BIOLOGY OF ETHICS
FUNCTION OF BIOLOGICALLY BASED ETHICAL VALUES OR 'VIRTUES' AS OPERATIVE VALUES FOR HUMAN SOCIALISATION
theme: The natural interest of the human organism as a social organism is happiness which comes from productive living which is ethical or virtuous. Virtues are social values which give rise to those attributes... rational thought, confidence and courage... which are required for human socialisation and happiness. As virtues are of survival value they are 'operative values'. Consequently the philosophical analysis of the concept of 'virtue' can be replaced by a biological analysis of virtues as ethical values which have a biological function.
The aim of life is to unfold one's human powers according to the laws of nature... this is virtuous living.
"Those human attributes which are of value to the child in a social setting are the same attributes which we call 'virtues'. As a social organism, the child is happy in his work in a social environment in which the attributes for adaptation to the social environment are the same as the so-called 'virtues'. (Maria Montessori Absorbent Mind 231)
The philosophical analysis of virtues is equivalent to the biological analysis of human social values.
Virtues and the Transpersonal... virtues originate in the transpersonal dimension of human nature
"Ethics has been wrongly characterized as being a function of philosophy" www.evolutionaryethics.com
traditional paradigm and mistrust of human nature...
human nature defined in terms of virtues...
virtues are specialised attributes for social adaptation and they are therefore human operative values...
awareness of human moral values and source of virtues is moral consciousness or 'conscience'...
development of conscience as a function of brain development for 'creative intelligence'...
virtues unfold in process of growth... obstacles to growth result in pathology and lack of virtue...
implications for education...
The traditional paradigm and the mistrust of human nature In Western culture the tendency has been to mistrust the nature of the human personality or 'human nature'. Human nature has been regarded in terms of intrinsically base and bestial instincts. People have been taught to distrust the bad and dangerous instincts of their so-called 'animal nature'. Cultural institutions have been set up for the express purpose of controlling, inhibiting, suppressing and repressing human instinctive behaviour. Even the American Constitution is based on the perception of human nature in terms of the supposedly inherent antagonism between human goodness and human wickedness or 'evil'. This dichotomous perception of human nature has led to the mistaken belief that the the interests of the individual and the society are mutually exclusive. This false belief gives rise to the fallacious notion that the primary function of civilisation is to control the free expression of human nature making it imposssible to resolve social problems. As a matter of fact the inner core of the human personality... the natural personality of 'human nature'... has a constitution which is subtle and fragile and can be overcome easily by cultural pressures, social conditioning and wrong attitudes towards it.
Each individual is instinctively responsible to itself for its own potential development for self-actualisation and 'self-transcendance' beyond the ego level of consciousness... level of moral consciousness or conscience ... source of intrinsic social or 'ethical values' or'virtues'.
"There has been a special tendency in Western culture, historically determined, to assure that (the) instinctoid needs of the human being, his so-called 'animal nature', are base and evil. As a consequence, many cultural institutions are set up for the express purpose of controlling, inhibiting, suppressing and repressing this original nature of man... The term 'instinctoid human nature' implies the notion of inborn biological necessity and basic human needs. " (Maslow Psychology of Being. p.164)
Human nature can be described in terms of motives for human behaviour or 'human needs'. Human nature is a social nature and the human organism is a social organism which can be characterised in terms of the biological needs for growth. Human growth is a function of socialisation and therefore a function of the development of moral consciousness or 'conscience'. Complete development of human conscience depends on fulfillment of motives for natural human behaviour... can be described in terms of the motives for learning behaviour or'human needs'. Human needs include not only the obvious physiological needs for survival, but the so-called 'lower' psychological needs for affection which communicates security, for a sense of belongingness, for self-respect and self-esteem... the 'ego needs' - and the 'and the so-called 'higher' psychological needs for development of the transpersonal or ‘spiritual’ dimension of the human psyche i.e. the spiritual growth needs or 'metaneeds'. the metaneeds are the subconscious needs for awareness of human values for living i.e. 'social values'. Human values are the moral values or universal spiritual values required for survival of the species as a social species… the core of human values common to all members of the human species... namely moral justice, compassionate wisdom, universal love, knowledge as understanding, social responsibility or ‘peace’... Awareness of human values results in heightened intuition and increased awareness of creative intelligence which is necessary for effective adaptation to changing social conditions i.e. 'adaptability'. Human adaptability depends on evolution from the egocentric perspective to the transpersonal perspective of emotional maturity. Spiritual growth is usually gradual and fluid and results in 'spiritual awakening' or 'spiritual emergence'. The metaneeds are the source of motivation for spiritual growth or 'metamotivation'. Metaneeds needs must be satisfied in a process of psychological and spiritual growth and development for the fulfillment of human potential. In a process of normal psychological and spiritual growth human potentialities naturally unfold and become actualised, producing feelings of natural self-esteem which lead to beneficial and creative behaviour. In the process a natural valuing process also unfolds revealing intrinsic social or 'ethical values' - the 'virtues'.
