Comment: Morality is (almost) universal - two videos

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Morality is (almost) universal - two videos

Mentally healthy people naturally feel empathy for others. The Golden Rule is built-in. The non-aggression principle follows. Of course even normal people can be conditioned to do violence to innocents, as we know all too well. The trick is to convince those people that the others are not like them - to shut down the empathy-response. War propaganda provides ample illustrations.

I would hope that no one on this forum actually needs outside commandments in order to stay moral, even if they think they do, but statistically that is unlikely.

There are more than enough people around with diminished empathy to make it difficult for the rest of us. There is a word for people who are utterly lacking innate morality. They are called psychopaths. Some psychopaths seem to have no morality at all. Others adopt a morality from an external source, perhaps a "good book." As particularly egregious examples, think of Jim Jones or David Berg, the leader of "The Family" (a.k.a. "Children of God.")

One very interesting fact is that when psychopaths are exposed to images of suffering, they have markedly reduced response in their amygdala, a part of the brain. It is fascinating to speculate that when a mother plays peekaboo with a child, she is promoting the development of the child's amygdala. Peekaboo is found in cultures around the world.


http://youtu.be/lZP6YKnxMHk

Many tenets of morality that are almost universal today are quite recent. There has bee a virtual morality-explosion in the recent centuries, as more and more "they are different" distinctions break down. Women are people too. Slaves are like freemen. Children are not property. And so it goes.


http://youtu.be/29JEMasi3aw

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