Emotional Shame?
 

I think it is crazy how we chance one emotional experience after another and yet are made to feel shame from others or feel ashamed oneself when we are moved by others emotional experiences or ourselves have an emotional experience, when the reality is we are all emotional feeling beings by nature just self-hating and thinking this is reason? Hating our beneficial emotional lives as if we do not live by feeling emotions and in fact if they were so removed we actually wouldn’t have much depth or quality in life as we do now, which we seem to currently seek so desperately all the while loathing it with a wrongly learned shame. Humble defenders of reality long may we think clearly, steadfast we hold to the esteemed of being truth’s champion and untruth’s most feared adversary. A truth seeker doesn’t dirty their thinking on the folly of faith, which is but a respite of a dishonest mind that after realizing there was no proof or evidence of any kind, still wishes belief anyway. Oh, wayward traveler of bad beliefs, don’t let the straightjacket of faith trap you in unreason. This mind trap of faith beliefs is a madman’s twisted misstep of the intellectually dishonest. Faith is so condemned as it is like an ego-driven trickster that requires no evidence of any kind to believe and will reject the disconfirming evidence against it, as unwarranted or unjustifiable beliefs seem to be an ideal expression of faith servitude. The moment I stopped dying to my ego and let my ego die I saw others dying all around me. I must look past the blinding clouded lens of selfishness and realize we are all connected on this little earth starship, so truly our own fates are in our hands. A truth seeker doesn’t dirty their thinking on the folly of faith, which is but a respite of a dishonest mind that after realizing there was no proof or evidence of any kind, still wishes belief anyway. Oh, wayward traveler of bad beliefs, don’t let the straightjacket of faith trap you in unreason. This mind trap of faith beliefs is a madman’s twisted misstep of the intellectually dishonest. Faith is so condemned as it is like an ego-driven trickster that requires no evidence of any kind to believe and will reject the disconfirming evidence against it, as unwarranted or unjustifiable beliefs seem to be an ideal expression of faith servitude. Faith is the champion of unsupported bad beliefs. FAITH: the Kool-Aid of mental intoxication. My friend, you keep chasing the myths and are so lost in the magical world of a believer’s wishful thing daydreams called faith, and while you do this, the rest of the world will still keep moving on with science. There will be one day to come (not the return of god) when finally all of the humanity will see religion, for what it is, which is little more than the earliest attempt at science fiction. It seems that for some people they are more threatened at the possible death of an illusion they favor than to welcome with open arms a new offered fact.

Universal Bad Issues Question: “If nothing changes, can you keep living life this way?”


Emotional Hijacking – Dr. Rick Hanson

In light of the machinery of survival-based, emotional reactivity, let’s look more narrowly at what Daniel Goleman has called “emotional hijacking.”

The emotional circuits of your brain – which are relatively primitive from an evolutionary standpoint, originally developed when dinosaurs ruled the earth – exert great influence over the more modern layers of the brain in the cerebral cortex. They do this in large part by continually “packaging” incoming sensory information in two hugely influential ways:

  • Labeling it with a subjective feeling tone: pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. This is primarily accomplished by the amygdala, in close concert with the hippocampus; this circuit is probably the specific structure of the brain responsible for the feelingaggregate in Buddhism (and one of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness).
  • Ordering a fundamental behavioral response: approach, avoid, or ignore. The amygdala-hippocampus duo keep answering the two questions an organism – you and I – continually faces in its environment: Is it OK or not? And what should I do?

Meanwhile, the frontal lobes have also been receiving and processing sensory information. But much of it went through the amygdala first, especially if it was emotionally charged, including linked to past memories of threat or pain or trauma. Studies have shown that differences in amygdala activation probably account for much of the variation, among people, in emotional temperaments and reactions to negative information. The amygdala sends its interpretations of stimuli – with its own “spin” added – throughout the brain, including to the frontal lobes. In particular, it sends its signals directly to the brain stem without processing by the frontal lobes – to trigger autonomic (fight or flight) and behavioral responses. And those patterns of activation in turn ripple back up to the frontal lobes, also affecting its interpretations of events and its plans for what to do. It’s like there is a poorly controlled, emotionally reactive, not very bright, paranoid, and trigger-happy lieutenant in the control room of a missile silo watching radar screens and judging what he sees. Headquarters is a hundred miles away, also seeing the same screens — but (A) it gets its information after the lieutenant does, (B) the lieutenant’s judgments affect what shows upon the screens at headquarters, and (C) his instructions to “launch” get to the missiles seconds before headquarters can signal “stand down!” – Dr. Rick Hanson


De-escalating Emotional Hijackings?

I really need to relax more as I am not thinking clear enough. I am only human too, like anyone. I see am starting to get too angry in general, I need to strive to be calmer, its just such open extreme hate against others really pisses me off. So I am not wanting to make mistakes by overreacting, something I can at times feel quite motivated to do if I am not working on it. I am really overloaded and feeling volatile right now and am working on de-escalating my emotional hijackings as best I can. I have been in a bad mood with all the shit storm going on and wanted to do something crazy but not harmful. So, I unblocked like 1,000 people from my block list on my Facebook profile. Thus, it may get interesting around here. \m/

Positive hijacks?

Goleman points out that “‘not all limbic hijackings are distressing. When a joke strikes someone as so uproarious that their laughter is almost explosive, that, too, is a limbic response. It is at work also in moments of intense joy.” He also cites the case of a man strolling by a canal when he saw a girl staring petrified at the water. “[B]efore he knew quite why, he had jumped into the water—in his coat and tie. Only once he was in the water did he realize that the girl was staring in shock at a toddler who had fallen in—whom he was able to rescue.” LeDoux was positive about the possibility of learning to control the amygdala’s hair-trigger role in emotional outbursts. “Once your emotional system learns something, it seems you never let it go. What therapy does is teach you how to control it—it teaches your neocortex how to inhibit your amygdala. The propensity to act is suppressed, while your basic emotion about it remains in a subdued form.” Ref


Emotional Hijacking?
“Emotional hijacking is a state when an individual’s cognitions are overpowered by his/her emotions. It is usually referred to in the context of aggression or fearfulness. With respect to aggression, it can be said to be a sudden unleashing of rage towards another person. It is an extreme emotional outburst or an emotional explosion caused by an incident that may trigger anger or fear in an individual. Such incidents happen quite often. There are a number of situations in which a person might get angry or upset and without even thinking about anything he/she might just lose his/her temper and explode with emotions and attack the other person verbally or even physically. For instance, an individual might suddenly get extremely angry and begin to shout at his/her friend and even slur him/her. In an extreme case, a disgusted husband might suddenly get upset and beat-up his wife badly. In more extreme cases, a person might kill another person with an outburst of anger. Wife beating and killing a person due to emotional hijacking can be rare, but incidents of individuals quarreling with each other and in the process damaging a relationship are quite common. Such moments do not last very long, but the time that it lasts does enough damage. Most of the time, a person regrets getting into such an act. Research shows that such emotional explosions are neural hijackings. In such a moment, a center in the limbic system (a part of the brain), the amygadala, the seat of all emotions in the brain, takes over the neocortex. The neocortex is the part of the brain that is responsible for our thinking. During this moment the neocortex stops functioning. The amygdala gets triggered and in an instant takes control of the brain, in a sense hijacking it. Hence, it is called emotional hijacking. Emotional hijacking does not occur out of no where. Usually certain past events that are disturbing to the individual keep building up resulting in the sudden emotional outburst. If a person is facing some problems for quite some time, they start playing on the mind and a moment may occur when he/she cannot take it any longer, which may result in the extreme explosion of emotions. A person may be too stressed out, or a person might be a bit angry for something that might have occurred before. In such a moment if something happens that further causes distress, then the chances of emotional hijacking to occur increase to a great extent. Emotional hijacking takes place in an instant and by the time it gets over it can do a lot of damage to the person in many ways. If emotional hijacking keeps on occurring, time and again then, it will have an immediate negative affect on the individual’s ability to have relationships as well as the quality of his/her current relationships. Emotional hijacking occurring too often in a person will give the impression to others of the individual being a loose cannon. People will begin to dislike his/her behaviour and may keep a distance from him/her. Likewise, his/her peers, friends, and others who are close to him/her may begin to dislike him/her, because nobody would like to be at the receiving end of a person’s extreme rage, especially when the person has a close relationship with them. Emotional hijacking also creates a lot of negativity within the atmosphere. If a person due to an extreme outburst of anger shouts very loudly, it has a bad affect on the mood of not only others, but also on the individual himself/herself. Such an emotional outburst is not at all good for the mental and emotional stability of the person. One incident of emotional hijacking can lead to a severe mood swing, so one can imagine what will happen if this happens very often. Such kind of behaviour will also increase the stress level of the person. In extreme cases it can cause high blood pressure and even heart problems. Therefore, emotional hijacking can have a very bad affect on a person’s mental as well as physical health. Instead of facing the negative consequences of emotional hijacking it is much better to try to prevent it as much as possible. One way to do this is to try to reason and thus challenge the anger provoking thoughts. Emotional hijacking is more of an impulse driven reaction. The person should try to think before he/she reacts in such an aggressive manner and in a way try to hold back that impulse. He/she should try to channelize his/her thoughts to a more rationalistic way and try to bring down the level of anger. This is a very good way to counter emotional hijacking, but it is easier said than done. During an episode of emotional hijacking, a person becomes cognitively incapacitated. He/she almost loses the ability to think at that moment. The best way to prevent emotional hijacking is to just move away from that place and go for a walk as soon as one realizes that matters can become worse. This works as a distraction from the anger provoking thoughts for the person. The person buys out some time, which helps in relaxation of thoughts and makes the individual calm down. In such a situation the left prefrontal lobe (the front-left side of the brain) of the person comes into being. When the anger provoking thoughts get distracted, the left prefrontal lobe, which is responsible for maintaining emotional balance, works as a counter mechanism towards the amygdala and dampens its affect on the brain. Thus, the person comes back to his/her normal and calm phase and is able to prevent emotional hijacking. In situations like this, watching television or listening to music can also help in distracting one from anger provoking thoughts and thus make the individual calm down. Distraction from such thoughts also helps the person to get into a more pleasant mood. If a person goes out for a walk, he/she might find the surroundings pleasant, which will have a positive affect on the mood and make him/her happier at that moment. The same thing happens when a person begins to watch television or listens to music at that moment. Other ways of preventing emotional hijacking is deep breathing and muscle relaxation. This helps in changing the body’s high arousal of anger to a low-arousal state. It also, in a way, works as a distraction from whatever triggered the anger. Emotional hijacking is, undoubtedly, a very unpleasant phenomenon. The consequences of emotional hijacking are nothing but bad, be it on mood, relationships, or the overall health of the individual. A person should always try to be in a positive frame of mind and try to be as emotionally relaxed and calm as possible. The more positive frame of mind the person is in the more chances are that he/she will be away from emotional hijacking and the more chances are that he/she will be an emotionally healthy person.” Ref

Critical Thinking and Emotional Intelligence?


From Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines, Winter, 1996. Vol. XVI, No. 2. by Linda Elder

Emotional intelligence is a topic that is attracting a considerable amount of popular attention. Some of the discussion is, in my view, superficial and misleading. In this paper, I shall focus on the problems inherent in the manner in which the idea of emotional intelligence is being conceptualized and presented. The main questions I am concerned with are: Does it make sense to speak of emotions as being intelligent or not? If so, is there such a thing as “emotional intelligence?” And if so, how does it relate to critical thinking?

I shall argue that it does make sense to speak of emotions as being, in some given context or other, “intelligent” or not, and, consequently, that it does make sense to speak of emotional intelligence. However, I will also suggest that the way the concept of emotional intelligence is now being popularized — by psychologist Daniel Goleman (1995), in his book Emotional Intelligence — is fundamentally flawed.

Once some preliminary distinctions are set out, I will focus on a conceptualization of the mind, its functions, and primary motivators, including a brief analysis of the relationship between thoughts, emotions and desires.
I will then develop a critical analysis of the primary theoretical views of Goleman.

Some Preliminary Distinctions

What is intelligence? In Standard English usage ’intelligence’ is understood as “the ability to learn or understand from experience or to respond successfully to new experiences”; “the ability to acquire and retain knowledge (Webster’s New World Dictionary).” Its possession implies the use of reason or intellect in solving problems and directing conduct. 
What is emotion or feeling? In standard usage, the term ’emotion’ is used to designate “a state of consciousness having to do with the arousal of feelings (Webster’s New World Dictionary).” It is “distinguished from other mental states, from cognition, volition, and awareness of physical sensation.” Feeling refers to “any of the subjective reactions, pleasant or unpleasant” that one may experience in a situation. Given these understandings, how might “emotional intelligence” be provisionally conceptualized? Most simply, emotional intelligence can reasonably be conceived as a measure of the degree to which a person successfully (or unsuccessfully) applies sound judgment and reasoning to situations in the process of determining emotional or feeling responses to those situations. It would entail, then, the bringing of (cognitive) intelligence to bear upon emotions. It would encompass both positive and negative emotions. It would be a measure of the extent to which our affective responses were “rationally” based. A person with a high degree of emotional intelligence would be one who responded to situations with feeling states that “made good sense,” given what was going on in those situations. Appropriately generated feeling states would serve as a motivation to pursue reasonable behavior or action. Emerging naturally out of “rational” emotions would be “rational” desires and “rational” behavior. Now let us consider how critical thinking fits into this picture. What is critical thinking and how might it relate to “the bringing of intelligence to bear on emotions?” If we provisionally understand critical thinking as Robert Ennis defines it, namely, as “rational reflective thinking concerned with what to do or believe,” then it clearly implicitly implies the capacity to bring reason to bear on emotions, if for no other reason than that our emotions and feelings are deeply inter involved with our beliefs and actions. For example, if I FEEL fear, it is because I BELIEVE that I am being threatened. Therefore I am likely to attack or flee. More on this point later. I shall argue that critical thinking cannot successfully direct our beliefs and actions unless it continually assesses not simply our cognitive abilities, but also our feeling or emotion states, as well as our implicit and explicit drives and agendas. I shall argue, in other words, that critical thinking provides the crucial link between intelligence and emotions in the “emotionally intelligent” person. Critical thinking, I believe, is the only plausible vehicle by means of which we could bring intelligence to bear upon our emotional life. It is critical thinking I shall argue, and critical thinking alone, which enables us to take active command of not only our thoughts, but our feelings, emotions, and desires as well. It is critical thinking which provides us with the mental tools needed to explicitly understand how reasoning works, and how those tools can be used to take command of what we think, feel, desire, and do. Through critical thinking, as I understand it, we acquire a means of assessing and upgrading our ability to judge well. In enables us to go into virtually any situation and to figure out the logic of whatever is happening in that situation. It provides a way for us to learn from new experiences through the process of continual self-assessment. Critical thinking, then, enables us to form sound beliefs and judgments, and in doing so, provides us with a basis for a “rational and reasonable” emotional life. When searching for the ingredients necessary for a highly rational life, it is therefore crucial not to underestimate the role of the affective dimension of mind. To engage in high quality reasoning, one must have not only the cognitive ability to do so, but the drive to do so as well. One must feel the importance of doing so, and thus be driven to acquire command of the art of high quality reasoning. What is more, it is evident that to learn to solve problems effectively, one must have the desire to do so. One must be committed to it. Thus the affective dimension, comprised of feelings and volition, is a necessary condition and component of high quality reasoning and problem solving. Every “defect” in emotion and drive creates a “defect” in thought and reason. Intelligence on this view, then, presupposes and requires command of the affective dimension of mind. In short, the truly intelligent person is not a disembodied intellect functioning in an emotional wasteland, but a deeply committed mindful person, full of passion and high values, engaged in effective reasoning, sound judgment, and wise conduct.

