Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Different moral universes

A psychologist argues that American conservatives and liberals come from different moral universes:
Jonathan Haidt is hardly a road-rage kind of guy, but he does get irritated by self-righteous bumper stickers. The soft-spoken psychologist is acutely annoyed by certain smug slogans that adorn the cars of fellow liberals: "Support our troops: Bring them home" and "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

"No conservative reads those bumper stickers and thinks, 'Hmm — so liberals are patriotic!'" he says, in a sarcastic tone of voice that jarringly contrasts with his usual subdued sincerity. "We liberals are universalists and humanists; it's not part of our morality to highly value nations. So to claim dissent is patriotic — or that we're supporting the troops, when in fact we're opposing the war — is disingenuous.

"It just pisses people off."

The University of Virginia scholar views such slogans as clumsy attempts to insist we all share the same values. In his view, these catch phrases are not only insincere — they're also fundamentally wrong. Liberals and conservatives, he insists, inhabit different moral universes. There is some overlap in belief systems, but huge differences in emphasis.
. . .
As part of . . . early research, Haidt and a colleague, Brazilian psychologist Silvia Koller, posed a series of provocative questions to people in both Brazil and the U.S. One of the most revealing was: How would you react if a family ate the body of its pet dog, which had been accidentally run over that morning?

"There were differences between nations, but the biggest differences were across social classes within each nation," Haidt recalls. "Students at a private school in Philadelphia thought it was just as gross, but it wasn't harming anyone; their attitude was rationalist and harm-based. But when you moved down in social class or into Brazil, morality is based not on just harm. It's also about loyalty and family and authority and respect and purity. That was an important early finding."
. . .
Haidt went to work for Richard Shweder, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Chicago who arranged for his postdoc fellow to spend three months in India. Haidt refers to his time in Bhubaneshwar — an ancient city full of Hindu temples that retains a traditional form of morality with rigid cast and gender roles — as transformative.

"I found there is not really a way to say 'thank you' or 'you're welcome' (in the local language)," he recalls. "There are ways of acknowledging appreciation, but saying 'thank you' and 'you're welcome' didn't make any emotional sense to them. Your stomach doesn't say 'thank you' to your esophagus for passing the food to it! What I finally came to understand was to stop acting as if everybody was equal. Rather, each person had a job to do, and that made the social system run smoothly."

Gradually getting past his reflexive Western attitudes, he realized that "the Confucian/Hindu traditional value structure is very good for maintaining order and continuity and stability, which is very important in the absence of good central governance. But if the goal is creativity, scientific insight and artistic achievement, these traditional societies pretty well squelch it. Modern liberalism, with its support for self-expression, is much more effective. I really saw the yin-yang."
. . .
[A] range of ethical systems have always coexisted and most likely always will.
. . .
Haidt . . . concluded that any full view of the origins of human morality would have to take into account not only culture (as analyzed by anthropologists) but also evolution. He reasoned it was highly unlikely humans would care so much about morality unless moral instincts and emotions had become a part of human nature. He began to suspect that morality evolved not just to help individuals as they competed and cooperated with other individuals, but also to help groups as they competed and cooperated with other groups.

"Morality is not just about how we treat each other, as most liberals think," he argues. "It is also about binding groups together and supporting essential institutions."
. . .
"I think this is terribly important," he says. "People are not going to converge on their judgments of what's good or bad, or right and wrong. Diversity is inherent in our species. And in a globalized world, we're going to be bumping into each other a lot."
So are sociopaths weird because we have no moral compass while everyone else has some kind of different moral compasses? Or are we just weird because we do have a sense of "morality," but we would just never think to call it that, associate it with random emotions, and/or try to enforce it on everyone else...

76 comments:

  1. "so are sociopaths weird because although everyone else has different moral compasses, they at least have some sort of moral compass? or are we just weird because we do have a sense of "morality," but we would just never think to call it that, associate it with random emotions, and/or try to enforce it on everyone else..."

    That sounds like a hateful sound of sarcasm, and I like it. It points out the hypocrisy.

    Good post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A distinct division can be made between holding a belief that something should or should not be done, and having a feeling of morality. The former without the latter is not morality, it's more akin to a list of pet peeves.

