Finding Relationships between Complex Ideas

Hi blog readers! My name is Anicca Cox and I teach in the First Year English program here at UMD. As you know, we will be incorporating The Righteous Mind into your first year composition courses to get you thinking about what it means to reason critically, rationally and morally and to help you to perhaps uncover some of your own biases, which you carry into new situations. You’ll also be posting 2 responses to the blog posts here throughout the rest of the summer in order to interact with both faculty and your peers. Finally, you’ll all be composing a short essay that responds to some of the ideas from the book which your first year writing instructor will be using in the classroom. So, let’s dive in!

One of the first things you’ll be practicing in your first year writing courses is the ability to pull out important information and key terms, concepts, ideas and questions from a reading. Some of you probably have experience with this already from high school. For example, this book might help us ask some important questions like: what does it mean to be in a group setting like a university knowing that we are, as Haidt argues, “10 percent bee?” Or more generally, what do you see as being the most important concept from your reading?

But I’m going to ask you to go one step further here. Let’s not just look at those key ideas as they stand alone. Let’s first explore the ideas and then let’s see what kinds of relationships we can discover between ideas. Let’s first take a key idea and put it in context. Yes, we are what Haidt calls “groupish” at times. Any soccer fans out there? In following the World Cup this year I was once again amazed at how much stock we can put in a team, how our very individual identities can form in relationship to a team mentality. So my first question is, if you watched the World Cup this year, did any of the ideas from Haidt’s book make you think in new ways about what it means to be on a team, or to be a fan? How did you feel when your favorite team won or lost? If you didn’t watch the soccer games, do you have experiences as a team member or a fan that match or diverge from what Haidt says about how we form identities and a sense of belonging through being on a team? Have you accessed your own “hive switch”? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to this experience? Now let’s finish our task here by looking for relationships between ideas. Can you, as a reader take the idea of “groupish behavior” i.e. how we function on teams and see how this idea has a relationship to one or more of Haidt’s other key concepts?

For example, how does the idea of the hive switch or our “groupish” mentality interact with Haidt’s concepts about our six “moral taste receptors” or even what he says in chapter five about our “WEIRD morality”? In what ways does he as an academic writer, make those connections clear for us as readers? Discovering some of these relationships and connections will help us understand his theory on a deeper level and be able to see the complexity of those ideas.

Finally, as some of you are surely discovering, this book is a challenge. It’s true that Haidt takes a good long while laying out his full argument, backing it up with research, anecdotes and discussion. As a reader, I found some of the most important conclusions in the book by the third and final section so keep reading!

I’m excited to see what you fellow readers think about the book! I’ll be checking in every few days (as will all of our faculty and student guest bloggers) to answer questions and ask you to refine and explore your ideas. For now, let’s talk about those key concepts and the relationships between the important ideas in the book.

Happy blogging to you class of 2018!

 

 

44 thoughts on “Finding Relationships between Complex Ideas

  1. Krystal Cabral says:

    I do strongly believe in the idea of a Durkheimian society, favored by Republicans. It is an ideal institution where people need to ignore their own selfish needs and remain loyal to the group. The Millian society embraces the ethic of autonomy, where people come first. I think this will just lead to a disorganized society. Their is no order and people only act based on their own selfish needs, not thinking how it will affect those around them. People need to stop acting like a chimp and start thinking like a bee. The sooner we realize that we are stronger in groups, the quicker we will start seeing improvements in our society.

    • Lance Rufino says:

      Belonging is something that we can all connect to by sharing emotions and ideals with other human beings, able to discuss and interact with each other on a variation of subjects creating a web of reciprocating ideals and knowledge. These connections can also help us with causes people voice passionately about or spread awareness over. The ALS ice bucket challenge is a popular subject this year where people can donate one hundred dollars to ALS research or dump a bucket of ice water on their heads and donate a smaller amount ranging from one dollar to even a full hundred dollars (or more). This example shows how people working much like a hive can create progress as a society in huge ways one step at a time creating a progressive society through passion and connection. Last year the donations to ALS reached a total of $3,293,934 in to research just on spreading the word alone and people who have passion over this subject but this year with a simple way to connect to others and spread awareness by challenging friends and family members to, this it grossed $88.5 million dollars as of August 26.

