Blogging Directions

By now, you will have purchased a copy of Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.

We ask you to read it by August 15th–no harm in starting and posting earlier!–and to post to this blog at least twice before September 1st.

Here’s What Our Blog is About:
Starting on July 15th, our bloggers will be posting in response to the book–taking up the key terms and ideas of the chapters and offering some further considerations for you as readers.

We will also be posting:

  • Questions and quotes from the book to get you thinking more deeply about Haidt’s key ideas and how they apply to real life situations or the sorts of things writers do in college.
  • Thoughts about how you can apply ideas from the book to your own life, the world around you, or the choices you must make as a new college student.
  • Suggestions on becoming a successful reader/writer/student in a college context.
  • Some models of the sort of (usually academic) writing you’ll be asked to produce when you begin writing for classes this fall.
  • A conversation.

Here’s What We’re Expecting:

  • You must read the WHOLE book. . . The intro, chapters one through twelve, AND the conclusion.
  • We suggest reading the book section by section, rather than power reading through multiple sections quickly. Read a section and give it a while to sink in.
  • You post your thoughts, responses, and ideas about the book’s core concepts and key terms–be prepared to post TWICE before Sept 1st.
  • You might even read and reply to your new classmates–a reply counts as a posting.
  • You may even post questions if you are having a hard time with the ideas in the book or with the blog, in fact we encourage it.
  • A thoughtful conversation that has some meaning to you as a new student at UMD.
  • We ask you to follow typical “nettiquette” (no personal attacks or in appropriate topics/language).

And finally, we realize that politics and religion are often sensitive subjects and so we ask that you approach both your reading and writing on this blog with an open mind. Challenge yourself to follow Haidt’s advice about discussing issues with others where you might disagree by finding ” a few points of commonality” before you make your own point (371).

You may e-mail any time with questions, thoughts, and/or concerns.

95 thoughts on “Blogging Directions

  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.

    • acox1umassd says:

      Do you maybe want to post your comment in one of the discussion threads Krystal? That way more bloggers could see and respond! Good work here too!

    • Jonathan Hamel says:

      I agree with what Krystal is saying here. A lot of modern philosophy seems to favor a “me first” attitude when we are encouraged to look exclusively to our own needs and to ignore the needs of others around us. I think that as long as we are puling for only ourselves and not trying to help the people around us to thrive, as a society we will continue to be stuck in the state that we are in.

  2. Thai Minh Nguyen says:

    I do believe in Turiel’s idea that moral reasoning differs for cultures. As the test that he conducted with Indians and Americans views on certain actions were either accepted and disagreed upon by each. Thus the test was able to acquire the different thought processes between 2 different groups of people. Even in today’s society there are countless actions that are accepted by many cultures that aren’t acceptable to others, and that’s what each culture unique.

    • Adam Anderson says:

      I agree with Turiel’s investigation he did on different cultures as well. Even further, I think that moral reasoning can branch into decisions based on the religion in one culture. The U.S. has many religions, but some may think of the U.S. as one culture. Although, due to all the different religions in the U.S. some do not allow the eating of certain kinds of food or the killing of those animals. So, opinions on food can even vary within a culture too.

      • I find it very interesting how cultures vary among the world. For example, how we eat can be a social convention in one country, but a moral rule in another. It definitely shows, in my opinion, how culture can affect our moral reasoning, even on dietary customs.

      • Breanna Corey says:

        I completely agree with you Adam and Turiel’s investigation. Everyone has a different idea of what they consider moral based on their outlook on religion, culture, and even life in general. People in the U.S. tend to forget that we are a mixture of different cultures and religions, so an act, such as eating a specific item, could be accepted in one mind, but not in another.

      • Glori Tolentino says:

        I agree completely with Adam! People in the U.S sometimes can be one-sided and believe that people should be forced to speak only english. When in reality, what makes the United States so special is that we have can have all these different types of cultures and religions and still come together as one country.

      • Jack O'Brien says:

        Glori, I think a lot of the reasoning behind people expecting everyone to speak English, is because it is a lot easier for not only communication but for a social ground. I have spoken to many people who have visited foreign countries, particularly china, and they say it makes things not only easier, but more enjoyable. Although I do agree in the sense that we are a nation built up of multiple nationalities, there should be an understanding as to why not everyone speaks English.

      • Ryan Robinson says:

        I couldn’t agree with you more. Some people don’t realize that are out of the U.S that there are many different cultures and traditions that are involved in the U.S.

      • Angela Rousseau says:

        Adam, I completely agree! When discussing Turiel’s investigation, I strongly believe that people drastically differ based on their own religions and backgrounds too. Every person, no matter what race, is going to have their own set morals. However, opinions on whether something is morally “right” or “wrong” will constantly be different due to certain moralistic beliefs taking over the mind. Some may be unconsciousness thinking, and others may even contemplate their own beliefs from time to time.

      • Kelsey Silva says:

        I completely agree. People don’t realize that people across the country, and more broadly, around the world are brought up with many different values and morals. Religion and culture have such a large impact on a person’s outlook on life.

