Reclaiming the ‘science’ in Moral Science
How do infants learn to draw attention to themselves, respond variously and appropriately to different stimuli, and make their needs known? A baby lying on a wet nappy begins to cry. An elder immediately responds, and the discomfort is attended to. The baby learns that crying is a means of getting out of discomforting situations. As she grows, the baby experiments with various ways of being and becoming and learns what elicits responses that are pleasant and what provokes disagreeable reactions. Like the infant who grows and learns as she grows, in the process of living, our ideas, attitudes and behaviour are informed by our experiences. Repeated reinforcement strengthens the putative mental impressions and a deep imprint is left on the psyche*. On the other hand, just as even deep disappointment or anger with a dear one, or pain due to the loss of a loved one generally disappears gradually, so can we allow certain mental imprints to fade over time.
By making the choice to inhibit or to allow certain impressions to gather strength, it could become possible for us to engineer the Moral Imprint, and thereby our reactions and attitudes to people and events, to life and living.
*Note: I use ‘psyche’ as a commoner, to mean mental and emotional states at any/ all level/s of consciousness.
[To be continued…]