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Re: [TheBecoming] Re: [seerseeker] Are we naturally good or bad?

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  • devindersingh gulati
    Bhanu, I am making this a trilogue.   BHANU PADMO : Survival is achieved indirectly through weapon (self-defense) and directly through wealth (implements
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 28, 2013
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      Bhanu, I am making this a trilogue.
       
      BHANU PADMO : Survival is achieved indirectly through weapon (self-defense) and directly through wealth (implements for action). Goal is the maker of a community as it applies traction upon it and drags it toward higher evolutionary levels.

      DEVINDER:  Yes preventing demise and aiding continuance of life for which weapon can be implement of action. The goal however does not apply uniform traction on all. So the implement can become destructive.
      BHANU PADMO : The conjugal goal would determine the conjugal morality when the theory of wedlock would produce the conjugal goal.

      DEVINDER: Interesting. This is open to many interpretations. Plato theorized one. The current morality is moving toward another. The Tantra has its theory too.
      Agree on incomplete theory of evolution and vertical and horizontal evolution though not on intermediate waypoints or that predator species is necessarily higher on the scale of evolution than the prey species. That  the predator's propensity to kill is lesser than that of the prey does not seem to be borne out by observation. The most important point, 'what was moral then' is not necessarily moral now is however borne out.
      If morality is the product of considerations over the fateful traverse to goal, notions of morality will necessarily change over time. Yet there must necessarily be a converge of 'envisioned' morality and 'attained' morality. And there lies the difficulty of building a community on moral codes.
      BHANU PADMO : These genuine moral conflicts would find respective solutions in an appropriate polity that would advocate and implement true sovereignty of state through a radical methodology that would develop a plenary (state-wide) hierarchy of evenly distributed and omnipresent civil gurus (grassroots creative personages) to lead what we may call *civil religion*, a generic *political religion*. 
      For that we have to understand the simple *net-knot analogy* that depicts the fact that net-like state*s/ society*s sovereignty is the integral dream and intelligence of the plenary (state-wide) hierarchy of knot-like and evenly distributed grassroots gurus (secular and creative grassroots extraordinary citizens).
      This sovereign body could do miracles with respect to convergent metamorphosis of socio-cultural genes of all constituent populace segments. It could turn earth into heaven. .

      DEVINDER: I have the greatest difficulty here. I go with Nolini Kanta Gupta. "The New Man will be Master-and not slave. He will be master, first, of himself and then of the world. Man as he actually is, is but a slave. He has no personal voice or choice; the determining soul, the Ishwara, in him is sleep-bound and hushed. He is a mere plaything in the hands of nature and circumstances. Therefore it is that Science has become his supreme Dharmashastra; for science seeks to teach us the moods of Nature and the methods of propitiating her. Our actual ideal of man is that of the cleverest slave. But the New Man will have found himself and by and according to his inner will, mould and create his world. He will not be in awe of Nature and in an attitude of perpetual apprehension. and hesitation, but will ground himself on a secret harmony and union that will declare him as the lord. Not that this sovereign power will have anything to do. with aggression
      or over-bearingness. It will not be a power that feels itself only by creating an eternal opponent-Erbfeind -  by coming in constant clash with a rival that seeks to gain victory by subjugating. It will not be Nietzschean "will to power," which is, at best, a supreme Asuric power. It will rather be a Divine Power, for the strength it will exert and the victory it will achieve will not come from the ego-it is the ego which requires an object outside and against to feel and affirm itself but it will come from a higher personal self which is one with the cosmic soul and therefore with other personal souls. The Asura, in spite of, or rather, because of his aggressive vehemence betrays a lack of the sovereign power that is calm and at ease and self-sufficient. The Devic power does not assert hut simply accomplishes; the forces of the world act not as its opponent but as its instrument. Thus the New Man shall affirm his individual sovereignty and do so
      to perfection by expressing through it his unity with the cosmic powers, with the infinite godhead. And by being Swarat, Self-Master, he will become Samrat, world-master."

