Intuitive Conscience

Recent discoveries in developmental psychology and other behavioral disciplines have shown that babies are born with a “first draft” of a moral mind. Among others, brain scientist, Gary Marcus, has described this moral understanding as “already defined and organized before experience.” Social psychologist, Jonathan Haidt, describes this first draft of the moral mind as consisting of five primary values. Modern cross-cultural anthropologists point to these same five primary values as the foundation of all cultures, currently and historically, and 21st century ethologists suggest the same values apply to most if not all species:

1) Care / Protection

2) Fairness / Reciprocity

3) Ingroup / Loyalty

4) Authority / Respect

5) Purity / Sanctity

These five intrinsic values are the organic origins of what could be called intuitive conscience. They are also what we experience personally as our core, essential yearnings, however distorted or confused we may interpret them: to care and be cared for, and to protect what we hold dear; to share equally in freedom and responsibility; to belong, and to uphold the trusts that are given to us in that belonging; the importance of an objective hierarchy of virtue and wisdom; and that there exists that which is unquestionably sacred or divine.

Photo by Wade Davis

(Thank you, Carter)

2 Comments Add yours

  1. S.R. says:

    Brilliant, concise, far-reaching in its implications. One might say the descriptive origin of all human behavior throughout history and presently, especially because of “however distorted or confused we may interpret them.” But grandeur and beauty when done right.

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