I am reading Ethics 101 – because this is clearly a problem in our time – a big problem.
But as I am reading it, I cannot help but feel he is overlooking something important – what motivates us to be immoral. He goes through the usual list, but overlooks the main one – we like being bad because we are not supposed to.
This is part of a much larger complex of misbehavior – we are destructive and incompetent in nearly every way possible. Because we find these activities satisfying. We know what we are supposed to do – and this encourages us to do what we are not supposed to. Even if it is detrimental to ourselves and others – especially if it is detrimental to ourselves and others.
We like being bad. We like getting even with those people who want us to be good.
Right here we are hitting pay dirt – what are those influences that make us want to flout them? Early childhood experiences no doubt top the list – and are nearly impossible to change, because we are not consciously aware of them.
All we can do is pay careful attention to our behavior now – and deduce what the unconscious motivations are behind them. Something almost no one wants to do.
What we are doing, even if it is life-threatening – is so satisfying, we do not want to change. The gratification is immediate – thinking about the results, is a much slower process, and not as satisfying.
I am speaking of addiction here, something that humans have always been prone to. Including process addictions – we can not only become addicted to substances, we can become addicted to processes – even social processes.
We can feel a tremendous group euphoria when everyone acts the same way. Whether we are acting right or wrong hardly enters our minds. Even when we are dying, we cannot understand how we went wrong.
We just die.