       Your device is bound to fail as every device has so far, that has ever been attempted. It is in the direction of building the "new man" you must look.
      [http://sriaurobindoashram.com/Content.aspx?ContentURL=_StaticContent/SriAurobindoAshram/-09%20E-Library/-03%20Disciples/Nolini%20Kanta%20Gupta/Volume-1/-01_The%20New%20Humanity.html]
      Gulati


      ________________________________
      From: Bhanu Padmo <greenbhanu@...>
      To: seerseeker@yahoogroups.com; greenlogic@yahoogroups.com; TheRampaPath@yahoogroups.com; Wisdom-l@yahoogroups.com; TheBecoming@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, 27 January 2013 9:27 PM
      Subject: [TheBecoming] Re: [seerseeker] Are we naturally good or bad?


       
      Mike !

      I almost fully agree with your
      attitude and sincerely like to fine-tune our relative approach to make it zero.
      So I would like to enter a deeper discussion with you. 

      Moral and Cultural
      Absolutism
      (Bhanu Padmo – Mike Lewinski  Dialog)
      MIKE LEWINSKI: I've got my utilitarian and
      pseudo-evolutionary take--that morality serves the simple purpose of creating
      community and that social beings typically have survival advantages over
      solitary beings. 

      BHANU PADMO: Morality (code) is only the contrivance. Goal
      is indeed the maker of a community insofar as the former applies an incessant
      traction upon the latter and drags the latter toward higher evolutionary levels.
      Intellect (philosophy) backed by dream (intuition) produces the goal and a
      commensurable morality. Thus morality may be deemed to be a product of
      philosophy vide goal (apex of inductive thinking).

       Morality turns a solitary being into a social
      being, true, but the survival prospect of this social being may be deemed to
      depend on the efficacy (evolutionary height) of goal or on the efficiency of
      the philosophy underlying the goal.
       We may have to give closer attention to the
      phenomenon of survival to understand it. Survival is achieved indirectly
      through weapon (self-defense) and directly through wealth (implements for
      action). Both the inventions may be deemed to be products of a conducive social
      environ that is developed by morality and culture as the community traverses
      towards its goal born of its philosophy.
      MIKE LEWINSKI: A man or woman living alone doesn't need much
      morality, really. You can argue there's still a relationship to the community
      of nature, but is it a fundamentally moral relationship or moral
      community? 

       BHANU
      PADMO: The
      conjugal goal would determine the conjugal morality when the theory of wedlock
      would produce the conjugal goal.
       MIKE
      LEWINSKI:We
      need to eat other beings to survive, be they animal or vegetable. And other
      beings "need" to eat us, be they microbes or lions. The community of
      okra probably doesn't like our morality any more than the community of cows.
      Nor do we like the morality of cholera or lion communities. At best any
      argument about our relationship to the rest of nature as a moral one has to
      cede these points. Without common language we cannot agree on common values.
      BHANU
      PADMO: The
      fallacy underlying the incomplete theory of evolution originating from Charles
      Darwin need to be undone to reorient/ rectify the connotation underlying your
      above statements. The notion of *survival of the fittest* need to be replaced
      by that of *survival of the wisest* and the blurred notion of *natural
      selection* need to be replaced by that of *transcendental selection* or
      *natural pre-selection* (pre-selection of nature by striving species through
      its faculty of intuitive dream).

       Incompleteness
      of the Darwinian Theory pertains to the fact that it is only a reflection/
      narration over physical adaptation of species and doesn*t account for the
      ultimate cause of evolution that adaptation encompasses.
      The
      Transcendental Theory of Evolution puts forward the argument that the
      motivation behind post-habitat (after arrival at the habitat) adaptation is the
      continuation/ transformation of the pre-habitat dream that enabled the species
      to envision the characteristic habitat-utility and that brought the species
      here. Thus the wise (intuitive dreamer) survives by way of being further
      empowered in the new habitat. Adaptation is a by-product.