A Practical Theory of Mind

Given these foundational understandings, I will now provide a brief outline of my understanding of the mind and its functions. Before I do so, I want to point out that this theory of mind, as I conceive it, is an intellectual one, serving an intellectual agenda, and is not intended to compete with a psychological theory of mind serving a psychological agenda or with any other theory of mind serving some alternative agenda. I am ultimately concerned with developing a theory of mind that enables “ordinary” persons to effectively take charge of their thinking, intellectually speaking, and by that means to take charge of the quality of their lives. 
The human mind, as I understand it, is comprised, at minimum, of three basic functions: cognition, feelings, and volition. The cognitive component of the mind includes mental actions we traditionally link with “thinking” such as analyzing, comparing, assuming, inferring, questioning, contrasting, evaluating, etc. The cognitive function is concerned with conceptualizing, reasoning, and figuring things out. The feeling (or emotional) function is that part of the mind which is our internal monitor, which informs us of how we are doing in any given situation or set of circumstances. It is our gauge for telling us whether we are doing well or poorly. Because we are emotionally complex, humans experience a broad array of emotions from happiness to sadness, from enthusiasm to depression, from joy to sorrow, from satisfaction to frustration, and so on. The third function of the mind, our ultimate driving force, is the formation of volition or will. Within this function lie our agendas, purposes, goals, values, desires, drives, motivations and commitments. This is the mind’s engine, which revs us up and moves us forward toward some action, slows us down, or leads us to back away from some action. As our driving force, desires, volition, and play a key role in determining our behavior. These three basic mental functions, albeit theoretically distinct, operate in a dynamic relationship to each other, ever influencing one another in mutual and reciprocal ways. Thus, although they serve different roles, they are concomitant. They function so intimately in our experience that it is only theoretically that we can regard them distinctively. Wherever there is thinking, some related drive and feeling exist. Wherever there is feeling, some related thinking and drive can be found. Wherever there is drive, thinking and feeling are present in some form. Despite the fact that cognition, feeling, and volition are equally important functions of the mind, it is cognition, or thinking, which is the key to the other two. If we want to change a feeling, we must identify the thinking that ultimately leads to the feeling. If we want to change a desire, again it is the thinking underlying the drive that must be identified and altered–if our behavior is to alter. It is our thinking that, in the last analysis, leads us toward or away from some action, and in the last analysis sets us up for some given emotional evaluation of the situation. For example, if I THINK that the class structure I have designed for my students will enable them to thoroughly grasp the key concepts in the course, I will then experience an emotional evaluation of some kind when I try the structure out on my students. If it works, I will FEEL satisfied. If it doesn’t I may feel disappointed. Furthermore, I will be MOTIVATED toward or away from some action based on the thinking that I do in the situation. If my classroom structure fails to lead to the thinking that I want students to be doing, I may be MOTIVATED to improve the structure so that it works better to achieve my original purpose. Such motivation is based on my THINKING that classroom structures can always be improved and that to develop as a teacher involves continually reevaluating my class plans. On the other hand, if I THINK that students are generally lazy, and that nothing I can do will improve their ability to learn, I will be content with my old classroom structures (and not be MOTIVATED to improve them), and I will FEEL satisfied with my teaching methods.

Two Contrary Tendencies of the Human Mind

While the human mind inherently includes cognition, feelings, and drives as basic inter-influencing functions, the triad itself can be under the sway of two contrary tendencies of the human mind, the tendency of the mind to gravitate toward egocentrism, or the tendency of the mind to take into account a more comprehensive, and more “rational” view. What do I mean by this? Let me explain. Every human being enters the world with an initial motivation to have its way and to get what it wants, and thus “naturally” sees the world as designed to cater to its desires. This fact is apparent when we observe the behavior of young children. Their unfailing motto: “It’s mine!” As we grow older, we learn methods for getting our way, which are much less blatant and thus less obvious to the untrained eye. These methods can be quite sophisticated, but are often still fundamentally egocentric or self-serving. Throughout our lives, our own desires and narrow interests are typically in the foreground of our thinking. As we mature, we learn multiple ways to manipulate others, to influence or control others to get what we want. We even learn how to deceive ourselves as to the egocentrism of our behavior. We have no difficulty coming to conceptualize ourselves as fair-minded, empathetic, kind, generous, thoughtful, and considerate, as concerned, in short, with other persons. We recognize that it is socially unacceptable to be blatantly egocentric. Nevertheless, that outward appearance of concern for others is often just that, an outward posture that enables us to think well of ourselves as we, in fact, pursue narrow selfish interests. Nevertheless, however egocentric we may in fact become, we have, in addition, a capacity to go beyond it. For example, we unfailingly recognize the destructiveness of the egocentrism of others when in their selfish pursuits they violate our rights or needs. We can all therefore conceive of the considerate, the fair-minded, the “rational” person. We all approve of non-egocentric thinking in others. The result is a kind of dualism in us: our selfish, egocentric side, on the one hand, and our capacity to recognize higher values on the other. These two sides each can have a role in influencing our thoughts, feelings, and desires. What is more, because we become facile self-deceivers, it is often not clear to us when we are acting in an egocentric manner. Think of the husband who controls his wife through threat of physical force, and who deceives himself into believing that such physical punishment is “for her own good.” Think of the wife who manipulates her husband to get what she wants, while deceiving herself into believing that “what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.” Think of the politician who claims to believe in one thing, but after being elected, behaves according to an opposing belief (who in the first instance deceives himself into believing that whatever half-truths he tells during the election campaign are of no consequence, that they are simply necessary evils for getting elected). Think of the student more interested in “getting an A” than in learning, who deceives herself into believing that getting A’s in her courses is more important than learning. All of these are examples of egocentric thinking, thinking which is fundamentally driven by our selfish, self-validating desires. In the pursuit of self-preservation and self-interest, egocentric thinking has certain identifiable hallmarks. It is often marked by rigid, inflexible habits of thought. Moreover, seeing the world in a self-serving way, it routinely distorts information and ignores relevant information when working through a problem or issue. In other words it relates to the world according to an inherently self-validating structure, recognizing that which it wants to recognize and ignoring that which it finds “uncomfortable.” Certain predictable emotional reactions are typically a product of egocentric thinking. Emotions that are commonly egocentric include defensiveness, irritability, arrogance, anger, apathy, indifference, alienation, resentment, and depression. Of course, to determine whether a particular emotion is irrational or rational, one must look closely at the thinking that ultimately drives that emotion, not at the emotion in-and-of itself.

Tendencies Toward Rationality

Although we often approach the world through irrational, egocentric tendencies, we are also capable, as I have suggested, of developing a “higher” sense of identity. We are capable of becoming non-egocentric people, both intellectually and “morally.” Science itself exists only because of the capacity of humans thinking in a non-egocentric fashion–intellectually speaking. Moral concepts, in turn, exist, only because of the human capacity to conceive of responsibilities that by their very nature presuppose a transcendence of a narrow moral egocentrism. 
At a minimum, then, I envision the human mind as utilizing its three basic functions (thought, feeling, and desire) as tools of either egocentric or non-egocentric tendencies, both intellectually and morally. If I am correct, then, the human mind is easily “split” into contrary drives. However, the contrary drives that exist in people are not best understood as social stereotype often has it, between the “emotional” and the “intellectual.” Rather, the contrary drives occur between egocentric and non-egocentric tendencies of mind.

Contradicting the Standard Stereotypes

As you can see, the theory of mind I have been focused on is inconsistent with certain stereotypes and common misconceptions about the relationship between cognition and affect. For example, it is common for people to say things that imply:

  • that their emotions and reason are often in conflict with each other,
  • that emotion and reason function independently of each other,
  • that it is possible to be an emotional person (and hence do little reasoning),
  • that it is possible to be a rational person (and hence experience little emotion)
  • that rational persons are cold, mechanical, and lack such desirable traits as compassion and sympathy,
  • that emotional persons are lively, energetic, and colorful (though they are poor reasoners or do not follow their reasoning when making decisions),
  • In this view one must give up the possibility of a rich emotional life if one decides to become a rational person,
  • Likewise, one must give up rationality if one is to live life as a passionate, highly motivated person would.

These ways of talking do not, in my view, make sense of who and what we are. Rather they support a myth that is an albatross on all our thinking about who and what we are. They lead us away from realizing that there is thinking that underlies our emotions and the emotions that drive our thinking. They lead us to think of thought and emotion as if they were oil and water, rather than inseparable constituents of human cognition. They lead us to think that there is nothing we can do to control our emotional life, when in fact there is much we can do. I shall spell out my conception of that “control” as I critique Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman.

Critical Analysis of Emotional Intelligence

At this point let us turn to Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence. My overview of the book is that it provides a useful reminder of the importance of emotions in human life and of the fact that our emotions are intimately connected with cognitive matters, with thinking, in short. However, it is also my view that in his rush to make sense of the results of the data of brain research, Goleman inadvertently often becomes the unwitting perpetuator of social stereotypes about the relationship between emotion and reason. 
To begin, Goleman’s book is that of the popularizer, not that of the theoretician. He writes in a style that is zippy, catchy, and appealing. His book is written in the style of an experience journalist. On a casual first read, one might come away with the impression that it is well integrated and internally consistent. Unfortunately, however, it is not. Despite his frequent appeal to “brain research,” the bulk of his book is interpretative rather than “factual.” Or to put it another way, he blends his own interpretations so much with data from empirical research that one is apt to think that his interpretations of the data implicit in the studies he quotes are equivalent to data themselves. Nowhere does he call to our attention that he is doing much more than simply reporting. Nowhere does he call attention to the fact that he is continually construing what he is reporting in a direction. Before I go further, however, let me emphasize that there are genuine insights in his work. First, he is keenly sensitive to the important role that emotions play in our lives. Secondly, he recognizes, and rightly so, that there is an “emotional” dimension to intelligence. Thirdly, he articulates a number of useful strategies for improving our emotional lives, suggestions gleaned from the research he has canvassed.

The Problem of Translating From Brain to Mind

Goleman is concerned to help us achieve insights into human emotions and their relationship to the intellectual dimension of human functioning. He is concerned to give us insights into our minds. However, the basis for his conclusions about how the human functions is almost entirely that of a variety of studies that could loosely be called “brain” research. At the outset, we should question the move from data and interpretations based on research into the brain to conclusions about the mind. In the first place, we have almost an unlimited source of data about the human mind available to us–from the multiple products that the human mind has produced. 
What am I thinking of? For one, all the human disciplines are constructs of human minds: biology, chemistry, geology, physics, mathematics, history, anthropology, linguistics, etc. Anything we can say about the human mind must be consistent with its being able to create such monumental constructs. Secondly, the human mind creates such diverse things as poems, novels, plays, dances, paintings, religions, social systems, families, cultures, and traditions–a truly amazing array of constructs. Thirdly, human minds routinely interpret, experience, plan, question, formulate agendas, laugh, argue, guess, assess, assume, clarify, make inferences, judge, project, create models, form theories–to mention a few of the myriad things that human minds routinely do. Furthermore, the role of the affective dimension, of feelings and desires, in forming these mental constructs cannot be underestimated. Fourthly, insights into the relationship between cognition and affect can be gleaned from intellectual fields such as sociology, anthropology and psychology, as well as from fields such as literature, through the great works of authors such as Jane Austin, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, to name but a few. Recognizing something of this full range of things that human minds can do is essential before we come to conclusions about the human mind based on data from brain research alone. Or, to put the point another way, we should remember that however we translate from brain research data to functioning of the mind, the interpretation we come to must be consistent with everything we already know about the mind and its multiple modes of functioning and creating. This is precisely where Goleman fails. He talks about the mind as if brain research were somehow our best source of information about it. In fact, he states “the place of feeling in mental life has been surprisingly slighted by research over the years…now science is finally able to speak with authority…to map with some precision the human heart (p. xi).” Goleman shows no awareness of the massive quantity of information and knowledge already existing that is implicit in the existent products of minds.

Major Problems Inherent in Goleman’s Work

In addition to Goleman’s lack of sensitivity to the brain-to-mind translation problem, and his failure to acknowledge that we already know much about the mind through its works and constructs, Goleman’s work is often inconsistent and sometimes incoherent. Let us look at some cases.

Two Brains Equals Two Minds

Because Goleman’s “theory” of mind is based strictly on his interpretations of data from brain research, he comes to some questionable conclusions about the mind. For example, he states, “sensory signals from eye or ear travel first in the brain to the thalamus and then — across a single synapse — to the amygdala; a second signal from the thalamus is routed to the neocortex — the thinking brain. This branching allows the amygdala to begin to respond before the neocortex, which mulls information through several levels of brain circuits before it fully perceives and finally initiates its more finely tailored response (p. 17).” Based on this description of brain activity (and other similar descriptions), he concludes ” . . . we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels . . . These two fundamentally different ways of knowing interact to construct our mental life (p. 8).”  Or again: “In a sense we have two brains, two minds — and two different kinds of intelligence: rational and emotional (p. 28).” We want to “find the intelligent balance between the two, to harmonize head and heart (p. 29).” Suppose we grant that “signals” to the brain proceed to the amygdala before they reach the neo-cortex, and that this fact allows the amygdala to begin to respond before the neo-cortex, it nevertheless does not follow that we should then interpret the brain to have “two minds — and two different kinds of intelligence; rational and emotional (p. 28).” For either we grant that the amygdala has some cognitive capacity, or that it has none. If we believe it to have some, we should not conclude that the neo-cortex is the exclusive seat of “cognition” and “rationality.” If we believe that the amygdala lacks all cognitive capacity, there would be no reason to believe the amygdala capable of generating specific emotions — all of which presuppose specific cognitive definition. For example, if the amygdala generated “fear,” it must of necessity have the cognitive capacity to interpret something to be a “threat,” for fear as a human emotion presupposes some cognitive interpretation of “threat.” Presumably, Goleman is not assuming the amygdala to be randomly generating emotions unrelated to the person’s interpretation of their experience. Or again, if the amygdala generated “anger,” it must of necessity have the cognitive wherewithal to interpret something in experience to be a “wrong to oneself,” for anger as a distinctive emotion — rather than just a mass of undifferentiated energy–presupposes a sense of being wronged. To put it another way, it is unintelligible to make sense of an act of mind that fears without sensing threat or to feel angry without a sense of being wronged. A similar analysis could be given for any other emotion (e.g., feeling rage, jealousy, shame, humiliation, fulfillment, excitement, boredom, apathy, etc . . . ). Furthermore, how could the neo-cortex (Goleman’s “thinking” or “rational” brain) think or pursue a rational line of thought if it were not pervasively in touch with our goals, values, desires, fears, etc? In other words, if the neo-cortex is to be a kind of mind unto itself, then it is going to have to be informed with some of the affective structures of mind. Pure intellect (cognition without affect) is unintelligible, since as such it would have no motivation (which is affective). All Goleman could do to resolve this problem, as far as I can see, is to postulate that the neo-cortex has nothing but higher motivation, desires, and values and the amygdala nothing but lower modes of cognition. But one way or another, for the neo-cortex to formulate thoughts, and the amygdala to generate emotions, they each must have, respectively, an emotional component and a cognitive component built into them. The best Goleman can do here is to come up with the metaphor of “balancing” the rationality of the neo-cortex with the emotionality of the amygdala. But this makes no sense. One does not “balance” thoughts with emotions, one rather determines whether some given emotion is rationally justified or some given thought will lead to rational emotions. Hence, if I experience fear when there is nothing objectively or legitimately to fear, then I need my more (rational) thoughts to drive away my (irrational) fear. If on the other hand, I experience a fear which is well-founded and I notice that some part of my thinking is distracting me from dealing with the threat that underlies the fear, then I had better follow my (rationally-based) fear and use it to drive away my (irrationally-based) sense of security. In other words, once one recognizes that thoughts, feelings, and desires function as inseparable reciprocal sets in human life, then no theory of brain that separates them off into compartments will adequately account for the mind, as we know it. Of course, we can make sense of “balancing” two different lines of thought constructed by the mind looking at something from two different points of view. This “balancing” is the product of one cognitive-affective construct against another one. It is not a balancing of the cognitive (conceived as a thing in itself) with the affective (conceived as a different thing in itself). Furthermore, once we recognize that any reciprocal set of thought–feeling–desire may be either rational or irrational, we recognize that there is no reason to locate rationality in thoughts in themselves, nor emotions in non-cognitive structures in themselves. To use traditional metaphors, our heads have a heart and our hearts have a head. Thus, since thoughts and feelings are inseparable it seems illogical to think of them as needing to balance one another. If there is a good reason to think of the human mind having “two brains” or “two minds,” then it is to delineate the difference between our egocentric drives (with accompanying egocentric thoughts and emotions) and our rational drives (with accompanying rational thoughts and emotions). In short, Goleman’s underlying idea is fundamentally flawed: that since there are two brains, there are two minds, the thinking (or rational) and the emotional. To come to such conclusions about the human mind is to understand the human mind/brain in far too simplified a manner. The truth is that a complex, intricate relationship exists between thinking and emotions, that for every thought we have, there is a reciprocal feeling. Furthermore some of our thought/feeling combinations are rational while others are irrational. The mere presence of a thought need not imply that the thought be rational. The mere presence of an emotion does not imply the absence of embedded rational thought.