    As an example, I think people should use turn signals when driving. It's irritating when they don't being as I can see no utility in not doing so (unlike, say, speeding which is more dangerous but also enjoyable and useful). Similarly, I don't believe it's the province of government to re-distribute wealth, but this is based on my beliefs of what a government exists for. Neither belief is based on any moral code and I feel no outrage or indignation at either. It's not wrong, simply undesirable and incorrect.

    Thus I would suggest that sociopaths do not have have a sense of morality. What we might think resembles morality has at most a shadow of the intense emotional associations that normal people experience.

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  3. I have a strong feeling of my "own morality"..my own boundaries. I couldn't care less whats deemed to be socially acceptable. As for bumper stickers my reads "IM NOT PREJUDICE...I HATE EVERYONE". I think the human race on the whole is thoroughly disgusting. Empaths are no better than sociopaths...sociopaths are no better than empaths, they both are equally able to lie cheat and backstab too, only difference being they get all over emotional when its done to them.

    Illicit sex, money, power/control and greed fuels most peoples desires. Only empaths like to suger coat it with a nice big sticker of false morality to lead the majority when infact the majority secretly indulge in immoral activity behind closed door's!, whether that be beating the wife, exaggerating the "truth", stealing, molesting young children, sleeping with someone elses husband ect ect....

    The human race as a whole stinks no matter what culture, religion or country they come from. Whats the point of countries going to war when they are both as bad as the other, just in different ways???... Because of power....because of money....because of greed...

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  4. Ha! Old post so technically I am first once again!

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  5. What about libertarians and totalitarians? I hate this left-right false dichotomy.

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  6. Politics is not about moral. I don't think anyone could object to this. It's everyday life, we can check it whenever we want. Politics is all about fight, and when people fight to impose their points of view they usually put moral aside because it can be really encumbering. Liberals and Conservatives must show they are different; otherwise they could never rally their followers.

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  7. The natural environment for a human being is the small community. But evolution goes on, and now no small community can survive. That's why moral becomes a problem, to assimilate you belong to an entity made up by millions of people you have to understand solidarity, feeling it is not enough. That's why we accept individual differences in the way of feeling, because now you need knowledege to belong; feeling alone falls too short, but then the differences in feeling become too obvious, and there are many of them. We become exposed in front of the common understanding, our emotional privacy is finished.

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  8. What's up with the cross picture ? Morals existed long before the Bible, and differ from person to person, region to region. Morals are often a personal code of right and wrong that is influenced by our upbringing, levels of empathy, and knowledge about the world.

    As social creatures, we evolved to have highly developed levels of empathy to better engage with our fellows. Some people are born without this trait, or do not learn it in youth and are usually some degree of autistic, socially awkward, or even has horrible as someone who can become a serial killer (because they literally cannot care about another creature's life).

    Many of us tend to have roughly the same base morals: don't kill others, don't steal, etc. But for instance, my morals tend to border on the intangible...while in some places, such as Iran's new "moral code" that forbids men to wear necklaces constitutes another person's set of morals.

    ReplyDelete
  9. How To Heal a PDMay 15, 2012 at 5:54 AM

    A PD is in the realm of the emotions, not the intellect. That is why talk therapy will not work. It is usually one talking head(the therapist) talking to another talking head( the patient)

    A PD is an aberration in the emotions, not the intellect, as I said. A person can have a PhD from Harvard and have a PD. I know this should be clear but you would be amazed how many simple things are overlooked.

    So, if a PD is a disruption / aberration/ distortion in the emotions, we must go to the emotions to heal it. Hence, it puts us in the right side of the brain, not the left which is a bailiwick of talk therapy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shut up Monica

      Delete
    2. Shut up Anon and learn more than about your own cock.

      Delete
    3. Jesus Murphy! What did I post now ?

      Delete
    4. fake Monica. why is she faked more than anyone?

      Delete
    5. Because retarded is the easiest to fake.

      Delete
    6. Changing your mind;
      Meditation, cognitive therapy, and Prozac are three effective means of doing so. Because each will be effective for some people and not for others, I believe that all three should be readily available and widely publicized. Life itself is but what you deem it, and you can--through meditation, cognitive
      therapy, and Prozac--redeem yourself.
      Jonathan Haidt

      Delete
    7. If that shit worked, no one would be mental.