       On
      the other hand, dreamless straying of the reluctant/ goalless species and its fortuitous
      arrival at a precarious habitat could only bring about *fraying of body* that
      would wrongly be construed to presage evolution when it wasn*t really so.
      These
      considerations give rise to such notions as vertical evolution and horizontal
      evolution when the former means *dream-driven adaptation and true evolution* and
      the latter means *dream-less fraying of body mistaken for the former*.

       Also,
      the intensity of dream and length of its spell may be deemed to engender
      commensurate and proportionate intellect (brain, nervous system) which would in
      turn engender commensurate and proportionate morality and adaptability and
      creativity.
      Thus
      the dream axis starts with intuitive emotion and ends up at physical evolution
      when the intermediate waypoints are intellect, invention, weapon, wealth,
      morality, spirituality, culture etc. These components of survival or victory
      are always commensurable and bear a definite proportionality.

      Thus
      any species doesn*t or rather, can*t think of eating any other species to
      survive. A established predator species is always higher on the scale of
      evolution than the prey species.

       Being
      more intelligent and moral than the prey, the predator*s propensity to kill is
      lesser than that of the prey. And yet the predator wins because of the
      proportionality between its wit and power, because its power is overwhelmingly
      high with respect to that of the prey.
       When
      you are talking about notoriety of a virus or a bacteria, the adjudication
      ought to be conducted at cell-level of organism*s body.
      Trans-species
      morality check doesn*t fall in the domain of predator-prey relationship.
      Morality of a species is to be judged in the absence of a predator-prey predicament.

       You
      are right when you say that such pungent truths need to be ceded in order to
      create a convergence among currently variegated opinions and that a common
      language need to be developed to arrive at common values.
       MIKE
      LEWINSKI:So
      if the fundamental purpose of morality is primarily to build community amongst
      members of the same species, and as social beings we need community, then my
      own moral relativism is cultural relativism, with some caveats. 
      BHANU
      PADMO: It
      may be reiterated that fundamentality about genesis and continuance of
      community doesn*t lie with morality. Instead, it lies with goal and the
      converged philosophy. Morality is the product of considerations over the fateful
      traverse to goal.

       Philosophy,
      goal, morality and community*s prospect of survival are to be seen on absolute
      scale of evolution. Relativity between absolute values is permissible, but not
      the moral and cultural relativism you seem to be nurturing. Moral and cultural
      absolutism is the rule.
       If
      5 is bigger than 3 in certain way by any opinion, then 3 could be bigger than 5
      in the same way by another opinion! No. Not acceptable. This would represent
      moral and cultural anarchy.
      MIKE
      LEWINSKI:It
      isn't that every individual gets to set their own morals, but that every
      community must agree on common morals and rules that best fit all members.
      Obviously it doesn't always work so smoothly as people on every side of the
      abortion or gun control debates can clearly see, to pick just two obvious
      examples that are highly charged in US politics right now. 
       BHANU
      PADMO: Since
      morality is not the starting point and philosophy/ goal is, the prospect and process
      of socio-cultural change becomes brighter and smoother respectively if people
      are led down the *philosophy-goal-objectives-morality-culture-sociality-community-survival
      sequence* instead of the truncated *morality-sociality-community-survival
      sequence*.
      MIKE
      LEWINSKI:So
      it's a more culturally relativistic perspective, even though today all matters
      of "culture" are tough to pick out. My culture isn't your culture
      (any "you" reading this) even as their are Venn diagrams of overlap
      with the proverbial six degree of separation between us.