Feelings Prior to Thought

Goleman asserts that feelings can, and often do, come before thought. He says “the emotional mind is far quicker that the rational mind, springing into action without pausing even a moment to consider what it is doing. Its quickness precludes the deliberate, analytic reflection that is the hallmark of the thinking mind (p. 291).” Furthermore, he quotes from Ledoux (1986, 1992), who says, “emotional mistakes are often the result of feeling prior to thought (p. 24).” Yet, as I have argued, it is unintelligible to think of emotions occurring prior to some cognition. For example, I will not feel joy without thinking that something in my life is going well. Every emotion has a cognitive component that distinguishes it from other emotions. Otherwise, all emotions would be identical. I worry when I think that there is some problem I will not be able to solve. I feel jealous when I think someone is trying to take or has taken something that is properly mine. Thus the feeling state comes about because of the cognition that creates it. It follows then that it is impossible for feeling states to logically occur prior to some cognition. Goleman says that the emotional mind is quicker than the rational, or thinking mind, springing into action without pausing even a moment to consider what it is doing. Moreover, he states, “the more intense the feeling, to more dominant the emotional mind becomes – and the more ineffectual the rational mind (p. 9). This seems to imply that all intense emotions are irrational. Is it not possible to be rationally passionate about something, to think it through rationally and to have strong emotions about it? If the “thinking mind” involves “deliberate, analytic reflection,” can such thinking not also involve a highly intense emotional component?

Equating the “Thinking Mind” with the “Rational Mind”

Because of Goleman’s initial distinction between the “Thinking Mind” and the “Emotional Mind,” he is led into a number of problems, as I have suggested. Based on this distinction, Goleman erroneously equates the “thinking mind” with the “rational mind.” Are we to conclude, then, that all thinking is to be considered rational? How do we account for cognition that is irrational, or unreasonable? How are we to account for mistakes in thinking? Are they to be considered rational as well? Goleman states that “the beliefs of the rational mind are tentative; new evidence can disconfirm one belief and replace it with a new one – it reasons by objective evidence. The emotional mind, however, takes its beliefs to be absolutely true, and so discounts any evidence to the contrary (p. 295).” Furthermore, he states, “actions that spring from the emotional mind carry a particularly strong sense of certainty, a by-product of a streamlined, simplified way of looking at things that can be absolutely bewildering to the rational mind (p. 291).” It seems to me that Goleman, in both of these statements, is referring to emotional states and motivations that are driven by the irrational mind, or by irrational tendencies in the mind. Thus the fault for such problems falls not on the shoulders of the “emotional mind,” but result from logically unsound, somehow irrational thinking. A more realistic theory of mind would thus delineate not the “emotional mind” from the “rational mind,” but the “rational mind” (with its related emotional component) and the “irrational mind” (with its related emotional component).

Do Emotions Have a Mind of Their Own?

One of the significant problems in Goleman’s writing is his lack of consistency. He contradicts himself, for example, in the major points he makes about the thinking that occurs in the “emotional mind.” On one hand he states “The amygdala’s extensive web of neural connections allows it, during an emotional emergency, to capture and drive much of the rest of the brain – including the rational mind (p. 17).” This seems to imply that the emotional mind uses the “thinking mind” to achieve its agendas at times. On the other hand, Goleman states, “Our emotions have a mind of their own, one which can hold views quite independently of our rational mind (p. 20).” This statement seems to mean that emotions can somehow think for themselves, rather than that the emotional mind uses the thinking mind (which, remember Goleman equates with the “rational mind”) to serve its purposes. Therefore, although he quotes Damasio (1994) as asserting, “the emotional brain is as involved in reasoning as is the thinking brain (p. 28),” we are unclear as to whether, in Goleman’s view, the emotional mind thinks for itself, or whether it uses the thinking mind to think for it.

The Problem with “Emotional Hijackings”

On of the most often used metaphors in Goleman’s book is what he calls an “emotional hijacking (see Chapter Two).” In some places he refers to this as an “emotional emergency.” He contends that emotional hijackings occur when “a center in the limbic brain proclaims an emergency, recruiting the rest of the brain to its urgent agenda. The hijacking occurs an instant before the neocortex, the thinking brain, has had a chance to fully glimpse what is happening…this happens to us fairly frequently (p. 14).” He uses an example of the seasoned burglar Richard Robles out on parole after having served a three year sentence for more than 100 break-ins he has pulled to support a heroin habit. Robles, according to the story, decides to break into, and rob just one more home (because he “desperately needed money for his girlfriend and their three-year-old daughter [p. 13].)” He breaks into an apartment of two young women. While he is tying one of them up, she says she will remember his face and help the police track him down. In a frenzy he grabs a soda bottle and clubs both girls to the point of unconsciousness, then awash in rage and fear, he stabs them over and over with a kitchen knife. Looking back at that moment some twenty years later he says, “I just went bananas. My head just exploded (p. 14).” Goleman states that this sort of behavior results from “neural takeovers (p. 14).” He contends that “the design of the brain means that we very often have little or no control over when we are swept by an emotion, nor over what emotion it will be (p. 57).” This statement, and the very idea of an “emotional hijacking” or “neural takeover,” seem to imply that there are times when we have little or no control over what our emotions might drive us to do. If we have little or no control over when we are swept by an emotion or what that emotion might be, how then can we take command of our emotions? Furthermore, how can we fully take responsibility for the behavior that leads from that emotion? It seems to me that Goleman’s concept of “emotional hijacking” implies that when we experience highly intense emotions, those emotions drive our thinking (or lead us to action prior to thinking). If our emotions are driving our thinking and, by implication, our behavior; how then can we be responsible for the actions we engage in? Can’t we simply argue that we are experiencing an “emotional hijacking” when we engage in inappropriate emotion-driven behavior, that we cannot really do anything to stop such a “neural hijacking?” It seems to me that the case of Richard Robles is not best understood as an “emotional hijacking.” Rather Robles represents a paradigm case of a person engaged in egocentric, self-serving thinking, completely unconcerned with the rights of others. He used his cognition to rationalize his actions, leading him to believe that killing was necessary to avoid being caught. Therefore his decision to murder was an unjustifiable self-serving act, an act for which, in the final analysis, he ought to take full responsibility.

Garden Variety Emotions

Goleman doesn’t concern himself with what he calls “garden-variety” emotions such as “sadness, worry, and anger.” He says, “normally such moods pass with time and patience…(p. 57).” Yet it is precisely these everyday emotions that diminish the quality of most people’s lives. There is no reason why everyday emotions cannot be understood, for they are inevitably the product of thinking that is ultimately under our control. Whenever I feel any emotion, I can analyze it. I can ask myself: what is the thinking leading to this feeling? How can I alter my thinking so as to alter this feeling? What is more, Goleman’s viewpoint inadvertently supports the “reason-versus-emotion” stereotypes. To him, “garden-variety” emotions are not emotions we need be actively in charge of. This seems to imply that we should simply allow them to run their course, to do what they will, to control our thinking and behavior until they fade away.

Conclusion

If we are concerned with developing our rationality in order to improve our lives, we must understand the powerful role that both emotions and thoughts play in our minds. We must understand the ways in which affect and cognition influence one another in determining both our outlook on life and our behavior. Most importantly, we must come to terms with those truths about the human mind that enable us to begin the process of taking charge of our minds: that thoughts and emotions are inextricably bound, that we have both egocentric and rational tendencies, that our inner conflicts are never best understood as a simple matter between emotion and reason, that self-command of mind takes both extended education and self-discipline, that our fullest rational development is dependent on the development of rational affect, that to bring intelligence to bear upon emotions we must take charge of the thinking underlying those emotions. These important insights are more obscured than illuminated by analyses of the mind such as that offered by Goleman. To develop our awareness of the nature of the human mind and how it functions we must be careful not to over-emphasize the importance of “brain” research. Our most important knowledge of the human mind will always be, ultimately, knowledge drawn from the multiple constructs of the mind. Any theory which we develop of the human mind must make intelligible how it is that minds could create such multiply complex phenomena as poems, novels, plays, dances, paintings, religions, social systems, families, cultures, traditions–and do such diverse things as interpret, experience, plan, question, formulate agendas, laugh, argue, guess, assess, assume, clarify, make inferences, judge, project, model, dramatize, fantasize, and theorize. All of these creations and all of these activities of minds are closely inter-involved with our emotional lives. We are far, very far, from accounting for these products, or their “emotional” connections, by the use of the data of brain research. I doubt we ever will. Ref


Emotional Hijacking: What happens to your brain when you lose control?

“There are times when either fear or anger, turn us completely blind and make us act in a way that otherwise we would never do. At such times, we can use harsh words that hurt others and we commit reprehensible acts. We react in an exaggerated manner, without thinking, we lose control of the situation and ourselves. At that time occurs an emotional hijacking. All of us, sooner or later, we have been victims of these emotional hijackings. There are times when we stop thinking, we’re carried away by feelings and, after that critical moment, we do not remember very well what we did or why. When we are victims of an emotional outburst, the center of the limbic system declares a “state of emergency” and recruits all the resources of the brain to perform its functions. That seizure occurs within a few seconds and creates an immediate reaction in the prefrontal cortex, the area associated with reflection, and we have no time to evaluate what is happening and decide rationally. Obviously, all emotional hijackings have negative connotations. For example, when we are victims of an attack of uncontrollable laughter or feel euphoric, the amygdala also takes control and prevents us from thinking. In fact, is not the first time (and won’t be the last) that someone makes a stupid thing, moved by a state of euphoria, promising things that will not satisfy. The amygdala: Headquarter of passions and brain sentinel. The emotional hijacking is generated in the amygdala, which is one of the most important structures of the limbic system, where emotions are processed. In fact, the amygdala is specialized in the processing of emotional stimuli factors, and is linked to the process of learning and memory. It has been seen that when occurs a disconnection between the amygdala and the rest of the brain, we are not able to give an emotional meaning to the situation. For example, we can see our partner but do not experience any emotion. Thus, the amygdala is a kind of reservoir of emotional memory. However, the amygdala plays a fundamental role in passions. When this structure is damaged, people have no feelings of anger and fear. They are not even able to mourn. At this point you might wonder: if the amygdala works perfectly, how can we get carried away by passion so easily? The problem is that the amygdala also plays the role of sentinel of our brain and one of its functions is to examine the perceptions in search of a threat. The amygdala reviews each situation wondering if: Is it something I hate? Can it hurt me? Would I fear it? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, the amygdala reacts immediately activating all the resources and sends an emergency message to the rest of the brain. These messages are triggering the secretion of a number of hormones that prepare us to flee or fight. At this time the muscles tighten, the senses are sharpened and we turn on alert. The memory system is also activated to try to recover any information that may be useful to get out of that risk. Thus, when we face potential danger, the amygdala takes over and runs almost the entire mind, even the rational part. Of course, in our brain everything is ready to give free rein to the amygdala because when we are in danger, nothing else matters. Therefore, the amygdala is the first cerebral station through which run the signals coming from our senses, only after being assessed they pass to the prefrontal cortex. That is why, sometimes emotions go beyond us taking the control. Failure to activate the rational mind. Because an emotional hijacking occurs, it is not sufficient that the amygdala be activated, it is also necessary a failure in the activation of the neocortical processes that are responsible for balancing our emotional responses. In fact, it is usual that when the rational mind is overloaded with the emotional mind, the prefrontal cortex is activated to help manage emotions and to evaluate possible solutions. The right prefrontal lobe is the seat of negative feelings such as fear and aggression, while the left prefrontal lobe keeps them at bay, serving as a kind of neural thermostat that allows us regulating the unpleasant emotions. During an emotional hijacking, the left prefrontal lobe is simply turned off letting the emotions flow. One of the main problems of this neural alarm system is that in the world in which we now live, where there aren’t serious dangers threatening our lives, it is almost never necessary for the amygdala to hijack the rest of the brain. Especially when you consider that, when the amygdala is activated, it performs very crude associations with small pieces of past experiences. So that, if a person has developed a deep fear of the sound of firecrackers any similar sound can trigger an emotional hijacking. In fact, the low accuracy of our emotional brain becomes even stronger when you consider that many of our memories are from our childhood, when structures such as the amygdala and hippocampus had not yet fully matured and could store information with excessive emotional charge. At this point, we should not be surprised if some of our most intense emotional reactions are incomprehensible to us, as these could come from some event of our childhood in which the world still was too chaotic and when we even hadn’t acquired the language yet. At that point, any experience may have been recorded in an immature amygdala as a trauma, which can later be activated in similar situations. Is it possible to avoid emotional hijacking? There are some situations where it is virtually impossible to avoid an emotional hijacking. However, that does not mean we should resign to be passive victims of our emotions. On the contrary, we can train our brain to learn to discriminate between signals that actually represent a danger and others which are harmless. How to do it? First, being aware that most situations of everyday life can be stressful or frightening but do not represent a real danger. Therefore, there’s no need to be tense or angry. Moreover, it is necessary to practice detachment, in the sense that, the more possessions we consider as part of our “ego”, the more we will have the tendency to overreact when they are endangered.” Ref


The Role of Emotions in Critical Thinking

“Have you ever jumped to a decision just to get it over with…. to relieve the frustration or tension you were feeling? For most of us, the unfortunate answer is yes. Feelings certainly impact our thinking and our actions. I facilitate critical thinking training sessions, and invariably this question comes up: “What role do emotions play in critical thinking?” This question keeps popping up because many people have a stereotyped view of critical thinking as a completely logical process. They conjure up an image of Mr. Spock engaged in a detached analysis, completely devoid of emotion.   Some models of critical thinking reinforce this stereotype by focusing exclusively on impersonal analysis of information and logical evidenced based decision making.  In reality, those models are limited because people are just not wired that way. Thinking and Feelings are intertwined, and in the best critical thinking scenario, one helps the other. So, to engage in good critical thinking it is important to know how to recognize and harness your Feelings because they impact your Thinking. Here is how it works. Feelings serve as cues, helping you pay attention to certain information or increasing your focus in certain areas. Historically, this response has been very adaptive. For example, when our ancestors were faced with danger, they experienced fear and reacted quickly by heading for safety. A fast emotional response was ideal. Although times have certainly changed, we are still wired the same way, with quick trigger emotional responses. These emotional reactions help you recognize that something is up, but the cues are often vague and sometimes misguided. This is where Thinking comes into play. Let’s go back to the example of jumping to a decision.  Picture yourself experiencing an uneasy tension that comes when you perceive pressure to make a decision, maybe because people are waiting on your response. You don’t want to be the bottleneck; you don’t want to let anyone down. So, you rush through the information and reach a conclusion.  Presto, the pressure is gone, but what about the quality of the process? Let’s rewind and insert critical thinking into the process. Those uncomfortable feelings are cues, which could be read as a need for urgency or an opportunity to shift over to your Thinking mode. Specifically, you could Stop and Think: What am I trying to accomplish? Is the situation urgent? Why am I feeling pressured? In the Stop and Think step you are testing the validity of your feelings.  Maybe the situation is urgent and you do need to move quickly. Maybe it is not urgent and you can develop a strategy that matches the reality of the situation. Once you set up your strategy you are in a better position to move through the remaining critical thinking steps with a more attentive and balance approach. You are less likely to rush the process. Feelings can impact how we view a situation, what we see (or don’t see) and how we interpret information.   At each point, inserting thinking skills into the process will help you evaluate the accuracy of those feelings.  You will become adept at knowing when Feelings are leading you astray and when they are signaling an important cue worth noting. How have you used the power of emotions to make your critical thinking better? Learn more about the RED Model of Critical Thinking here.” Ref


Are You Vulnerable to an Emotional Hijacking?