Virtues are specialised attributes for social adaptation...'operative values' Virtues are human attributes which are of value to the individual as a social organism in a social environment. The human organism behaves in accordance with an organismic valuing process which allows for self-preservation and adaptation to changing conditions in the social environment. The human organism as a social organism lives by intrinsic values which facilitate self-enhancement... is instinctively responsible to itself for its own potential development and self-actualisation. The human organism as a social organism depends for social adaptation on preserving the integration of the personality while at the same time comprehending the realities of a changing social environment in order to make accurate evaluation on which to base decisions for adaptive behaviour... 'adaptability'. The specialised attributes for social adaptation are the biologically based intrinsic social values or 'virtues'. Virtues are biologically based attributes arising from based social values or 'operative values' and their function is a biological one. Virtue from Latin 'virtus' is the affirmation of life and the responsibility to the unfolding of human potential and the excellence of human achievement. Irresponsibility toward one's self and one's potential is 'vice'. Vice is self-mutilation. Virtues are the biologically based social values which produce those attributes which are foundational to human socialisation and happiness - rational thought, confidence and courage. As social values they are 'ethical' values which give rise to human solidarity required for survival of human species as a social species which depends on mutual assistance and cooperation .Ethical values increase the individual's capacity to adapt to changes in the social environment. The function of virtues as social values is to preserve the integrity of the personality as a whole i.e. to preserve psychological health or 'sanity'. Sanity is the basis for accurate evaluation of changing social conditions and rational choice of action which leads to adaptive behaviour. As ethical values virtues are 'operative values'. As operative values virtues are of survival value to the human organism as a social organism. As biologically based genetically based... originate in the genetic makeup of the human species. They are a product of evolutionary processes. Virtues are intrinsic values which unfold naturally in a process of development of the organismic valuing process... of awareness or consciousness of human moral values...moral consciousness of organismic valuing process which is intrinsic to human nature i.e. 'conscience'.The biological function of conscience is related to the preservation of the integrity of the organism. The actualising individual values the potentiality and the disposition of the 'human self' or 'Self' making decisions according to the developed conscience.
'Conscience' as moral consciousness... awareness of human moral values The human organism as a social organism depends for social adaptation on preserving the integration of the personality while at the same time comprehending the realities of a changing social environment in order to make accurate evaluation on which to base decisions for adaptive behaviour. The human organism is instinctively responsible to itself for its own potential development and self-actualisation. The actualising individual values the potentiality and the disposition of the 'human self' making decisions according to the organismic valuing process which is intrinsic to their human nature. The biological function of organismic values is related to the preservation of the integrity of the organism. They unfold naturally in a process of development of the organismic valuing process... moral consciousness or ''conscience'.