       BHANU
      PADMO: I
      am afraid it could be a more *culturally absolutist perspective*. In this case
      Venn Diagram isn*t applicable to describe cultural position of individuals. The
      absolute scale is now applicable where the proverbial *six degree of
      separation* would be replaced by a *linear separation of six points*!
       MIKE
      LEWINSKI:So
      a thing is moral when it tends to improve the community and strengthen the
      social bonds and immoral when it tends to degrade community and weaken bonds.
      Murder, rape and other forms of violence all create collateral damage that
      ripple out in empathic waves from the person most harmed. These things are
      uniformly immoral across all cultures (even as some exceptions get carved out
      in laws designed to satisfy a need for vengeance).
       BHANU
      PADMO:  I endorse this view fully. Let*s take
      the crime statistics as the cardinal index of culture, polity, religiosity and civilization.
       MIKE
      LEWINSKI: The generic
      "avoidance of harm" value gets taken up by all sides in the hottest
      cultural debates. Here the far right want to preserve liberty through bearing
      firearms and resisting government tyranny when it comes. The far left want to
      avoid harm by disarming everyone, confident that government tyranny either
      can't come or can't be successfully resisted when government has bombers,
      tanks, subs, nukes, etc. Both sides are fervently wanting to avoid the greatest
      harm and willing to risk the other lesser harms (or lower risk if not lesser in
      harm) as necessary. This is a genuine moral conflict that has no easy
      resolution and I fear civil war before tyranny right now.
       BHANU
      PADMO: These
      genuine moral conflicts would find respective solutions in an appropriate
      polity that would advocate and implement true sovereignty of state through a
      radical methodology that would develop a plenary (state-wide) hierarchy of evenly
      distributed and omnipresent civil gurus (grassroots creative personages) to
      lead what we may call *civil religion*, a generic *political religion*.
       MIKE
      LEWINSKI: So
      the only categorical moral imperative I can fathom is "behave pro-socially
      in your environment" where you are free to establish your own personal
      boundaries of behavior and impose stricter requirements on friends (don't lie
      to me) than government or other larger communities you're equally a part of
      might impose. There again are the Venn diagram overlaps of friends, family,
      religious affiliation, political affiliation, civic affiliation, sports and
      other enthusiast communities each with their own set of morals that don't get
      applied more globally. We may not think of sport communities as moral
      communities, but they have their peculiar set of morals that you must embrace
      if the community is to welcome you.
      BHANU
      PADMO: The
      maiden moral imperative would be in the direction of inculcating
      pro-sovereignty public awareness and behavior as a prelude to installation of
      state*s/ society*s non-existent head upon its truncated shoulder.

      For
      that we have to understand the simple *net-knot analogy* that depicts the fact
      that net-like state*s/ society*s sovereignty is the integral dream and
      intelligence of the plenary (state-wide) hierarchy of knot-like and evenly
      distributed grassroots gurus (secular and creative grassroots extraordinary
      citizens).

       This
      sovereign body could do miracles with respect to convergent metamorphosis of
      socio-cultural genes of all constituent populace segments. It could turn earth
      into heaven.
      MIKE
      LEWINSKI: Since
      I'm on about communities, I have this last fragment of text that is mostly
      unrelated to the main discussion as I see it. I've been developing this line of
      thought for a little while and am kicking it out for feedback. I do think we
      are a part of the natural community of the earth, but I don't believe it's a
      moral community.

       BHANU
      PADMO: We
      aren*t neither a natural or moral community if we are stripped of philosophical
      convergence and convergence of objectives (goal).
       MIKE
      LEWINSKI: With
      this caveat, this is what I'm working on:
       We can be in
      communion with the world, or we can commodify it. 
      Commodification
      precludes communion as it reduces the Other to its economic value, stripping it
      of its intrinsic value and right to exist outside of human economic frameworks.
      The commodification
      of the world is so complete as to encompass nearly all of space and time. What
      part of the earth is not "owned"? What part of our day is not sold?
      I have come to
      understand that a foundational lie of my culture is that "time is
      money". This commodification of time itself is so deeply embedded in
      language as to be nearly invisible.
      I cannot spend my
      time, but I can live it. 
      I cannot pay attention,
      but I can give it.
      http://www.spunk.org/texts/writers/woodcock/sp001734.html
      BHANU PADMO:  As you must have already noted, there isn*t any
      reason behind why I should not concur with your such views and objectives. My
      agreement and commitment in this regard is positive, profuse and prolific.

