Enlightening Conversations

I actually happened on it while it was broadcasting (don't normally watch 60 minutes). Made sense to me, and short-circuits any need to understand why humans are so ready to hate on the "other". It's hard-wired.
 
I think its a tribal instinct.
Yes, but what is interesting is how finely diced the tribes can be. How people choose their tribe. This is like that Star Trek episode with the people that are black on one side, and white on the other. The crew of the enterprise can't figure out what distinguishes the two warring sides until someone explains that one side is white on the left, and the other is white on the right. The moral of the episode was that tribalism is pretty stupid, but this research shows that this is an instinct we are born with.
 
Yes, but what is interesting is how finely diced the tribes can be. How people choose their tribe. This is like that Star Trek episode with the people that are black on one side, and white on the other. The crew of the enterprise can't figure out what distinguishes the two warring sides until someone explains that one side is white on the left, and the other is white on the right. The moral of the episode was that tribalism is pretty stupid, but this research shows that this is an instinct we are born with.
I agree; now are you a black tiger with yellow stripes or a yellow tiger with black stripes? ;)
 

samina

Well-Known Member
IMV, it's learned and passed down... When we are young, receptive and needing protection by those who have great influence on our lives, we are generally pummeled (even "lovingly") to varying degrees by tribal concepts of "virtue": "Because you belong to our ethnic/religious/political/philosophical/familial group, you must believe in this Thing and do that Thing, which will keep you a member of our group in good standing, so we will love, support and value you." Same business, repeated over and over again.

Those that recognize this can break (or remain) free of it, and there is no "us-them" inclination to hate or exclude.
 
No offense, Samina, but did you watch the video? The whole point here is the tribalism actually precedes any teaching. Yes, you get indoctrinated into the identities of the tribes, but the inclination to tribalism is instinctual, not taught, according to that research.
It is not just a matter of unlearning the tribal distinctions we learn growing up, but a continual process of recognizing when we have divided the world into us and other.
 

samina

Well-Known Member
No offense, Samina, but did you watch the video? The whole point here is the tribalism actually precedes any teaching. Yes, you get indoctrinated into the identities of the tribes, but the inclination to tribalism is instinctual, not taught, according to that research.
It is not just a matter of unlearning the tribal distinctions we learn growing up, but a continual process of recognizing when we have divided the world into us and other.
I did watch the video...my response was a dissenting one. Just because he's a so-called expert in something and on TV doesn't mean he's right. I take issue with his intimation that babies, humans, We, are inherently immoral and need his idea of further "education" so as not to be so.
 
Hmm. So, from my perspective as a scientist, assuming the research results were not presented with a bias, it is perfectly reasonable from an evolutionary perspective that tribalism is instinctual. Every animal has instincts about the four F's, why should humans be any different? Humans are the only animals we know of that can choose not to follow their instincts. Instincts are not moral or immoral, they are how we are wired to survive in the environment in which we evolved for millions of years. Those instincts may not adapt us well to our modern world, but we are fortunate in having the ability to adapt, and to act against both those instincts we are wired with, as well as against all we get taught growing up.

What is immoral is when you know something is wrong, and you do it anyway. Is a small child who stomps on a worm immoral if they haven't been taught about empathy, the sanctity of life, etc., etc. Is the tiger who eats the child that fell into his enclosure immoral?

Morality is learned, an infant is not capable of being moral or immoral.
 

samina

Well-Known Member
Hmm. So, from my perspective as a scientist, assuming the research results were not presented with a bias, it is perfectly reasonable from an evolutionary perspective that tribalism is instinctual. Every animal has instincts about the four F's, why should humans be any different? Humans are the only animals we know of that can choose not to follow their instincts. Instincts are not moral or immoral, they are how we are wired to survive in the environment in which we evolved for millions of years. Those instincts may not adapt us well to our modern world, but we are fortunate in having the ability to adapt, and to act against both those instincts we are wired with, as well as against all we get taught growing up.

What is immoral is when you know something is wrong, and you do it anyway. Is a small child who stomps on a worm immoral if they haven't been taught about empathy, the sanctity of life, etc., etc. Is the tiger who eats the child that fell into his enclosure immoral?

Morality is learned, an infant is not capable of being moral or immoral.
So in your view, humans are born with no instinctive sense of what is humane or not humane, but they are born with an instinctive sense of tribalism that would be inherently divisive? What if a child is born with a strong sense of tribalism with humanity at large...?

There are all kinds of moral constructs that humans contrive, and those have to be taught. But what about a moral construct that is inherently universal in nature, superior to the differentiating types... That possibility is assumed in the view you are expressing not to exist.

