Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Morality--Why that Baby is Better than You
It seems the sinfulness of babies is once again afoot, but studies have shown that most babies are born with a sense of morality and they prefer the good guys. I believe this heavily affects what we should consider sin and where to draw the line for good morals. At least until the cultural climate changes, that is.
Paul Bloom led a study showing babies puppet shows; each show involved a character in need, a helpful character, and a selfish or spiteful character (for more info, check out this link: http://bit.ly/2d37Skb). After watching the plot unfold multiple times, the babies were given an opportunity to select a character, and a large majority of the babies picked the helpful character (and punished the selfish one, in one version). What does this mean for us, and where do these morals come from?
I think most humans are born knowing right from wrong, but from the moment they gain awareness the environment begins to mold who they are and who they will become. A child is the closest we can come to observing a blank human slate, so each study is vital to determining who we were before we developed a society with which we evolve ourselves every day. Our definitions of right and wrong, good and bad, pure and vile, all stem from our base instincts. Over time we needed ways to express these gut feelings of happiness and pleasure; therefore, we also labeled what causes them as well as their inverse counterparts.
I believe the nice feeling inside became goodness, and due to the vast majority of us favoring goodness, it became what was expected from our fellow peoples. Deviants are outliers and many outliers felt the nice feelings from what the majority labeled as badness. Are they wrong for feeling this way? No, they are just different. Their morals do not line up with the majority, and as some deviances subtly worked into our society we grew to accept them and expand what we defined to be goodness.
Because of these tiny differences caused by developing amidst an environment of subtly less goodness, growing up now causes us to loosen up our morals. What if the bad puppet had a good reason for doing his apparently bad action? We are now open to badness, whereas that baby knows, regardless of circumstance, that the action in and of itself is either good or bad.