EMOTIONAL HIJACKING: THE TRIGGER TO AN UNHEALTHY MIND (by  Ph.D. in Psychology focusing on Intimate Relationships)

Emotional hijacking is a state when an individual’s cognitions are overpowered by his/her emotions. It is usually referred to in the context of aggression or fearfulness. With respect to aggression, it can be said to be a sudden unleashing of rage towards another person. It is an extreme emotional outburst or an emotional explosion caused by an incident that may trigger anger or fear in an individual. Such incidents happen many a times. There are a number of situations in which a person might get angry or upset and without even thinking about anything he/she might just lose his/her cool and simply explode with emotions and attack the other person verbally or even physically. For instance, an individual might suddenly get extremely angry and begin to shout at his/her friend and even slur him/her. In an extreme case, a disgusted husband might suddenly get upset and beat up his wife badly. In more extreme cases, a person might kill another person with an outburst of anger. Wife beating and killing a person due to emotional hijacking can be rare, but incidents of individuals quarreling with each other and in the process damaging a relationship are quite common. Such moments do not last very long, but the time that it lasts does enough damage. Most of the times, a person regrets getting into such an act. Research shows that such emotional explosions are neural hijackings. In such a moment, a center in the limbic system (a part of the brain), the amygadala, the seat of all emotions in the brain, takes over the neocortex. The neocortex is the part of the brain that is responsible for our thinking. During this moment the neocortex stops functioning. The amygdala gets triggered and in an instant takes control of the brain, in a sense hijacking it. Thus, it is called emotional hijacking. Emotional hijacking, does not occur just like that out of no where. Usually, certain past events that are disturbing to the individual keep building up resulting in the sudden emotional outburst. If a person is facing some problems for quite some time, they start playing on the mind and a moment may occur when he/she cannot take it any longer, which may result in the extreme explosion of emotions. A person may be too stressed out, or a person might be a bit angry for something that might have occurred before. In such a moment if something happens that further causes distress, then the chances of emotional hijacking to occur increase to a great extent. Emotional hijacking takes place in an instant and by the time it gets over it can do a lot of damage to the person in many ways. If emotional hijacking keeps on occurring time and again then, it will have an immediate negative effect on the individual’s ability to have relationships as well as the quality of his/her current relationships. Emotional hijacking occurring too often in a person will give the impression to others of the individual being a loose cannon. People will begin to dislike his/her behavior and may keep a distance from him/her. Likewise, his/her peers, friends, and others who are close to him/her may begin to dislike him/her, because nobody would like to be at the receiving end of a person’s extreme rage, especially when the person has a close relationship with them. Emotional hijacking also creates a lot of negativity within the atmosphere. If a person due to an extreme outburst of anger shouts very loudly it has a bad effect on the mood of not only others but also on the individual himself/herself. Such an emotional outburst is not at all good for the mental and emotional stability of the person. One incident of emotional hijacking can lead to a severe mood swing, so one can imagine what will happen if this happens very often. Such kind of behavior will also increase the stress level of the person. In extreme cases, it can cause high blood pressure and even heart problems. Therefore, emotional hijacking can have a very bad effect on a person’s mental as well as physical health. Instead of facing the negative consequences of emotional hijacking it is much better to try to prevent it as much as possible. One way to do this is to try to reason and thus challenge the anger provoking thoughts. Emotional hijacking is more of an impulse-driven reaction. The person should try to think before he/she reacts in such an aggressive manner and in a way try to hold back that impulse. He/she should try to channelize his/her thoughts to a more rationalistic way and try to bring down the level of anger. This is a very good way to counter emotional hijacking, but it is easier said than done. During an episode of emotional hijacking, a person becomes cognitively incapacitated. He/she almost loses the ability to think at that moment. The best way to prevent an emotional hijacking is to just move away from that place and go for a walk as soon as one realizes that matters can become worse. This works as a distraction from the anger provoking thoughts for the person. The person buys out some time, which helps in relaxation of thoughts and makes the individual calm down. In such a situation the left prefrontal lobe (the front-left side of the brain) of the person comes into being. When the anger provoking thoughts get distracted, the left prefrontal lobe, which is responsible for maintaining emotional balance, works as a counter mechanism towards the amygdala and dampens its effect on the brain. Thus, the person comes back to his/her normal and calm phase and is able to prevent emotional hijacking. In situations like this, watching television or listening to music can also help in distracting one from anger provoking thoughts and thus make the individual calm down. Distraction from such thoughts also helps the person to get into a more pleasant mood. If a person goes out for a walk, he/she might find the surroundings pleasant, which will have a positive effect on the mood and make him/her happier at that moment. The same thing happens when a person begins to watch television or listens to music at that moment. Other ways of preventing emotional hijacking is deep breathing and muscle relaxation. This helps in changing the body’s high arousal of anger to a low-arousal state. It also, in a way, works as a distraction from whatever triggered the anger. It is very obvious that emotional hijacking is a very unpleasant phenomenon.The consequences of emotional hijacking are nothing but bad, be it on mood, relationships, or the overall health of the individual. A person should always try to be in a positive frame of mind and try to be as emotionally relaxed and calm as possible. The more positive frame of mind the person is in the more chances are that he/she will be away from emotional hijacking and the more chances are that he/she will be an emotionally healthy person. Ref

Emotional hijacking: Why do we lose control, and how can we gain it back

Bottom up inhibition of rational thought

The amygdala was the primary emotional hijacking culprit outlined by Goleman (1995). The amygdala receives connections directly from the thalamus; which functions as the sensory switchboard of the brain. Although this route is primitive, it is incredibly fast; ensuring quick instinctive responses in survival situations. A secondary route comes through the sensory cortex. This route is more realistic, yet slower (Phelps & LeDoux, 2005). The amygdala interprets these basic building blocks of sensory experience, and initiates a series of changes in the brain if they are deemed threatening. The amygdala can release hormones and neurotransmitters to ‘switch off’ or dampen activity in certain brain regions (LeDoux, 2007; Garcia, Voimba, Baudry, and Thompson, 1999). Monoamine oxidase is a chemical in the brain that breaks down serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. People with a certain variant of a gene that encodes this chemical, known as MAOA-L, demonstrate an increased amygdala response, and less control over emotional urges (Hunter, 2010). Interestingly, these individuals are only more aggressive when provoked (McDermott, Tingly, Cowden, Frazzetto, & Johnson, 2009). Another gene that encodes MAO-A; MAOA-uVNTR, has been found to play a role in panic attacks and agoraphobia (Reif et al., 2013). The reward pathway is evident in various types of addiction, which can lead people to act antisocially and take risks without forethought. Addiction is thought to be controlled by the striatum region of the brain, which contains the tegmental area (where dopamine is manufactured), and the nucleus accumbens; a brain region involved in reward and reinforcement (Wise, 2002). Everitt and Robbins (2005) stated that drug addiction was due to the striatum gaining more control over behavior than the frontal lobes. The insular cortex plays a variety of roles; however, its main role is the integration of bodily states into a sense of a whole self, a process known as Interoception (Craig, 2009). The insular cortex plays a large role in emotional hijackings, given that it is responsible for the bodily experience of emotion. The insula has been found to play a major role in drug cravings (Naqvi & Bechara, 2009) and in panic disorder (Gorka, Nelson, Phan, & Shankman, 2014). Top down inhibition is the ability of higher cortical areas in the frontal lobe to inhibit the impulsive, emotionally charged signals sent by the lower ‘reptilian brain’. Top down inhibition is imperative to long-term goal-directed activity and proper socialization. Etkin, Egner, Peraza, Kandel, and Hirsh (2006) investigated the effect of the anterior cingulate cortex on amygdala activity. They used a stroop test which presented either happy or fearful faces with the words ‘happy’ or ‘fear’ over the top. Subjects had to determine whether the pictures and words were congruent or incongruent. They found that activation of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex during the conflict-inducing stroop test was associated with decreased activation in the amygdala, suggesting that this activation resolved the conflict created by the amygdala. The Orbito Frontal Cortex (OFC) is largely responsible for the learned value of environmental stimuli. Crews and Boettiger (2009) summarised a number of research studies which found that addiction was related to low orbitofrontal activity. Case study of Phineas Gage: Phineas Gage was a railway construction worker in the 1850s. One day, while pushing explosives into a small hole to clear rock, Phineas became distracted and inadvertently ignited the powder, sending a 3.2 cm thick, 1.1 metre long iron rod through his left frontal lobe. The enormous changes in personality that occurred in Phineas as a result of this have been widely documented. His doctor, John Harlow had this too say:

“He is fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity (which was not previously his custom), manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint or advice when it conflicts with his desires. … A child in his intellectual capacity and manifestations, he has the animal passions of a strong man. Previous to his injury, though untrained in the schools, he possessed a well-balanced mind, and was looked upon by those who knew him as a shrewd, smart business man, very energetic and persistent in executing all his plans of operation” ”

—(Harlow, 1993, p 277)

Harlows‘ description of Phineas shows how necessary the frontal lobe is to emotional control. Without it, the subcortical structures have nothing to hijack. They are all that is left to control behaviour. So we know how and why emotional hijacking is caused. What can be done about it? Emotional intelligence theory follows the same motivation as positive psychology; to increase strengths instead of decreasing psychopathology. It was first outlined by Mayer and Salovey (1990) Emotional intelligence was defined as:

“The ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions

—(Mayer & Salovey, 1990, p 189)

Mayer and Salovey brought together scattered research and conceptualised it into 3 categories of emotional intelligence. The first is the ability to appraise and express emotion, both verbally and non verbally (interested in testing how good you are at this ability? Take this test!). The second is how well an individual can regulate this emotion, in themselves in others. The final category is how well one can use emotions to solve problems. Emotions can help solve problems through encouraging flexible planning, creative thinking, and a redirection of attention. So what has this got to do with emotional hijacking? Emotional intelligence, which can be thought of as the opposing process to emotional hijacking, has a genetic heritability of .41 (Vernon, Petrides, Bratko, & Schermer, 2008). It is up to the individual, and the society to influence the other 59%, and many programs have been designed to do this. Emotional intelligence programs are an effective way to reduce emotional hijackings on a large scale. There are numerous researchers and foundations implementing emotional intelligence interventions, with moderate levels of success. They are useful and have been proven to benefit their participants. Slaski and Cartwright (2003) implemented an emotional intelligence treatment in a sample of general managers, and found it decreased their distress by 10.5%. Brackett & Katulaks (2006) interventions in a number of US schools improved a number of outcomes, most notably a decrease in problem behaviour by students. Ref

Gross’ process model of emotional regulation

The process model of emotional regulation attempts to describe how different emotion regulating strategies can occur at different points in the emotion generation process. According to the modal model of emotion, the situation leads to attention, which leads to a cognitive appraisal, which then leads to a response (Gross & Thompson, 2007). In Gross’s process model, there are 5 different strategies that can be used to manage emotion different stages of the modal model. They can be divided into two main categories (Gross, 2002):

  • Antecendent focused: Preventing the emotion from occurring
  • Response focused: Dealing with the emotion after it has occurred.

The following descriptions are derived from Gross’s (2002) article.

Situation selection

Situation selection is actively choosing situations to avoid a certain emotion. For example, choosing to staying at home instead of going out to avoid a panic attack.

Situation modification

Situation modification is the act of changing the event as it is occurring. An example of situation modification is removing all triggers from your surroundings to prevent a relapse into addiction.

Attentional deployment

Attentional deployment is the act of distracting oneself from the event by thinking of something else. An example of attentional deployment is counting to ten while in the midst of an anger outburst. Attentional deployment studies generally follow the following protocol:

  • In active tasks, subjects are instructed to distract themselves from the emotion by thinking of something unrelated
  • In passive tasks, subjects are given a distracting activity and given no instructions or indication that it was to distract from the emotion. Positive means that the distraction is meant to induce positive effect, and neutral means that it is not meant to induce an emotion.

Cognitive change

Cognitive change is the act of reappraising a situation in a more positive light. An example of cognitive change is an wife attributing her abusive spouses behaviour to external factors; her rational thinking hijacked by her love.

Response modulation

Response modulation is suppressing emotion after it has already been generated by ignoring it and not expressing it. An example of response modulation is taking benzodiazepine drugs to avoid severe social phobia at a party.

Which emotional regulation strategy is the most effective?

Webb, Miles, and Sheeran (2012) found the following effect sizes for each type of technique, through a comprehensive meta analysis of the emotion regulation literature. Ref


4 Ways to Avert An Emotional Hijacking (By Susan Steinbrecher)

When you learn how to manage your emotions, you’ll be better equipped to navigate high stakes interactions.

If nothing else, leadership is about influence. Influence is the “currency” of leadership that is fortified by consistent, constructive action and emotional stability. It’s vital for all of us — especially those in senior leadership roles — to develop strong emotional regulation skills. Of course, your employees are responsible for their own emotional reactions, but as a business leader, you must accept the fact that you have impact on the people you lead. If you allow your emotions to get in the way, your demeanor may be counterproductive to their performance and morale. However, very few people are trained to focus on emotional management skills throughout their careers. We’ve been rewarded for results, not emotional intelligence. A lack of emotional self-management can seriously jeopardize both your business and personal relationships. The association between emotional regulation and effective leadership behavior has been well established in scientific literature. When you are emotionally “hijacked”, or in a particularly emotional state, there are serious disturbances in the way you process information and the way you retain it. During a high-stakes conversation, you are often operating out of the part of your brain called the amygdala — the fight or flight center — which is not conducive to a calm exchange or constructive outcome. We are rarely cognizant about what we are feeling and why. The challenge is to be the bulwark of your emotions by maintaining a composed state of awareness and being mindful and conscience of your reactions. With practice, you can transform high-stakes, stressful conversations into more collaborative exchanges with promising outcomes. Here are four ways to gather your emotional composure in the heat of the moment:

1. Pause — and take a breath.

While the other person is speaking, take the time to focus on your breath. Simply focusing on long deep breaths takes you out of your head and into the body. If you stay in the head, you are likely to let your emotions get the best of you, as you will be operating out of the amygdala. When you find ways to calm your emotions, the pre-frontal cortex, the critical thinking portion of our brain is engaged. You can then start to think — and not just react — and the exchange becomes more logical and less emotional.

2. Seek to understand without judgment.

Try to understand the other person’s point-of-view, concerns and feelings by asking more questions. When you ask questions — the attention is off you and on the other person, buying you some critical time to take deep breaths, calm down and allowing you more time to gather your thoughts. Asking more questions in your attempt to understand their point of view will also help diffuse the situation as you are showing a genuine desire to hear what the other person has to say.

3. Ask for clarification.

This is an important step — particularly when emotions are out of control. Be a patient, active listener and try not to focus on what you want to say in response. Ask for more specifics throughout the conversation if you think what is being said is vague or could potentially get misconstrued.

4. Delay the conversation.

Recognize that you may not always be able to manage your feelings when the stakes are high. If this happens, always consider delaying the conversation rather than allowing impulsive reactions to cloud your judgment or have a negative impact on your words and behavior. Rescheduling the conversation allows all parties involved some time to reset and potentially refresh their perspective. Ref



Human Flourshing

Helping is Helpful: Valuing, Motivating, Supporting

How to Grow in Our Positive Outcomes: Gratitude, Empathy and Kindness

We can become a more quality person by actively being aware and developing a gratitude for life, which supports as well as grows our feelings of empathy, that then motivates the behaviour of kindness.

“Creativity is fun and intelligence can be neat but it isn’t until you marry them both that creativity can give intelligence its wings.”

Ethical Violations?


Dignity = respect?

To me, dignity may be summarized as acknowledging as well as

honoring that others own themselves and thus possess value as fellow dignity beings.

“In the end all we really have is each other and life is too damn short to not be kind.”


Dignity?

“Moral, ethical, legal, and political discussions use the concept of dignity to express the idea that a being has the right to be valued, respected, and to receive ethical treatment. In the modern context, dignity can function as an extension of the Enlightenment-era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights. English-speakers often use the word “dignity” in proscriptive and cautionary ways: for example, in politics it can be used to critique the treatment of oppressed and vulnerable groups and peoples, but it has also been applied to cultures and sub-cultures, to religious beliefs and ideals, to animals used for food or research, and to plants. “Dignity” also has descriptive meanings pertaining to the worth of human beings. In general, the term has various functions and meanings depending on how the term is used and on the context. The English word “dignity”, attested from the early 13th century, comes from Latin dignitas (worthiness) by way of French dignité. In ordinary modern usage it denotes “respect” and “status”, and it is often used to suggest that someone is not receiving a proper degree of respect, or even that they are failing to treat themselves with proper self-respect.” Ref


My Atheism: “Axiological Atheism”


*My Axiological Dignity Being Theory*

An Axiological assessment of human beings” shows with an axiological awareness a logic of values is clear which takes as its basic premise that “all persons always deserve positive regard.” – Progressive Logic by William J. Kelleher, Ph.D. And the reason why we should are is because we are Dignity Beings.

 “Dignity is an internal state of peace that comes with the recognition and acceptance of the value and vulnerability of all living things.” – Donna Hicks (2011). Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict

— Why care? Because we are Dignity Beings. —

Just Another Fellow Being of Dignity
 
I once thought no one is friendly, so, I decided to start trying to be a friend to others. No one even seemed to care, so, I realized, I needed to care. No one really made “you” feel as if you mattered, so, I started valuing others, I see the world I wish to live in starts with me. After all other people are just fellow beings of dignity like me…
Using Axiological Awareness to Assist in Argumentation.
 
I hear some saying that the universe does not care and thus no one matters. However, the universe is not aware to make any thought or judgment of any kind. Just as a tree or rock, not understanding love does nothing to devalue love. Therefore, the universe not caring about humans is an invalid argument because it cannot be said to assess humans’ value. Because of this fact, it is disqualified to provide any valid rebuke of value or what matters. Let me make this clearer, the universe can make no assessment at all and this means nothing to the truth status of anything, such as I could say the universe does not know I exist but that expresses nothing about me existing or not.

The Axiology of Knowing Others, the World and Oneself
 
Axiology (theory of value) Knowing Others and the World
 
1. INTRINSICALLY = empathy thinking: value who others and the world are
2. EXTRINSICALLY = practical thinking: what value others and the world have
3. SYSTEMICALLY = structured thinking: other-definition / world-definition and expectations
 
Axiology (theory of value) Knowing Oneself
 
4. INTRINSICALLY = empathy thinking: inner self-value who I am
5. EXTRINSICALLY = practical thinking: outer value what I am to others and the world
6. SYSTEMICALLY = structured thinking: self-definition and expectations
 
Smith, B. (2011). Axiology for human behavior professionals. Dallas, TX: Clear Direction.