    • Yessenia Motta says:

      I agree with you, It is true that we will be stronger as a whole. Yet the majority of humans will not grasp this concept for they are filled and blinded by their own idea of ignorance. The majority will continue to follow in the behavior of the chimp because they want to succeed. They want the american dream, which is to be rich and be able to do things that others could only dream of doing. Cause let’s face it, you can barely get anywhere anymore without any money in your pocket.

  2. Madelyne Gondres says:

    This book has a challenging way of putting out the way society view things. It talks about what things we find morally wrong, not because we really think they are but because for the rest of the people surrounding us this actions shouldn’t be allowed or committed by anyone. As someone that already challenges people believe on religion and politics, this book is very appealing because of the way Shweder compare and contrast his theory with other. As of for now I’m amaze by his words.

  3. Laodecia Fevrier says:

    Hello, Fellow Classmates of 2018 I am super excited to be attending in the fall and even more excited about sharing some of my views and opinions on this book as well. The book this far, has served to be an interesting analysis on every day thinking for human beings. I have found myself constantly relating to the many situations and experimental views in this book. As I was reading however, I noticed something quite interesting on page seventy-six, chapter three. Haidt in section six of chapter three, describes affective reactions being in the right place at the right time in the brain. In explaining his views on his catchy title, he describes moral dilemmas “in which two major ethical principals seem to push against each other.” As an example he references the “trolley dilemma” ( in which the only way you can stop a runway trolley from killing five people is by pushing one person off the bridge onto the track below). In this scenario, assuming that you would be the person to push someone onto a bridge, your life is not necessarily at stake, so of course there is more room for reasoning and morality. God forbid however, your life was at stake and instead of being at the top of a bridge, you were on the trolley and had to make that decision, does morality even come into question when personal safety is involved? Haidt proposes two different ways of going about this situation, by focusing on either utilitarianism or deontology. You see, I personally don’t feel that either of those approaches focuses on personal safety ( which may occur in some instances). Our bodies when it comes down to danger, quickly uses the fight or flight response. Couldn’t one say that personal safety may cloud our moral visions in hopes to keep us from death. Does the mind even have enough time to question morality when your life is at stake? Also, Abraham Maslow in earlier times of psychology suggests that we as humans have a hierarchy of needs. Self -Actualization which occurs at the top of the pyramid of needs, involves morality, while personal safety falls towards the bottom under basic needs in life ( the pyramid is read from the bottom up, for anyone that was wondering). I felt that the answer of personal safety seemed satisfying in the final question asked by Haidt at the end of chapter three, he states ” Wouldn’t it have been most adaptive for our ancestors to figure out the truth, the real truth about who did what and why rather than using all that brainpower just to find evidence in support of what they wanted to believe? That depends on what you think was more important for our ancestors’ survival :truth or reputation” I personally believe that our ancestors felt that truth was more important than reputation when it came to survival. Because the truth in this situation is simply put, SURVIVIAL. I don’t believe a clean reputation sincerely mattered to them, especially if their personal life was at stake. However to refute my own statement, it depends on which ancestors we are discussing ( how far back in history should I really go?). -Lala

  4. Antone Gomes says:

    I also found this book challenging in the sense that its hard to understand especially if your not really reading closely. Although I thought Haidt did a great job explaining human morality and reasoning through his use of analogies. For example the “elephant and rider” analogy, where the elephant leans the direction he wants to go, and the rider tries to anticipate the direction the elephant is going. At the bottom of page 81, Haidt starts to compare the elephant and rider analogy to a lawyer taking insturctions from a client. The elephant being the client and the lawyer being the rider. Haidt says, “after the two sit around and chat for a few minutes, the elephant actually opens up to advice from the rider and arguments from outside sources”. These simple comparisons of analogies made this book a lot more easier to understand and fun to read.