Conscience is the guardian of integrity. Conscience is a biological mechanism for the preservation of the individual's true self-interest and self-preservation. Conscience is the expression of the properly integrated functioning of the personality as a whole. Conscience makes it possible for the individual to adapt to changing social conditions while at the same time preserving personal integrity.The conscience evolved as a mechanism for the integration of personality and character in a changing social environment. Its function is related to the individual's need to maintain personal integrity while adapting successfully to a changing social environment. If in the process of adapting to change the individual's decisions enhance personal integrity then the conscience produces a feeling of inner approval. The resulting behaviour is productive and adaptive or 'right'. If in the process of adapting to change the individual's decisions diminish personal integrity, then the conscience produces a feeling of inner disapproval. The resulting behaviour is destrucive and non-adaptive or 'wrong'. As awareness or consciousness of human values or 'virtues'... moral consciousness' or 'morality', developed conscience defines the human personality or 'human nature'.
The conscience evolved as a mechanism for the integration of personality and character in a changing social environment. Conscience is the product of evolutionary processes based on the natural laws of human preservation, the conscience is an 'emergent property' of the human brain. The human brain is a 'social brain' which evolved with the species as a social species. Human evolution is based on the survival value of the social brain and its capacity for ''social intelligence'. Social intelligence allows for accurate evaluation of the complexities of changing social conditions. Social intelligence is a function of development of moral consciousness or 'moral development'. Moral development is a function of constructon of the conscience through productiveness or 'work'.. Productiveness is a function of the development of character and personality, of psychological and spiritual development, of development of wholeness or health of 'humaness'.... 'wellness'. Development of humaness depends on the need for parental love which is 'unconditional' i.e. mature love with care, respect, knowledge and responsibility (not overprotection and possessiveness). Unconditional love is the basis for development of conscience, the source of human virtues. Virtues are the biologically based social values which produce those attributes which are the foundation of human socialisation and happiness.
Development of conscience is a function of brain development for 'creative intelligence'
Proper development of conscience depends on unconditional love Development of conscience depends on the need for parental love which is 'unconditional' i.e. mature love with care, respect, knowledge and responsibility (not overprotection and possessiveness). Unconditional love is the basis for development of conscience, the source of human virtues.
"The individual is instinctively responsible to himself for his own potential development or 'self-actualisation'. This natural responsibility to his own biological and psychological existence and self-actualisation constitutes the ethical value called 'virtue'... Virtue is proportional to the degree of productiveness achieved." (Fromm, Erich. Man for Himself: an Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics. Holt, Rhinehart and Winston, New York, l947 p. 229)
Virtues unfold in the normal process of growth... Each individual has a unique way of solving their human problems. The uniqueness of problem-solving depends on their unchangeable constitutional temperament and their changeable acquired character. Acquired character depends on conscious and unconscious motivating forces and varies with the individual's mode of relatedness to the world. In normal growth and development, both conscious and unconscious behaviour are based on the flexibility of the instinctive tendency to grow in the direction of self-actualisation and self-transcendance. In the process of normal development and growth to actualisation and unfolding of human powers, ethical norms for excellent living are revealed according to the laws of nature and human existence....the human values are revealed in the 'productive' character which naturally unfolds as the ideal human potentialities unfold and become actualised.
If growtrh is blocked and ego-needs are not gratified... neurosis, psychopathy (psychosis)... if ego-needs are gratified... and further growth is blocked... spiritual emergency.