Knowing Yourself, Loving Yourself, and Being Yourself

The art of knowing your self: this involves getting to the place of knowing one self they, which they must first understand why koneselfneself is important, as well as how to comprehend they don’t already know themself or that most people don’t know themselves even if they think they do.

The art of loving yourself: this involves getting to the place of knowing one self they, which they must first understand why knowing ones self is important, as well as how to comprehend they don’t already know themself or that most people don’t know themselves even if they think they do. First one must think about what love looks like wouldn’t it be a growth producing or would it build self enlightenment and self truth? Do you feel I or any one can define your truth? If someone defined truth for you would you really own it? Wouldn’t it make more sense instead for me to broaden your ability to see the question? First would you think a question like this of such a personal relevance has right answers? To start thinking on what love is would we look at are fallible behavior or some philosophical definition? If we look at are relations with others could we be convicted of loving? If we wish for a philosophical definition of love what realities does it hold in our real lives? Is love a feeling or a behavior? If we look at love as feeling what emotional substance does it stem from? If we look at love as behavior is it fixed in the behaviors of others?

The art of being your self: this involves getting to the place of being one self they, which they must first understand why knowing ones self is important, as well as how to comprehend they don’t already know them self or that most people don’t know themselves even if they think they do. Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. Being yourself is celebrating you, as an individual – learning to express yourself and be happy with who you are. Define yourself by your self: You can’t be yourself if you don’t know, understand, and accept yourself first. It should be your primary goal to find this out. Be YOU authentically: don’t put to much care about how other people perceive you including your parents or family. The fact is, it really doesn’t matter in the long run and lf love must be bought bartered for or molded to be received, is it a love worth having. It’s impossible to be yourself when you’re caught up in wondering “Do they like or accept me?” To be yourself, you’ve got to let go of these concerns and just let your behavior flow, with only your consideration of others as a lens to reference with not own as your own.

*Don’t Hide: every one is unique has quirks as well as imperfections; we are all at different stages in life. Be honest with yourself, but don’t be to hard on yourself; apply this philosophy to others, as well. There is a difference between being critical and being honest; learn to watch the way you say things to yourself and others. Own who you are: if you’re always working to be someone you’re not, you’ll never be a happy person. Be yourself and show the world you’re proud of the way you are! Nobody knows you better than you and that’s how it should be. You deserve to be your own best friend, so start trying to figure out how you can do that. If you had to hang out with yourself for a day, what is the most fun type of person you could be, while still being yourself? What is the best version of you? Believe in this idea and use that as your starting point.


Utilizing Dignity?
 
Dignity Enrichment1. acceptance of thinking or behavior, 2. show understanding, and 3. offer support for who and what they are.
 
Dignity Attacks1. critical challenge of thinking or behavior, 2. expose confution or irrationalism, and 3. offer rebuttal or rebuke of who and what they are.

Attacking the Person?

I strive to attack thinking and not people but I sometimes may use dignity attacks or character attacks about behavior or thinking people are doing. I only say things they can quickly fix or change. Then I will pressure them to change it. My point in doing this is help mirror the bad or errored thinking or behavior so they can change if they wish I try to never do it to hurt anyone as I see this as not a productive and potentially abusive.

However, if I only spend my time pointing fingers have I not wasted times I could have also offered helping hands. Thus, even though somethings things need to be harshly pointed out so to is there a need to be involved in the benefit of helping where we can. May my drive to help not be somehow silenced just because there is a need to fight all that is wrong. I want to thank everyone throughout my life that have treated me with compassion and kindness. From something as simple as a smile or comforting word, to things that create impacts so big they were life altering; you have written with the pen of love across my heart and have helped me be a person who strives to also show and treat others with compassion as well as kindness. I do not respect faith, I respect people. I value the sanctity of “rights” of every person to self define their beliefs and do not attack people because of what they believe. I say, attack thinking not people. We who truly value ourselves and others can and do make a better world. May we together fill the world with this shining example of humanity.


Foolish people are limited and thus are impoverished of mind. So intellectually blinded they seem to hardly find much to which they feel compelled to learn. In this state of ignorance they often think foolishly that they somehow are in “full knowledge” know it all. Whereas, wise people are rich in intellectual openness and a deep desire for truth as well as an enriched need to know things as they actually are thus are so compelled to learn and are so willing to be a student that they can learn from anything around them.


Creating Our Purpose?

You know I have one message, be a good person, for whatever is the extremely short lives. Life is just too short not to be kind. Our behavior with others will either add to human flushing or it doesn’t. How desperately want acceptance and how desperately we need to accept each other in kindness. I only have one goal: Some people are a bit confused as to what my goals are with my thinking. I am not trying to change minds, I am trying to change the world.


 “Expose the Unspeakable harm”

We all can be irrational, but biases that is not even in the interesting point. Because we can all be irrational we have an outright moral obligation to institute accuracy in one’s choices. Which is similar to the potential for harm that beliefs unchecked can and do have, even if it’s just that it contributed to unspeakable harm.


To Feel or Not to Feel?

Slow down, and think, is that even a reality coherent statement?

To think we actually can someone how, like a switch, turn off completely what you feel or wish not to feel. No matter what the external really in every way possible we can know the external pressure against the fragile body our minds are enshrined. One who questions deeply the Reality of Existence every breath you willfully take and wish not abstracted should remind you that you have had your experience to being it all along, that aware was as point begin with feelings in fact, you always feel, unless something is very disrupted, it’s just that sometimes, we are refused to only feeling, for a time, Instead of clear thinking we fail for untruth or half-truths, in the acquisition of extremely traumatizing motivators we are nothing but unchecked feelings and runaway emotions. We are no longer the pilot then, no we have become the plain getting hijacked.


“Don’t be Boxed in by Abstraction”

All we have is “Now,” the here and now awareness is to finally live in what is actually present, anything else is Abstraction. Life itself is education. You are not some abstraction, you’re a body and you feel. So, no extra justification needed, but I still effort to give a justification anyway as I care to inform others if I can. Words are largely emotional projections, with an intentionally attached “emotional biology” created to motivate “emotions” in yourself and others to regulate or deregulate emotions.


Belief Regulation Also Involves Emotional Regulation

 If someone challenges a specific point and your minds first response is to employ rhetoric, like oversimplified hasty generalizations or inaccurate half-truths used to imply a further truth that is nothing but a mental evasion from a truth inquiry. If you do this, you seem to exhibit some obscurity in the claimed truth stance offered and not in the court of dialectical scrutiny. Be willing if shown to say, I guess I was a lot surer about the claim until it was critiqued, now I am wanting to learn more about in with you. We Love Generalizations (even if wrong): “We don’t like slow clear accurate thinking, no, we are biased irrational compulsive disordered hasty generalizations thinking beings.” We build our “belief” in the accuracy of our hasty generalizations one assertion at a time. In other words, we add undue increasing assurance because we keep saying it over and over again, not because it’s actually accurate to the facts. We may cherry pick a few facts to support this error in thinking but that is intellectual dishonestly as if it can be destroyed by the truth it should be.


You don’t like my truth? Well to be honest I didn’t care much for your lies.

In the honest search for truth, there is no sides.

Love and kindness are all we have in the end that makes life sense. I am no better than anyone, I too am just a fragile body alone in the world, if not for the kindness of others. Impress me with your evidence, not your evidence devoid options. I am a mental nightmare walking and radical thinker so free it’s like a psychopath taking, king of my jungle, just a mental gangster stalking the menus of unchecked flawed thinking.


Dear of Seed of Hate, I no longer love you.
 
Where did the seeds of hate come from you may ask: well, “That is only mine”, “only they are me”, “they are only allowed there” “only they are allowed this/that” or “only I matter”, all of which have quit often sent a seed of hate in the world and we have been responding to them for years on end. Who is wrong? Once I was wrong. And then wrong again. In fact, I have been wrong all my life. One has not found the truth if they believe that they are never wrong. I am sure this plague of myside bias is a fantastic way of not learning new truth if that matters to you? Dear thinkers welcome you’re being completely shown to be wrong, as who wants to spend another second believing a lie. You don’t honestly want to believe lies or half-truths do you?

THE SOUL OF LIBERTY: “The Universal Ethic of Freedom and Human Rights” By Fred E. Foldvary

My Atheistic (socialist-anarchist) Humanism?

Moral Judgment and Value Theorizing?

Tenets of Secular Ethics?


Moral fear and Moral love (which together motivate my axiological ethics)?

Harm is often a violation of trust and a violation of expected trust makes bad things even worse like if I told you a child was killed, you would feel it was terrible but if I further told you it was the child’s doctor that murdered the child out of anger. You would be more angered as doctors are expected to care for people not harm them. And if you think that is bad what if I further told you the doctor who killed the child was her mother would you hold her even mone in contempt as mothers also are expected to care and not kill children, so a violation of trust is terrible and even makes things worse. Therefore, we can see why people that hold places of trust should never abuse them, and that we should hold them accountable if they do violate such trust by harming others. Morality first, that is morality should be at the forefront in all I do. I hope I am always strong enough to put my morality at the forefront in all I do, so much so, that it is obvious in the ways I think and behave. To better grasp, a naturalistic morality one should see the perspective of how there is a self-regulatory effect on the self-evaluative moral emotions, such as shame and guilt. Broadly conceived, self-regulation distinguishes between two types of motivation: approach/activation and avoidance/inhibition. one should conceptually understand the socialization dimensions (parental restrictiveness versus nurturance), associated emotions (anxiety versus empathy), and forms of morality (proscriptive versus prescriptive) that serve as precursors to each self-evaluative moral emotion.


Justice in the Workplace: morality/ethical dimensions

Real Morality vs. Pseudo Morality

Religions Promote Pseudo-Morality

Think there is no objective morality?

True Morality Not the Golden Rule…

Axiological Atheism Morality Critique: of the bible god

Addressing Destructive Cults?

How Do I Gain a Morality Persuasion or Make a Change to it?


My quick definition of Axiology?
Axiology is a philosophy (value theory) and a social science/science of value (formal axiology) mainly involving the “what, why, and how” of “value” the way epistemology approaches “knowledge” as in what is of value/good/worth/beneficial/ or useful? Why is the thing in question of value/good/worth/beneficial/or useful? How should the value/good/worth/beneficial/ or useful be interacted with? Real Morality is an emergent aspect limited to a sphere of social dynamics (social) result in human progress and social evolution understood in mental processes of high cognitively developed beings (biological) with developed psychological quality of awareness (psychological) and the so-called moral facts and the values that support or motivate them is limited to the realm of possible harm psychological or physical (actual external world or experiential internal world). I would like to offer my understanding of how I see the layout of morality, values, morals, and ethics as I see them. I see the term “morality” proper as the main moniker to a philosophic group (values, morals, and ethics) or a main heading that involves the subheadings of values, morals, and ethics. Values, morals, and ethics, in a basic observational way, should be understood as falling under branches expressing different but similar thinking and behavioral persuasion. Values are the internal catalyst often motivating our thinking and behaviors. Such as a value of all human life, would tend to motivate you to not wantonly end human lives. Just as a lack of value for all human life, may tend to motivate you to not have an issue with the wanton ending of human lives. Morals to me, are the personal persuasion that you value, such as having a desire for truthfulness. Then we have ethics and we know this is a different branch of the morality tree, as there is business ethics/professional ethics but not really business morals or professional morals; other than one’s self-chosen persuasion which may be adopted from business ethics/professional ethics. Ethics are as I have expressed our social universal prescriptions/persuasions public morality whereas morals to me are personal morality. Therefore, we can hold others to universal ethics standards (public morality) and not our moral proclivities that are not universal on others, as morals are for us (personal morality). To me, true Morality summed up to me is largely the expression of axiological value judgments/assessments carried into an appropriate valueized action. Axiology: Two Worlds in Three Dimensions of Value

Axiological Morality Critique of Pseudo-Morality/Pseudomorality?

True Morality summed up to me is largely the expression of axiological value judgments/assessments carried into an appropriate valueized action.

Why care? Because we are Dignity Beings.

*Axiological Dignity Being Theory*

My Axiological Dignity Being Theory: An “Axiological assessment of human beings” shows with an axiological awareness a logic of values is clear which takes as its basic premise that “all persons always deserve positive regard.” – Progressive Logic by William J. Kelleher, Ph.D. And the reason why we should care is that we are Dignity Beings.

“Dignity is an internal state of peace that comes with the recognition and acceptance of the value and vulnerability of all living things.” – Donna Hicks (2011). Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict

I am inspired by philosophy, enlightened by archaeology and grounded by science that religious claims, on the whole, along with their magical gods, are but Dogmatic-Propaganda, myths and lies. Kindness beats prayers every time, even if you think prayer works, you know kindness works. Think otherwise, do both without telling people and see which one they notice. Aspire to master the heavens but don’t forget about the ones in need still here on earth. You can be kind and never love but you cannot love and never be kind. Therefore, it is this generosity of humanity, we need the most of. So, if you can be kind, as in the end some of the best we can be to others is to exchange kindness. For too long now we have allowed the dark shadow of hate to cloud our minds, while we wait in silence as if pondering if there is a need to commiserate. For too long little has been done and we too often have been part of this dark clouded shame of hate. Simply, so many humans now but sadly one is still left asking, where is the humanity?

Why Ought We Care?