  5. I am very interested on how the book addresses how peoples moral standing can be affected by so many outlying factors. I always thought that someone’s religion was the main driving force behind their moral judgement. The book has shown me that there and many other factors, such as a persons family up bringing, and societal norms of where a person live, that has major influence over their moral standings. This helped me understand how some actions in one region of the world can be seen as morally wrong while the same action in an other region can be a societal norm. I find the way that the information is presented in the book to be interesting. At some points it does seem to be overly wordy, but that allows it to cover all the necessary bases.

    • Marissa Garcia says:

      I strongly agree with the point that a person’s upbringing strongly influences their moral standings. As I learn more about the world around me, I always thought I was learning new things and making moral decisions on my own. As I look back on it though I am just a mold of what all the people I have grown up with believe and have naturally done in their lives. The cultural experiment Haidt preformed also verifies this. All my life I have had the same upbringing, and the same cultural experience, so to me that is what is morally acceptable. Something so small as the food we eat can be viewed as morally wrong in other cultures. When I really began to think about it, people I know who have a different cultural upbringing as me have judged things my family has done. Personally I am Portuguese and in our culture we our very touchy. Every time we see someone we tend to hug, and give a kiss on the cheek. To people in certain cultures this could be viewed as wrong for other women to hug men, but due to our cultural upbringing it is morally acceptable for my family.

      • acox1umassd says:

        Hi Marissa, I like how you are honest and insightful here about your own cultural experiences and how they shape you. It’s interesting that at first glance, living in American culture where we value individuality so much, it’s easy to think we’re all working from that place. I agree with you and by extension Haidt that we are in fact very much influenced by communities and their cultural practices. Being able to be reflective on those things will always allow us a little more flexibility I would imagine. Nice work here:)

    • Sara E Mahan says:

      I agree with you on this. It is so interesting to see how different cultures view what is and isn’t moral. To the average American, a widow eating fish was completely acceptable but to an Indian it was morally wrong (19). This is just one example in the book of how different cultures have such different viewpoints on the most basic ideas. Family, religion, culture, region, and community all play a major role in what we believe is moral. Haidt does a very good job explaining that he doesn’t believe anyone is wrong for the morals they believe in, he’s just trying to explain why people believe what they do. It is very interesting to read for sure. I enjoy learning why people make the choices they do.

  6. mike lingo says:

    This book does indeed make the reader think about how to form ideas and a relationship between them. I enjoyed reading this book because it made me think critically to the responses of Johnathan Haidt. When i started to connect my own ideas into a relationship I began to understand how morality affects us all as human beings. I also understood how reasoning can also both help and hurt us because we are human beings. Human beings like to be straight forward and always look for a correct answer. I thought the “elephant and rider” analogy was very appropriate because of how our morals and reasoning can sometimes make us go in two very different directions.

  7. Jazmyne Zampell says:

    This book is very interesting and Jonathan Haidt has a great way of explaining everything. However, I am a very opinionated person and when I do have an opinion I usually stick to it. It’s frustrating because the author has a way of making me think I have a strong opinion on something and then later explaining it, making me want to re-think my opinion. It’s even more frustrating because most of the time, my opinions are very different from his. For example he believes that children have their own moral codes (nature), however I believe they learn everything from the people surrounding them (nurture.)

    One thing I did love, is the idea of the rider and the elephant. It’s interesting to me that the rider acts as your brain and the elephant as your body. The rider can see further ahead so he can guide the elephant around obstacles, just as the brain looks into the future predicting mistakes telling your body what you should and shouldn’t do. Did anyone else think this was interesting?

  8. I feel that even though this book was insightful and made me think, i think it was really abstract. I didn’t understand a lot of the parts where Haidt was trying to blend things he had talked about in with newer things, it was kind of confusing. The examples he gave, like on pages 161-162 with the boys being put into camps to be studied and to give their parents breaks, that really solidified the background knowledge Haidt talked about during the page after; when he was talking about how males minds are innately tribal. But overall the book was just a little hard to understand.

  9. Juliann Murnane says:

    I have also found that it is a tough read. Although once I completely focus on what I am reading I understand what the author is trying to relay to the reader. The content has become very interesting to me, it challenges the perspective one may have on any moral standard. For example, when Haidt conducted the experiments on human judgement and told a story about incest to multiple people, it challenged their way of thinking when asked why they were against it. I like that he is trying to get people to see things differently and think about things differently.