    • Nicholas Wall says:

      I agree with Turiel’s experiment as well, but I always questioned whether or not if choosing two cultures who had very neutral contact before would differ from a reaction if say, a Native American Tribe and a long line of white Americans that lived near reservations. Obviously the two cultures chosen were very good examples of different and slightly opposing view points of society but what if you chose two where the dislike of each other through history if that influence their preferences to disapprove of what another society does approve of.

  3. Caroline Twomey says:

    I agree. In the book, he talks a lot about Piaget and Kohlberg’s theories on moral development. I believe that there was an element of truth in their theories, but the stages are not always concrete. Also, each culture, as you stated, develops different moral codes. This is due to observation, social development, social learning, and teachings from elders. While the examples of morality that the author used in his questions were occasionally humorous, his findings were answers that showed that cultures can suffer greatly on the subject of morality. I only can wonder now if the world will ever be on the same page in terms of uniting and seeing what is best for everyone, if our morals differ so greatly.

    • Dean Miller says:

      I also believe that learning is not concrete because the stages differ from person to person and vary largely based on culture. For example the people interviewed from America were much more closed minded as opposed to the subjects interviewed from third world countries. For example, when a wife in America talks back to her husband, it is expected and praised as gender equality is a huge topic of discussion. But on the other hand, in some third world countries a woman would be shamed for this same act. These moral codes are vastly different.

    • Thai Minh Nguyen says:

      The brother and sister having sex is an example that was used to see how people feel about the subject. Some people may believe that incest is morally wrong but to others it maybe perfectly normal. It just depends on how you look at things, from a cultural stand point incest can be strictly against the ethics of group and also frowned upon.

      • acox1umassd says:

        Thai, yes. And, can you go a little further? This is a good start here but I’d love to know more about what you think this means, the cultural relativity of some things like specific moral structures…Thanks!

      • Gianna Palazzo says:

        I really like how you explained this part of the book! It made me really think about the concept being portrayed and it cleared up the part that I had trouble with. I also believe that incest is morally wrong by the culture that I live in. I also agree that depending on your cultural stand point, your views on the incest topic could vary.

      • I agree. This example led to multiple points in the book. It showed how our “elephant” had an intuition about this topic. It was very difficult to sway it even when reason was given to our “rider”. Even with reason, most people still thought it was morally wrong, determined by the emotion and belief from our intuitions. This can prove the statement that “intuitions come first” and it can take a lot (if possible) to reason out of it.

      • Ryan Robinson says:

        It varies culture to culture as you said. Different religions and traditions in society let people believe in different ways and let them believe and live in that train of thought which might be right to some and wrong to others. Its all based on how you are brought up, I think.

    • Grizotte says:

      The concept is if it’s right for a brother and sister have sex. Would you ever have sex with your sister or brother? Do you think it’s right? wouldn’t you feel gross about having that closeness with your sibling? yes, brother and sister should be close but not THAT close.

    • Jacob Castro says:

      Its frowned upon if a brother and sister have intercourse because if they have a child it will grow up with difficulties and won’t be like the other kids. Jonathan makes an example of this and ask if they have protected sex and have no chance of having a child he ask, “ Is it still morally wrong” I’m paraphrasing because I can’t find the part where he say it. I believe it isn’t but its not something you should condone or should push forward as something morally right ,but if they do it in private and tell no one, no one will judge.

      • Nathan Barros says:

        I see where you are coming from in this situation, however I disagree. Everyone has their own morals as well as values, but what might be morally offensive to certain religions or types of people may be widely accepted by other groups of people. When I read this example from the book, of a brother and sister having intercourse in private; it made me think of how society promotes homosexuality to be done in private also. Homosexuality and incest are both frowned upon by some religions and groups of people. Take a homosexual young male for an example, if this man is very flamboyant and openly gay, some people will judge and try to shun him for his sexuality and the way he acts. On the other hand, if this man kept his romantic life private and acted like a ‘normal straight guy’ in public, not as many people would judge or try to punish them for it. My point is, you could apply Jonathan Haidt’s theory to today’s society because of the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy we have in our military.

  4. Thai Minh Nguyen says:

    Well coming from an Asian culture family, I can personally tell you that incest is looked down upon for many reasons because it is widely regarded as “Taboo”. There is a high rise with genetic diseases involved with incest and this is one of the major reasons why it is frowned upon in some cultures. Now I’m not and expert on the ethics of a vast majority of the cultures out there but I can tell you that the way people are raised now people aren’t borne and raised to have incest. Actually a majority of people today despite their culture are raised to find a heterosexual partner sometimes of the same race and culture but this is not necessarily true as much of are population is diverse. . Morally incest doesn’t fit the mold of how the world is today; I know that back in the middle ages incest was used to keep royalty within a certain family so that their legacy or reign would continue to live on. in today’s society everyone has a choice to do anything they like (within the law) and if people choose to have incest and that’s up to them. Some countries and even religions have certain rules/laws forbidding incest to occur. “The Buddhist culture labels incest a sign of sexual misconduct, as it requires a form of voluntary behavior, that is not a divine mandate or instructional”. So it this case it would be a religious sign of disrespect to Buddhism to commit such an act.