As Larinda suggested, it's a thought-provoking subject, quite rich.
 

pygmalion

Well-Known Member
And just to 'fess up, this is not my idea. Got it from Robert Fulghum, who wrote All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten twenty ... five? Years ago.** Good stuff -- life lessons for work and home. :) Some quotes (IIRC each one of these is a chapter title.)


1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don't hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don't take things that aren't yours.
7. Say you're SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
9. Flush.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life - learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seeds in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.





** Yup 1988. Twenty-five years. Where does the time go?


I agree with 8. and 9.
15. is a truism.
the rest could be summed up with a *SNORT*

footnote; current good parenting, allows a child not to share; every time you force a child to share its toys or whatever, you diss it, undermine its confidence to make its own decisions. You as an adult, have the choice to share, forcing your child to share its stuff is tyranny. but then again tyranny can be benevolent, take Vetinari as an instance.
Thoughts?
 

pygmalion

Well-Known Member
I agree with BTM for the most part. A better short list, IMO:

1. Tell the truth.
2. Expect others to do the same.
3. Be helpful as best you are able.
4. Be thankful for others who do the same.
5. Clean up your own messes...of every kind.

All the rest is window dressing. :)

Sorry for the short answer. Got sidetracked by some actual work there for a minute. I like your short list.

I shouldn't get into too much analysis of the kindergarten book because I read it back when it was on the NYT bestseller list for a long, long time. Late 80s sometime, I think.

A couple things, though. One of the things I took away from that book is that, no matter how complicated life situations may seem, answers often boil down to basic principles -- things we already know. Obvious things we learned in kindergarten, like clean up your own mess. We preach it to our little kids. But do we do it ourselves, as you say, with messes of every kind? Or do we overthink or maybe make excuses?

Also IIRC (again, through the fog of having read the book more than twenty years ago,) I don't remember anyone making the argument that every principle applies to every situation simultaneously. The premise, as I understand it, is that sometimes life's conundrums are best resolved by applying a little common sense, which really isn't all that common, sometimes.
 

Larinda McRaven

Site Moderator
Staff member
Wake with the sun - There is no purer light than what we see when we open our eyes first thing in the morning. Resisting the morning's first waking moment instantly adds stress to your day. Avoiding the sun, you commence a chase that lasts all day long: running short of time, balance, peace and productivity.


Sit - Mindfulness without meditation is just a word. The search for mindful living is always grounded in a meditation practice. Seated meditation is the easiest and fastest way to clear your mind of anxious, fearful and stressful thoughts. Meditation puts your overactive brain on a diet, so you have more attention to bring to the real life that appears before you. You will be far more productive in the ensuing hours if you begin the day by spending five minutes actively engaged in doing nothing at all.


Make your bed - The state of your bed is the state of your head. Enfold your day in dignity. The five minutes you spend making your bed slows you down from your frantic, morning scrambling and creates a calm retreat to welcome you home at night. Plus, making your bed means you've already achieved an even more challenging feat: getting out of it.


Empty the hampers - Do the laundry without resentment or commentary and have an intimate encounter with the very fabric of life. Doing laundry is a supreme act of personal responsibility. It requires maturity, attention and discipline, and it engenders happiness. Don't believe me? See how you feel every time you reach the bottom of an empty hamper.


Wash your bowl - Rinse away self-importance and clean up your own kitchen mess. If you leave it undone, it will get sticky. An empty sink can be the single most gratifying sight of a long and tiring day.


Set a timer - If you're distracted by the weight of what's undone, set a kitchen timer and, like a monk in a monastery, devote yourself wholeheartedly to the task at hand before the bell rings. The time you'll findhidden in a kitchen timer unleashes more of your attention to the things that matter most.


Rake the leaves - Take yourself outside to rake, weed or sweep. You'll never finish for good, but you'll learn the point of pointlessness. The repetitive motion is meditative; the fresh air is enlivening. Lose yourself in doing what needs to be done, without a thought of permanent outcome or gain. You'll immediately alter your worldview.


Eat when hungry - Align your inexhaustible desires with the one true appetite. Coming clean about our food addictions and aversions is powerful and lasting medicine. Eating is so central to family life and culture that we can pass on our habits for generations to come. Mindless overeating feeds our sickness; mindful eating feeds the body's intuitive, intelligent wisdom and nourishes life well past tonight's empty plates.


Let the darkness come - Set a curfew on the Internet and TV and discover the natural balance between daylight and darkness, work and rest. Your taste for the quiet will naturally increase. When you end your day in accord with the earth's perfect rhythm, you grant the whole world a moment of pure peace.


Sleep when tired - Nothing more to it.
 

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