Wednesday, January 30, 2013

450: The Art Not to Be an Egoist 15

At the previous lecture Velvet suggested to have a closer look at Jean Piaget (1896 - 1980) and indeed  in the context of our project this makes sense.

Piaget, developmental psychologist and philosopher, is in the first place famous because of his research on the development of the cognitive capabilities of children.

Like Hoffman, who I mentioned in my previous lecture, he describes different stages of development.

Put in a simplified way he asked the question, where does logical thinking comes from? Likewise he could have asked 

"Where does morality come from", where of course the quintessence is…is it from Nature or from Nurture?

Piaget believed in two basic principles relating to moral education: that children develop moral ideas in stages and that children create their conceptions of the world. 

According to Piaget, the child is someone who constructs his own moral world view, who forms ideas about right and wrong, and fair and unfair, 

that are not the direct product of adult teaching and that are often maintained in the face of adult wishes to the contrary. Piaget believed that children made moral judgments based on their own observations of the world.

Piaget's theory of morality was radical when his book The Moral Judgment of the Child was published in 1932 for two reasons: 

his use of philosophical criteria to define morality (as universalizable, generalizable, and obligatory) and his rejection of equating cultural norms with moral norms. 

Piaget, drawing on Kantian theory, proposed that morality developed out of peer interaction and that it was autonomous from authority mandates.

The basic assumption is that a child in accordance with the growth of the brain develops the abilities to empathy and a sense of fairness, based on the increasing capabilities of the brain.

You only can grow a plant on a fertile soil. I mean, there has to be a brain precondition. In that we are not alone. Several observations of behavior of primates have shown that they too are capable of sharing and are sensitive for unfairness.

Every culture has a concept of justice and fairness and yet its meaning differs per culture. Yet, like Piaget stated, doesn't this make moral norms simply to cultural norms.

The human capacity for morality is innate. Step by step we are put through a "program", ranging from the imitation through sympathy up to a sense of justice. 

We are exposed to the entire range of powerful formative influences. Strong links, the feeling of security and the knowledge to be understood have a positive effect on our development. 

The interplay between different individual qualities and natural influences of education leads to different forms of characters. 

The ability for compassion and sense of justice are  given in all normal healthy people, their depth and their level, however, are individually different.

But even when we assume, that a sense of morality is an innate quality of human nature, we still see a lot of immoral behavior around.

So, are we in a perpetual battle with ourselves, trying to do good and then having to observe that we do the opposite?

Time to ask ourselves how much selfishness is there in us. Why is it there?

