The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

The Righteous Mind
This year for Christmas, I gave my son-in-law Dan and my wife Sheila a book entitled “The Righteous Mind:  Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion” by Jonathan Haidt.

I’ll be honest, the title intrigued me and I was interested in discovering the secret of connecting with many “good people” on all sides of the political and religious spectrum.

Mind you, a little “love” and empathy is sorely needed at this time of great political and social upheavals.

Furthermore, I was intrigued by people’s reaction to the following situations (Dan pointed these out shortly after opening his present):

“A family’s dog was killed by a car in front of their house.  They had heard that dog meat was delicious, so they cut up the dog’s body and cooked it and ate it for dinner.  Nobody saw them do this.”   Or . . .

“A man goes to the supermarket once a week and buys a chicken.  But before cooking the chicken, he has sexual intercourse with it.  Then he cooks and eats it.”

Now, I do not intend to spoil this “good” but challenging read on morality, but you can rest assured that logic and common sense are vastly overrated in trying to unite “good people”  divided by politics and religion.

For those that can’t resist to getting to the punch line, Mr. Haidt concludes with the following:  “Morality binds and blinds.  It binds us into ideological teams that fight each other as though the fate of the world depended on our side winning each battle.  It blinds us to the fact that each team is composed of good people who have something important to say.”

His key recommendation (also at the end of the book for those who can’t stomach a moral philosophy read) is this:   “Our politics will become more civil when we find ways to change the procedures electing politicians and the institutions and environments within which they interact.”  He suggests the following website:   www.CivilPolitics.org

For those who want to explore moral philosophy, test your own moral compass at YourMorals.org

Comments

  1. Jackie P Dennis says:

    For simple good people like me the food photos look more interesting than the “morality” read you suggest. Good food at mealtimes are also a good way to discuss many things!
    Jackie

  2. Yep. It was a rather tedious but most interesting read. I guess your reaction is not too dissimilar to Sheila’s: She was so appalled at the questions that “logic” never had a chance to kick in. Isn’t that the way that most people react to things? If so, it doesn’t augur well for civilized discourse.

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