WHY ARE WE SO DIFFERENT?


Well for one thing, you probably have hair, and I don’t.
bald manBUT, that’s not the difference I mean. I mean what makes us tick…our morals, values, belief system. We have different beliefs about religion, politics, America, Immigration, abortion, gay marriage, Obamacare, Medicare, Social Security, national defense, and on and on. We have never been so polarized and our government has frozen. In 2011 Congress set the record for legislative futility. In 2012 they were even worse. This year is far behind last year. At least last year they named a few post offices. What gives? What gives is the entrenched differences in our belief systems.
In a society that has become as divided as ours, liberals and conservatives, seculars and believers should appreciate that each side didn’t just pluck their values off a shelf; they came by their principles as honestly as their opponent.Why call them names?
political-fisticuffs-001If you would like to understand the “other side” then I have a book I recommend you read. I finished it a few months back and I finally wanted to mention it in this space.

It’s called “The Righteous Mind” by Jonathan Haidt. It is subtitled: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. I guarantee the book is not about changing anybody’s values, but it helps to understand the other guy’s mind, and where he is coming from.

The author explains the 6 foundational moral intuitions. Notice the word is intuitions, not emotions. David Hume said “reason must never be slave to the passions.” However, Haidt asserts that intuitions come first, strategic moral reasoning second. Each of us hold on to our own principles so righteously that we are unable to appreciate other views. Many of these values stretch back to the earliest days of our species’ life history.

I mentioned the SIX MORAL INTUITIONS and they are Care/Harm, Fairness/Cheating, Liberty/Oppression, Authority/Subversion, Loyalty/Betrayal and Sanctity/Degradation.

If you have a moment, I urge you to check out an interesting website. Three universities are conducting a private survey on these very same moral foundations. You can see where you stand in relation to liberals and conservatives by going to: www.YourMorals.org. When you click on the site take the Moral Foundations Questionnaire. When you have finished a cool graph pops up and places you on the chart compared to others. It only takes a few minutes and the questions are interesting.

Enjoy!

About bakoheat

Writer/Musician
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5 Responses to WHY ARE WE SO DIFFERENT?

  1. Mary says:

    Sometimes it is having the maturity to allow us to politely agree to disagree. Everyone has a right to their beliefs, beliefs can not be proven but by their virtue are just that, a belief. I keep a close eye on the other side, not because I fear them, but because they challenge me to think about and refine my views.

    • bakoheat says:

      You have a great attitude and there’s less friction between friends that way. I wanted to get deeper and find out where core values were formed and how and why. The Haidt book was a great primer.

  2. Joan Raymond says:

    I enjoy talking with people who agree to disagree. But, when people think they have the only answer it’s frustrating. I like to hear other’s thoughts on subjects and many times I learn something – maybe I still might not agree with their point of view, but it makes for a fun and lively discussion.
    I wish more people would not take other people’s opposing views so personally. Sadly around some people I won’t even say what I really believe just to keep the peace.
    Thanks for the link to the questionnaire – I finished one and play to do more.

    • bakoheat says:

      Good for you.Thanks for writing. When I came to understand that some people’s moral intuitions date back to early civilization, I have become far less combative and trying to use reason about an opposing viewpoint. Reason doesn’t mean anything if there are locked in intuitions. So we agree to disagree.

  3. fiddlrts says:

    This does sound like an interesting book. I think I’ll put it on my list.

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