The Discussion

[13:22] herman Bergson: Thank you....^_^
[13:22] Debbie Dee (framdor): the end? mm later than i realised - sorry
[13:22] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I didnt understand that bit about doing the opposite
[13:23] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): tut tut Debbie
[13:23] herman Bergson: Well Merlin....we all mean to do good....and we know that we don't do that all the time...we do bad things...selfish things for instance
[13:23] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): ah ok
[13:23] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): but isn't it necessary for our survival to be selfish sometimes?
[13:23] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): only joking Debbie ;)
[13:23] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[13:24] Mick Nerido: A child who does not learn to trust, may feel unable to empathize with others and therefore not feel connected ...
[13:24] Debbie Dee (framdor): selfish sort of explains itself.. we are self centered in our thoughts often.
[13:24] herman Bergson: I dont know Alegra....
[13:24] Debbie Dee (framdor): he he he he
[13:24] Debbie Dee (framdor): new cackle :)
[13:24] herman Bergson: Yes Mick...
[13:24] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): I admit I am not fighting with myself in that point
[13:24] herman Bergson: smiles...
[13:25] herman Bergson: You mean you are just selfish Alegra?
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): not always Mick..sometimes one can learn to trust..although it takes a very long time
[13:25] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): hehe
[13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i sometimes wonder tho if the ability for compassion and justice are given to all
[13:25] Mick Nerido: We will be selfish if we feel not part of a bigger group...
[13:25] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): I think we have to find a good equilibrium
[13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): to begin with
[13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): or we must be taught what they are
[13:25] herman Bergson: ABout this survival issue....
[13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): to begin
[13:26] herman Bergson: you have personal survival and survival of a species...
[13:26] herman Bergson: Those are two different processes....
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yeah, Bees again
[13:26] herman Bergson: Besides that....
[13:27] herman Bergson: this survival is related to being fitted to your environment....
[13:27] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): yes
[13:27] herman Bergson: and individual survival related to selfishness is something different....
[13:27] herman Bergson: not the evolutionary issue
[13:27] herman Bergson: But in fact a moral issue
[13:27] Mick Nerido: The "I" and the "We" issue
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i am looking at all the poeple in refuge camps
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): in syria right now
[13:28] Debbie Dee (framdor): personal survivial uses adrenaline, group survival is shared and more selfless?
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): one steals blankets and pillows from another
[13:28] herman Bergson: I don't know how they can stand such a life Gemma...
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): me either
[13:28] Debbie Dee (framdor): They did not pick it.
[13:29] herman Bergson: Here is the survival issue again.....
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): do the depth of compassions is so difficult to see
[13:29] Mick Nerido: sorry have to log off thanks all
[13:29] herman Bergson: Stealing blankets is a selfish act.....
[13:29] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): does group survival really exist?
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Bye, Bye   
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): nicl
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): bye Mick
[13:29] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): bye Mick
[13:29] herman Bergson: I would say YEs Alegra...
[13:29] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): or is group survival an educational part?
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes Alegra I think so too
[13:30] herman Bergson: Evolutionary it has been a biological matter, I would say
[13:30] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): hm
[13:30] herman Bergson: Not a consciously chosen act
[13:30] herman Bergson: the organism interacts with its environment....
[13:31] herman Bergson: The environment is changing....
[13:31] herman Bergson: the most fitted to the new environment survive....
[13:31] herman Bergson: this is possible because it is about a group
[13:31] herman Bergson: variations in a group
[13:31] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): yes ok
[13:32] herman Bergson: But in fact it is an evolution without any direction...
[13:32] herman Bergson: We are the only organisms who are capable of thinking in longterm goals
[13:33] Debbie Dee (framdor): some group actions really help survival - like building houses that last.
[13:33] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): so we can influence the process
[13:33] herman Bergson: That is indeed the interesting point Alegra....
[13:33] herman Bergson: we are a result of a pointless evolution...
[13:33] herman Bergson: we just happened to come into being as homo sapiens...
[13:34] herman Bergson: But because of that we can interfere with evolution...
[13:34] herman Bergson: Simple example....
[13:34] herman Bergson: we keep handicapped people alive...
[13:34] Debbie Dee (framdor): so now we will effect our own evolution.
[13:34] herman Bergson: We support the less smart ones in our society to help them
[13:35] herman Bergson: I think indeed that this is more than blind evolution....
[13:35] Debbie Dee (framdor): we genetically engineer our foods
[13:35] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): yes, the pure nature wouldn't do that
[13:35] herman Bergson: it is morality....
[13:35] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): this is scary stuff of course .... touches Eugenics
[13:35] Debbie Dee (framdor): and we use drugs to cure and enhance...
[13:36] herman Bergson: Well is exactly our moral sense that opposes such ideas
[13:36] herman Bergson: MAybe our basic sense of fairness
[13:36] Debbie Dee (framdor): but... as individuals , we still face death, and sometimes lose a sense of fairness.
[13:37] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): well many animals are flawed and this might be a flaw of our own
[13:37] Debbie Dee (framdor): like stealing blankets?
[13:37] Debbie Dee (framdor): Its easier to be fair if you aren't threatened.
[13:37] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): anyway, as I keep saying we have only a few 100 years so it doens matter about our evolution
[13:37] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): question is was it just self survival to do it
[13:38] herman Bergson: That is the point of morality Debbue....
[13:38] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): and easy to judge with a full stomache