      Delete
    8. Anon 1:20
      And of course your not speaking for everyone, huh?

      Delete
    9. I wish that platitude shit worked.

      Delete
    10. ^1:27
      Being lazy and calling it "shit" never works

      Delete
    11. What? I don't get it. I wish platitudes, meditation etc worked. I would be happy as a bearded clam if it worked.

      Delete
    12. ^Where did Johnathan Haidt state that platitudes worked?

      Delete
    13. True, by the letter of the law, I suppose ^

      Delete
    14. ^Stay mental, then

      Delete
  10. The problem with using fake accounts, is keeping track of them, the things you post, times etc. Just imagine how it looks when several "people" seem to have vanished all at the same time. Only to return at the same time.

    I guess a "low functioning" would fail to see the slip ups they have made.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Watcher why do you ruin the illusion for outsiders? If you were a magician would you tell how you did your tricks?

      Delete
    2. Shut up Monica

      Delete
    3. He ruins it because ruination is fun. Its ruintasmic and The Watcher is obviously a sociopath or an afficianado of sociopathic pleasure syndromes. Lord almighty, why doth the aons complain about socios being socios at socio world?

      Delete
    4. The Impaler
      How is it so obvious that The Watcher is a sociopath?
      I considered his statement insightful but your post
      is questionable.

      Delete
    5. Now, my dear. Dont get all misinterpretatious on me. I gave you two choices, and yet you focus like a laser beam on just one.

      Indulge me, if you will, fair anon. Let me ask you a question. Why not choose to consider the alternative explanation I presented?

      And why (ok, this is two questions. Im counting on your sense of fair play) is my staement questionable?

      Delete
    6. I do not believe the bullshit about high functioning sociopaths. I know what I earn.

      Delete
    7. AnonymousMay 15, 2012 8:56 AM

      Making fake blog accounts is not my "Tricks". I am simply a member of the crowd, calling the "tricks" as I see them.

      Me? The Watcher ? A sociopath ??

      Come on now.

      Delete
    8. The Watcher
      Now, you sound like Monica.

      Delete
    9. You know what turns me on? When sociopaths talk with such cool and you know they are hot as hell, under it.

      Delete
    10. ^And you say your NOT a sociopath, Monica? Spare us
      that lie in the future

      Delete
    11. Who the fuck would think Monica was a sociopath?

      Delete
    12. Anon 12:27
      Evil?

      Delete
    13. Stupid? Yes, that's likely the one.

      Delete
    14. Monica is most definitely a sociopath, yo. Sociopathic anyway.

      Delete
    15. The anons complain about the Sociopath World because the anons run Sociopathworld.

      Delete
    16. Anon 3:29
      Finally, someone telling the truth!

      Delete
  11. The Impaler
    Yes, I did find the 9:35 post insightful, and honestly I
    enjoyed the post. But both of your posts are condesending
    and you went to great lengths in degradation in that you
    showed a aficionado of sociopathic pleasure syndrome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? A serious question. Because it wasnt my intention to be condescending or degrading. Is your native language not English perhaps? And you didnt answer my questions. None od them. I find you critical, rude, and naive, good sir.

      Delete
    2. @10:50
      Really? What you think of me is none of my business.

      Delete
    3. Good sir LOL

      Delete
    4. ha! The Impaler is a smooth asshole

      Delete
    5. ^you left out sociopath

      Delete
    6. I can't be sure of that. But if you say so

      Delete
    7. Zoey, your so witty!

      Delete
    8. What kind of person would try to call out the watcher's ruinous tendencies -and in public !

      The Watcher is a person inviting people who like to solve puzzles.

      The Watcher is a recruiter for sw readership.

      Delete
  12. i understand right and wrong (not always folow it) but i don't understand how nt's interpret it (make excuses etc)

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is scary, I knew I was with a sciopath and got away as soon as I could it took a year. I thought there was something wrong with me. However, then I met someone else who I thought was not like that and was not right away. Now I know he is, just in different sheep's clothing.
    I had lost my self esteem, self confidence again thinking there was something wrong with me. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What if there really is something wrong with you? :)
      Why do you think that these 2 dudes you are writting about are sociopaths?
      Calm down, maybe things aren't as bad as they seem, maybe you are just afraid of being in a relationship with anyone?
      Ofc, I can be wrong, that's why I need more input.
      -Mee

      Delete
    2. I do not understand a sociopathic person who does not know how to hide their feelings. I think if they are a sociopath they would know, and they would be able to just be distant and attentive, not obvious.