      .........................

      (Bhanu Padmo)
      http://www.bhanupadmo.com
      You
      may reply this thread upon http://in.groups.yahoo.com/group/greenlogic/%c2%a0
      as well
      or consign a copy to greenlogic@...   for extended discussions.
       
      --- On Sat, 1/26/13, Mike Lewinski <oroboros@...> wrote:


      >From: Mike Lewinski <oroboros@...>
      >Subject: Re: [seerseeker] Are we naturally good or bad?
      >To: seerseeker@yahoogroups.com
      >Date: Saturday, January 26, 2013, 11:59 PM
      >
      >

      >I've got my utilitarian and pseudo-evolutionary take--that morality serves the simple purpose of creating community and that social beings typically have survival advantages over solitary beings.
      >
      >A man or woman living alone doesn't need much morality, really. You can argue there's still a relationship to the community of nature, but is it a fundamentally moral relationship or moral community? 
      >
      >
      >We need to eat other beings to survive, be they animal or vegetable. And other beings "need" to eat us, be they microbes or lions. The community of okra probably doesn't like our morality any more than the community of cows. Nor do we like the morality of cholera or lion communities. At best any argument about our relationship to the rest of nature as a moral one has to cede these points. Without common language we cannot agree on common values.
      >
      >
      >So if the fundamental purpose of morality is primarily to build community amongst members of the same species, and as social beings we need community, then my own moral relativism is cultural relativism, with some caveats.
      >
      >It isn't that every individual gets to set their own morals, but that every community must agree on common morals and rules that best fit all members. Obviously it doesn't always work so smoothly as people on every side of the abortion or gun control debates can clearly see, to pick just two obvious examples that are highly charged in US politics right now. 
      >
      >
      >So it's a more culturally relativistic perspective, even though today all matters of "culture" are tough to pick out. My culture isn't your culture (any "you" reading this) even as their are Venn diagrams of overlap with the proverbial six degree of separation between us.
      >
      >
      >So a thing is moral when it tends to improve the community and strengthen the social bonds and immoral when it tends to degrade community and weaken bonds. Murder, rape and other forms of violence all create collateral damage that ripple out in empathic waves from the person most harmed. These things are uniformly immoral across all cultures (even as some exceptions get carved out in laws designed to satisfy a need for vengeance).
      >
      >
      >The generic "avoidance of harm" value gets taken up by all sides in the hottest cultural debates. Here the far right want to preserve liberty through bearing firearms and resisting government tyranny when it comes. The far left want to avoid harm by disarming everyone, confident that government tyranny either can't come or can't be successfully resisted when government has bombers, tanks, subs, nukes, etc. Both sides are fervently wanting to avoid the greatest harm and willing to risk the other lesser harms (or lower risk if not lesser in harm) as necessary. This is a genuine moral conflict that has no easy resolution and I fear civil war before tyranny right now.
      >
      >
      >So the only categorical moral imperative I can fathom is "behave pro-socially in your environment" where you are free to establish your own personal boundaries of behavior and impose stricter requirements on friends (don't lie to me) than government or other larger communities you're equally a part of might impose. There again are the Venn diagram overlaps of friends, family, religious affiliation, political affiliation, civic affiliation, sports and other enthusiast communities each with their own set of morals that don't get applied more globally. We may not think of sport communities as moral communities, but they have their peculiar set of morals that you must embrace if the community is to welcome you.
      >
      >
      >Since I'm on about communities, I have this last fragment of text that is mostly unrelated to the main discussion as I see it. I've been developing this line of thought for a little while and am kicking it out for feedback. I do think we are a part of the natural community of the earth, but I don't believe it's a moral community. With this caveat, this is what I'm working on:
      >
      >>
      >>We can be in communion with the world, or we can commodify it. 