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): why do a lot of people steel from us in a world without fear?
[13:38] herman Bergson: To stay fair in all situations...
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): that has nothing to do with suvival
[13:38] Debbie Dee (framdor): some people are poor and hungry, and fear guns and bombs.
[13:38] Debbie Dee (framdor): others are greedy ;)
[13:39] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): as a species we still have a long way to go
[13:39] Debbie Dee (framdor): yes gemma
[13:39] herman Bergson: YEs Beertje...good question...why are there criminals in our Western society...
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes..and a lot too
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): no need to steel to survive in our world
[13:39] Debbie Dee (framdor): good question.
[13:39] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): yes
[13:40] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes Gemma, James Lovelock thinks that mankind will survive in the long term, but not as we are now
[13:40] herman Bergson: no need for a 10 million bones either when you earn 3 million a year
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): true
[13:40] Debbie Dee (framdor): Maybe it is to do with being scared of not having enough? of rejection because you don't have an i-phone?
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): or just because the CAN steel
[13:41] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): I have no i-phone btw, giggles
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): me either Alegra:)
[13:41] herman Bergson: There is one interesting psychological observation about people you belong to the very rich...or become very rich....
[13:41] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): *lol*
[13:41] herman Bergson: there sense of empathy declines
[13:41] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:41] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:41] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes..and why? does it decline?
[13:42] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Well it has to because if it didnt they would not get rich...
[13:42] herman Bergson: One explanation is...that when you are very rich ...
[13:42] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): or stay rich at least
[13:42] Debbie Dee (framdor): They also often become isolated.
[13:42] herman Bergson: whatever you wish..people do it for you or you can buy it....
[13:43] herman Bergson: You don't need to think about how others feel or think about it
[13:43] Debbie Dee (framdor): merlin - good point
[13:43] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hmm..glad I'm not rich:)
[13:43] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): being rich destroys morality and empathy?
[13:43] herman Bergson: That is a strong statement Alegra....
[13:43] Debbie Dee (framdor): Yes - in some cases.
[13:43] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i think it is a question
[13:44] herman Bergson: but it is a fact that hardly any banker who was responsible for the crisis they caused has said that he felt guilty and sorry
[13:44] Debbie Dee (framdor):  ✧✩**✩✧ G I G G L E S ✧✩**
[13:44] Debbie Dee (framdor): Yes - in some cases. its the answer
[13:44] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i think those who suddenly become rich are different from those who inherit
[13:44] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I dont think it is quite what Alegra says
[13:44] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): If they do not lose their empathy they will lose thier money
[13:45] Debbie Dee (framdor): Merlin, unless the inflow is greater than the outflow of wealth..
[13:45] herman Bergson: Because they would give it all to charity Merlin ?
[13:45] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): hahaha
[13:45] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes Herman, put simply
[13:45] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): they do it to save money at least
[13:46] herman Bergson: Well..I think it is time to investigate how much selfishness there is in us...and why it is there...where it comes form :-)
[13:46] herman Bergson: from
[13:46] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ohoh
[13:47] herman Bergson: Good for another lecture, I would say :-)
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol Gemma
[13:47] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): gets the mirror ready
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): the free market system with advertising makes us all think that consumption is our duty. we measure our successes against the TV. If we cant afford the lear jet, we feel bad.
[13:47] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): senses a trailer for next week
[13:47] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:47] herman Bergson: Indeed Debbie...!
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): very true Debbie
[13:47] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): :) Debbie I agree
[13:47] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): true
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): so rich is relative to the media level in your area ....
[13:47] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Oh, Television, yes I remember that
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): yay...
[13:48] herman Bergson: But our economy is based on consuming....
[13:48] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): get ready of the tv
[13:48] herman Bergson: if we don't consume the system will collapse
[13:48] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): yes
[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): is that true Herman?
[13:48] Debbie Dee (framdor): but the resources are limited and we are 7 BN
[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): realy true?
[13:48] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): the big failure of our economic system
[13:48] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes they keep talking about Growth being needed
[13:48] herman Bergson: Yet I think.....why does a single person need 30 milloin dollar for his living?
[13:49] herman Bergson: What is the sense of it?
[13:49] Debbie Dee (framdor): Constantly trying to rescue the economy through growth....
[13:49] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I am surprised how rich people go on working. e.g. Branson
[13:49] Debbie Dee (framdor): Drill Baby Drill. Burn it all up.
[13:49] herman Bergson: It is a drug Merlin.....
[13:49] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[13:49] herman Bergson: Not the money.....
[13:49] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): lol Deb
[13:50] herman Bergson: but the earning of it....making that next big hit...
[13:50] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes, the power and the success
[13:50] Debbie Dee (framdor): :(( no laughing matter.
[13:50] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): might dominates them at last
[13:50] Debbie Dee (framdor): power for a few, and potential failure for the species.
[13:50] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): like our politicians