Because kindness is like chicken soup to the essence of who we are, by validating the safety needs of our dignity. When the valuing of dignity is followed, a deep respect for one’s self and others as dignity beings has become one’s path. When we can see with the eyes of love and kindness, how well we finally see and understand what a demonstrates of a mature being of dignity when we value the human rights of others, as we now see others in the world as fellow beings of dignity. We need to understand what should be honored in others as fellow dignity beings and the realization of the value involved in that. As well as strive to understand how an attack to/on a person’s “human rights” is an attack to/on the value and worth of a dignity being. Yes, I want to see “you” that previous being of dignity worthy of high value and an honored moral weight to any violation of their self-ownership. And this dignity being with self-ownership rights is here before you seeking connection. what will you do, here you are in the question ever present even if never said aloud, do you see me now or are you stuck in trying to evaluate my value and assess worth as a fellow being of dignity. A violation of one’s dignity (Which it the emotional, awareness or the emotional detection of the world) as a dignity being can be quite harmful, simply we must see how it can create some physiological disturbance in the dignity being its done to. I am a mutualistic thinker and to me, we all are in this life together as fellow dignity beings. Therefore, I want my life to be of a benefit to others in the world. We are natural evolutionary derived dignity beings not supernatural magic derived soul/spirit beings. Stopping lying about who we are, as your made-up magic about reality which is forced causing a problem event (misunderstanding of axiological valuations) to the natural wonder of reality. What equals a dignity worth being, it is the being whose species has cognitive awareness and the expense of pain. To make another dignity being feel pain is to do an attack to their dignity as well as your own. What equals a dignity worth being, it is the being whose species has cognitive awareness and the expense of pain. When I was younger I felt proud when I harmed those I did not like now I find it deserving even if doing it was seen as the only choice as I now see us for who we are valuable beings of dignity. I am not as worried about how I break the box you believe I need to fit as I am worried about the possibility of your confining hopes of hindering me with your limits, these life traps you have decided about and for me are as owning character attacks to my dignity’s needs which can be generalized as acceptance, understanding, and support. As I see it now, how odd I find it to have prejudice or bigotry against other humans who are intact previous fellow beings of dignity, we too often get blinded by the external packaging that holds a being of dignity internally. What I am saying don’t judge by the outside see the worth and human value they have as a dignity being. Why is it easier to see what is wrong then what is right? Why do I struggle in speaking what my heart loves as thorough and as passionate as what I dislike or hate? When you say “an act of mercy” the thing that is being appealed to or for is the proposal of or for the human quality of dignity. May my lips be sweetened with words of encouragement and compassion. May my Heart stay warm in the arms kindness. May my life be an expression of love to the world. Dignity arises in our emotional awareness depending on cognition. Our dignity is involved when you feel connected feelings with people, animals, plants, places, things, and ideas. Our dignity is involved when we feel an emotional bond “my family”, “my pet”, “my religion”, “my sport’s team” etc. Because of the core sensitivity of our dignity, we feel that when we connect, then we are also acknowledging, understanding, and supporting a perceived sense of dignity. Even if it’s not actually a dignity being in the case of plants, places, things, and ideas; and is rightly interacting with a dignity being in people and animals. We are trying to project “dignity developing motivation” towards them somewhere near equally even though human and animals don’t have the same morality weight to them. I am anthropocentric (from Greek means “human being center”) as an Axiological Atheist. I see humans value as above all other life’s value. Some say well, we are animals so they disagree with my destination.  But how do the facts play out? So, you don’t have any difference in value of life? Therefore, a bug is the same as a mouse, a mouse is the same as a dolphin, a dolphin is the same as a human, all to you have exactly the same value? You fight to protect the rights of each of them equally? And all killing of any of them is the same crime murder? I know I am an animal but you also know that we do have the term humans which no other animal is classified. And we don’t take other animals to court as only humans and not any other animals are like us. We are also genetically connected to plants and stars and that still doesn’t remove the special class humans removed from all other animals. A society where you can kill a human as easily as a mosquito would simply just not work ethically to me and it should not to any reasonable person either. If you think humans and animals are of equal value, are you obviously for stronger punishment for all animals to the level of humans? If so we need tougher laws against all animals including divorce and spousal or child support and we will jail any animal parent (deadbeat animal) who does not adequately as we have been avoiding this for too long and thankfully now that in the future the ideas about animals being equal we had to create a new animal police force and animal court system, not to mention are new animal jails as we will not accept such open child abuse and disregard for responsibilities? As we don’t want to treat animals as that would be unjust to some humans, but how does this even make sense? To me it doesn’t make sense as humans a different from all other animals even though some are similar in some ways. To further discuss my idea of *dignity developing motivation” can be seen in expressions like, I love you and I appreciate you. Or the behavior of living and appreciating. However, this is only true between higher cognitive aware beings as dignity and awareness of selfness is directly related to dignity awareness. The higher the dignity awareness the higher the moral weight of the dignity in the being’s dignity. What do you think are the best ways to cultivate dignity? Well, to me dignity is not a fixed thing and it feels honored or honoring others as well as help self-helping and other helping; like ones we love or those in need, just as our dignity is affected by the interactions with others. We can value our own dignity and we can and do grow this way, but as I see it because we are a social animals we can usually we cannot fully flourish with our dignity. Thus, dignity is emotionally needy for other dignity beings that is why I surmise at least a partially why we feel empathy and compassion or emotional bonds even with animals is a dignity awareness and response. Like when we say “my pet” cat one is acknowledging our increased personal and emotional connecting. So, when we exchange in experience with a pet animal what we have done is we raze their dignity. Our dignity flourishes with acceptance, understanding and support. Our dignity withers with rejection, misunderstanding, and opposition. Dignity: is the emotional sensitivity of our sense of self or the emotional understanding about our sense of self. When you say, they have a right to what they believe, what I hear is you think I don’t have a right to comment on it. Dignity is the emotional sensitivity of our sense of self or the emotional understanding about our sense of self. To me when we say it’s wrong to kill a human, that person is appealing to our need to value the dignity of the person.’ The person with whom may possibly be killed has a life essence with an attached value and moral weight valuations. And moral weight,’ which is different depending on the value of the dignity being you are addressing understanding moral weight as a kind of liability, responsibility, or rights is actualized. So, it’s the dignity to which we are saying validates the right to life. But I believe all living things with cognitively aware have a dignity. As to me dignity is the name I home to the emotional experience, emotional expression, emotional intelligence or sensitivity at the very core of our sense of self the more aware the hire that dignity value and thus worth. Dignity is often shredded similar to my thinking: “Moral, ethical, legal, and political discussions use the concept of dignity to express the idea that a being has an innate right to be valued, respected, and to receive ethical treatment. In the modern context dignity, can function as an extension of the Enlightenment-era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights. English-speakers often use the word “dignity” in prescriptive and cautionary ways: for example, in politics it can be used to critique the treatment of oppressed and vulnerable groups and peoples, but it has also been applied to cultures and sub-cultures, to religious beliefs and ideals, to animals used for food or research, and to plants. “Dignity” also has descriptive meanings pertaining to human worth. In general, the term has various functions and meanings depending on how the term is used and on the context.” Dignity, authenticity and integrity are of the highest value to our experience, yet ones that we must define for ourselves. People of hurt and harm, you are not as free to attack other beings of dignity without any effect on you as you may think. So, I am sorry not sorry that there is no such thing in general, as hurting or harming other beings of dignity without psychological destruction to the dignity being in us. This is an understanding that once done hunts and harm of other beings of dignity emotionally/psychologically hurts and harms your life as an acceptance needy dignity being, as we commonly experience moral discuss involuntary as on our deepest level as dignity beings. Disgust is deeply related to our sense of morality.


Babies & Morality?

“They believe babies are in fact born with an innate sense of morality, and while parents and society can help develop a belief system in babies, they don’t create one. A team of researchers at Yale University’s Infant Cognition Center, known as The Baby Lab, showed us just how they came to that conclusion.” Ref

Animals and Morality?

5 Animals With a Moral Compass Moreover, Animals can tell right from wrong: Scientists studying animal behavior believe they have growing evidence that species ranging from mice to primates are governed by moral codes of conduct in the same way as humans. Likewise, in the book: Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of AnimalsScientists have long counseled against interpreting animal behavior in terms of human emotions, warning that such anthropomorphizing limits our ability to understand animals as they really are. Yet what are we to make of a female gorilla in a German zoo who spent days mourning the death of her baby? Or a wild female elephant who cared for a younger one after she was injured by a rambunctious teenage male? Or a rat who refused to push a lever for food when he saw that doing so caused another rat to be shocked? Aren’t these clear signs that animals have recognizable emotions and moral intelligence? With Wild Justice Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce unequivocally answer yes. Marrying years of behavioral and cognitive research with compelling and moving anecdotes, Bekoff and Pierce reveal that animals exhibit a broad repertoire of moral behaviors, including fairness, empathy, trust, and reciprocity. Underlying these behaviors is a complex and nuanced range of emotions, backed by a high degree of intelligence and surprising behavioral flexibility. Animals, in short, are incredibly adept social beings, relying on rules of conduct to navigate intricate social networks that are essential to their survival. Ultimately, Bekoff and Pierce draw the astonishing conclusion that there is no moral gap between humans and other species: morality is an evolved trait that we unquestionably share with other social mammals.

Moral Naturalism (James Lenman)

While “moral naturalism” is sometimes used to refer to any approach to metaethics intended to cohere with naturalism in metaphysics more generally, the label is more usually reserved for naturalistic forms of moral realism according to which there are objective moral facts and properties and these moral facts and properties are natural facts and properties. Views of this kind appeal to many as combining the advantages of naturalism and realism. Ref


Moral fear and Moral love (which together motivate my axiological ethics)?

“Sometimes justice has to outweigh care and sometimes care has to outweigh justice.”

And one may ask or question how do you discern the appropriate morality course of action between what is ethically right? To me, it takes Axiology (i.e. value consciousness: value judgment analysis of ethical appropriateness do to assess value involved).

MORAL FEAR (fight or flight “justice perspective”):

To feel a kind of morality “anxiety” (ethical apprehension to potentially cause harm) about behaviors and their outcomes empathy (I feel you) or sympathy (I feel for you) about something moral that may be done, is being done, or that has been done, thus feeling of distress, apprehension or alarm caused by value driven emotional intelligence concern; moral/ethical anxiety to the possibility; chance (to do something as a moral thinker and an ethical actor) or dread; respect (to take the sensitivity of a personal moral choice that leads one to choose an ethical behavior(s) and grasping the moral weight of the actions involved and potential outcomes this engagement can or will likely create (using data from learning whether theoretical or practical to lessen the effect of an unpleasant choice as much as posable (morality development/awareness/goals/persuasion). “Moral Anxiety, improves us, while Social Anxiety kills. Some anxieties are indicators of healthy curiosity and strong moral fiber, while others are a source of severe stress. Knowing which is which can help you to navigate your personal, professional, and intellectual life more effectively.” Ref Moral fear thus is a kind of morality “anxiety” that motivates a fascinating aspect of humanity, which is that we hold ourselves to high moral standards. With our values and emotional intelligence and moral development, we gain a developed prosocial persuasion thus “tend to self-imposed rules on ourselves to protect society from the short-term temptations that might cause us to do things that would have a negative impact in the long-run.  For example, we might be tempted to harm a person who bothers us, but a society in which everyone gave in to the temptation to hurt those who made us angry would quickly devolve into chaos. And once we accept that emotion plays some role in complex decisions, it is important to figure out which emotions are influencing different kinds of choices. Therefore, when we make these moral judgments to an extent we are somewhat driven by our ability to reason about the consequences of the actions or are  influenced by their emotions to or about the outcomes of the consequences of the actions.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201308/anxiety-and-moral-judgment

*ps. MORAL FEAR (fight or flight “consequentialist ethics/utilitarian ethics”) is roughly referring to the fight-or-flight response, also known as the acute stress response, refers to a physiological reaction that occurs in the presence of something that is terrifying, either mentally or physically. The fight-or-flight response (also called hyperarousal, or the acute stress response) is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful eventattack, or threat to survival. An evolutionary psychology explanation is that early animals had to react to threatening stimuli quickly and did not have time to psychologically and physically prepare themselves. The fight or flight response provided them with the mechanisms to rapidly respond to threats against survival. This response is recognized as the first stage of the general adaptation syndrome that regulates stress responses among vertebrates and other organisms. The reaction begins in the amygdala, which triggers a neural response in the hypothalamus. The initial reaction is followed by activation of the pituitary gland and secretion of the hormone ACTH. The adrenal gland is activated almost simultaneously and releases the hormone epinephrine. The release of chemical messengers results in the production of the hormone cortisol, which increases blood pressureblood sugar, and suppresses the immune system. The initial response and subsequent reactions are triggered in an effort to create a boost of energy. This boost of energy is activated by epinephrine binding to liver cells and the subsequent production of glucose. Additionally, the circulation of cortisol functions to turn fatty acids into available energy, which prepares muscles throughout the body for response. Catecholamine hormones, such as adrenaline (epinephrine) or noradrenaline (norepinephrine), facilitate immediate physical reactions associated with a preparation for violent muscular action and :

The physiological changes that occur during the fight or flight response are activated in order to give the body increased strength and speed in anticipation of fighting or running. Some of the specific physiological changes and their functions include:

  • Increased blood flow to the muscles activated by diverting blood flow from other parts of the body.
  • Increased blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugars, and fats in order to supply the body with extra energy.
  • The blood clotting function of the body speeds up in order to prevent excessive blood loss in the event of an injury sustained during the response.
  • Increased muscle tension in order to provide the body with extra speed and strength. RefRef

Here is a little on Consequentialist ethics and Utilitarian ethics

*Consequentialist ethics: involves a class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one’s conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act (or omission from acting) is one that will produce a good outcome, or consequence. In an extreme form, the idea of consequentialism is commonly encapsulated in the saying, “the end justifies the means“, meaning that if a goal is morally important enough, any method of achieving it is acceptable. Consequentialism is usually contrasted with deontological ethics (or deontology), in that deontology, in which rules and moral duty are central, derives the rightness or wrongness of one’s conduct from the character of the behaviour itself rather than the outcomes of the conduct. It is also contrasted with virtue ethics, which focuses on the character of the agent rather than on the nature or consequences of the act (or omission) itself, and pragmatic ethics which treats morality like science: advancing socially over the course of many lifetimes, such that any moral criterion is subject to revision. Consequentialist theories differ in how they define moral goods. Some argue that consequentialist and deontological theories are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For example, T. M. Scanlon advances the idea that human rights, which are commonly considered a “deontological” concept, can only be justified with reference to the consequences of having those rights. Similarly, Robert Nozick argues for a theory that is mostly consequentialist, but incorporates inviolable “side-constraints” which restrict the sort of actions agents are permitted to do. Ref

*Utilitarian ethics: involve an ethical theory which states that the best action is the one that maximizes utility. “Utility” is defined in various ways, usually in terms of the well-being of sentient entities. Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, described utility as the sum of all pleasure that results from an action, minus the suffering of anyone involved in the action. Utilitarianism is a version of consequentialism, which states that the consequences of any action are the only standard of right and wrong. Unlike other forms of consequentialism, such as egoism, utilitarianism considers the interests of all beings equally. Proponents of utilitarianism have disagreed on a number of points, such as whether actions should be chosen based on their likely results (act utilitarianism) or whether agents should conform to rules that maximize utility (rule utilitarianism). There is also disagreement as to whether total (total utilitarianism) or average (average utilitarianism) utility should be maximized. Though the seeds of the theory can be found in the hedonists Aristippus and Epicurus, who viewed happiness as the only good, the tradition of utilitarianism properly began with Bentham, and has included John Stuart MillHenry SidgwickR. M. HareDavid Braybrooke, and Peter Singer. It has been applied to social welfare economics, the crisis of global poverty, the ethics of raising animals for food and the importance of avoiding existential risks to humanity. Because utilitarianism is not a single theory but a cluster of related theories that have been developed over two hundred years, criticisms can be made for different reasons and have different targets. Karl Marx, in Das Kapital, criticises Bentham’s utilitarianism on the grounds that it does not appear to recognize that different people have different joys: 

Not even excepting our philosopher, Christian Wolff, in no time and in no country has the most homespun commonplace ever strutted about in so self-satisfied a way. The principle of utility was no discovery of Bentham. He simply reproduced in his dull way what Helvétius and other Frenchmen had said with esprit in the 18th century. To know what is useful for a dog, one must study dog-nature. This nature itself is not to be deduced from the principle of utility. Applying this to man, he who would criticize all human acts, movements, relations, etc., by the principle of utility, must first deal with human nature in general, and then with human nature as modified in each historical epoch. Bentham makes short work of it. With the driest naivete he takes the modern shopkeeper, especially the English shopkeeper, as the normal man. Whatever is useful to this queer normal man, and to his world, is absolutely useful. This yard-measure, then, he applies to past, present, and future. The Christian religion, e.g., is “useful,” “because it forbids in the name of religion the same faults that the penal code condemns in the name of the law.” Artistic criticism is “harmful,” because it disturbs worthy people in their enjoyment of Martin Tupper, etc. With such rubbish has the brave fellow, with his motto, “nulla dies sine linea [no day without a line]”, piled up mountains of books.

An article in the American Journal for Economics has addressed the issue of Utilitarian ethics within redistribution of wealth. The journal stated that taxation of the wealthy is the best way to make use of the disposable income they receive. This says that the money creates utility for the most people by funding government services. Many utilitarian philosophers, including Peter Singer and Toby Ord, argue that inhabitants of developed countries, in particular, have an obligation to help to end extreme poverty across the world, for example by regularly donating some of their income to charity. Peter Singer, for example, argues that donating some of one’s income to charity could help to save a life or cure somebody from a poverty-related illness, which is a much better use of the money as it brings someone in extreme poverty far more happiness than it would bring to oneself if one lived in relative comfort. However, Singer not only argues that one ought to donate a significant proportion of one’s income to charity, but also that this money should be directed to the most cost-effective charities, in order to bring about the greatest good for the greatest number, consistent with utilitarian thinking. Singer’s ideas have formed the basis of the modern effective altruist movement. ref

MORAL LOVE (tend and befriend “voice of care perspective”):

To me, this relates to care/caring ethics, which affirms the importance of caring motivation, emotion and the body in moral deliberation, as well as reasoning from particulars.This moral theory is known as “ the ethics of care” implies that there is moral significance in the fundamental elements of relationships and dependencies in human life. Normatively, care ethics seeks to maintain relationships by contextualizing and promoting the well-being of care-givers and care-receivers in a network of social relations. Most often defined as a practice or virtue rather than a theory as such, “care” involves maintaining the world of, and meeting the needs of, ourself and others. It builds on the motivation to care for those who are dependent and vulnerable, and it is inspired by both memories of being cared for and the idealizations of self. Following in the sentimentalist tradition of moral theory, care ethics affirms the importance of caring motivation, emotion and the body in moral deliberation, as well as reasoning from particulars. One of the original works of care ethics was Milton Mayeroff’s short book, On Caring, but the emergence of care ethics as a distinct moral theory is most often attributed to the works of psychologist Carol Gilligan and philosopher Nel Noddings in the mid-1980s. Though there are notable thinkers who express early strains of care ethics such as those that can be detected in the writings of feminist philosophers such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Catherine and Harriet Beecher, and Charlotte Perkins. Offering a general charged that traditional moral approaches contain a kinda of male bias, and asserted the “voice of care” as a legitimate alternative to the “justice perspective” of liberal human rights theory. Annette Baier, Virginia Held, Eva Feder Kittay, Sara Ruddick, and Joan Tronto are some of the most influential among many subsequent contributors to care ethics. Typically contrasted with deontological/Kantian and consequentialist/utilitarian ethics, is that of care ethics.

