Religion and science, for example, are often though to be opponents, but as I have shown, the insights of ancient religions and of modern science are both needed to reach a full understanding of human nature and the conditions of human satisfaction. The ancients may have known little about biology, chemistry, physics, but many were good psychologists.
Do people believe in human rights because such rights actually exist, like mathematical truths, sitting on a cosmic shelf next to the Pythagorean theorem just waiting to be discovered by Platonic reasoners? Or do people feel revulsion and sympathy when they read accounts of torture, and then invent a story about universal rights to help justify their feelings?
The mind is divided, like a rider on an elephant, and the rider’s job is to serve the elephant. The rider is our conscious reasoning-the stream of words and images of which we are fully aware. The elephant is the other 99 percent of mental processes-the ones that occur outside of awareness but that actually govern most of our behavior.
But the most important lesson I have learned in my twenty years or research on morality is that nearly all people are morally motivated. Selfishness is a powerful force, particularly in the decisions of individuals, but whenever groups of people come together to make a sustained effort to change the world, you can bet that they are pursuing a vision of virtue, justice, or sacredness.
Good relationships make people happy, and happy people enjoy more and better relationships than unhappy people.... Conflicts in relationships--having an annoying office mate or roommate, or having chronic conflict with your spouse--is one of the surest ways to reduce your happiness. You never adapt to interpersonal conflict; it damages every day, even days when you don't see the other person but ruminate about the conflict nonetheless.
In accounts of men in battle, there is an incredible adrenaline rush from group-versus-group conflict. The fervor and passion of partisans is clearly rewarding; and if it's rewarding, it involves dopamine; and if it involves dopamine, then it is potentially addictive.
The social intuitionist model offers an explanation of why moral and political arguments are so frustrating: because moral reasons are the tail wagged by the intuitive dog. A dog’s tail wags to communicate. You can’t make a dog happy by forcibly wagging its tail. And you can’t change people’s minds by utterly refuting their arguments.
Liberals tend to be much more concerned about business and corporations as the oppressors. They look to government as the solution. On the Right it's the opposite. They see business as good, as what generates wealth in society, and they see government as the oppressor, which makes it hard for especially small businesspeople.
Conservatives tend to see the world more in terms of good-versus-evil and, for some of them, the nightmare is a disarmed citizenry that can be preyed upon by criminals. They know that having a gun in the house would increase the risk of an accident for a member of their family, but they're willing to take that risk.
The president is the high priest of what sociologist Robert Bellah calls the 'American civil religion.' The president must invoke the name of God (though not Jesus), glorify America's heroes and history,quote its sacred texts (the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution), and perform the transubstantiation of pluribus unum.
And it’s not just that ‘we all need somebody to lean on’; recent work on giving support shows that caring for others is often more beneficial than is receiving help. . . . We need the give and the take, we need to belong. An ideology of extreme personal freedom can be dangerous because it encourages people to leave homes, jobs, cities and marriages in search of personal and professional fulfillment, thereby breaking the relationships that were probably their best hope for such fulfillment.
It really is a fact that liberals are much higher than conservatives on a major personality trait called 'openness to experience.' People who are high on openness to experience just crave novelty, variety, diversity, new ideas, travel. People low on it like things that are familiar, that are safe and dependable.
When you hear someone criticize a policy on the other side, thats fine. But when you start hearing motive-mongering and demonization, stand up to it just as you would if it were something that was racist or sexist. If we avoid the demonization, disagreements can be positive.
Once you understand the power of stimulus control, you can use it to your advantage by changing the stimuli in your environment and avoiding undesirable ones; or, if that's not possible, by filling your consciousness with thoughts about their less tempting aspects.