  10. I did watch the World Cup this year and I do take stock in other Massachusetts/New England professional teams as well as the teams I participated on in high school. I myself am a more passive reader so I don’t usually let new ideas thrive onto parts of my life that are already set and working out fine, the sports being a perfect example because I did not lose nor gain stock in my preferred team. Though I’m not big on soccer, I still felt a little bad when the US team lost but a little happy that Germany won because I just like Germany is all (trust me I didn’t bandwagon jump to Germany).

    Now I love (American) football more, so when the Patriots lost in Super Bowl XLVI to the Giants, I felt my heart sink because I followed them all season only to see them lose by 4 points to the Giants who had fans that I know. The big disadvantage to caring so much about a sports team that has nothing to do with you personally is that their wins and losses can dictate your present mood, suffice to say I was not happy to attend school the next day. On the other side of that, its nice to feel like you’re a part of a group, which for me was mourning Patriots fans, and you know what they say: misery loves company. The more groups you belong to, I say the better because it can earn you a larger and more diverse group of friends and acquaintances.

    I think the groupish behavior of sports team fans has some play in Haidt’s talk of intuition being the big leader in successful discussion. Though he titled the section “How to Win an Argument”, I think that to have successful discussion of any kind requires the correct intuition in favor of who it is you are talking to. I found myself more susceptible to speak to Giants fans about the game when they approached me with no immediate remark pro-Giants or anti-Patriots. Those who said “some game last night” vs. those who said “the Pats got creamed last night” were likely to get less biased conversation from me. I’d admit flaws in the Pats defense and commend the Giants on a game well clutched and it’s because I was approached neutrally or to my opinion’s favor on the game, I would have good conversation.

    • acox1umassd says:

      Hi, thanks for your exploration here. It’s insightful and touches on some strong points about what makes us feel, do, believe in the way we do in communities. Nice work!

  11. Deb Dillenburg says:

    So far, I have only completed the first four chapters of the book, which constitute Part I, but I just wanted to get some ideas down for when I finish the other two parts and want to draw connections. First, I am extremely impressed by Haidt’s dynamic exploration of the first metaphor, “The mind is divided like a rider on an elephant.” At first, it made little to no sense to me. What did our minds have to do with elephants? But through reading Part I and paying attention to the frequent mention of the central metaphor through the four chapters, I have developed a much more complex understanding of its symbolism. I am excited to see how the three metaphors connect to each other and form the faces of such a beautifully multifaceted entity such as a human being’s moral reasoning. As I read further, I’ll return to this and other posts on the blog to answer the relevant questions.

    • acox1umassd says:

      Deb, thanks for your exploration as you read and reflect along the way. Perfectly appropriate. And you’re beginning to grapple with the complexity of a seemingly simple metaphor in a way that I think reflects part of the genius of the book itself. Working with our minds to understand big ideas through graspable pieces. Good work!

  12. Sarah Palmer says:

    In high school, I experienced the way of being “groupish”, just as Haidt had when he spoke about the 9/11 incident (chapter nine). However, this “groupish” feeling occurred during a positive experience, not a negative tragedy. Back in my junior year of high school, the boy’s varsity basketball team went to TD Garden for the Massachusetts Division IV State Championship. As soon as the entire school knew about the chance that our boy’s basketball team had of grabbing the championship, our school spirit went through the roof. Red and gold paint was smeared on faces, and signs were bearing player’s numbers, names, and the TD Garden logo. Our vice principal had four regular school buses and a coach bus bring the entire student body and staff to TD Garden. Haidt’s “hive switch” happened for me when the faculty and student body stood together in TD Garden and watched the championship game. During the game, we were no longer individual students and teachers dressed in red and gold; we became a body of cheering, screaming, jumping, chanting noise that led our team to victory. Every time our team got a point, the student body and I reached Haidt’s “hive switch” and became more than just a cheering student body. We had reached a sense that was almost spiritual; a sense that was more powerful than a student body. We were no longer three-hundred something individuals that came to TD Garden to see our boy’s varsity basketball team win the Division IV Massachusetts State Championship. We were one body of supports working towards one main goal, which was for our team to win, and they did.

