A friend sent me this link to this really interesting article to read on the illusions of morality
The title of the article is “Moral Instinct” by Steven Pinker, the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, and was published in The New York Times in 2008.
The whole article is quite long and covers a lot of material so I encourage you to read it in its entirety for yourselves, but I want to raise some questions of my own in response to the subject raised. The author highlighted several moral spheres of judgment, among which are harm, fairness, community, authority, and purity. Violating any of these spheres seems repugnant in any situation, but the one I want to write about in emphasis today is community.
Pinker states, “Community, the very different emotion that prompts people to share and sacrifice without an expectation of payback, may be rooted in nepotistic altruism, the empathy and solidarity we feel toward our relatives (and which evolved because any gene that pushed an organism to aid a relative would have helped copies of itself sitting inside that relative). In humans, of course, communal feelings can be lavished on nonrelatives as well. Sometimes it pays people (in an evolutionary sense) to love their companions because their interests are yoked, like spouses with common children, in-laws with common relatives, friends with common tastes or allies with common enemies. And sometimes it doesn’t pay them at all, but their kinship-detectors have been tricked into treating their groupmates as if they were relatives by tactics like kinship metaphors (blood brothers, fraternities, the fatherland), origin myths, communal meals and other bonding rituals.”
So why is it then, if “moral sense is an innate part of human nature”, that it is so difficult for us to broaden our sense of community to beyond our families, neighborhoods and countries? Why is it so difficult for us to grasp the concept of a global community? What would society be like if we actually viewed humanity as a whole, as each person regardless of ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation being no more and no less than our brothers and sisters? I know this is gross oversimplification, but isn’t one of the core issues in most disputes over the belief in scarcity versus ownership? Do we not fear differences because they are outside of our community, an illusion of ourselves and identity? In a global community, is it possible we could better act in partnership because each person’s welfare is treated equally as our own without an expectation of payback, but because we feel morally obligated to each individual as part of the global whole?
Why does this simple concept seem so outrageously impossible? Maybe if we tried it on a small scale, if each of us spent a trial period of a few hours imagining strangers on the elevator or on the freeway as our true brothers and sisters? How would our perceptions of their actions be changed? How would our sense of competition among these strangers be different? Is it so impossible to dream that our individual viewpoints would want each other person to arrive at their destination safely and not just us seeing ourselves as the center of existence only able to concentrate on our own individual goal- directed actions?
I stumbled upon another website that describes a burgeoning plan for global communities. The link is: http://www.new-earth-project.org/
The ideas presented for these new communities is so different from what has become our sense of norm that it truly seems almost alien. I don’t know enough about these plans to elaborate, but there is a description much like what I am proposing here..a cooperative of sorts where the neighbors and the very earth itself is treated with equality and respect. Wouldn’t it be an amazing reality where we don’t feel the need to separate ourselves by individual victories, but by a conscious sense of oneness and peace?
This is only a blog, not a college thesis so I think my purpose in choosing this to write about this today is really just to raise awareness to possible realities and maybe challenge you to take the time to read a smart article and/ or check out an interesting website that might just make you question your motives in judgments, to maybe just even for a few minutes help you see beyond the illusion of your morality.
Perception truly is everything and the shift in everyday perceptions is the common available miracle of our day.
Marianne Williamson says this on her Sister Giant webpage:
“Martin Luther King, Jr. said that the desegregation of the American South was the political externalization of the goal of the Civil Rights movement, but that the ultimate goal was the establishment of the beloved community. He said it was time to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of human civilization. He wasn’t called a New Age nutcase or considered an intellectual lightweight for saying such things, and neither should we be. I don’t think making love the new bottom line is naïve; I believe that thinking we can survive the next hundred years doing anything less, is naïve.”
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?
Please do! Just be sure to include this complete blurb with it:
I am a 43 year old mother of 3, living in Florida with my partner and youngest child. Like the mythological phoenix, I have been reborn out of the ashes of my former way of life and have, for the last several years, set out on an exploration of self expression through visual art and creative writing. I am immensely grateful to feel a part of every living thing in existence and the emergence of a growing evolution of consciousness within and throughout. I am interested in all aspects of energy healing and spiritual transformation and have just recently become a student of Reiki. I understand there is always a choice and I try to choose love over fear at every turn. I am grateful for all of the other women in this group and for their ever present support and guidance. Jennifer Bothast