What happens when there are obstacles to growth? Inhibition of spiritual growth results in insecurity and low self-esteem which has a crippling effect on development... Failure to gratify the ego-needs results in lack of spiritual growth. If ego-needs are not gratified... As a result the individual's sense of identity is threatened and this leads to their continual dependence on others for approval i.e. 'psychological dependence'. The psychologically dependent individual will persist in their efforts to retain the approval of others even if it means the repression of their growth needs. In the absence of motivation for growth, the individual's thought and behaviour patterns are dominated by the basic psychological needs which continue to account for the individual's motivation for behaviour. As a result they are designated as 'deficiency needs' or 'deficit needs'. Motivation by deficit needs is 'deficit motivation.' Deficiency motivated growth results in the 'metapathology' of 'neurotic development' or 'neurosis' characterised by 'diminished humanness' or 'dehumanisation'. Neurosis is pathological growth involving the irrational projection of images of ideals of perfection onto external authorities and the internalisation of projected images or 'introjection' of rigid and static cultural beliefs and values in the construction of 'authoritarian conscience'. Construction of authoritarian conscience involves the interaction of two processes which are based on the instinctive needs to admire, to have an ideal, to strive for perfection: first the perfection of character is projected onto an external authority - parental, religious or state authority; second the projected image of perfection is internalised or 'introjected' in the individual's consciousness. Internalisation of the projected image leads to the individual's unshakable conviction in the external authority as the personification of the perfect character. The conviction is so strong that it is immune to all empirical evidence which might prove to contradict it. The power of fear for the authority replaces the power of ethical reasoning... the individual loses the capacity for rationality and reason. As a result the conscience which is constructed becomes increasingly authoritarian and irrational and this leads to the rigidity of authoritarian conscience. The irrationality of authoritarian conscience interferes with comprehensive understanding of the self and of others preventing the formation of meaningful interpersonal relations. The individual overcompensates with domineering attitudes of sham dominance. Their violent reactions of frustration manifest themselves in 'antisocial behaviour'... acts of destructiveness, sadism, cruelty, malice and greed - the same attributes which describe the wickedness of human behaviour... human wickedness or 'evil'. So-called 'evil' is a product of neurosis, psychosis as 'psychopathy and other social pathologies.
Authoritarian conscience is not functional in process of adaptation to changing social conditions i.e. 'adaptability'... is inadequate for effective evaluation of social conditions because it fails to produce conscious behaviour which is adaptive to changes in the social environment and can lead to socially inadaptive or 'antisocial behaviour' and 'human wickedness' or 'evil'. Evil is a direct result of the abnormal conditions for growth which are prevalent in a cultural environment which focuses on the control of human needs. The forces of external control deprive the individual of the means for gratification of instinctive spiritual needs. As a result their feelings towards them become ambivalent and they perceive them as not only appealing but thus . Fear for the spiritual needs stimulates psychological reaction responses of repression and denial thus stimulating deficit motivation and inhibiting even further metamotivation for continued growth. Blockage of spiritual growth prevents the inner development to maturity through the development of inherent human potentialities i.e. 'self-atualisation'. Individual self-actualisation is the basis for social cooperation or 'normal socialisation' which depends on development of critical consciousness - the aim of education as 'critical practice'
In a process of social conditioning, conditioned behaviours are rewarded even though they are perversions of the natural tendency to grow in the direction of self-actualization. Socially conditioned individuals are dissociated and estranged from their own directional growth process.
Obstacles to growth and spiritual crisis or 'spiritual emergency'... If ego needs are gratified and further spiritual growth is blocked for any reason, the individual as a social organism is warned that their growth is in grave danger and that adjustments need to be made which are essential for adaptation and self-preservation. The transformation process can become so rapid and dramatic that it is uncontrollable and reaches a point of crisis during which sensory experiences become so intense, chaotic and overwhelming that it is too distressing for the person to bear and they experience psychic overload. In this way spiritual emergence becomes a ‘spiritual crisis', transformation crisis or spiritual emergency - also known by other names such as 'transpersonal crisis', 'spiritual journey', 'hero's journey', 'spiritual awakening', 'kundalini awakening', 'enlightenment', 'shamanic crisis', 'psychotic-visionary episode', 'dark night of the soul', 'alchemical process' and so on. Spiritual emergency is a process of healing which is characterised by spontaneous alternative consciousness states or ‘realities' and involves the positive transformation of the self. The person learns to grow beyond fear based ego-consciousness of cultural conditioning and the expectations of others. They evolve to a new level of awareness or 'higher consciousness state' of spiritual renewal and emotional liberation which allows for the discovery of ideas and behaviours in the affirmation of life of total well-being or 'high level wellness'. Spiritual emergency is a sign of health and therefore a part of the human condition making it a concern of so-called 'depth psychology' or 'transpersonal psychology'.
