Since ancient times the greatest thinkers of the human kind were trying to figure out the nature of people, explain certain behaviors, peculiarities, choices and desires. Human brain is, indeed, a very complicated and unstable object to study. The famous Greek philosopher Aristotle once described a human as a “social animal”. Does it mean that according to Aristotle, human beings without the social component are nothing but animals?
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A social component includes manners and norms of behavior, speech, understanding of human emotions and reaction to them and many other aspects that make a person a part of a society. Basically, social component stands for human morals. It is a well known fact that a person who behaves in a way not approved by this person’s society is called “asocial”, “antisocial” or even a “sociopath”.
As a proof to this, in the thirties an experiment called “The Case of Anna” took place. A six year old girl was left alone in an isolated room for five years. As a result she could not walk or speak or properly react to other humans (Sunil). According to the common opinion morals are what makes us humans, due to morals we stand out from the rest of creatures on our planet, but is moral sense really a set of pure good qualities?
This paper will present the three dark sides of the moral sense. First – its presence tends to make humans crueler. Second – how it can destroy our society. Third – the understanding of good and bad is not the only thing needed to make the right choice.
The scientists of the world are still arguing about the origins of moral sense and at which stage of evolution it has appeared in humans. It is obvious that animals are not bothered by the sense of morals. This is why we call them innocent creatures. When they kill they are unaware of the moral judgment of their deed.
Neither are they when they mate, sleep all day, steal or fight. Humans gave an evaluation to all these behavioral patterns and labeled them as moral or immoral ones. Human society also named other valuable things and set a rule that the one who has more valuables is rich and lives a better, safer and more comfortable life.
With time we grew (C) to realize that accumulating valuables is something we must pursue, and also that accumulation of valuables happens faster and easier when one uses immoral ways to achieve the goal. Between the moral good and material good humans always choose the latter (Darwin on the Evolution of Morality).
Even knowing that there are starving poor people the wealthy ones keep accumulating the valuables, collecting more money they could possibly spend in a lifetime. The understanding of value came together with the sense of morals and it has brought along (C) cruelty, greed and selfishness.
Animals have no religions and no spirituality; this was another invention of humans that evolved from the sense of morals. It served better purposes initially – to explain the unexplainable and to unite people. Then the ability to judge again worked against the human society.
Religious preferences became the ground for rivalry, contempt and hatred. With time the heat of the arguments grew (D) and religious wars started. Humans, unlike animals, are able to predict the development of events (Sorabji, 54). Nonetheless, they still continue doing what will definitely result as a disaster.
Humans have been taught the proper morals since childhood. Schools and kindergartens work on shaping good morals in the students, churches of all kinds teach people what is good and what is bad. Since the early childhood our parents try to take care and make us grow (D) as good people with good manners and morals.
We know exactly what is good and what is bad, but our negative social instincts still win over the positive ones in most cases. We hurt people being aware of it.
We make destructive choices being driven by our weaknesses. We call our weaknesses “animal instincts”, but animals do not experience greed, they do not enjoy the suffering of others, they do not envy or hate, they do not kill for pleasure, the do not know the meaning of fame, glory, wealth or popularity.
The human society has gone through the process of evolution just like the human body. However, some traits and features of human social behavior remained unchanged.
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The sense of moral is what makes us blush when we do something wrong, the sense of moral makes us lose our sleep when we are guilty, when we were unfair to someone or hurt someone. At the same time together with all the good traits the sense of moral has given us arrogance, judgment and greed –the main forces of destruction. We must be aware of them to be in control of them.
Darwin on the Evolution of Morality. Philsci-archive. n. d. Web. 19 Mar. 2014. <http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/137/1/DonM-text.html>
Sorabji, Richard. Animal Minds and Human Morals: The Origins of the Western Debate. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2005. Print.
Sunil. Why Man is Called as a Social Animal? PreserveArticles, 2012. Web. 19 Mar. 2014. <http://www.preservearticles.com/201104306137/why-man-is-called-as-a-social-animal.html>