    • Deepjot Kaur says:

      I agree with you in many terms. I also come from an Asian background so I can see where you are coming from when talking about incest being wrong because of cultural reasonings. Seriously though, how can one even think to do that. Yeah, I understand that people can do want they want because this is their life. Who are we to judge them? However, at the same time I feel that a brother and sister having sex is “morally wrong” due to cultural and discipline reasonings. I was grown to believe that incest is wrong because that’s what I have been taught. Like mentioned in the book, “intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second.” I was set to believe incest is wrong, regardless of any arguments proving otherwise. Incest sets a trigger in my mind of disgust, demonstrating a reason to why its wrong. Again, who are we to judge? I do agree with you on incest being considered wrong, however I still feel that its their choice whether what they do is right or wrong.

  5. wafflemonkey96 says:

    I used to view the fact that I look for approval of others’ in the things I do and the opinions I carry as a bad thing. I used to view it as a sign of weakness or insecurity; I wasn’t satisfied with the fact that I, myself, had the opinion– but I had to seek the approval of others. I now know that there is a psychological aspect to this response… and it is because “we are all connected”. We find security in others’ approval of our opinions. I have always seen myself as “shallow” because I do not always make decisions that are unimpeded by others’ opinions or attitudes towards what I want to do- or what I think. In Haidt’s book, The Righteous Mind, he brings up the fact that we are 90% chimp and 10% bee. Like the bee, we all seek to be in groups. However, our more “human” side proves that we seek to be in groups particularly of individuals who share similar mindsets and beliefs. “People bind themselves into political teams that share moral narratives. Once they accept a particular narrative, they become blind to alternative moral worlds” (XXIII). I believe that this is why people are reluctant to sharing their religious and political views with others… and it may also be also why we seem to “bind together” with others who share similar viewpoints (e.g. Catholicism, Protestantism, Paganism… etc.).

    • Ashley R says:

      I completely understand when you say that we seek the approval from others for the actions that we make every day because we are really connected in some way. However, personally I am drawn to people who are completely different than me, so when you say that people are reluctant to sharing their political and religious views I find that hard to believe. I find anything that anyone of a different race or gender says extremely interesting especially because they have experience different situations than I have. I think if we have to fight for approval of people who are supposedly “our own kind” then why bother. Diversity is more interesting than people sticking together based on race, gender, or political views.

    • Jack O'Brien says:

      I agree with the fact that we seek the approval of others with our actions, but I also feel that this is why we find ourselves with people we share similar views and hobbies with because they are more likely to approve of our actions. This relates to Turiel’s point that morality and convention are part of the same domain because it is basically saying that something done in which the way things are usually done (convention) and the way we believe things should be done (morality) are very similar because most people hold moral standards and therefore do things how they should

    • Angela Rousseau says:

      Just by being humans, I believe we will always seek approval of others no matter what the circumstance may be. I totally agree when you say that people are reluctant to sharing their beliefs with others who have similar interests. This concept just makes sense to me because as teenagers thats all we do. Our friends usually share similar interests, and thats why we get along so well. When it comes to politics and religion, I think the same concept applies. Since we find security in approval from others, it makes us stronger since we are all related which is why we “bind” together!

  6. swalsh4 says:

    I really enjoyed the argument about gloucons ring, in part because I was already familiar with this argument from taking philosophy in high school, I disagree with the author’s views about how people achieve morals, I disagree that people gain morals based only on what others will think of them and what the concequences might be. I belive that morals are a combonation of evolution and observing elders, I came to this conclusion because, in order for humans to work together and build things to advance our speices, we must evolve a “Moral code”. However I dont think that it is rooted in us securely, I think everyone has the ability to be “evil” because morals are simply just a means of working together, once society falls apart, morals go with it. and humans become much more primitive and selfish Due to the fact that there is no return on investment anymore.

  7. swalsh4 says:

    In my first posting, I commented about how I disagreed with the author about morality, well, in continuing to read, I have found some evidence to support my initial opinion, In the second chapter. The ring of Gyges is mentioned, this is ofcourse from “Plato’s republic” a famous philosopher. In it, he states that if anyone could put on a magic ring that made them invisible, nobody would hold back thier urges to commit sin, thus nobody is truley moral. I agree with this statement fully. I think that deep down we are all just simply using morals as a guise to cooperate with one another.

    • Kenny Nguyen says:

      I agree completely with the notion that we as humans cooperate with each other, not that we believe it is good for the group as a whole. But because each of us has something to gain from it. We all have selfish interests and act upon them using morals as a socially acceptable guise to mask our true intentions.

      • Zachary Cudmore says:

        I don’t completely agree with the fact that we only act selfishly, I believe that we can sometimes do things for the people we care for instead of helping ourselves. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I believe people like parents are a prime example of suffering themselves to help their loved ones.