*ps. MORAL LOVE (tend and befriend “care ethics (ethics of care)/reciprocity (reciprocal altruismethics”) is similar to the fight or flight which is also only part of a bigger picture, according to Shelley Taylor, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and her colleagues. In the Psychological Review, as in evolutionary psychology, researchers describe how stress can elicit another behavioral pattern they call “tend and befriend”–especially in females. Tend-and-befriend is a behavior exhibited by some animals, including humans, in response to threat. It refers to protection of offspring (tending) and seeking out the social group for mutual defense (befriending), tend-and-befriend is theorized as having evolved as the typical female response to stress, just as the primary male response was fight-or-flight. This kind of gender determinism within the field is the subject of some controversy but I see it as to limited as well because we tend to use multiple strategies to further sucure safty depending on available resources and if one regardless of gender persuasion is not able to either adequately defend themselves/or others (the fight part of  fight or flight ) or is not able to either adequately flee a given threat (the flight part of  fight or flight ) then other options such as  The tend-and-befriend theoretical model was originally developed by Dr. Shelley E. Taylor and her research team at the University of California, Los Angeles and first described in a Psychological Review article published in the year 2000.

Here is a little on Care ethics and Reciprocal altruism

*Care ethics: is a normative ethical theory that holds interpersonal relationships and care or benevolence as a virtue as central to all moral action. It is one of a cluster of normative ethical theories that were developed by feminists in the second half of the twentieth century. Here is a link to Feminist ethics. While consequentialist and deontological ethical theories emphasize universal standards and impartiality, ethics of care emphasize the importance of response. The shift in moral perspective is manifested by a change in the moral question from “what is just?” to “how to respond?”. Ethics of care criticize application of universal standards as “morally problematic since it breeds moral blindness or indifference.”

Some beliefs of the theory are basic:

  1. Persons are understood to have varying degrees of dependence and interdependence on one another. This is in contrast to deontological and consequentialist theories that tend to view persons as having independent interests and interactions.
  2. Those particularly vulnerable to one’s choices and their outcomes deserve extra consideration to be measured according to their vulnerability to one’s choices.
  3. It is necessary to attend to contextual details of situations in order to safeguard and promote the actual specific interests of those involved.

Care ethics contrasts with more well-known ethical models, such as consequentialist theories (e.g. utilitarianism) and deontological theories (e.g. Kantian ethics) in that it seeks to incorporate traditionally feminized virtues and values which, proponents of care ethics contend, are absent in such traditional models of ethics. While some feminists have criticized care-based ethics for reinforcing traditional stereotypes of a “good woman” others have embraced parts of this paradigm under the theoretical concept of care-focused feminism. Care-focused feminism is a branch of feminist thought, informed primarily by ethics of care as developed by Carol Gilligan and Nel Noddings. This body of theory is critical of how caring is socially engendered to women and consequently devalued. “Care-focused feminists regard women’s capacity for care as a human strength” which can and should be taught to and expected of men as well as women. Noddings proposes that ethical caring has the potential to be a more concrete evaluative model of moral dilemma, than an ethic of justice. Noddings’ care-focused feminism requires practical application of relational ethics, predicated on an ethic of care. Ethics of care is also a basis for care-focused feminist theorizing on maternal ethics. Critical of how society engenders caring labor, theorists Sara RuddickVirginia Held, and Eva Feder Kittay suggest caring should be performed and caregivers valued in both public and private spheres. Their theories recognize caring as an ethically relevant issue. This proposed paradigm shift in ethics encourages that an ethic of caring be the social responsibility of both men and women. Joan Tronto argues that the definition of the term “ethic of care” is ambiguous due in part to the lack of a central role it plays in moral theory. She argues that considering moral philosophy is engaged with human goodness, then care would appear to assume a significant role in this type of philosophy. However, this is not the case and Tronto further stresses the association between care and “naturalness”. The latter term refers to the socially and culturally constructed gender roles where care is mainly assumed to be the role of the woman. As such, care loses the power to take a central role in moral theory. Tronto states there are four ethical elements of care:

  1. Attentiveness
    Attentiveness is crucial to the ethics of care because care requires a recognition of others’ needs in order to respond to them. The question which arises is the distinction between ignorance and inattentiveness. Tronto poses this question as such, “But when is ignorance simply ignorance, and when is it inattentiveness”?
  2. Responsibility
    In order to care, we must take it upon ourselves, thus responsibility. The problem associated with this second ethical element of responsibility is the question of obligation. Obligation is often, if not already, tied to pre-established societal and cultural norms and roles. Tronto makes the effort to differentiate the terms “responsibility” and “obligation” with regards to the ethic of care. Responsibility is ambiguous, whereas obligation refers to situations where action or reaction is due, such as the case of a legal contract. This ambiguity allows for ebb and flow in and between class structures and gender roles, and to other socially constructed roles that would bind responsibility to those only befitting of those roles.
  3. Competence
    To provide care also means competency. One cannot simply acknowledge the need to care, accept the responsibility, but not follow through with enough adequacy – as such action would result in the need of care not being met.
  4. Responsiveness
    This refers to the “responsiveness of the care receiver to the care”. Tronto states, “Responsiveness signals an important moral problem within care: by its nature, care is concerned with conditions of vulnerability and inequality”. She further argues responsiveness does not equal reciprocity. Rather, it is another method to understand vulnerability and inequality by understanding what has been expressed by those in the vulnerable position, as opposed to re-imagining oneself in a similar situation. Ref

Reciprocal altruism: (the evolution of cooperation)is a social interaction phenomenon where an individual makes sacrifices for another individual in expectation of similar treatment in the future. Originally introduced as a concept by biologist Robert Trivers, reciprocal altruism explains how altruistic behavior and morality can arise from evolutionary causes, as evolution selects for the best possible game theory results. If the benefit is higher than the initial cost, then multiple reciprocal interactions can actually out-compete more “greedy” forms of relationships, thus providing an evolutionary incentive for altruistic behavior. At the same time (and in opposition to unlimited altruism), reciprocity ensures that cheaters are also harmed when they choose to do so and are gradually made less fit as a result of their own behavior. Modern ethnology seems to support at least part of this hypothesis, as many societies on all continents have developed highly complex forms of gift economy where gifts are given with no immediately obvious material return, but the implicit societal expectation of “repayment” in gift form at some later point in time. Amazingly, those societies work. The custom of giving gifts for birthdays in the West may be seen as a remnant of this. It’s not uncommon for someone to engage in this behavior with the object of their affection, i.e. being nice to them with the expectation of a sexual relationship. Since a lot of these situations tend to involve lonely, single straight men, the common term for this is “Nice Guy” — in other words, the suitor’s claim “but I’m a nice guy…” translates to “I went through all the motions and she still won’t sleep with me.” As a general rule, this is not an effective strategy, and often even drifts into stalking behavior. Women who engage in the same behavior do not get as much attention but are still known (naturally) as Nice Girls. Either way, such people are seldom actually nice, and frequently come off as manipulative and bitter without realizing it. The fallacy lies in their equating sexual relationship with being nice – if their expectation of tit for tat was actually equal, aka being nice for being nice and being honest for being honest (which they, coming into relationship with entirely different expectations than they communicate, fail at), they wouldn’t face such a problem. Ref


I see my Axiological driven morality to involve an enmeshed union of both:

fight or flight “justice perspective” and a tend and befriend “voice of care perspective”

Helping is Helpful: Valuing, Motivating, Supporting

How to Grow in Our Positive Outcomes: Gratitude, Empathy, and Kindness

We can become a more quality person by actively being aware and developing a gratitude for life, which supports as well as grows our feelings of empathy, that then motivates the behavior of kindness.

Universal ethics?

There are several ethical standards that are considered to be self-evident and seem to apply to all people throughout all of history, regardless of cultural, political, social, or economic context. The non-aggression principle, which prohibits aggression, or the initiation of force or violence against another person, is a universal ethical principle. My Examples of aggression include murder, rape, kidnapping, assault, robbery, theft, and vandalism. On the other hand, the commission of any of such acts in response to aggression does not necessarily violate universal ethics. There are obvious reasons why universal ethics are beneficial to society. For example, if people were allowed to kill or steal, this would lead to widespread chaos and violence and would be detrimental to the well-being of society. Most people agree that it’s better to prohibit aggression than to allow everyone to commit it. Therefore, aggression is intrinsically immoral. Although nearly all societies have laws prohibiting aggression, this does not mean that universal ethics are necessarily reflected by that society’s government or its dominant ideology. Universal ethics does not mean the imposition of one set of morals by one group on another. It means a shared way or means of reaching a consensus on norms and values that also accepts diversity. A shared understanding of what is right and what is wrong. In any circumstance or situation, we can start by examining the present state of affairs. This should be done with the aim of gaining an understanding of other cultural differences, history, and tradition, remembering that an explanation is not necessarily a justification. Next, what is the minimum that is acceptable? There has to be an acceptance that some disagreements cannot be resolved at that time. The aim is to change the present situation for the better. Once an acceptable minimum is reached, it is possible to work towards an eventual ideal state. We are all one community and we are all responsible for upholding human rights for each other. More than ever there is a need for agreement on the existence of universally held values and the content of those values. It may prove to be impossible to find one set of universal ethical principles that apply to all cultures, philosophies, faiths and professions but the destination is only part of the journey. The value lies in the search for principles that can be shared by all and can underpin the framework for global dialogue on ethical issues. A universal moral code might be a set of underlying dispositions we are all born with. Or it might be a set of explicit norms and values humans might one day universally accept. But a more important sense of ‘universal moral code’ is of a set of moral values that is universally valid, whether or not it is inscribed in our brains, or accepted by people. Of course, that is a very controversial idea. If there is such a universal moral code, then we have an imperative to try to discover it, and to make it universally accepted (to make it a moral code in the descriptive sense). But this requires thinking hard about ethics, not looking for some code that might or might not be written into our brains. Ref Ref Ref

1.Values (morality motivations): are a amalgam of personal, family, local or extended group environmental, religious and/or cultural content etc. we are what we eat we are the knowledge we consume and the ideas we are sounded by. Values to me thus are self driven ideals others influenced. I like to think myself out of the matrix though if I would have grown up in china would I not be a different me. Born rich and loved as a child be different or adopted be Angelina Jolie be forever changed. Or the love child of Jeffry Dahmer or Mahatma Gondi would I still be the same me with the same values? I think not. Values are not fixed they change throughout one’s lifetime they can be absolute or relative, the assumption of which can be the basis for any sort of chosen action. Thus, a value system is a set of consistent values and measures one chooses because of their connectedness to chosen ideals. Values to me can be a foundation upon which other thinking streams and measures of ideal integrity are based. Those values which are not physiologically determined and normally considered objective, such as a desire to avoid physical pain, seek pleasure, etc., are considered subjective, vary across individuals and cultures and are in many ways aligned with belief and belief systems only truth to a set of people.

2.Morals (personal morality): are not held by all in the same way since all are not held to Orthodox faith and though most start with good and bad or right and wrong values, which usually are personally, familially, socially or religiously give or in some way otherworldly defined, thus not universal.

3.Ethics (public morality): Ethics are not constrained by a given religion’s value systems to motivate its ideas of right and wrong instead it relies on universal truths found in universal principles of just human action. Ethics is set standers uses to personally engage with others and universal truths assist goals of universal ethics standards. Thus, ethics are general prosocial prescription we as morality aware beings in a rather universal way tend to have some awareness of and it is not just an awareness as in one who holds to ethics often get it applies to all peoples. Some may wish to devalue people but to do so is not really unethical, though often it can lead to unethical behavior. So what I am trying to highlight is how in the behaviour that the ethics violation could occur as the internal attitude of devaluing others would only be a possible morals violation such as one who valued virtue and not getting it but failing by the persuasion of devaluing the life of other humans. This simple internal devaluing of humans, that they may be doing is vile. But ethics would not be involved until public behaviors with others, as such ethics is not so much a persuasion as an adherence to a standard(s) that should cover all thus it is highly applicable to utilize in environmental decision-making.

In general, I am a Universal Ethicist?

I am a Universal Ethicist holding the value of universal ethical principles and a Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a moral doctrine, a justice reasoning not for or by any mythology or toads direct opposition to any religion or faith in goddess or gods (Kuhmerker, Gielen, & Hayes, 1994). Universal ethicists is one who draws from collective values, no matter what country or varied cultures, claim that what is acceptable generally are common ethical standards that can be used to judged moral behaviors regardless of location (Newton, 2009). Universal ethical principles are a form of natural and rational moral code for all humankind not fixed or proclaimed by moral prophets or the founders of the world’s religions (Foldvary, 1980). What Universal ethical principles and a Universal Declaration of Human Rights are is a strict standard of freedoms, justus, and principles applicable to all. Such values extend to all children and adults alike having the same rights. All rights are interconnected and of equal importance (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, 2008). A Universal Ethicist Universal Declaration of Human Rights holds recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world (United Nations, 2008). A Universal Ethicist value of universal ethical principles is different to religious proclaimed moral codes because universal ethical principles is ethical codes to set all free to believe and live as they wish but strive to do no harm and applicable to all humankind whether religious or not (Foldvary, 1980).
 

Universal Ethics?
 
Here are the universal principles of Social/Global Ethics:
 
*Global justice (as reflected in international laws)
*Society before self / social responsibility
*Environmental stewardship
*Interdependence & responsibility for the ‘whole’
*Reverence for place
 
Here are the universal principles of Professional/ Political Ethics:
*Impartiality; objectivity
*Openness; full disclosure
*Confidentiality
*Due diligence/duty of care
*Fidelity to professional responsibilities
*Avoiding potential or apparent conflict of interest
 
Here are the universal principles of Personal Ethics:
*Concern for the well-being of others
*Respect for the autonomy of others
*Trustworthiness & honesty
*Willing compliance with the law (with the exception of civil disobedience)
*Basic justice; being fair
*Refusing to take unfair advantage
*Benevolence: doing good
*Preventing harm (Colero, n.d.).

But What Good is a Set of Principles?

There are many tools for decision making, but few (secular) guides to indicate when situations might have an ethical implication. Yet this awareness is a crucial first step before decisions are made. Recognizing the moral context of a situation must precede any attempt to resolve it. Otherwise, what’s to resolve? Ethical dilemmas rarely present themselves as such. They usually pass us by before we know it or develop so gradually that we can only recognize them in hindsight – a little like noticing the snake after you’ve been bitten. But what are the signs that a snake might be present? An ethical framework is like a ‘snake detector’. I offer the following principles as landmarks – generic indicators to be used as compelling guides for an active conscience. They are NOT absolute rules or values. They are more like a rough measurement where an exact one is not possible. They often conflict with each other in practice, and some will trump others under certain circumstances. But as principles that need to be considered, they appear constant. These principles are compatible with the argument that we should simply follow our intuition and rely on the ‘inner voice’. However, that voice is not always audible, and today’s society presents a wide range of complex circumstances that require more guidance than simply ‘concern for others’ or ‘does it feel right?’ And so these principles are offered effectively as a more detailed reference. In a sense, the principles are outcomes of the mother of all principles – unconditional love and compassion – which appears in virtually all faiths, and is expressed here as ‘concern for the well-being of others’. (This principle is at the heart of the stakeholder model of ethics, i.e. what is my impact on others?) At first glance, they will appear obvious and perhaps trite or simplistic. Keep in mind that they are meant to be practical rather than groundbreaking and that many people have found them useful in the absence of other guides.


“Universal ethics: there are several ethical standards that are considered to be self-evident, and seem to apply to all people throughout all of history, regardless of cultural, political, social, or economic context. The non-aggression principle, which prohibits aggression, or the initiation of force or violence against another person, is a universal ethical principle. Examples of aggression include murder, rape, kidnapping, assault, robbery, theft, and vandalism. On the other hand, the commission of any of such acts in response to aggression does not necessarily violate universal ethics. There are obvious reasons why universal ethics are beneficial to society. For example, if people were allowed to kill or steal, this would lead to widespread chaos and violence and would be detrimental to the well-being of society. Most people agree that it’s better to prohibit aggression than to allow everyone to commit it. Therefore, aggression is intrinsically immoral. Although nearly all societies have laws prohibiting aggression, this does not mean that universal ethics are necessarily reflected by that society’s government or its dominant ideology. In ethics, a ‘universal code of ethics’ is a system of ethics that can apply to every sentient being.” Ref

Atheist for Non-Aggression

I am against all violence that is not self-defense or other-defense as I am for non-aggression.
 
I am an Atheist for Non-Aggression. I am not nor have I ever said I was a pacifist, I am for striving to minimize aggression or violence and do believe violence can be justified in self-defense and other-defense.