  13. Shanique Lewis says:

    Hello, my name is Shanique Lewis and I just wanted to share my opinion to a few of Anicca Cox’s questions about the world cup and teams. Being in a group creates a binding field which everyone would feel apart of. Because of our groupish abilities we are set against the opposing team, making it difficult for us to identify with the opposing team but its easy for us to point out the flaws. And I realized that when I was watching the world cup and I realized that after Brazil’s captain got injured, they wasn’t doing to well against Germany. All the Brazilian fans were pretty sure that Brazil would beat Germany and make it to the finals but it didn’t work out that way. This shows that based on Haidt’s views about groups and teams when an important role isn’t being played everything falls apart. All they had to do was work together and stay positive about the situation. Because of morality the Brazilian fans were blinded by morality because all they cared about was there team wining. They (Brazil) were not able to see that Germany had good players who wanted to win just as bad. Even though Brazil didn’t win, the fans showed their support by cheering them on. With that being said, I was also a Brazilian fan and when they wasn’t doing so well I tried to find as many excuses as possible. For example, I would tell myself that the reason they’re not trying their best is because the captain of the team got hurt and their minds are distracted. As a fan I didn’t want to admit that Germany might be better than Brazil, which is what Jonathan Haidt is trying to get us to understand. I didn’t want to was the world cup anymore after Brazil lost because the team I wanted to win was no longer playing so there wasn’t any point of watching the game anymore. But in the finals I caught myself cheering for Argentina because for some reason I didn’t want Germany to win. But I’m sure it’s because they beat the team that I was originally supporting. I don’t really know how to understand it any other way but if you have any ideas comment or if you need me to say more.

  14. Brittany Campbell says:

    This book is very complex and has had me re reading sentences to get the full idea of what Haidt’s trying to say. I’ve read all of part 1 and I must say certain things that didn’t make sense to me in the beginning came together in the end. The stories Greene made up to test people’s deontological judgements of harming one to save others with the outcome of one being hurt is saving more lives and that made me think. At first my thoughts are to save the other people but then I questioned myself. What if it was me? Or a loved one? At the end of the day losing one has a better outcome than losing multiple. As I read more I’m curious to see what examples, metaphors, and facts from psychologists and philosophers Haidt uses to further explore reasons behind certain people’s thought and actions.

  15. Lindsey Saintphar says:

    I found this book helpful in understanding the complexity of morality and making it simple. Haidt infers that, understanding politics and religion starts with an understanding of the human moral sense. To begin this thought process, Haidt provides this definition of moral systems: “moral systems are interlocking sets of values, virtues, norms, practices, identities, institutions, technologies, and evolved psychological mechanisms that work together to suppress or regulate self-interests and make cooperative societies possible” Any society must tackle the issue of how different people with separate (and often dividing) goals can live together, and cooperate so that everyone can have the opportunity to satisfy their needs. Moral systems help obtain this. I understood that our genetics have nothing to do with our human behavior. As Haidt shows us, “the common outlook among anthropologists had been that evolution got our species to the point of becoming bipedal, tool-using, large-brained creatures, but once we developed the capacity for culture, biological evolution stopped, or at least became irrelevant. Culture is so powerful that it can cause humans to behave in ways that override whatever ancient instincts we share with other primates”. In the later half of the twentieith century, though, and particularly in the past 20 years, this dull and lifeless view of human nature has been rejected, a lot of evidence has shown that a lot of our human behavior does come from our genes. Overall, most social scientists now believe that both nature and nurture have a role to play in shaping our behavior.

  16. Alexis Zindle says:

    I too have watched the World Cup. It truly amazes me that a sport that has been played for centuries, brings millions, maybe even billions of people together in sharing a pastime that they love. With Haidt in mind, I personally think that when it comes to these sort of things, I do not think that people really put morality into perspective. I think that they put their desires and passions into cheering on for their country.