      • Jonathan Hamel says:

        I don’t agree with this statement. I really think that many people will do legitimately kind things for others out of the honesty of their hearts rather than selfishness disguised as morality. For example, when someone gives money to a homeless person in the street, some people do it because they feel guilty not to, while others will do it because they feel compassion for another person in need. In this case, they have nothing to gain by giving the person money, yet they do it anyway.

  8. Jessica Svendsen says:

    In the book Haidt talks about the idea that implies that he believes at birth we are born with a moral handbook for simple things in our life, but wouldn’t that mean that psychopaths and serial killers knowingly get rid of that built in moral handbook? I am not entirely grasping what he was trying to imply when he suggested this built in morals idea.

    • Aleesia Gonzalez says:

      Haidt talks about our “moral handbook” because he’s talking about our natural instincts just like every other animal on this earth has. We do have natural instincts of knowing what right and whats wrong when we are young but as we get older and go through different experiences in life that built in “moral handbook” might change. Each person’s different life experiences changes the way he or she may see things in the world and will change what a person thinksnis rightbornwrong from whatvthey have gone through. This is how people turn into physhopaths or serial killers or any other type of person out there.

    • Jared Celia says:

      I believe he is talking about nature vs nurture. When Haidt says that we are born with this moral handbook, i believe him that everyone is, but in person’s mind can be molded as they go on as they are “nurtured.” whether it be by television, news, etc, a psychopath’s mind can be molded to find satisfaction and thrills from things that many people would be sickened by.

  9. Perhaps it is possible that in certain circumstances such as in psychopaths, that they didn’t get this “rough draft” of morals? Or they have very different ones? It’s curious to wonder. Overall Haidt was trying to say that we all have a foundations for our morals, but they can change through experiences and become more defined throughout life.

    • Brian Sousa says:

      I think that psychopaths have a damaged “rough draft” in this sense. Like he said in the book, they understand what they are doing, but they feel no pity or sorrow for their actions. Scientifically speaking, a part of their brain that coordinates feelings must have been damaged or they must have been born with a genetic defect. I doubt that psychopaths can be completely taught through experiences alone. There must be some sort of neurological condition that helps this come through.

  10. Daniel Servant Jr. says:

    Going into reading this book I definitely had some interest in the topic and knew my liking of the book would come down to the style in which it was written. Now that I’m about a third of the way through the book I must admit that although difficult at some points to get through, the book does have many interesting, thought provoking, and powerful topics. Chapter three has by far been one of the most powerful and interesting chapters for me so far. Seeing Haidt’s elephant and rider metaphor come together through relate-able and clear examples has been an incredible topic to read about. At the end of the chapter I felt I had to go on the site mentioned ( to reinforce what I already knew was true about snap judgments and culturally based biases. As to be expected the results coming from the tests were less than promising and didn’t exactly make me feel great about myself or my quick judgments, but it is a great way to show how these shortcuts in our brains are working full-time without us ever knowing until we stop to think about it. So far the book has been a much needed sucker punch to the deep thinking areas of my brain and I can only hope as I dive deeper into the book that Haidt has a few more tricks up his sleeve for making me rethink myself and how I am effected by the world around me as I effect it.

    • Tim Ellison says:

      I completely agree with you Daniel and I also struggled to get through some parts of the book at the beginning. The book touches on some extremely interesting topics and does a great job of picking at your brain and really making you think. It caused me to look deep inside of myself and often to judge myself and some of the things I do.

      • Zachary Cudmore says:

        The book also gave me the same feelings about what I do. I know think about my past decisions and saw how my rider justified it. I think about my childhood and the actions I’ve done in the past, from the lies I’ve said, to just things I have done. I will probably judge the things I do more often now and my future decisions I make will probably be different after reading this book.

  11. Kyle Thatcher says:

    To Dennett and Dawkins, religions have culturally evolved into parasites that “hijack” the human mind and reproduce themselves in later generations. This can be seen in the amount of wars waged due to religious differences, violent religious cults, or other extremists. ISIS is an example of how religion can create a group that is threatening enough to be known in many parts of the world. If religion is seen as parasitic then why hasn’t the mind stopped people from having faith? In the beginning of the next chapter Atran and Henrich suggests how they believe religion is not a “parasitic memes evolving for their own benefit, ” but rather a “cultural innovation” that enables groups to be more “cohesive and cooperative.” A healthy religion can give great benefit to a community or group as an adaption to help them grow in size and power. I feel as though both of the claims are prevalent in the world around us today and it’s interesting to think about how both can change and evolve in generations to come.

  12. Carly says:

    The rider and the elephant metaphor stood out to me the most. He refers to the fact that human reactions and intuitions come first, sometimes without any moral judgement. How I relate it to everyday life: if your friend comes up to you and starts yelling at you, your first reaction will most likely be to yell back. You yelling back proves that you didn’t take the time to think of the correct way to go about this situation in which the elephant took control. Another everyday reference is how we prejudge people we don’t even know. Haidt wrote, “Within the first second of seeing, hearing, or meeting another person, the elephant has already begun to lean toward or away, and that lean influences what you think and do next.” Think about a time you first met someone, did you automatically begin to lean one way before you got to know them? You immediately know if you like them, leaning forward, or if you do not, leaning backwards.