[13:51] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): maybe he is afraid that people forget who he is...
[13:51] herman Bergson: Weird idea..the desire to be in the history books :-)
[13:51] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but for some it's utopia to be in the history books
[13:51] Debbie Dee (framdor): yes. nearly as weird as owning property.
[13:51] herman Bergson: But some peolpe seem to be motivated by that idea
[13:52] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i would love to win the lottery
[13:52] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:52] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:52] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): and try
[13:52] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yes, people still care what happens after they die
[13:52] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): of course, why those stupid guiness things
[13:52] Debbie Dee (framdor): how can I own the earth if i only live for 70 yrs?
[13:52] herman Bergson: Me too GEmma :-)
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): why Herman?
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): to be rich?
[13:52] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): but i have a long list of people to give money to
[13:52] herman Bergson: Yes Debbie....that is a weird idea :-)
[13:53] herman Bergson: You do that by creating a dynasty, Debbie
[13:53] herman Bergson: Move your wealth from generation to generation....
[13:53] Debbie Dee (framdor): african tribes lived on land owned by the tribe, and given out by the king.
[13:54] Debbie Dee (framdor): when you died it went back to the tribe
[13:54] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): fair use I would say
[13:54] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I remember John Major said he wanted a classless society, but the wanted people to pass on wealth to their kids.
[13:55] Debbie Dee (framdor): It is kind of a moral idea, that because we lived once, the world owes our bones...into the future....
[13:55] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): can't we better pass our love to our kids instead of wealth?
[13:55] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): which would they rather have ???
[13:55] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ;-)
[13:55] Debbie Dee (framdor): Definitely Beertje. education, and spend time with them
[13:55] herman Bergson: lol...good question Gemma :-)
[13:55] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yes B. that is coming close to bringing the argument full circle
[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): money isn't everything Gemma..i know that
[13:56] herman Bergson: But then Gemma,,,they are victims of our consumerism
[13:56] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i know
[13:56] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:56] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): unfortunately it is all
[13:56] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Ugh I dont like what I said to fly off the top of the screen
[13:56] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): money is all in our society
[13:57] herman Bergson: That is the point Alegra...
[13:57] Debbie Dee (framdor): Well thanks to the last set of lectures - we know all about the free market economy....
[13:57] herman Bergson: In our society we are not human beings....we are costs....
[13:57] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): right
[13:58] herman Bergson: That is how politicians talk about us...
[13:58] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): uhuuhhh..beware of the grey wave......
[13:58] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yep
[13:58] Debbie Dee (framdor): and corporations...
[13:58] herman Bergson: geting old is a costly enterprise...
[13:58] herman Bergson: we have to discourage that :-)
[13:58] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Tony Benn objected to rail passengers being called 'customers'
[13:58] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): (not that I'm grey yet)//smiles
[13:58] Debbie Dee (framdor): they see us as slaves that produce more than we cost.
[13:59] Debbie Dee (framdor): I don't see any of you as costs.... BTW ;)
[13:59] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): :-)
[13:59] herman Bergson: Fact is that we are imprisoned by a self chosen economical system
[13:59] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): ty Debbie
[13:59] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the goverment does Debbie
[14:00] Debbie Dee (framdor): lucky I'm just a citizen then...
[14:00] herman Bergson: BTW…Belasting Toegevoegde Waarde in dutch Debbie ^_^
[14:00] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hahhahahah
[14:00] Debbie Dee (framdor):  ✧✩**✩✧ G I G G L E S ✧✩**
[14:00] herman Bergson: means a kind of taxes :-)
[14:00] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): ~+ ah yes ~
[14:00] Debbie Dee (framdor): by the way ... is what i meant.
[14:01] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Well you know the English have an expression "Double Dutch"
[14:01] Debbie Dee (framdor): thanks
[14:01] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes Merlin:)
[14:01] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): lol
[14:01] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Now I can see why too ;)
[14:01] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's like a dutch orchestra..
[14:01] herman Bergson: Rememeber vaguely Merlin...what does it mean
[14:01] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): It means unintelligible
[14:02] herman Bergson: I know the expression 'going Dutch'
[14:02] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[14:02] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): oh that is something completely different
[14:02] herman Bergson: Let's go Dutch on that Merlin ^_^
[14:02] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol
[14:02] Debbie Dee (framdor): well, merlin, there goes dinner out ;)
[14:02] Merlin (merlin.saxondale) smiles
[14:02] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): lol
[14:02] Debbie Dee (framdor): lol.
[14:02] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): *lol* funny
[14:02] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Btw...Belasting Toegevoegde's going late.....
[14:03] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I have to go..
[14:03] herman Bergson: Yes Beertje...
[14:03] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): hope i can make it tuesday
[14:03] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[14:03] herman Bergson: Time to thank you all for your nice participation....
[14:03] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): bye Beertje
[14:03] Debbie Dee (framdor): Yes me too.... time to go. Pity the lecture was so short.
[14:03] herman Bergson: See you next Tuesday
[14:03] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[14:03] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[14:03] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-)
[14:03] Debbie Dee (framdor): tyvm Herman
[14:03] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): ty herman

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