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Old 09-03-2018, 06:40 AM   #1
TheGodson
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Diamond Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

Morality for an individual has been shaped by the way they have grown up. They only adhere to that moral code because of emotions. If they break that code they feel guilt. Pretty much everything that someone feels is "right" or "wrong" is based on emotion. Okay, logic plays a part in the construction of some moral beliefs, but only emotion will keep someone from following it if they know nobody will find out if they break that code.

If someone goes out and kills 20 people for fun and nobody finds out about it they are in no way punished. There is no such thing as Karma. It isn't "bad" or "good" it simply just is what it is. Fortunately, most people don't have the desire to do that and would feel guilty about doing such things.

A psychopath feels no empathy so there is no reason to follow a moral code. If they can cheat without people knowing, they will. That is why psychopaths end up becoming "bad" people.

You've probably been indoctrinated with an ideology at a young age from your parents, stories, movies, and more. Don't murder. Don't steal. These are pretty common. These ones are certainly important for societies to function well. Even if you are presented with the opportunity to steal something, you won't do it. Why? Because you will feel too guilty to do it. Shame is a very powerful emotion.

You see someone kill a bug, no biggie. It is just a bug. You don't think much of it. You see someone decapitate a dog right in front of you. It will probably bother you. You could have a logically based moral belief system where both are equally wrong since they are both animals, but on emotional moral level you know that is complete bull****.

There is no Moral code that is "correct" since it is only an opinion. It is a human construct. Most of people's political beliefs are based on their moral code that they have brought up with and shaped over the years.

I'd like to think that there are some hard set-in-stone rules that everyone should follow. In some ways, I want the people that have done "bad" things in my eyes to be punished and the people that have done "good" things in my eyes to be rewarded, but it simply is not the world we live in.

In the end we all die. We can choose to live out any set of rules we want. We give our own life meaning.
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Old 09-03-2018, 06:45 AM   #2
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

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If someone goes out and kills 20 people for fun and nobody finds out about it they are in no way punished.
ever read Crime and Punishment? you might enjoy it ;-p
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Old 09-03-2018, 03:31 PM   #3
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

The question: Is your life meaningful enough operating within this belief system that says we are the meaning givers? As long as the answer is ‘yes’, then there will be no change. In my experience, thinking about morality at this level is a sign that life is not meaningful enough.
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Old 09-04-2018, 02:00 PM   #4
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

If you can hold the belief that generally other people are going to treat you with love, then you will have a much higher quality of life than if you feel in a constant state of fear of what other people will do to you. Since since people want to go through life feeling good rather than feeling bad, there is a simple and logical basis for our Judeo-Christian morality.
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Old 09-04-2018, 04:47 PM   #5
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

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If you can hold the belief that generally other people are going to treat you with love, then you will have a much higher quality of life than if you feel in a constant state of fear of what other people will do to you. Since since people want to go through life feeling good rather than feeling bad, there is a simple and logical basis for our Judeo-Christian morality.
Is that not a basis for de-prioritizing truth and becoming naive? How about an alternative in which you have faith in the potential for goodness in people but still see them truthfully as they are now.
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Old 09-04-2018, 04:54 PM   #6
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

So are you saying that we should think of all other people as dangerous and nasty until they prove otherwise? Sounds like a prescription for paranoia and misery. Doesn't sound like "love they neighbor" to me.
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Old 09-04-2018, 05:09 PM   #7
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

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So are you saying that we should think of all other people as dangerous and nasty until they prove otherwise? Sounds like a prescription for paranoia and misery. Doesn't sound like "love they neighbor" to me.
For me, loving your neighbor does not require distorting the truth about others. What you said was different. If we distort the truth to ourselves in one instance, it tends to have a multiplying effect.

Edit: Rereading, I see you used ‘generally’ so I may be splitting hairs here.
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Old 09-06-2018, 03:09 AM   #8
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

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Morality for an individual has been shaped by the way they have grown up.
For someone whose actions are heavily influenced by their upbringing and culture in this way, should they be considered an individual at all? This person is motivated solely by persona, which is always socially entangled.

Moral progress is dependent on wisdom, which is only available for an individual who sacrifices the persona in order to operate at the level of personality. Wisdom is only accessible to those acting without a still operating, previouly installed moral filter.

Evolution has determined detaching from the tribe to be a potentially dangerous, chaotic experience. A certain level of aggression is necessary, which requires the pain of feeling frustrated and stuck. Evolution has also determined aggression to be potentially risky, so there is often a natural avoidance of it.

