself off the hook at 30:44. The relevant dialogue before then:

    “Today it is not fashionable to condemn homosexuality, divorce, cohabitation, single-parenthood, and all the rest of it. So what are the fundamentals here?” (Michael Portillo)
    “Hans Kuhn the Catholic theologian who said that every human society has the same five fundamental moral laws: murder …” (Anne Atkins)
    “So homosexuality, divorce, cohabitation, single-parenthood; these are not fundamentals.”
    “I don’t know because I am not a sociologist. I would be surprised if that is a fundamental.”
    “So you can imagine the fashion changing again and paedophilia being accepted?”
    “Well, of course, yes, it is very easy to imagine that. Funnily enough, I think paedophilia probably won’t for the simple reason that … the reason why we love to hate paedophilia is that most of us are not tempted by paedophilia, so it may … keep on being condemned.” (Anne Atkins)

      1. feinmann0

        Yes, I think you are correct; many people do of course get it, instinctively, as they got it instinctively during the 1970s when child sexuality was acknowledged as fact and even promoted via legal child erotica – not suppressed by the cancer of politically correct authoritarianism infesting the Anglosphere today. The current dystopian world we are forced to inhabit inhibits free speech to such an extent that the agenda of the radical right trumps articulation of truth.

        Sorry for this long comment, but I feel it is important …

        Prof Jordan has been revelation thanks to your blog alerting me to his existence. On the subject of the importance of the articulation of truth, he has this to say:

        “The idea is that carefully articulated truthful speech transforms chaos into habitable order. The idea that develops out of that throughout the course of Western Civilisation is that the highest calling of every individual is to utter their articulated truth in a manner that keeps chaos and order properly balanced. And the corollary to that is you can make a strong case that the domains of chaos and order are the most fundamental domains of existence that human beings inhabit, kind of like explored territory, order, and unexplored territory, chaos. If you are just in explored territory, you already know everything and you are bored. If you are dumped naked in the jungle, then you are in unexplored territory and terrified. So you don’t want to be bored or stultified, and you don’t want to be terrified or paralysed. You want to be in the middle. You can tell when you are in the middle because your being is imbued with an intrinsic sense of meaning, and meaning is the biological instinct that tells you that you are properly situated on the line between explored and unexplored territory. That is a good place to be because you have one foot in order and so you are stable, and one foot in chaos, so you are exploring. So you get the benefits of being orderly and stable with the benefits of continually updating your knowledge and your order, and you do that through clearly articulated speech. Your sense of meaning is the thing that orients you to proper position within those meta-domains.

        This is a cultural identity issue. Things are falling apart in our culture because we have lost our central point of orientation.

        Here’s another profound religious truth. Life is suffering. And that can make you resentful, and it can fill you with hate, and no wonder, but here is the counter proposition. You need something to counteract the suffering of life. And what you need to counteract the suffering of life is meaning, and you need a meaning that is so profound, that you say the suffering that is a precondition for all of this is worth it, which makes ‘being’ itself worth it. You find that in the forthright articulation of truth. There is nothing more meaningful than that, and that is the antidote to suffering. Safety is not the antidote to suffering; there is no safety in life. Truth is the antidote to suffering. You speak forth your ‘being’ properly, and that orients you in a world of suffering, and that stops you from becoming resentful and hateful as well. And we don’t want that. And that is what we see on the radical right.”

        I think society and especially now, we as MAPS, should never, ever lose sight of this fundamental concept.

      2. eqfoundation Post author

        Dr. Jordan Peterson is definitely someone we can take valuable insight from.

        And don’t worry about wordy responses…I make wordy posts quite a bit, myself.

        “And what you need to counteract the suffering of life is meaning, and you need a meaning that is so profound, that you say the suffering that is a precondition for all of this is worth it, which makes ‘being’ itself worth it. You find that in the forthright articulation of truth. There is nothing more meaningful than that, and that is the antidote to suffering.”

        I think this explains why I’ve had a blog, for the past ten plus years…It may not seem like a lot to do with ones self, on the surface…But it’s been extremely useful on a personal level, in counteracting the effects of living a suppressed life…I’ve found a great deal of meaning, in writing and publishing my thoughts, reasoning, creative expressions and semi-autobiographical content.

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