  13. Tim Ellison says:

    After reading the second chapter I feel that personally, I tend to make my decisions based off of both emotion and rationality. and I think most will agree that when it comes to your decision making you initially want to do what you feel is right for you. However most of us understand that what is right for oneself might be deemed irrational by the public majority. Which for me brings about the question, what is really rational? In our society the majority decides what is and is not rational effectively making how one feels about a situation almost useless because there opinion might never be openly accepted by the majority. So in a way I feel that all of us are forced to make decisions rationally because if we made decisions based solely on how we feel it might not be accepted by the public and therefore the action one might take based on there decision could be labeled as a criminal offense and the individual would likely be punished for acting on the urge of there emotions. In closing I want to clarify that I make my decisions based off of both emotion and what is deemed as rational, and because of this my decision making can never truly be my own alone, how ever in this life, I believe that know one can truly know that joy in its entirety..

  14. Breanna Corey says:

    Could someone possibly explain the “Elephant” and the “Rider” to me further? I get the idea of it, yet I feel like I’m lacking the full concept he is trying to make. I just cant grasp it fully.

    • Kyle Thatcher says:

      The “Elephant” can be seen as our immediate initial affect or feeling towards a situation. These feelings can occur very rapidly because they are tied in with our perception and motivation. If the task looks tough or unpleasing, motivation drops and the elephant starts to lean towards the left. Intuition, the first movement the “Elephant” makes, can also be guided by reasoning in certain situations.The “Rider” represents the thought processes behind our feelings. If your first impression of someone is positive, then your “Elephant” begins to lean towards the right and your “Rider” will try and support that path.

  15. Ralph Jean-Baptiste says:

    I at first took the concept of the book for granted but one I began reading it, it took my attention. I love of Haidt was able to explain the different views of morality. I believe I would be an empiricist. I believe children are born with clean slates. And if you want kids to understand right from wrong, rules, and fairness you must allow them to explore and experience it on their own. They would have a better time understanding these concepts by expanding their awareness to these things as they mature, rather than be lectured by authority figures.

    • John Hamm says:

      I very much agree with your view on how kids should learn right from wrong. In the book it talks about how babies have feelings but they cannot reason. Learning how to reason comes from experiences, both good and bad. We learn much quicker by doing rather than someone talking at us.

  16. The most interesting thing about the book is The part Where he used the Indian story as an analogy in the book and when he stated that the moral sense actually consists of six moral modules, each of which evolved to answer a specific challenge that our ancestors faced in the environment in which our species evolved.

  17. John Hamm says:

    In the book they say that babies can feel, but not reason, and psychopaths can reason but not feel. What I don’t understand is, is this caused by nature or nurture? Are some people born without the ability to feel, or is it caused by experiences as a young child?

    • Zoe DeSousa says:

      I think Babies by nature are physically incapable of reason, seeing as their brains haven’t fully developed yet. Psychopaths, however, I can see happening both ways. From birth they could have deformations in that part of the brain, and it is hereditary, but couldn’t people become psychopaths by nurture from traumatic experiences? Couldn’t someone be abused over time and just snap?

    • Sean Ricario Holness says:

      The ability to feel and reason aren’t something is born with or without. These emotions are the product of an individuals life and how it has impressed values upon them.When we are young, we cannot reason, because we have not yet learned how the world works, and how to logically sequence things. Babies are born empathetic, meaning that when young, they can pick up and sense moods naturally, a survival mechanism inherent to defenseless children in the animal kingdom. Psychopaths lose this emotional sensitivity due to losing their connection with other, leaving them apathetic, and only susceptible to reason.

    • Kelsey Silva says:

      I think it all depends on how a child is brought up. It’s not always the case, but statistically, children who are raised in a more unhealthy or abusive environment can suffer from future problems; whether they’re psychological or not. If a child is raised in a fun-loving home and is given an endless amount of attention, the odds are that they’ll be more successful and happy. But then again, both “types” of children could have some type of chemical imbalance in their brain and be the exact opposite.

  18. Jessica Svendsen says:

    So in the book Haidt talks about the progression of sympathy towards an expanding pool of victims. And it had made me wonder if our expanding care for victims is a hindrance or a help to the societal structure? It could make us stronger as a society because we would care more about a victim thus leading us to be more proactive that the act that made the victim comes to a stop. But, it could also lead to a distrust of the system because it allowed the act that created the victim in the first place. What do you guys think? Is it good or bad for a society to have people care more and more about victims as generations go on? (Chapter 7, the care/harm foundation)

  19. Taylor Michelle Seay says:

    I really liked the concept of the Elephant metaphor. So many people are the rider on the elephant and believe that the problems they see in the world are because of everyone else. But as we see, sometimes its not the world around us causing problems, it could be that we cause certain problems for ourselves.

