Moral Dumbfounding

Post date: Sep 19, 2014 8:35:58 PM

Why are certain things wrong?

We judge right/wrong or accept things around us based on a few observations and teachings or based on our understanding of morality. Most of the time, this understanding is just a perception or a theoretical framework that we grew up in. We judge others without realizing how it may feel to be that person. ...but Certain incidents in life shakes us so much that... things that were immoral until yesterday suddenly becomes justifiable and reasonable to our minds. It all depends on how far we can go questioning things around us.. but what is the limit when we stop asking? While discussing something another day... A question came.. why a handshake is not wrong, but kissing is? Aren't lips just other body parts like hands? And an extended discussion lead to some tough questions.... I remembered something I wrote once -

जीवन में बनी बनायी सोच ध्वस्त कर देने वाली घटनाएं होती रहनी चाहिए।

कितनी भी सुदृढ़ सोच हो ... हर समय और हालात में वो कारगर नहीं रह जाती। फिर सोच के ध्वस्त होने से नयी सोच का अंकुर फूटता है ! जितनी बुरी तरह ध्वस्त हो ... उतनी ही प्रभावी सोच जन्म लेती है.

..and as we observe things related to our mood... I ended up reading about Moral dumbfounding... and then kept reading...

Here is an interesting piece from interview of Jonathan Haidt -

...people give a reason. When that reason is stripped from them, they give another reason. When the new reason is stripped from them, they reach for another reason. And it’s only when they reach deep into their pocket for another reason, and come up empty-handed, that they enter the state we call “moral dumbfounding.” Because they fully expect to find reasons. They’re surprised when they don’t find reasons. ... it’s a cognitive state where you “know” that something is morally wrong, but you can’t find reasons to justify your belief. Instead of changing your mind about what’s wrong, you just say: “I don’t know, I can’t explain it. I just know it’s wrong.”