Why Death Penalty is Murder

Taking into account full human being, there is no relevant difference between the accused and the accuser. ‘Taking conscious human life’ This is a quite good definition of murder. In case of the death penalty, it’s murder with full premeditation. In ‘taking,’ one can see a relevant fuzziness which makes thinking about, for instance, euthanasia Read the full article…

AURELIS = Responsibility

Every aspect of AURELIS intends to make you freer, therefore more responsible. Not guilty Please read this other blog first. It’s important: [see: “Always Responsible, Never Guilty”] Many times already, I pointed towards aspects of responsibility that come together with AURELIS. Indeed, gaining insight into the human ‘total being’ also brings more opportunities to influence Read the full article…

Sowing Hatred

Sowing hatred leads to aggression and more hatred. An additional problem is that this happens mainly through subconceptual ways. So to speak, ‘underground.’ Like in nature, seeds that you sow develop underground in such a way that a lot has happened before one can see the result appear above the ground. With the seeds of Read the full article…

Law and Intention!

People are important. Intentions are present within people. Laws are not. The law [Please read before this: ‘X or not X, versus: X or Y’] Something parallel can be seen in many domains, such as in anything related to the law (on freedom of speech or anything else). Mind: this is NOT about following or Read the full article…

ACE towards the Making of a Better Person

ACE (Adopt-Combine-Enhance) is a nice instrument, guided by a synthesis of rationality and poetry. [see: ’ACE in a Moral World‘] The making of No engineering stuff. We are nature. The ‘making’ lies in the support of nature to further itself from inside out. Morality lies in the direction of this support within our natural constraints Read the full article…

From Me to Morality

From inside the brain to very large groups of people, this text tracks the origin of morality through the ages as well as at any single point in time. Morality is like the Nile Searching for the ‘source’ finally gets one somewhere far inside a strange continent, where one doesn’t find one source but many. Read the full article…

Morality is NOT the Suppression of Self-Interest

A group can not endure for long if its members all just do their own thing. So, what’s the problem? The reasoning in favor of suppression is simple. This is about what is called the ‘free rider’ problem. In the course of ages, our ancestors and even pre-ancestors (‘hominids’ and before) learned the advantages of Read the full article…

From Aggression to Efficiency

A link between aggression and efficiency is not frequently made. I hope that at the end of this text, this will be remedied. Whence cometh aggression? It seems to be as old as, well, much older than humanity. Even so, one might argue that ‘animal aggression’ is in most cases functional, thus more ‘humanly understandable’ Read the full article…

Nature and Nurture of Morality

Evidently, there is nature and there is nurture. Much less evident is how they relate to each other. Nevertheless, we can learn and take appropriate action. A mollusk has no morality because it’s pure nature. No nurture, very small degree of freedom. Obviously. What the mollusk teaches us is that ‘morality’ starts where hardwired structuring Read the full article…

Towards Universal Empathy

Universal empathy is a moral stance that may solve the in-group >< out-group problem. [‘further on ‘In-Group Creates Out-Group?’] “How numerous the living beings may be, I pledge to liberate (from suffering) them all.” This is one of four Buddhist ‘vows of the Bodhisattva.’ Not being an adept of Buddhism, I find in it a Read the full article…

In-Group Creates Out-Group?

One frequently encounters the idea that a group gets formed by building defensive walls against other groups. Is this the best way? People are groupish. This is: we like to ‘be in a group’. Yes, with quote signs, because the group may be of very diverse kind. For instance, it may be quite abstract: a Read the full article…

Delayed Gratification, No Frustration

The ability to delay gratification is important in any well-functioning society. Can it be fostered with little frustration? Western culture evolves towards a cult of ‘immediate gratification.’ Is this healthy? Marshmallow In a 1960s experiment at Stanford, a number of kids got one marshmallow and could get three if the child wouldn’t eat the one Read the full article…

Moral Motivation

If morality doesn’t lead to action, then what’s the use? Let good people do good things. How? I guess the doing should not be the focus of an additional endeavor. It should be part and parcel of the moral communication itself. For instance, telling a child what is moral behavior, should deeply touch the child Read the full article…

ACE in a Moral World

ACE: Adopt – Combine – Expand. This is a recurring pattern that I see in many domains. It’s also specifically relevant in morality. I invented the acronym ACE a few weeks before writing this text while looking at many patterns and recognizing this underlying blueprint. So, please remain skeptical. Nature is a tinkerer, not an engineer. Read the full article…

Collective Morality

This is not about any concrete ‘habits and rules of moral behavior.’ Collective morality is about the thinking about such habits and rules. It should be based on rationality as much as possible. This rationality should be founded on two endeavors as always when rationality is optimally exercised: taking into account as much as possible Read the full article…

Morality VERY Broadly

Medicine, education, judicial system… morality is relevant not only towards any direct purpose but also in how things are done. This may be seen as the deeper purpose. VERY? Morality being about ‘relief of suffering’ – of oneself and others [see ‘Morality Is the Relief of Suffering’] – it is relevant in many domains, including Read the full article…

What Is Morality to A.I.?

Agreed: it’s not even evident what ‘morality’ means to us. Soon comes A.I. Will it be ‘morally good’? Humans have a natural propensity towards morality. Whether we tend towards ‘good’ or ‘bad’, we have feelings and generally recognize these in others too, in humans and in animals. We share organic roots. We recognize suffering and Read the full article…

Burn the Flag. Disobey the Law. Criticize Your Group.

