My morality

If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between "for" and "against" is the mind's worst disease.
--Sent-ts'an

I mentioned The Righteous Mind a good bit recently, and will probably continue to do so, but I have really enjoyed it. It's one of the most transformative texts I have encountered in some time. I think the quote above (which he listed in his presentation) is key. The point is to not make nihilists of us all, but to get us to disengage a tad and to try to understand each other. We live in a sharply divided world which polarizes us into opposing moral teams. This leads to bickering which stands in the way of progress.

Aside from his talk, I also want to focus on his delivery. In my mind, watching him speak has been just as interesting as reading his book. He has an uncanny way of making those who probably disagree with him feel comfortable nodding at the points he raises during his presentation.

I think it is clear by the end of his talk that he favors a more uniform distribution of the his five key values (harm, fairness, loyalty, authority and purity) which puts him much closer to most "conservatives" than liberals. Though, to watch his opening and to see his slides (where is labels most of the red states "dumbfuckistan" one might think he shares in the audience's disdain for Red America. Knowing this it seems as if he purposefully goes undercover to seem like he is part of the "liberal" team. I think this is a wise move. He knows his audience. In the talk he asks who is liberal and almost everyone raises their hand. In order to gain the trust he has to initially get the viewers to think he sees the world in the way they do if he hopes to change their mind. It's a very interesting tactic.



I also took the quiz mentioned in the video at www.yourmorals.org and my results are below in green.

Conservatives value these equally while liberals tend to view fairness and harm more than the last three. Surprisingly, my views exacerbate this trend valuing the first two the most and discounting the last three even more than a typical "liberal".




The good news, at least according to the odd word association test is that I am happy



Apparently I also tend to be a little tough on myself relative to others. It's also telling I see my own suffering as unique. That probably has a lot to do with my upbringing as an only child.



They have dozens of tests, but another surprising test was on relationships. Apparently I have quite high attachment anxiety. Though that isn't much of a surprise either given how past relationships have all ended through distance or infidelity.