The Righteous Mind

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  1. I just finished this excellent book. One of the best and most enlightening and relevant books I have ever read. Highly recommended.

    Here’s an excerpt from the conclusion:

    “This book explained why people are divided by politics and religion. The answer is not, as Manichaeans would have it, because some people are good and others are evil.

    “Instead, the explanation is that our minds were designed for groupish righteousness. We are deeply intuitive creatures whose gut feelings drive our strategic reasoning. This makes it difficult – but not impossible – to connect with those who live in other [moral] matrices, which are often built on different configurations of the available moral foundations.

    [These six values are elaborated in the book and are 1) care/harm; 2) liberty/oppression; 4) fairness/cheating; 4) loyalty/betrayal; 5) authority/subversion; 6) sanctity/degradation – which ones are most important for you? Which ones do you think are more important for liberals in general? For conservatives?]

    “So the next time you find yourself seated beside someone from another matrix [ie, an ranking or configuration of 6 those values/foundations that’s different from your own ranking], give it a try. Don’t just jump right in. Don’t bring up morality until you’ve found a few points of commonality or in some other way established a bit of trust. And when you do bring up issues of morality, try to start with some praise, or with a sincere expression of interest.

    “We’re all stuck here for a while, so let’s try to work it out.”

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