Dear reader, please bear with me on this journey Or don’t. But if you do, then it may be apparent to you that anything about these three is ‘relative’. And even that is relative. In reverse: not giving into them can be very profoundly a symbolic action. For instance, the flag is just a piece Read the full article…

Respect Has Many Faces

which are all related to a sense of morality: respect for the group, for authority, for human suffering… and also respect for ‘me’ which can be ego or total self. Delving towards ‘oneness’ The more one delves into human issues, the more one gets the feeling that everything is related. The deeper one goes, the Read the full article…

Authority?

‘Authority’: a word that divides many, may bring many back together. Not as a matter of fact though. The situation and an appeal to some caution Authority can be seen as always personal. For example, the ‘authority of scripture’ is the authority of those who command scripture to be authoritative. To some, ‘authority’ is nothing Read the full article…

Empathy and Morality

I (yes, I) contend that morality of a really human kind is basically based on empathy. Rationality is its servant. [This text is a continuation on ‘Landscape of Empathy’.] One may recognize a quote from the Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can Read the full article…

Inside Values, We Find Pain and Joy

In our values, we find our worth and deepest meaning, our ‘energy’ which is no more than deep motivation. Our values are our morality. Valued gain for pain and source of joy. Inner values lead one to voluntarily accept pain. For instance: the soldier fighting for his country, the mother giving birth, the athlete going Read the full article…

‘Doing Your Best’ is Good Enough

The title of this piece can be seen as a ‘categorical invitation’, an (auto-)suggestion to strive and keep striving and at the same time not ego-wisely strive at all. The goal is to be human. People do not act morally consistent much of the time. An often used example is about a natural disaster striking Read the full article…

Five Aurelian Values

Since AURELIS is about rational depth, ethics is important. This comes in the guise of 5 ‘aurelian values’: openness, depth, respect, freedom, trustworthiness. Starting from the total human being as measure of morality, there is of course nothing sacred in these five. It’s a very subjective choice. In principle, it could have been five others, Read the full article…

Let True Morality Stand Up!

Basically, two ‘moralities’ can be distinguished: cognitive (thinking) and emotional. However, this is a purely conceptual, abstract distinction. Reality consistently shows them intermingled. The relevance is enormous. ‘Morality’ is the basis of culture. Almost all important decisions carry within them a factor of morality, or better: moralities. ‘Stress/distress’ is in all cases related to an Read the full article…

Morality Is the Relief of Suffering

Suffering is here broadly looked upon as: any hurt related to the loss of contact with one’s inner being. In this sense, relief of suffering of others and of oneself go together. (This text has a quite Buddhistic inspiration. The aim is to be applicable for all, always, everywhere.) In one sweep, the title of Read the full article…

Do Not Turn the Other Cheek…

… unless you think it’s worthwhile. I have a lot of respect for other-cheek-turners. If however, nothing gets learned from it, one may keep turning cheeks indefinitely. If someone slaps you on the cheek, then I think that it’s better to look at that person than to turn your gaze away while offering the other Read the full article…

Two Racisms

At the surface, racism is simply about a feeling of superiority over people from another race or ethnicity. Here ends the easy part. Why do people rank other people as inferior or superior based on inherited characteristics? With due respect to those being racially discriminated, I want to make the distinction between explicit and implicit Read the full article…

Is Man Morally Makeable?

Is Man Morally Makeable? IF there is a moral standard, can man be made to approach it? For instance, can one be made into a ‘good leader’? [Man or woman. I just love the alliteration.] For many centuries of course, this has been a main goal of education: to make humans into ‘better humans’. This Read the full article…

Morality in Healing

The morality of healing lies in becoming a whole – healed – person. An in-dividual = un-divided. Ethics is involved in healing. Not only in why and how, but in the actual healing itself. This would not be the case if healing were always as simple as attaining a prior state of health. But since Read the full article…

About Tolerance

One cannot be tolerant to something one doesn’t know. So first comes Listening. Otherwise ‘tolerance’ can be quite in-tolerant. “You must be tolerant.” is of course a paradox. Is tolerance then selective? It appears to be so. You could even define tolerance as being intolerant to intolerance. There is – at first sight – no Read the full article…

68. Altruism is egoism

Have you ever heard of the Samaritan paradox? Some ‘scientists’ find samaritanism (just doing something for someone else) a very weird phenomenon because it doesn’t fit the so-called biological premise of me-first (including we-first for a group). They look upon any derivation of me-first as either having a hidden agenda or being an aberration, something Read the full article…

65. Every child is a child

An event that changed my life, at least my thinking about it, happened in Brazil. It’s already a while ago. I was still a medical student at that time and had the opportunity to work in a hospital in a shantytown (a ‘favela’) of Salvador Da Bahia for some months. Parents came there with their Read the full article…

Lady Justice’s Blindfold

Will in the future all criminals be seen as in need of coaching rather than punishment? Lady Justice, also known as Themis in ancient Greece As a goddess, she didn’t need a blindfold. She could see everything anyway. Themis also didn’t have a sword (of punishment). Both were added in the 15th century. The blindfold Read the full article…

21. The ethics of getting better

It’s already present in the terms: ethics is about ‘being good’, ‘getting better’. Medicine, the beloved art and science of ‘making better’, has always been involved in morality though in the last few centuries of Western cultural development, in a very hidden way. In times not so long gone, illness was explicitly seen as ‘curse Read the full article…

From deep meaning to post-capitalism

We seem to be stuck in capitalism, yet capitalism itself seems to be stuck. Can ‘deep meaning’ help us to get beyond? Monetary values are measurable. For pure-capitalism (!) to work perfectly, everything needs to get a value that is measurable, comparable, thereby making the valued thing tradable. The most abstract trade is of course Read the full article…