A well functioning society will also enforce a suppression on aggression in children, with an emphasis on ethics, since aggression is disconnected from ethics. After establishing this ethical base in its children, a sophisticated society will encourage its young adults to begin the gradual reconnection to aggression, with the aim of getting started the process of losing them to individualization. A society that fails to incorporate a transition out of the aggression-suppression stage will produce unfulfilled, bitter, and often impotent adults.

Within aggression exists a rage that seeks immediate release which follows with a shallow satisfaction. Underneath that rage is a tension that can be held onto to prevent getting swept away by rage. Wisdom makes itself most known to anyone operating from within this tension.

As individuals, we can’t have both the security of existing within the tribe and moral progress. It’s one or the other. The inner voice of people driven by persona will assure them that they have wisdom, but instead they will be blind to it. It’s only when we decide to make the sacrifice of being stretched by chaos and the tension of aggression can we be rewarded with the vision to see wisdom.
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Old 09-06-2018, 06:13 AM   #9
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

While it is certainly true that emotions influence or actions, preconceptions, perception and memory heavily - these things are also influenced or controlled by the regions of the brain that does the heavy thinking. Emotional responses come from the inner regions of the brain (like the amygdala), while higher cognitive functions largely happens in the prefrontal cortex. Both of these regions are active in a human being that takes conscious decisions.

Say you see a snake. The emotions will likely have made certain memories of snakes more readily available, and you might get an emotional response as a result. But you'll also consider the situation, use your knowledge and have cognitive processes steer your actions. For example, you might get scared, then realize the snake is not harmful and steer your actions as a result of that.

I would agree with a sentiment that said it is wrong to of us a mere "rational species". But it is also wrong that we're only emotional or aesthetical in our judgments. You might want to hurt someone because emotions make you angry, but most of us can also be rational about such things and realize that it is a bad idea and not do it.

Over time, your emotional responses may even change as a result of higher thinking and learning. It is also safe to say that people differ. Some individuals will certainly rely more on rational decision-making, others might more easily go with their initial emotional responses more often.

Basically, what I am saying is that this...
Quote:
They only adhere to that moral code because of emotions.
...is wrong.

And of course, we as a species are pretty much defined by both types of responses in our brains. Higher thinking decisions are great, but they are slow, require a ton of energy and a lot of focus. Emotional responses are quick, energy-efficient and need less focus. If we relied almost exclusively on higher thinking, we would be very bad at survival. If we only had emotional responses and very limited higher thinking, we obviously wouldn't be anything resembling humanity as we see it today.

Last edited by tame_deuces; 09-06-2018 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 09-06-2018, 02:11 PM   #10
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

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For example, you might get scared, then realize the snake is not harmful and steer your actions as a result of that.

You might want to hurt someone because emotions make you angry, but most of us can also be rational about such things and realize that it is a bad idea and not do it.
The process of going from an impulsive, fear reaction seeing the harmless snake to a more appropriate response is not caused by rationality. If that were the case, then exposure therapy would not be a thing. The issue is that we are unaware of the entire process, but are aware of our rationalizations for our behavior, so we can only attribute the progress to reason - it’s inevitable.

Once that initial progress with the harmless snake has been made, we can then rely on our rationality to navigate similar situations in the future. Rationality works great in the psychological space of the ‘known’.

Rationalists eventually get stuck, and the last place they can go is to become more adamant about the need for everyone else to become more rational. Reason is helpful for people who are already transitioning toward a similar belief to help provide an articulation for what they are experiencing, but it has no impact on people who have little to no overlap in moral belief.

Further, rationality cannot help the rationalist himself get unstuck in his morality. It’s only when rationality gets de-elevated, can moral progress have a chance to continue for the rationalist. Rationality will never be the cause of this insight into its own inadequacy. Only suffering — being stuck in the mundane, meaninglessness and stagnation — can dislodge the rationalist.
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Old 09-07-2018, 04:53 AM   #11
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

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The process of going from an impulsive, fear reaction seeing the harmless snake to a more appropriate response is not caused by rationality. If that were the case, then exposure therapy would not be a thing. The issue is that we are unaware of the entire process, but are aware of our rationalizations for our behavior, so we can only attribute the progress to reason - it’s inevitable.

Once that initial progress with the harmless snake has been made, we can then rely on our rationality to navigate similar situations in the future. Rationality works great in the psychological space of the ‘known’.