    • acox1umassd says:

      Interesting point Alexis. I wonder if you’d talk more about how we do or do not put our morality in perspective? It’s an interesting idea:)

  17. Rohanna Brown says:

    This Book was quite challenging in the way that if you are not taking notes and referring to the back of book when coming across numbered concepts, then you’re going to be lost. Nevertheless it was a good read and I must say that my insight on child raising has been tremendously shifted. So I compared Koelburg’s concepts to past events I experienced growing and I must say that i would have been better off not being told to obey God but to head the guidance and teachings of the Bible.

  18. Celina Andrade says:

    I agree with Rohanna that while reading the book, you often have to look back at other points Haidt had made to fully understand the concepts he presents. Almost as if you must remember a bunch of smaller details to get the big picture later on. That being said, I found myself paying closer attention when I read and took note of smaller details as well as ideas that came about. I found that the book all together became easier to understand. I enjoyed it.

  19. Jessy McDermott says:

    I personally didn’t keep up with the word cup, but I do know what it’s like to be on a sports team with fans and rivals. For my cheerleading team, our coach was big on the team getting together, if you can’t work in a practice, there was no hope for us to work at a game or competition. We had loyal fans who drove all over MA to watch us compete, when we lost, which was almost never, is hit hard but when we won we had huge support. By belonging to a well know high school cheerleading program, you have expectations not only as a team, but as a person on your own. My coach gave us expectations on and off the mat, when we were at school we had to be composed and not crazy due to not wanting to give the program a bad rep. By being part of this team, and really acting alike and becoming close, I personally felt a lot happier about my life. Acceptance is wonderful and can make you blissful, which is why we love the sense of belonging to anyone or anything, not just a team.

  20. kylebuma21 says:

    The principle that “Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second” is, in my opinion, pretty accurate to the way we think and how we reason. In any instance, our automatic thinking will push us in one direction, and then our actual thinking and reasoning kicks in, and it has to go along with the first intuition because that’s where the elephant wants to go, and the rider has to follow along. That’s how our brains work, our “elephant” leans, and our “rider” stays with it and reasoning comes along with our intuitions.

    • Jonathan Haidt’s “Confirmation Bias” which is presented in chapter four, is a rather complex idea but it is used in every day life. It can be summarized as a personal quest to attach new information to the obvious rules and decisions we make sub-consciously. For example, if someone drops a rock standing above a surface, we know without thinking that it will hit that surface. We knew that the rock would do this without thinking but suppose a balloon was let go from your hand just like the rock. If it floated upwards into the sky, we would sub-consciously know that it was a lot different from the rock. To someone who didn’t know why the balloon floated, it would be a mystery. They would seek out information as to why one object floated and the other didn’t. After learning why, they would apply this to what happened.

  21. Zach Courier says:

    I was not one of the many followers of the World Cup this year, but I have been able to relate to the competition and high pressure situations of the Word Cup as I was an active member of the athletic programs in high school. One true connection I made from Haidt’s “Why are we so groupish” was on page 221 he said “We take on group identities and work shoulder to shoulder with strangers toward common goals”. High school is a prime location for popularity contests and cliques of all kinds, but one realization I had is when it came to athletics in high school all types of kids truly came together to represent our school in sports. The “popular kids” and the “other kids” would all work side by side whether it was on the offensive line on the football team, in the same outfield on the softball team, or any other situation where one teammate had the same goal of winning with another teammate. This is why I feel sports is so valuable to people in today’s society as it gives a person of any background a common goal and ambition with other people that not many other events can do.

    • CKenyon says:

      The groupish behavior prominent in your school may be true of many more, or it may be an isolated incident. All I can say for sure on the topic as that in a number of sports, popularity, along with whether or not the coach(es) liked you as a person, was most certainly a significant factor in how much time you were given in most sports. I was able to observe this firsthand in the three years of sports i played throughout high school.

  22. Gabriel Sanchez says:

    Sometimes we get carried away and we don’t even know that we’re doing things in a group in unison. Like at a game or at church or even at a concert. We just end up going with the flow of the group and fall into place with the system of the way things work or the way things are flowing.