Here is My “Anarcho-Humanist” Non-Aggression-Axiom
My anarcho-humanist non-aggression-axiom is centered on the acknowledgment, respect, and support for every human’s self-ownership. This honor of self-ownership of my fellow humans including an ever-present respect for other people who are fellow “dignity beings” which also have self-ownership rights just like me and are equal in human worth. My anarcho-humanist non-aggression-axiom is a humanistic call for Anti-Violence, Anti-Spanking, Anti-Circumcision, Anti-Bullying, Anti-Violence, Anti-sexual Violence, Anti-child maltreatment, Anti-animal cruelty, Anti-Domestic Violence, and Anti-Verbal Violence (Threats, Character Assassination, Intimidation), Pro-Ethics, Pro-Body Sovereignty, Pro-Empathy, and Equality. Let positive change begin with me, for I realize I am responsible for there is no god to save us or protect us. For those who think attacking religion is some kind of Character Assassination because its people that are religious. You are confused because character assassination is attacking people with abusive name calling not confronting religion dishonesty. Character Assassination is not being justifiably mentally aggressive as in one challenging, holy figures, gods, religions, myths, superstitions, beliefs, or deluded or misinformed ideas. Character Assassination is not meaning strong stances, an aggressive challenge in rational arguments, or pitilessly exposing injustice, harm or oppression. It is our passion and an honored chosen duty to promote Non-Aggression and speak the truth of atheism and ethical behavior so people don’t stay misinform abused or oppressed. I value anti-violence (I am not a pacifist at all, I am actually a fighter by nature) unless the aggression or violence is for direct self-defense or other-defense. Let it begin with me. States may often have powers, but only citizens have the glue of morality we call rights.  And, as they say, in my “dream society”, lots of things are free (aka. planting free food everywhere, free to everyone); but I wonder what you mean when people say you can’t just let things be free, I think, yeah, how can I take free stuff from a free earth.

Anarcho-Humanism, to me, is atheistic humanism with an unconditional social awareness:

Anarcho (anarchism): “No Gods – No Masters”

Humanism: “No Harm – Do Good”

Rationalism, Freethinker, Humanism & Secular humanism?

Let’s Discuss Humanism

My core definition of humanism is that humans can solve human problems by human means. I am not saying other things can’t or shouldn’t be added to it but to me a definition of humanism must always contain something coherent to such a thinking or not contradict such as I have offered. Thus, why it is appropriate to say “good without god” when one is a humanist.

Confusions in Atheism and Humanism

Categories and Versions of Humanism

Positive Humanism

Atheistic Humanism?


Using a universal declaration of ethical principles to build a better world?
 
The Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists describes ethical principles based on shared human values across cultures. It reaffirms the commitment of the psychology community to help build a better world where peace, freedom, responsibility, justice, humanity, and morality will prevail. It also provides: (a) a shared moral framework for psychology to speak with a collective voice on matters of ethical concern; (b) a moral guideline to identify harmful aspects of societal changes, and to advocate for social changes that benefit to all persons and all peoples; (c) a global consensus on the fundamental attitude toward good and evil, and on the basic guiding ethical principles for decisions and actions; (d) a tool to help psychologists to focus on ethical thinking and behavior across all aspects of professional and scientific activities; and (e) an inspiration to strive toward the highest ethical ideals as psychologists and citizens of the world. Like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed in 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, the promotion of the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists will have a significant influence in time on the creation of a safer, more just and more prosperous world. All professionals and laypersons that provide community mental health services around the world are citizens of the world. Mental health providers who adhere to ethical principles in their work within the world’s many different countries and cultures contribute to a stable society which enhances the quality of life for all human beings. Together, by participating in the promotion of ethical principles such as those in the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists, mental health providers can make a significant contribution to global human rights and to building a global society based on respect and caring for persons and peoples. Ethics and human rights: strengthening and complementing each other, There is a clear and strong link between the articulation of professional ethics and of human rights. Both share two fundamental goals: the protection of society from harm and the enhancement of the quality of life of its members. Both rely on recognized moral imperatives to achieve their goals. In 1948, in the aftermath of WWII and before the development of ethics codes in psychology, the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the endorsement of all nations to maintain human rights and to protect their peoples from harm. In 2008, sixty years later, in an increasingly globalized world, the International Union of Psychological Science and the International Association of Applied Psychology adopted the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists. This latter declaration commits psychologists worldwide to be guided by fundamental ethical principles of respect and caring in all of the psychology’s interactions with persons and peoples. There is a high level of congruence between the ethical principles and values recognized in the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists and the moral imperatives underlying the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, there are differences in language, concept, structure, and emphasis between the two documents. These differences strengthen and complement each other. Here are some examples:
 
(1) For example, with regard to the framework, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is written for nations and defines human entitlements to be promoted and protected by all nations. On the other hand, the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists is intended to be applied to professional relationships and emphasizes respect and caring for individuals as well as for families, groups, and communities, with the aim of addressing the balance between the individual and the communal, and allowing for appropriate differences in the interpretation, for example, of such ethical concerns as informed consent, confidentiality, privacy, professional boundaries, and ethical decision-making across cultures.
 
(2) For example, with regard to language, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is more specific and prescriptive because it defines human entitlements to be promoted and protected. In contrast, the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles is more aspirational and inspirational in nature because it describes ethical principles based on shared human values across cultures. It is not meant to be a worldwide code of ethics or a code of conduct that would be agreed upon and adhered to in all countries.
 
(3) For example, with regard to concept, it is noted that the term ‘‘human rights’’ does not appear anywhere in the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists. The reason is that the term is taboo or negatively perceived in some parts of the world and its use in the Universal Declaration would not have been endorsed in those regions. This is not to say, of course, that the Universal Declaration ignores ‘‘human rights’’. Nothing would be further from the truth. Actually, it does speak to human rights, but it does it without ever using the term ‘‘rights’’ or ‘‘human rights’’. For example, under Principle I, we have ‘‘non-discrimination’’. This is the right to ‘‘equality’’. We also have ‘‘fair treatment/due process’’. This is the right to justice.
 
(4) For example, with regard to structure, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is structured around 30 articles that are specific and prescriptive in terms of content because it defines specific human entitlements to be promoted and protected. On the other hand, the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles is structured around ethical principles because its purpose is to highlight shared human values across cultures. For fear of being criticized for being too generic, earlier drafts of the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles included under each ethical principle articles which were aspirational in nature, but which also focused on the fundamental values contained in the principle. The concept of articles was later abandoned because it was a source of confusion for some psychologists who tended to see the document as a universal code of ethics that would not be relevant globally rather than a universal declaration of ethical principles.
 
Reference: Ethical principles and human rights: Building a better world globally. – Janel Gauthier
Counselling Psychology Quarterly, Volume 22, Issue 1, 2009


Believe in Good, Humanist Morality?

If one states they are a humanist and they believe in good, are they for or against a form of axiology or formal axiology? Axiology is the philosophical study of goodness, or value, in the widest sense of these terms. It may be used as the collective term for ethics and aesthetics—philosophical fields that depend crucially on notions of value—or the foundation for these fields, and thus similar to value theory and meta-ethics. The word “axiology” (Greek: axios = good, worth, or value; logos = “science”) means “study of good”, “study of worth ” or “study of value.” The axiologists sought to characterize the notion of value in general, of which moral value is only one species. They argue (with notable differences between them), that goodness does not exclusively derive from the will, but exists in objective hierarchies. Formal axiology, the attempt to lay out principles regarding value with mathematical rigor, is exemplified by Robert S. Hartman’s Science of Value. The fundamental principle of Hartman’s Science of Value, functions as an axiom, and can be stated in symbolic logic, is that a thing is good insofar as it exemplifies its concept. To put it another way, “a thing is good if it has all its descriptive properties.” This means, according to Hartman, that the good thing has a name, that the name has a meaning defined by a set of properties, and that the thing possesses all of the properties in the set. A thing is bad if it does not fulfill its description. If it doesn’t fulfill its definition it is terrible (awful, miserable.) A car, by definition, has brakes. A car which accelerates when the brakes are applied is an awful car, since a car by definition must have brakes. A horse, if we called it a car, would be an even worse car, with fewer of the properties of a car. The name we put on things is very important: it sets the norm for how we judge them. If one states they are a humanist, are they for or against a form of universal or realism morality? The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations can be seen as an example of global efforts to bring a universalist, equal and common moral justice to all people, and Moral Universalism is, at least in part, the basis for modern human rights, and an integral part of any Humanist philosophy. Human rights which are commonly considered a “deontological” concept, sometimes described as “duty-” or “obligation-” or “rule-” based ethics, because rules “bind you to your duty.” Which T. M. Scanlon advances the idea that human rights, can only be justified with reference to the consequences of having those rights. Secular morality is the aspect of philosophy that deals with morality outside of religious traditions. Modern examples include humanism, freethinking, and most versions of consequentialism. Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one’s conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act (or omission from acting) is one that will produce a good outcome, or consequence. Consequentialist theories differ in how they define moral goods. Some argue that consequentialist theories are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For example, Robert Nozick argues for a theory that is mostly consequentialist, but incorporates inviolable “side-constraints” which restrict the sort of actions agents are permitted to do. Consequentialists can and do differ widely in terms of specifying the Good. Some consequentialists are monists about the Good. Utilitarians, for example, identify the Good with pleasure, happiness, desire satisfaction, or “welfare” in some other sense. Other consequentialists are pluralists regarding the Good. Some of such pluralists believe that how the Good is distributed among persons (or all sentient beings) is itself partly constitutive of the Good, whereas conventional utilitarians merely add or average each person’s share of the Good to achieve the Good’s maximization. Moreover, there are some consequentialists who hold that the doing or refraining from doing, of certain kinds of acts are themselves intrinsically valuable states of affairs constitutive of the Good. An example of this is the positing of rights not being violated, or duties being kept, as part of the Good to be maximized—the so-called “utilitarianism of rights”. None of these pluralist positions erase the difference between consequentialism and deontology. For the essence of consequentialism is still present in such positions: an action would be right only insofar as it maximizes these Good-making states of affairs being caused to exist. However much consequentialists differ about what the Good consists in, they all agree that the morally right choices are those that increase (either directly or indirectly) the Good. Moreover, consequentialists generally agree that the Good is “agent-neutral”. That is, valuable states of affairs are states of affairs that all agents have reason to achieve without regard to whether such states of affairs are achieved through the exercise of one’s own agency or not. “Consequentialism”, as described by Peter Singer, “start not with moral rules, but with goals. They assess actions by the extent to which they further those goals.” Consequentialism contains in itself no explanation for why pleasure or utility are morally good, or why consequences should matter to morality at all. Nor does consequentialism/deontology make any claims about how we know moral facts (if there are any). That is a meta-ethical question, so the question ‘how do we know that it is wrong to kill?’ is not a normative but a meta-ethical question. Some consequentialists and deontologists are also moral realists. Some are not. Moral Realism a similar position to universal morality, that certain acts are objectively right or wrong, independent of human opinion. that there exist such things as moral facts and moral values, and that these are objective and independent of our perception of them or our beliefs, feelings or other attitudes towards them. Therefore, moral judgments describe moral facts, which are as certain in their own way as mathematical facts. It is a cognitivist view in that it holds that ethical sentences express valid propositions (and are therefore “truth-apt” i.e. they are able to be true or false), and that they describe the state of the real world. Moral Realism has the advantage of purportedly allowing the ordinary rules of logic to be applied straightforwardly to moral statements, (so that we can say, for example, that a moral belief is false or unjustified or contradictory in the same way we would about a factual belief). It also allows for the resolution of moral disagreements, because if two moral beliefs contradict one another, Moral Realism (unlike some other meta-ethical systems) says that they cannot both be right and so there should be some way of resolving the situation. Two main variants of moral realism are: Ethical Naturalism and Ethical Non-Naturalism.

Ethical Naturalism: holds that there are objective moral properties of which we have empirical knowledge, but that these properties are reducible to entirely non-ethical properties. It assumes cognitivism (the view that ethical sentences express propositions and can therefore be true or false), and that the meanings of these ethical sentences can be expressed as natural properties without the use of ethical terms.

Ethical Non-Naturalism: holds that ethical statements express propositions (in that sense it is also cognitivist) that cannot be reduced to non-ethical statements (e.g. “goodness” is indefinable in that it cannot be defined in any other terms). G. E. Moore claimed that a naturalistic fallacy is committed by any attempt to prove a claim about ethics by appealing to a definition in terms of one or more natural properties (e.g. “good” cannot be defined in terms of “pleasant”, “more evolved”, “desired”, etc). Ethical Intuitionism is a variant of Ethical Non-Naturalism which claims that we sometimes have intuitive awareness of moral properties or of moral truths.

Critics have argued that, while Moral Realism may be able to explain how to resolve moral conflicts, it cannot explain how these conflicts arose in the first place. Others have argued Moral Realism posits a kind of “moral fact” which is non-material and unobservable (in the way as objective material facts are observable), and therefore not accessible to the scientific method. Some philosophers who only believe in the physical world and don’t believe in anything immaterial say that they are also moral realists, but when they describes the type of morality that they believe in, often what they are talking about is the moral beliefs that people have acquired through evolution, which is called evolutionary moral realism. This includes the human instinct to care for the well-being of others in one’s own group and the instinct to hold others accountable for transgressions against members of the group. A physicalist/materialist understanding of morality is therefore purely descriptive of human nature within a deterministic system. The physicalist/materialist conception of morality differs from normative moral realism, in which one believes that things ought to be a certain way or that people should act in a certain way because such states of affairs or actions would be better, not purely as a function of anything physical such as the instincts people have evolved to have, but at least partially for reasons that ultimately transcend the physical world. For example, if someone believes that oppressing others is always wrong even though humans have an instinctual predisposition to favor their own group over others, and this person does not otherwise explain how this belief is descriptive of something in the physical world, then this implies that this person believes in normative morality. A similar concept to normative ethics is prescriptive ethics, which are those that are supposed to logically commit someone to act a certain way. For example, the normative statement “Murder is wrong” can be restated as “Do not murder”, which is prescriptive. This is similar to how doctors can prescribe medications for one to use. Essentially, prescriptive moral statements are prescribed to people in order for them to act morally. Normative statements simply state the relation a certain state of affairs has to rightness or wrongness without telling anyone how to act. The distinction between descriptive and normative/prescriptive morality is important to understand. One study found that 56% of professional philosophers accept or lean towards moral realism and 28%: anti-realism. Cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker has argued that the game-theoretic advantages of ethical behavior support the idea that morality is “out there” in a certain sense (as part of the evolutionary fitness landscape). Journalist Robert Wright has similarly argued that natural selection moves sentient species closer to moral truth as time goes on. Writer Sam Harris has also argued that ethics could be objectively grounded in an understanding of neuroscience. He has admitted to being committed to some form of moral realism (viz. moral claims can really be true or false) and some form of consequentialism (viz. the rightness of an act depends on how it affects the well-being of conscious creatures). Being a moral anti-realist is compatible with having, and following a moral theory: you just think you have reasons to be moral which are not based on mind-independent facts. For example, you might think convention gives you a reason to be moral, where conventionalism is traditionally described as a form of non-realism. see: link A delineation of moral realism into a minimal form, a moderate form, and robust form has been put forward in the literature. The robust model of moral realism commits moral realists to three theses:

The semantic thesis: The primary semantic role of moral predicates (such as “right” and “wrong”) is to refer to moral properties (such as rightness and wrongness), so that moral statements (such as “honesty is good” and “slavery is unjust”) purport to represent moral facts, and express propositions that are true or false (or approximately true, largely false, and so on).

The alethic thesis: Some moral propositions are in fact true.

The metaphysical thesis: Moral propositions are true when actions and other objects of moral assessment have the relevant moral properties (so that the relevant moral facts obtain), where these facts and properties are robust: their metaphysical status, whatever it is, is not relevantly different from that of (certain types of) ordinary non-moral facts and properties.

The minimal model, i.e. moral universalism, leaves off the metaphysical thesis, treating it as matter of contention among moral realists (as opposed to between moral realists and moral anti-realists). This dispute is not insignificant, as acceptance or rejection of the metaphysical thesis is taken by those employing the robust model as the key difference between moral realism and moral anti-realism. Moral universalism (also called moral objectivism or universal morality) is the meta-ethical position that some system of ethics, or a universal ethic, applies universally, that is, for “all similarly situated individuals”, regardless of culture, race, sex, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or any other distinguishing feature. Not all forms of moral universalism are absolutist, nor are they necessarily value monist; many forms of universalism, such as utilitarianism, are non-absolutist, and some forms may be value pluralist. A moral theory must be able to solve and thus to be on solid philosophical grounds:

The ontological problem: an adequate theory must account for ethics without assuming the existence of anything that does not actually exist.

The epistemological problem: if we have knowledge of right and wrong, an adequate theory must explain how we acquire such knowledge.

The experience problem: An adequate theory about ethics must account for the phenomenology of moral experience.

The supervenience problem: An adequate theory must be consistent with the supervenient character of evaluative concepts.

The motivation problem: an adequate theory must account for the internal connection between moral belief and motivation (or if there is no such connection, it must offer an alternative account of how morality guides action).

The reason problem: An adequate theory must account for the place of reason in ethics.

The disagreement problem: An adequate theory must explain the nature of ethical disagreement.

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