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New Scientist on the need to “hack” our morals

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Gut reactions guide our judgements and behaviour, but those reactions, developed over millions of years of living in small groups, aren’t up to the grand challenges that face us in an interconnected world of billions of people.

On the road ahead, this is a recipe for tyranny everywhere: Traditional moral instincts don’t work; we need some brand new scheme. Sound familiar?

The main thing to see is, these people are serious.

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Peace and joy. I spend a LOT of time with my grandchildren, and the simple fact is that each and every young human MUST be TAUGHT proper social behavior by other members of their pack. The "gut reaction" is to be selfish and untruthful and lazy. And MEAN. While still being amazingly gentle and loving and easily hurt. So overriding all of the teaching about letters and numbers and how to use a toilet is the teaching about acceptable social conduct: Yes, please; no, thank you; I'm sorry. Again and again, 10 times a day and more. There is just barely enough time to teach young humans the basics of social conduct before they are sent off to school without a parent to apologize for them. It takes them the next 10 or 15 years to finish learning the details. Each society has differences in what social conduct the adults of the pack believe is important. There is enough variation in the important parts to make it clear that acceptable social conduct has NOTHING to do with any general scheme for the development of humans. mahuna

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