  23. Although I feel that the book can be repetitive at times, I like they way Haidt explains morality. Different cultures, religions, ages, and social classes define what a society thinks is acceptable. However, I like how emotion was brought into the picture, ultimately saying that how someone determines whether something is right or wrong is strongly driven by passion and we create reasons to support our initial reactions.

    • At certain parts of the book, I, too, felt as though he was being increasingly repetitive, but ultimately it was done to drive home a point. For example, when he mentioned those social experiments that were done where people were asked numerous questions on morality and were asked, based on their background of the given subject, how do they feel about said question. What shocked me was some peoples inability to open their mind around issues, especially when it was shown to not cause any harm to anyone outside of themselves. That was huge for me, as it showed just how powerful and almost impenetrable our minds can become based on what we’ve been influenced by throughout our lifetimes.

  24. Michael Greenstein says:

    Any team based activity is the perfect catalyst for setting off the “hive switch” effect. I do believe when feeling a connection towards any team related activity our tendency to be groupish is what binds us, and the hive switch is what directs individual actions being made for the group. Some advantages of this can be the extreme time efficiency if everyones working together, also it offers a sense of community when your part of a team, and lastly it surrounds you with people of similar interests which may lead to the pursue of other goals and ideas. Although; one major disadvantage to this idea is the fact that harmful groups can be sprung such as violent gangs, cults, and terrorist groups. Regardless, the common idea behind all of these examples is the fact that the hive switch leads people to function in sync with the rest of the group resulting in a functioning society/community. This can be tied in to Haidt’s concept of WIERD societies vs. not WIERD societies because you can see a significant difference in the way people live, and when its the whole population living this way you can clearly observe the groupish tendencies, and the “hive switch” fully in action.

  25. Zack Plunkett says:

    I have always been a person that is very into sports and throughout high school there was always a point in time where I training for the next sport to come. I have found between the different sports that I participated in that the group component differs from sport to sport. In chapter seven Haidt talks about how people climb the social ladder in there own way by respecting the rules and making themselves well aware of the consequences of their own actions. I can make very tight knit connections to both the Loyalty/Betrayal foundation and the Authority/Subversion foundation. As captain of the track team at my school, I knew that being loyal to my team and fulfilling all of my duties was my main priority as a leader of that team. Haidt explains social hierarchies and from my experience in sports the hierarchy is designed by age, rank, and ability. I believe that Haidt hit the nail on the head when he said “[The social hierarchy] makes us sensitive to signs of rank or status, and to signs that other people are (or are not) behaving properly, given their position.” (179)

  26. Jessica Thibault says:

    I think I most related with Haidt’s “Beyond WEIRD Morality”. The 3 major clusters of moral themes, (autonomy, community, & divinity) are most evident in our everyday lives. The most absent in our society however I believe is divinity, as religion has become increasingly absent in the lives of today’s generation, being exposed to the thought that God is the government, technology and the media. I do also disagree slightly when Haidt says autonomy is dominant in our culture and society. In today’s day and age, more and more members of our community are doing less for others and sticking more to the “me, myself and I” factor. I think it really has to do with the environment we’re brought up in. In a family who says grace every meal, goes to church every sunday, does community service/family projects/events, and teaches their children with discipline, the moral themes expressed are going to be much more evident than in a family who hands their children things everytime they say “I want”, doesn’t teach them to work for their opportunities, no manners or consequences, or really just doesn’t pay attention to the moral structure of their family unit period. If you are brought up putting others before yourself, you will most likely continue to express that behavior in the future as a routine in your life. But if one is brought up taking and getting and never giving, that will more than likely be their future as well. In this way, I think Haidt’s theory on WEIRD morality makes the most sense.

  27. Jennifer Bruillard says:

    Personally I agree with Haidt’s theory about the hive switch and how it makes people almost instinctively work together to accomplish a common goal. As many of you have mentioned you can see examples of this displayed in many different sports. In modern times and throughout history sporting events have been one of the most common ways in which people can almost involuntarily learn to work together in order to win. This also occurs in those who are spectating a sporting event. In the video, Haidt discusses how people need to learn to accept the opinions of others even if they don’t agree. This is relevant to those spectating because not everyone wants the same team to win, but they accept when the other team does win for the most part.