      >>Commodification precludes communion as it reduces the Other to its economic value, stripping it of its intrinsic value and right to exist outside of human economic frameworks.
      >>The commodification of the world is so complete as to encompass nearly all of space and time. What part of the earth is not "owned"? What part of our day is not sold?
      >>I have come to understand that a foundational lie of my culture is that "time is money". This commodification of time itself is so deeply embedded in language as to be nearly invisible.
      >>I cannot spend my time, but I can live it. 
      >>I cannot pay attention, but I can give it.
      >>http://www.spunk.org/texts/writers/woodcock/sp001734.html
      >
      >
      >On Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 6:57 PM, Kyva Holman <kyholm7@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      >> 
      >>the whole question is an example of the way language fails ~ hopefully we'll continue to develop extra and/or trans-linguistic ways of communicating 
      >>i know that's very postmodern, but the only way we'll get beyond the postmodern state to a more evolved one is to interrogate where we are currently
      >>
      >>fitting the question with one or another potential spoken cadence will illustrate my point
      >> 
      >>cause if you say: "are we naturally good or bad"?  (all running together)
      >> 
      >>the answer must be indubitably yes.  Most meaningful human (i.e. animal/natural) actions will ultimately fall on some part of a moral continuum with absolute "good" at one end, and absolute "bad" at the other.
      >> 
      >>but if you say: "are we naturally good... or bad...?"  (pause after good)
      >> 
      >>the cadence here implies duality and polarity.  There are two extremes and "we" (whatever THAT means) are either collectively one OR the other.
      >> 
      >>And this lack of clarity in what the question is seeking to reveal isn't even the major problem.  That dubious distinction goes to the issue of - who exactly is supposed to be the ultimate authority, the indisputed arbiter of moral judgment?  You?  Me?  The Senate? The Catholic Church?
      >> 
      >>because if there isn't one, and my subjective opinion has the same weight as yours or anyone else's, then there's no way to come to agreement on the question, no matter how it's phrased
      >>
      >>thus no point in asking it (not trying to be snarky)
      >>  
      >>-----Original Message-----
      >>From: Bhanu Padmo <greenbhanu@...>
      >>To: seerseeker <seerseeker@yahoogroups.com>; greenlogic <greenlogic@yahoogroups.com>; TheRampaPath <TheRampaPath@yahoogroups.com>; Wisdom-l <Wisdom-l@yahoogroups.com>; TheBecoming <TheBecoming@yahoogroups.com>
      >>Sent: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 4:37 am
      >>Subject: Re: [seerseeker] Are we naturally good or bad?
      >>
      >>
      >> 
      >>Natural Goodness and Evolution.  We may not wait for such a long time to witness such an experiment (as quoted by Tom Stafford in his article *Are We Naturally Good or Bad*) that could possibly suggest natural goodness of human being when a little reasoning clarifies the fact that all living beings, including humans, must be naturally good.
      >> 
      >>First of all, we have to define goodness. Goodness is the index of evolution as evolution is the final good in this universe. Since any newborn body is a piece of cumulative evolution (having a finite evolutionary magnitude on the scale of evolution), it may be deemed as a lump of goodness.
      >> 
      >>The inherent evolutionary propensity of a being is simply its natural goodness, therefore.
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>(Bhanu Padmo)
      >>http://www.bhanupadmo.com
      >>You may reply this thread upon http://in.groups.yahoo.com/group/greenlogic/%c2%a0 as well
      >>or consign a copy to greenlogic@...   for extended discussions.
      >>
      >>--- On Thu, 1/24/13, Laurie <libramoon42@...> wrote:
      >>
      >>
      >>>From: Laurie <libramoon42@...>
      >>>Subject: [seerseeker] Are we naturally good or bad?
      >>>To: "seers and seekers" <seerseeker@yahoogroups.com>
      >>>Date: Thursday, January 24, 2013, 10:54 PM
      >>>
      >>>
      >>> 
      >>>http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130114-are-we-naturally-good-or-bad
      >>>Are we naturally good or bad?
      >>> 
      >>>Tom Stafford
      >>>
      >>>
      >>>Fundamentally speaking, are humans good or bad? It's a question that has repeatedly been asked throughout humanity. For thousands of years, philosophers have debated whether we have a basically good nature that is corrupted by society, or a basically bad nature that is kept in check by society. Psychology has uncovered some evidence which might give the old debate a twist.
