Where does morality come from?
Some people point outside themselves. It comes from a divine creator, they say. Others say that you can calculate and quantify morality from the laws of physics.
I'm not sure about those. Maybe morality is a gift we receive from elsewhere. My theory on its origins is much simpler.
If you were to compare two people in our evolution pre-history – one who was ethical, one who was not – you'd notice the answer.
Someone without any morality would steal food when they were hungry. They'd murder their rivals over petty squabbles. They would threaten the group's politics for any advantage.
If you think someone like this would outcompete an altruist, you're wrong. It takes a community to survive the wilderness. Exile was a punishment practically equivalent to execution.
In other words, if people do not like you, you're doomed.
If you're a threat to your own tribe, that's even worse.
Play by the tribe's rules or pay the price.
Ethical behavior seems to be a legacy of our biology. We have an innate sense that some things are good and others are bad. Our emotions reward us with virtuous pride or punishment with anxious guilt.
A perfect system, right …?
Well, obviously not. Have a look around and you will not see a utopia.
Knowing that some behaviors are good is one thing. That's innate for most of us. Learning what those behaviors are coming from our upbringing.
There's a great line from the Carl Jung book, Modern Man in Search of a Soul. A tribal chieftain was asked what the difference between good and bad is. He said something like:
“Good is when I steal my enemy's wives. Bad is when he mine mines.”
What does that sound like? Materialism? Hypocrisy?
Or that that's a useful way of viewing the world when you have to fight for survival.
Some people honestly see having children as immoral. Most of us would, I hope, see 'stealing wives' as immoral (on a few levels). Biology creates a sense of ethics within us, but what is moral is something we learn.
It's not arbitrary, but it's close.
The other problem with morality is that people can ignore it.
“I know stealing is wrong … but I really want that new phone. The corporation who made it rich and greedy – they will not miss it. I donate money to charity and this will help me earn more, so it's a net win. ”
And on and on the justifications flow.
Without, of course, you're in tune with your unconscious mind.
I surprise people when I tell them that being in a hypnotic trance makes you more ethical. Some people have this notification that you could have hypnotized into, say, robbing a bank. Outside of a trance, you can justify robbing a bank as easily as you can justify stealing a phone.
You can not lie to yourself inside of a trance.
Meditation creates the same conditions.
Whatever form your conscious takes, you hear it more clearly when you go inside your mind.
And when your conscious knows you're listening, it stops fighting you. Which means every part of your mind aligns with your intention.
Good behavior has its rewards.