  28. David Howlett says:

    I’m excited to see people mentioning the connection with sports because I believe Haidt’s ideas can be directly linked to the psychology of sportsmanship. Being a huge Red Sox fan myself and after watching many games at Fenway Park I understand our groupish nature and based on what I’ve seen, I believe that our hive switch has properties that can extend to a much broader group based on commonalities between two different teams. In the last page of the book, Haidt suggests that the best way to approach a different moral matrix (in this case being the opposing team), is to find commonalities between them. Not all the spectators in the stadium are cheering for the same team but they all love the game of baseball. As a result, the group that lost might be unhappy about their team’s failure, but both groups are there watch a good baseball game regardless of what team you’re on. To put it into perspective, the hive switch binds all red sox fans, but the hive switch can expand to bind all baseball fans.

  29. Victoria Hathaway says:

    In the beginning of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion, the author, Jonathan Haidt introduced a vital question. Where does morality come from? Haidt then presented the audience with 3 possible answers to contemplate which were nature, nurture and rationalism. I could not bring myself to reject any of the answers. Instead of recognizing the possibilities as individual or separate answers, I perceived nature, nurture and rationalism as factors that contribute equally to morality. I believe in nature because psychologists discovered that infants are born with some knowledge of both the physical social world. Also, I believe in nurture because of cultural influence and parents will motivate appropriate behavior by teaching children that by doing wrong you will face consequences. In addition to consequences, Jonathan Haidt states “Glaucon’s thought experiment implies that people are only virtuous because they fear the consequences of getting caught…” Lastly, I believe in rationalism due to kids understanding the conservation of water which can be explained by the statement “Kids figure it out for themselves, but only when their minds are ready and they are given the right kinds of experiences”. I am willing to consider there are several factors in which explain the origin of our morality.

  30. Mary Pieroni says:

    Like so many people above I thought that this book was a good read, but also a very challenging read. I thought that study guide really helped, rereading and using the study questions made understanding the book that much easier. In this book Haidt does not come straight out and tell us how he feels, he wants us to make an opinion for ourselves. Throughout the book he uses metaphors to get his points across. Morality is a major theme in this book, and learning what is actually behind morality was interesting; religion, family, upbringing, and even society. I thought that religion was the only thing that drove someone’s morals but actually there are so many other factors. People around you and who are closest to you, end up shaping your life and your beliefs more than I knew. You might of thought that you were being different but someone planted those ideas into your head. That’s where bring up the point of children having their own morality. I just don’t think that is possible. Some parents are so sheltered and wont let their children see the world, so how can they have their own morals. You have to be able to make mistakes and then learn from them.

  31. Daniel McIntosh says:

    Haidt brings up a lot of interesting examples about cultural differences across the world regarding morality. its amazing that just eating a certain type of food under a certain circumstance can be considered morally wrong. Like the widowed Indian woman eating fish is considered morally wrong because it is considered a aphrodisiac.

  32. Anthony Scarpa says:

    “Can we all get along?” (Haidt XVII). A fascinating question to think about from Jonathon Haidt (and Rodney King before him) to kick off his radical and intriguing novel The Righteous Mind. The book covers many different political and religious views of the society surrounding us to demonstrate their significant impact. With everyone having different perspectives about religion and politics it is no wonder we as a whole cannot get along. In regards to politics, Haidt reveals what influences different political parties. For example, people who favor democracy typically approve of care over harm along with fairness over cheating. Haidt describes this system as the “moral matrix”. I think this might just be the most important thing to take away from his book. The idea of the matrix is not only to decipher what truly motivates each political party, but to find out how our personal beliefs can ultimately affect our government and everyday living.

  33. Bradley Hinckley says:

    Through out the book Haidt keeps asking questions about is it morally right or wrong, being vary blunt yes or no and explaining why he is right. Mortality derives from the religion that you believe in, depending on the religion you believe in and culture you come from your morals may vary from person to person.

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