The Righteous Mind

Jonathan Haidt

"If you want your kids to learn about the physical world, let them play with cups and water; don't lecture them about the conservation of volume. And if you want your kids to learn about the social world, let them play with other kids and resolve disputes; don't lecture them about the Ten Commandments. And, for heaven's sake, don't force them to obey God or their teachers or you. That will only freeze them at the conventional level."

p. 10

"In other words, well-educated people in all three cities were more similar to each other than they were to their lower-class neighbors. I had flown five thousand miles south to search for moral variation when in fact there was more to be found a few blocks west of campus, in the poor neighborhood surrounding my university."

p. 25

"Reasoning was merely the servant of the passions, and when the servant failed to find any good arguments, the master did not change his mind."

p. 47

"Liberalism seemed so obviously ethical. Liberals marched for peace, workers' rights, civil rights, and secularism. The Republican Party was (as we saw it) the party of war, big business, racism, and evangelical Christianity. I could not understand how any thinking person would voluntarily embrace the party of evil, and so I and my fellow liberals looked for psychological explanations of conservatism, but not liberalism. We supported liberal policies because we saw the world clearly and wanted to help people, but they supported conservative policies out of pure self-interest (lower my taxes!) or thinly veiled racism (stop funding welfare programs for minorities!). We never considered the possibility that there were alternative moral worlds in which reducing harm (by helping victims) and increasing fairness (by pursuing group-based equality) were not the main goals. And if we could not imagine other moralities, then we could not believe that conservatives were as sincere in their moral beliefs as we were in ours."

p. 126

"To understand why people are so divided by moral issues, we can start with an exploration of our common evolutionary heritage, but we'll also have to examine the history of each culture and the childhood socialization of each individual within that culture."

p. 133

"We humans have a dual nature--we are selfish primates who long to be a part of something larger and nobler than ourselves. We are 90 percent chimp and 10 percent bee. If you take that claim metaphorically, then the groupish and hivish things that people do will make a lot more sense. It's almost as though there's a switch in our heads that activates our hivish potential when conditions are just right."

p. 255

"In other words, people don't just blindly empathize; they don't sync up with everyone they see. We are conditional hive creatures. We are more likely to mirror and then empathize with others when they have conformed to our moral matrix than when they have violated it."

p. 274

"Create healthy competition among teams, not individuals. As McNeill said, soldiers don't risk their lives for their country or for the army; they do so for their buddies in the same squad or platoon. Studies show that intergroup competition increases love of the in-group far more than it increases dislike of the out-group. Intergroup competitions, such as friendly rivalries between corporate divisions, or intramural sports competitions, should have a net positive effect on hivishness and social capital. But pitting individuals against each other in a competition for scarce resources (such as bonuses) will destroy hivishness, trust, and morale."

p. 278

"Morality binds and blinds. This is not just something that happens to people on the other side. We all get sucked into tribal moral communities. We circle around sacred values and then share post hoc arguments about why we are so right and they are so wrong. We think the other side is blind to truth, reason, science, and common sense, but in fact everyone goes blind when talking about their sacred objects."

p. 364

© Kyuwon Lee, 2020.