  20. Ashley R says:

    While I was reading this book many different thoughts were running through my head as to how the human mind works. The amount of experiments that this man did to discover the real understanding of politics and religion is unreal. He used examples that everyday people could understand. There was a part at the beginning of the book that really got me interested, he was explaining how children comprehend and adapt to learning a lot of new, different things from adults at the beginning of their lives.

  21. Kylie Packard says:

    Haidt kept referring back to how disgust caused reason after reason, but most of the reasons were not relevant to the story being told. I couldn’t agree more with him. I feel like here in America we tend to just find things that are disgusting and or repulsive as wrong but have no way of explaining why. If its not breaking someone’s moral code then it really can’t be wrong if its done in private.

  22. Nataki says:

    The Righteous Mind is a very particular book that stood out to me. This book stood out to me because it definitely talks about the different psychological views. Sometimes we don’t think before we speak and we look at it things, how we want to look at things. Haidt definitely wants us take a good look at our surroundings, he wants to really think about the choices and decisions that we make.

    • I most definitely agree with Nataki’s statement here. This books should help everyone understand that what we believe to be right and wrong may not be what another person feels. This books opens up your perspective on so many aspects to not only your personal views, but how people in the world have a wide range of views.

    • I definitely have to agree with Nataki’s statement. We as a society often view the world with a closed mind. We are pretty stubborn on what we believe is right and wrong. The books wants people to start looking at things with a more open minded approach. Not everyone is grownup with the same outlook on life and morals. What might not seem like a big deal to you can effect someone else completely different. “The Righteous Mind” leaves you in “aww” once you finish reading the book.

  23. Nataki says:

    I think Haidt wanted us to understand the true meaning of “Why Good People are Divided By Politics and Religion,” because he wanted us to be really wise and really smart about the choices and decisions that we make in life. He wants us to focus our ability on liberal and political discourse. Haidt definitely points out specific details in his book. “Is it wrong to have sex with a dead chicken? He explains it’s recycling, it’s an efficient use to natural resources.

  24. Kylie Packard says:

    When Haidt says that intuition is the main cause of moral judgment and reasoning follows to justify he couldn’t be more right. Everyone always jumps to whatever they believe is right or wrong before making a judgment and then their reasons for why they decided on that comes later. We never sit there and contemplate what we believe is right or wrong before making a judgment when it comes to what we see or hear, we follow our intuition and then later think of why we came to the conclusion we did.

    • Tia Gurley says:

      I couldn’t agree more, Kylie. It seems as though a lot of people do jump to what they think is right or wrong before really processing the topic or situation at hand. As if their thoughts are morally persuaded immediately. So, Haidt’s statement on intuition is something that I very much agree with as well.

    • Jared Celia says:

      I agree as well. Many people will look at a culture and “judge it by its cover.” On many occasions, when people actually look into the culture they are judging, they find out that not only is it not what they first expected, but also they may seem to like it and want to be a part of some of it’s traditions.

  25. Elio Younes says:

    “My goal is to change the way a diverse group of readers-liberal and conservative, secular and religious- think about morality, politics, religion and each other.” As I picked up this book, and began to read it, I began to learn a lot about myself. I began to see how bias and culture based my own mind was. I feel as after completely The Righteous Mind, Haidt has better influenced by outlook on society as it is today.

  26. Tia Gurley says:

    While I’m sure all of us would like to say that the world is a perfect place where everyone gets along, Haidt explains why that statements is far from the truth in The Righteous Mind. For the most part, I believe most of his points on “Why Good People are Divided By Politics and Religion” are sensible. The way that he states the six foundations of morality and explains the importance of each to both the liberals and conservatives makes it easier to understand the difference between the two parties and why one party may have a better footing on morality than the other.

  27. Kenny Nguyen says:

    In the case of the brother and sister I found it interesting that the young female participant would stick by her opinion even while her reasoning was easily disputed by the experimenter. No matter how much contradiction was presented the the female participant would not relinquish her initial perception of the example given. In fact the rider continued to find any sort of reason to justify herself. The example here embodied how narrow the elephant in people are and how difficult it can be to change someone’s point of view. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with incest (though I do not advocate it) but I do see it as a violation to social norms in present day society.

  28. Taylor Michelle Seay says:

    When looking into politics, many people claim oh he’s a liar, or that one isn’t very honest. this guy is a cheat. There are always comments on their honesty. We see that in the section “We lie, cheat, and justify so we honestly believe we are honest” Just the title of this section is the truth. Many people don’t find themselves to be liars, but then every word in their next sentence is a lie. As far as politics, we see this in the Parliament in the UK. They say their second house is the one in need the most so tax payers money will renovate it. After that house has been renovated and fixed, they change the title of their second house to their other one so that one will have the chance to be renovated. In this example, its not out right lying, but it still is a lie. And they probably see no harm in it, until it gets out to the media.