      I am borderline though. I always hide my contempt. it is only when I am knowing that I am in the company of another with my own beliefs that I show it. Otherwise I will be considered bitter about the world. When I tell of my paranoia or tell the truth to an innocent they may look at me like I am bitter.

      What kind of sociopath thinks a person who shows bitter to the world is going to attract good things, good people, good luck?? What is the point? To show the world you know better? To show them you cut to the case faster? To show them you are aware of society disgusting, empathic people included?

      I do not want to embrace my bitterness in public. I find myself annoyed if I show it. -It is unattractive. I mean to attract.

      Delete
  14. Shakespeare said it best -

    "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tell that to the parents of a child age 6 that has been tortured and raped.

      Delete
    2. only thinking will you discover that two and two make four.

      Delete
    3. Point being that maybe people can point to things that they believe are absolute evil..but the thing is that some very good people, moral people...participated, helped, excused and closed their eyes to mass torture and murder of many 6 year old children..many "good" German people. They weren't all sociopaths, psychopaths, the chances of an entire population of a nation having a PD is very very slight.

      People can be made to think in different ways at different times. Their views of what's "good" or "bad" is fluid. According to Hitler the Jews were "bad" and therefore in order to do "good" they must all be killed. There you go...and many "good" people ended up agreeing with him.

      Delete
    4. The "good" German people had nothing to do with the
      murders of children in fact many hid them from the
      "evil" sociopaths that followed Hitler and put their
      lives in danger.

      Delete
    5. Not many. Very few.

      Delete
    6. Sorry, there is no "good" and "bad" people. It would be admittedly easier, should it be so, should we divide mankind in two separated fields, like they do in legends and myths, but it is not so, and the sooner we take it to our hearts and minds, the better.

      Delete
    7. Wonderful words, Jose!

      Delete
    8. Thanks for your appreciation Monica, we are living in this brave new world where people get their faces and figures thoroughly changed, we have to learn to recognise ourselves in the new mirrors, which show us in far further detail than the ones we used to hang in our bathrooms and sitting rooms.

      Delete
    9. Yes, very fine word picture Jose.

      Delete
  15. sociopaths come in all stripes..it's a true sociopath who will argue that someone who disagrees with their political beliefs must be uncaring, evil, sociopath, lol...it's a means of control. Manipulate, twist, bend things so that they benefit you no matter what..this Jonathan Haidt so called "therapist" sounds like he may be in need of some himself..either that or maybe he should get into politics he would probably do very very well;)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Jonathan Haidt is not a "therapist" but a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and has a full life
    of writing and traveling; why would he be interested in politics?

    ReplyDelete
  17. excuse me..."professor". He should get into politics because he is full of b**s***

    ReplyDelete
  18. The behaviour of sociopaths has to be subject to the moral impulses whether they realise it - or create moral rationalisations to justify their gut feelings - or not.

    I'd predict that x-paths will be deficient in the fairness/cheating department for example. Whilst I'd expect the liberty/oppression to be involved in psychopathic splitting, for another one.

    I'd also guess female x-paths tend to rate higher for care/harm than males in line with normal gender differences, though all x-paths are still deficient compared to empaths lol.

    ReplyDelete
  19. These articles seem to be extremely one dimensional and simplistic. I'm a socio and I have morals,they serve a purpose. Being a socio doesn't make a person all bad, manipulative or any of the other things so many "experts" seem to attribute to my person. My moral compass is deep rooted but sometimes situational. Ethics and morals are practical. True socios do not rationalize our behavior, our answer is "we did it because it was necessary and the best option". I suspect more than a few posters here are not true socios. I only see black, gray and white. And as far as gender differences: there are none save being a female socio my ability to attach to my children in a way a male can't. Since all socios are essentially all logic we're basically the same.

    ReplyDelete

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