Rationalists eventually get stuck, and the last place they can go is to become more adamant about the need for everyone else to become more rational. Reason is helpful for people who are already transitioning toward a similar belief to help provide an articulation for what they are experiencing, but it has no impact on people who have little to no overlap in moral belief.

Further, rationality cannot help the rationalist himself get unstuck in his morality. It’s only when rationality gets de-elevated, can moral progress have a chance to continue for the rationalist. Rationality will never be the cause of this insight into its own inadequacy. Only suffering — being stuck in the mundane, meaninglessness and stagnation — can dislodge the rationalist.
Exposure therapy is for phobias and the excessive / dysfunctional behavior they cause, not normal emotional reactions which you can usually adjust on their own.
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Old 09-07-2018, 12:45 PM   #12
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

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Exposure therapy is for phobias and the excessive / dysfunctional behavior they cause, not normal emotional reactions which you can usually adjust on their own.
In order to adjust suboptimal, normal reactions on our own, we have to first psychologically expose ourselves to them. Itís all in the same category. Changes in our reasoning about the situation are downstream effects. We donít talk ourselves (or get talked) through changes, we feel our way through. Rationality is useful for articulation, reorganization, and refinement, but the reorganization of our new belief shouldnít get confused for the initial cause of the change.
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Old 09-08-2018, 11:32 AM   #13
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

Shame is weak, itís power is limited and itís disrupted by mere forgiveness. Culture isnít ideological conditioning. Thatís like attempted ideological conditioning to suggest. Morals are easy to profess, virtues are hard to detect. Thatís why itís easy to reduce morals down to opinions. Emotions are just fine being emotions.
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Old 09-09-2018, 08:26 AM   #14
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

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In order to adjust suboptimal, normal reactions on our own, we have to first psychologically expose ourselves to them. It’s all in the same category. Changes in our reasoning about the situation are downstream effects. We don’t talk ourselves (or get talked) through changes, we feel our way through. Rationality is useful for articulation, reorganization, and refinement, but the reorganization of our new belief shouldn’t get confused for the initial cause of the change.
You don't need exposure therapy to adjust normal emotional responses. Nothing will save that argument.

We can think and reason ourselves through emotional responses just fine, which will adjust them. And as long as you have a prefrontal cortex you will do just that pretty much every time you have one.

Our brain works as a whole. To say we're at the mercy of emotions for that or at the mercy of higher thinking for this are both completely wrong. It's a just another in a long line of "dualist perspectives" that seem intuitively pleasing because they are simple and elegant, not because they are precise.

In fact, the way our brains function they depend on each-other. Emotions are very important for making memories, and higher thinking is very dependent on memories to be effective.

Last edited by tame_deuces; 09-09-2018 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 09-09-2018, 12:57 PM   #15
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

I’m curious, do you think I’m incorrect based on your ability to reason about causality or because you think neuroscience has uncovered human causality completely?
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Old 09-10-2018, 03:52 AM   #16
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

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I’m curious, do you think I’m incorrect based on your ability to reason about causality or because you think neuroscience has uncovered human causality completely?
If you say a green apple is red, I don't need "complete knowledge of apples" to conclude that you are wrong. Nor am I, to continue the analogy, resting my conclusion on only my view of said apple. You are incorrect because your claims are not factual or fit evidence.

Almost all of us have millions of emotional responses through our entire lives. We adjust such responses seamlessly through higher thinking and learning every day. Exposure therapy is not an instrument for such responses, it is a treatment therapy for very severe disorders and dysfunctional behavior in people's lives.

Emotions are not an on / off-switch in our brain. They are continuous mental processes that are active in most conscious activity in healthy people. This goes against dualist perspectives that try to pit emotion and rationality against each-other. They complement each-other. Case in point: A small subset of people live with heavily stunted emotional responses (alexithymia) and will typically not feel everyday emotional responses. Such people struggle with basic human behavior like taking care of themselves or their bodies, and often develop anorexia / bulimia and drug addictions. And perhaps somewhat ironically (and sad) they often develop depressions, anxiety or panic disorders. They often also develop many forms of chronic diseases because emotions also play a big role in adjusting our nervous system in general.

Last edited by tame_deuces; 09-10-2018 at 04:04 AM.
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Old 09-10-2018, 03:00 PM   #17
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

What I was trying to communicate is that when we think about a suboptimal, emotional response to a situation, we first are psychologically exposing ourselves to the emotions prior to reasoning taking place. Thoughts appear instantaneously though, so it’s very quick.

When people think that they improved their behavior by (solely) improving their reasoning about a situation, they don’t understand that they would be unable to improve their beliefs/thoughts/behaviors without first exposing themselves to the chaotic feeling that is causing the detrimental thoughts and behavior.