  29. Ludy Grizotte says:

    In chapter 2, He talks about Julie and Mark, who are sister and brother, went on a summer vacation and end up “making love”. In my opinion I think it’s totally wrong. Not the fact that she was on birth control or that he used condom, it’s all about them being related. How can someone have anything like that with their own brother and sister? I think it’s not about the religion or about her getting pregnant and the baby be born deformed, all I could think is because they are related. & if anything happens and she does get pregnant it won’t be the baby fault if he/she comes out with any defect, it will be the parents who chose to do that dumb decision, when they both could find someone to hook up with.

    • Andrew Claxton says:

      In my opinion, I am not saying that I would do that but, but, think of it in a more free way. If your were not already influenced by society and major religion. That statement would be confusing to answer. Here is why, A brother loves his sister and a sister loves her brother, let us assume this. Making love is simply an action between two people whether they are the same gender or not, making love remains an action. Okay, so we established the action, now each person has their own sense of morals and right and wrongs and stuff. So in what most people think, incest, being wrong and hooking up being a very uncertain action can be completely the opposite in someone else’s eyes. Making love can be for pleasure or for reproduction and ultimately one or both goals can be accomplished.

  30. Jordan Costa says:

    After reading this book it has demonstrated to me many psychological beliefs and topics that I had no prior exposure to. It’s an incredibly interesting topic and, in reading this book, has allowed me to see human thought process in a different manner. For example, the elephant and rider metaphor that recurs often in the book. It shows that it takes much more than to actively say we agree or disagree with a topic, whether we know it or not. The intuitive elephant is harder to influence than the cognitive rider.

    • Sean Ricario Holness says:

      Much like you, this book opened my mind to a new path in terms of psychology and how it influences those around us. With your example of decision making being far deeper than just yes or no, not many people come to realize that every decision is taking into account the fears and traumas that one goes through and develops over their lifetimes. When we agree with something, it is because in our experience’s, we’ve come to find that situation as relatively positive in nature.

  31. Andrew Claxton says:

    The cognitive rider’s ability is so unknown that other beings cannot predict the ability. Despite, this factor of mystery, children are born with a sense of morality. The child’s morality will ultimately increase or decrease depending on the setting the child is in. That point being said will in fact affect the child’s ability to ride the elephant or communicate with the elephant to move with a rider.

  32. Alexis Bajandas says:

    I found it interesting when we were exposed to what the actual subject was saying to the experimenter about the incest story. How he didn’t really have a reason as to why he found incest to be wrong even though they were using contraceptives and they were essentially lowering the odds of producing an offspring that would possibly have deformities. It is true that we are brought up knowing that having any sexual intercourse with someone in your family is wrong, there are no ifs, ands or buts about it. But even as I read the transcript of the interview between the two of them I tried to think of a reason as to why it’s wrong, and it was hard to think of a legitimate reason as to why it is wrong besides the fact that it is programmed in my brain that it is not a “normal” thing to do and you should not do it. Also that it’s just a gut-feeling that a person would have knowing it is wrong.

  33. Jeff Kingston says:

    The book talks about religion and politics in the west. The two topics have become extremely sensitive to the point where it is dangerous to speak about them. Hadit talks about how to understand people’s beliefs and political views. I think everyone’s views should be respected and not demeaned The book gave me a different perspective on how to look at these two things.

  34. Jeff Kingston says:

    The morality of each person is shown with internal and external factors. The internal factors are what our personality is like. Whether we are caring and loyal we could also be harmful and a betrayer. The external factors come from where we grew up specifically the environment we grew up in. The way of life we live does in fact shape us as humans

  35. Jacob Castro says:

    As Jonathan Haidt mentioned in “The Righteous Mind” I find it fascinating that we start as little babies with no thought about how the world works but as we grow up ,we start to gain a sense of what’s right and wrong, our beliefs get stronger or change as time goes on. We start to learn what’s wrong and right from growing along side people and get a sense of how our society works.

  36. Ryan Britton says:

    This book made me realize the many ways that people view others and why, which was extremely important to me because it will allow me to open up new doors knowing that I should change how i view people. Although I don’t like the fact that we act and come up with a reason later, I couldnt agree more. I myself have been guilty of this all my life, but I hope to change.

  37. Justin Barca says:

    I couldn’t agree more that the human brain in its youth is so “open-minded.” Children take in loads of information especially from adults. Their brains take in information so fast that they don’t have time to process their rights from wrongs. Although, It is truly fascinating how the brain develops so quickly.

    • Nick Castro says:

      Young minds are very open minded and that is why little kids are not racist, because racism is taught not inherited. Their brains are programmed by their parents, and other powerful influences like friends, neighbors, and teachers. It is amazing how they start off so kind and innocent and can be corrupted by racist and prejudice influences.

  38. Alberto Navarro says:

    You can easily relate this to a one on one argument or dispute two people have for each other. Neither one of the two will give in until they understand what the other is saying. That being said, they’ll stick by their argument because neither of them believe they’re wrong nor are they. By their beliefs makes them believe they are right.

  39. Justin Barca says:

    I believe that intuition and quick thinking work against each other. Although your intuition is always there, in a certain situation our minds will act and not think about the consequences of its actions and decisions.