      >>>One way of asking about our most fundamental characteristics is to look at babies. Babies' minds are a wonderful showcase for human nature. Babies are humans with the absolute minimum of cultural influence – they don't have many friends, have never been to school and haven't read any books. They can't even control their own bowels, let alone speak the language, so their minds are as close to innocent as a human mind can get.
      >>>The only problem is that the lack of language makes it tricky to gauge their opinions. Normally we ask people to take part in experiments, giving them instructions or asking them to answer questions, both of which require language. Babies may be cuter to work with, but they are not known for their obedience. What's a curious psychologist to do?
      >>>Fortunately, you don't necessarily have to speak to reveal your opinions. Babies will reach for things they want or like, and they will tend to look longer at things that surprise them. Ingenious experiments carried out at Yale University in the US used these measures to look at babies' minds. Their results suggest that even the youngest humans have a sense of right and wrong, and, furthermore, an instinct to prefer good over evil.
      >>>How could the experiments tell this? Imagine you are a baby. Since you have a short attention span, the experiment will be shorter and loads more fun than most psychology experiments. It was basically a kind of puppet show; the stage a scene featuring a bright green hill, and the puppets were cut-out shapes with stick on wobbly eyes; a triangle, a square and a circle, each in their own bright colours. What happened next was a short play, as one of the shapes tried to climb the hill, struggling up and falling back down again. Next, the other two shapes got involved, with either one helping the climber up the hill, by pushing up from behind, or the other hindering the climber, by pushing back from above.
      >>>Already something amazing, psychologically, is going on here. All humans are able to interpret the events in the play in terms of the story I’ve described. The puppets are just shapes. They don't make human sounds or display human emotions. They just move about, and yet everyone reads these movements as purposeful, and revealing of their characters. You can argue that this “mind reading”, even in infants, shows that it is part of our human nature to believe in other minds.
      >>>Great expectations
      >>>What happened next tells us even more about human nature. After the show, infants were given the choice of reaching for either the helping or the hindering shape, and it turned out they were much more likely to reach for the helper. This can be explained if they are reading the events of the show in terms of motivations – the shapes aren't just moving at random, but they showed to the infant that the shape pushing uphill "wants" to help out (and so is nice) and the shape pushing downhill "wants" to cause problems (and so is nasty).
      >>>The researchers used an encore to confirm these results. Infants saw a second scene in which the climber shape made a choice to move towards either the helper shape or the hinderer shape. The time infants spent looking in each of the two cases revealed what they thought of the outcome. If the climber moved towards the hinderer the infants looked significantly longer than if the climber moved towards the helper. This makes sense if the infants were surprised when the climber approached the hinderer. Moving towards the helper shape would be the happy ending, and obviously it was what the infant expected. If the climber moved towards the hinderer it was a surprise, as much as you or I would be surprised if we saw someone give a hug to a man who had just knocked him over.
      >>>The way to make sense of this result is if infants, with their pre-cultural brains had expectations about how people should act. Not only do they interpret the movement of the shapes as resulting from motivations, but they prefer helping motivations over hindering ones.
      >>>This doesn't settle the debate over human nature. A cynic would say that it just shows that infants are self-interested and expect others to be the same way. At a minimum though, it shows that tightly bound into the nature of our developing minds is the ability to make sense of the world in terms of motivations, and a basic instinct to prefer friendly intentions over malicious ones. It is on this foundation that adult morality is built.
      >>> 
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      >>>BBC © 2013
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