Most of the time with suboptimal behavior we are in the gray area between chaotic feelings and security, so we often can hold the reasoning for useful behavior and still have difficulty acting on it. The solution to that is not to try to fix it at the level of thought (using affirmations, self talk, better reasoning, etc), but to engage at the deeper, causal level of feeling. This is the purpose of religion or narrative when it’s affective - to help people operate at that level with wisdom.

I’m not saying everyone needs to go see an exposure therapist. Give me a little more credit that that.

Last edited by craig1120; 09-10-2018 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 09-10-2018, 03:28 PM   #18
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

We can look at examples of any destructive behavior. Why can’t drug addicts use reason alone to kick their habit? Why does the 12 step program work even when nobody understands why it should?

Destructive behaviors are fueled by feelings of powerlessness, shame, regret, meaninglessness, among other emotions. Let’s break down the 12 steps. Surrender - that moves focus down from the level of thought to the underworld of chaotic emotions. The acknowledgment of the drugs power over the addict exposes the addict to the feeling of powerlessness. Admitting to the pain the addict has caused others exposes them to feelings of shame and regret. Finally, the religious aspect of it can provide meaningful aim toward the good.

It’s all a form of exposure therapy. The addict has now created some space between the chaotic feelings and their behavior through exposure. Now, there is a limit to how far one can go by emphasizing surrender, powerlessness, and regret and I’m not saying that is the best approach. It’s incomplete at best.

You can object by claiming that this example is more extreme than seeing a snake but it’s all in the same category.
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Old 09-10-2018, 05:06 PM   #19
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

I'm not saying people can't engage in dysfunctional behavior, they clearly can.

What I'm saying is that emotional responses are part of almost all of us, and for the vast majority of instances it can be adjusted, influenced and steered just fine. You don't need exposure therapy for that.

I also don't like dichotomies between higher and emotional responses. It is a useful language distinction and has some merit when making models, but the dichotomy does not really exist - they're both part of our thinking.

To claim that morals are just a result of emotional responses makes little sense. If we didn't have higher cognitive functions, me and you wouldn't even be sitting here discussing the issue.
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Old 09-10-2018, 05:12 PM   #20
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

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There is no Moral code that is "correct" since it is only an opinion. It is a human construct.
The fact that morality is partly constructed does not mean it doesn't exist. It just means that it was constructed. It emerged from history.

Paper money, balls and strikes, Spanish -- these were all constructed, but still follow clear rules that are defined by the community.

Morality also has a fixed component that is outside culture and history. Like other primates, we have an in-built sense of reciprocity. This colors and sets limits on the construction of morality.
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Old 10-07-2018, 06:46 AM   #21
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

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A psychopath feels no empathy so there is no reason to follow a moral code.
Only true if the psychopath believes he isn't accountable to God almighty. The entire tone of your post suggests there is no God which is where I assume your ludicrous "Morality is whatever I think it is" thesis is coming from.

Morality is absolute and God is unchanging.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:17 AM   #22
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

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Only true if the psychopath believes he isn't accountable to God almighty. The entire tone of your post suggests there is no God which is where I assume your ludicrous "Morality is whatever I think it is" thesis is coming from.

Morality is absolute and God is unchanging.
You will need some proof for this extraordinary claim
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:52 AM   #23
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

Do you guys consider your vapid philosophical musings to be proof of anything other than your own arrogance in positing your will as reality?

My proof is the undeniable correlation between the rise of nonsensical relativistic "happiness is the truth" worldviews, decline in absolute morality in every practical way, and the rise in relentless **** hitting the fan aka our "new reality" aka the judgement of God almighty.
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Old 10-07-2018, 08:17 AM   #24
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

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Do you guys consider your vapid philosophical musings to be proof of anything other than your own arrogance in positing your will as reality?

My proof is the undeniable correlation between the rise of nonsensical relativistic "happiness is the truth" worldviews, decline in absolute morality in every practical way, and the rise in relentless **** hitting the fan aka our "new reality" aka the judgement of God almighty.
This is not proof that god exists.
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:55 AM   #25
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Re: Morality is only an opinion primarily based on emotion

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I'm not saying people can't engage in dysfunctional behavior, they clearly can.
I'd be surprised if you had the capacity to lay down a reasonable matrix of functional/dysfunctional.

I'm assuming you would say psychopaths are dysfunctional, despite the fact that some are the highest functioning and successful members of society.
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