  40. Adam Woods says:

    In chapter two, Haidt explains to us “one of the greatest truths in psychology”, that the mind is divided into parts that will occasionally conflict each other. He further explains this with Plato’s dialogue Timaeus. In this dialogue, the narrator explains that a perfect god who created perfect things created souls with perfect rationality. Following this god’s perfect souls that he created, he decided he needed a break and passed on the role of creating the rest of these beings to those who were not as perfect as he. After these lesser gods created heads and a body for these heads to prop themselves up on, they created a second soul. However, this second soul was far less perfect. Haidt explains that this soul encased nasty things such as pleasure, pain, foolishness and fear. My question is what if the perfect god who created our rational souls had taken on a full time job? What if he hadn’t taken that break and passed the torch on to these lesser gods and instead created the perfectly rational human? What would life be like without fear, and without pleasure and pain? I don’t see what the point of life in this case would be. There would be no obstacles for you to overcome; there would be no mistakes that a human could make. We would live in a somewhat utopian society with boring yet “perfect” humans. Without sadness and pain, how can you fully experience and understand happiness? In the end, I think this perfect God didn’t really need a break, but he took one for the sake of mankind.

  41. Adam Woods says:

    When Haidt is discussing how to win an argument he brings up a great point that, just as you can’t force a dog to wag his own tail by thrashing it around, you can’t force someone to agree with you by just constantly telling him he is wrong and not even considering their side of the issue. Haidt describes this argumentative state of mind as a “combat mode”. Haidt uses examples from Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People in which Carnegie tells readers who are engaged in some type of debate to be friendly as you begin and to listen and really consider the other side. If you can first do this, then you can get the respect and attention of your peers as you present your side of the argument. This tip could prove to be very helpful in a college environment.

  42. Nick Castro says:

    The world is full of many different cultures. Religion can be a free right in one country, but a moral rule in another to where you are forced to live through that religion. It is evident, how loose religion regulations are in a culture can affect how much of an affect culture has on our moral reasoning.

  43. Nathan Barros says:

    Another subject that sparked my interest while reading this book was an example used by Haidt to explain his perception of morals. The example I’m referring to is the incident where a family’s dog is killed by a car, and then eaten by the family who owned this dog. Haidt suggested that he believed it wasn’t wrong because the family owned this dog and was in charge of what would happen after it was struck by the car. I found this not only upsetting but also offensive because in American culture pets, especially dogs, are just as much a part of the family as children and serves as a best friend. I hope that some of you agree with my opinion because I personally viewed this example as unnecessary and morally wrong.

  44. Cody Borges says:

    I find the quote, “The mind is divided, like a rider on an elephant, and the rider’s job is to serve the elephant.” the most interesting one in the book. The way that they must balance together to achieve is amazing. In order to get that success, they must compromise and become one and work together, using both emotion and rationalization.

    • Shawn Rivers says:

      I would agree with that this quote is by far the most interesting throughout the novel. This quote which is also a metaphor, explains that the elephant rules over the rider. The elephant symbolizes a person’s beliefs whereas the rider is displayed as the elephant’s best interests.

  45. Cody Borges says:

    For an arguments sake, you would much rather talk to the “elephant”. Although it knows it’s limits, the emotions get in the way of it’s own success, which hinders its true potential. Getting to emotional can lead to someones downfall just because they are so passionate and ignorant to everything else.

  46. Phillip deCastro says:

    I find the way Haidt set up and divided the book with a central metaphor for each section very interesting. Personally, my favorite metaphor, because i can relate and also agree with it is “We are 90 percent chimp and 10 percent bee.” This does spell out humans fairly well. To elaborate; Chimps, though in the environment are fairly closely knit together in proximity are, for the most part independent animals. Bees, form an entire colony. Each bee though its own individual, contribute to the thriving of the hive as a whole. The bee, in this metaphor represent man’s intuition and instinct to work together and bring about prosperity in most aspects of life whether it be a business, team, etc. Chimps, represent the solidarity we as humans have developed. For the most part we are each our own individuals, however; we do have the tendency in certain instances to act like bees to help each other out.

  47. I also found interesting Haidt’s handling on morals and moral reasoning. For example; the situation in which the family’s dog is killed and they eat the dog. Normally, frowned upon by most and looked at with disgust and viewed immoral, however; it did cause me to ponder and in a sense agree with Haidt in the sense, they didn’t hurt anyone. It was their dog and how their handling it with the dog’s body was theirs’ to do as they please. The fact it caused a conflict in my own mind as to whether they did anything wrong, i found absolutely fascinating.

  48. Shawn Rivers says:

    After reading this novel I believe that people should understand that the elephant and the rider is in all of us. The elephant and rider should try to remain equal for people and not let the elephant in you over power itself. In the quote, ” the mind is divided, like a rider on an elephant, and the rider’s job is to serve the elephant” it portrays that the elephant rules over the rider but I believe that they should have equal affect on a person.

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