Monday, November 23, 2015

Good People

 The Righteous Mind:
 Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt.

Over All Impression.

This is one book that I have read and find difficulty in understanding the themes thoroughly. When I sit down to reflect and write on my interpretation of the book's crust of the matter, all I have is a muddled up and vogue thoughts on the central points of the book. Nothing coherent and concrete to help me to clearly articulate any useful points. So be warned that what  you read here will coupound that confusion;

Anyway it seems the author is pointing out how our mind is made up. What determinates the righteous mind from the perspective of a moral psychology, and thus dwelling further by taking us on a tour of human nature and human history.  The author unequivocally stresses that moral psychology is the key to understanding politics and religion. Why people are divided by these ideas.

I feel this book would be a good supplementary teaching aid for psychology class.  As for me it takes a while to completely dissect and digest the points made /raised in the book. It requires careful reading and reflection to fully absorb the theories and principles of understanding human psychology for an average reader like me. Except that I can not unlock the intricacy of the new knowledge and research presented, the book is indeed a treasured repository of knowledge and understanding of moral psychology, but too mysterious and metaphysical and far fetched to my mind.

 The one thing that brings some clarity of thoughts is in the following analogy:

The righteous mind is like a tongue with six taste receptors:
"morality is like cuisine, it is a cultural construction, influenced by accidents of environment and history, but its not so flexible that anything goes. You cant have a cuisine based on tree bark, nor can you have one based primarily on bitter tastes.  Cuisines vary, but they all must please tongues equipped with the same five taste receptors. Moral matrices vary, but they all must please righteous minds equipped with the same six social receptors" (p. 114).

The six moral foundations based on which we cling to our idealogy are : Care/Harm, Fairness/cheating, Loyality/betrayal, Authority/subversion, Sanctity/degradation.

But  again these theories may not be the absolute truth and have different application.
"In  Physchology, theories are cheap. Anyone can invent one. Progress happens when theories are tested, supported and corrected by empirical evidence, especially when a theory proves to be useful- for example,if it helps people to understand  why half of the people in their country seem to live in a different moral universe...(p.127)