Implications for education... virtue as the source of happiness... education for virtue is education for happiness
"Happiness is not the reward of virtue but is virtue itself." (Spinoza, Ethics)
"The actualisation of a potentiality depends on the presence of certain conditions... The concept of potentiality has no meaning except in connection with the specific conditions required for actualisation. If the proper conditions normal conditions are present, the potentiality for goodness is actualied. If they are absent... abnormal, pathogenic conditions... then the potentiality for wickedness or 'evil' is realised. "...man is not necessarily evil but becomes evil only if the proper conditions for his growth and development are lacking. The evil has no independent existence of its own. It is the absence of good, the result of the failure to realise life." (Erich Fromm Man For Himself p. 218)
Natural and real self-interest is happiness, not in terms of material success but in terms of an ethical and productive life.
humanistic ethics...the unfolding of human powers is the affirmation of life or 'goodness'.
"The problem of psychic health and neurosis is inseparably linked up with that of ethics. It may be said that every neurosis represents a moral problem. The failure to achieve maturity and integration of the whole personality is a moral failure." (224)
The achievement of maturity and of self-realization is the outcome of the productive use of the individual's inherent primary potentialities. The resultant productive orientation is the basis for freedom, for virtue and for happiness. "Virtue is proportional to the degree of productiveness achieved." (Fromm 229)
As virtue is the same as spontaneous productiveness, an educational system which encourages natural productiveness simultaneously encourages virtue. "The freedom to realize that which one potentially is, to fulfill the true nature of man according to the laws of his existence" is the necessary condition for happiness and virtue. (Fromm 24
"The opposite of education is manipulation, which is based on the absence of faith in the growth of potentialities and on the conviction that a child will be right only if the adults put him into what is desirable and cut off what seems to be undesirable. There is no need of faith in the robot since there is no life in it either."(207) As virtue is the same as spontaneous productiveness, an educational system which encourages natural productiveness simultaneously encourages virtue.
"The freedom to realize that which one potentially is, to fulfill the true nature of man according to the laws of his existence is the necessary condition for happiness and virtue.... The moral problem of man and society today is making people virtuous. The conditions must be created which foster the development of productiveness. The first and foremost of these conditions is that the unfolding and growth of every person is the aim of all social and political activities, that man is the only purpose and end, and not a means for anybody or anything except himself." (Man For Himself 229)
"If society is concerned with making people virtuous, it must be concerned with making them productive and hence with creating the conditions for the development of productiveness. The first and foremost of these conditions is that the unfolding and growth of every person is the aim of all social and political activities, that man is the only purpose and end, and not a means for anybody or anything but himself." (Erich Fromm Man For Himself: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics. New York: Holt, Rhinehart and Winston, 1947 p. 229)
Growth needs are 'metaneeds'. . Motivation by the metaneeds is metamotivation. The individual human organism is instinctively responsible to itself for its own potential development 'self-actualization'.
Survival of the species depends on intelligent behaviour requiring communication through language and the spiritual needs or values.
Creativeness, spontaneity, self-hood, authenticity, caring for others, ability to love, yearning for truth, embryonic potentialities belonging to his species-membership as much as his arms and legs and brain and eyes. This is not a contradiction to the data already amassed which show clearly that living in a family and in a culture are absolutely necessary to actualize what already exists in the embryo. The culture is sun, food and water. The child is the seed.
This natural responsibility to his own biological and psychological existence and self-actualization constitutes the ethical value called 'virtue.' Virtues and the value life are of survival value for the social human organism and therefore biologically based...
In a spontaneous process of self-realization , the individual with 'productive' character orientation recognizes his powers, identifies with them and puts them to productive use.
Rooted in the very existence of man are contradictions to which he can react in various ways... the existential dichotomies inherent in the human situation or 'human condition'.
Survival of the species depends on intelligent behaviour requiring communication through language and the spiritual needs or values.
human moral development and evolution of the concept of 'justice' ... ...manifest in the natural unfolding of human potentialities in normal human development during which the natural norms for ethical living are discovered according to the laws of nature. ... deepest needs .....self-interest for survival... natural responsibility to his own biological and psychological existence and self-actualization constitutes the ethical value called 'virtue.'
...survival value of morality and conscience...the human genotype for moral development .. .
Virtues are functional in social intelligence... creative intelligence. Social intelligence depence on development of the conscience as source of human values or 'virtues'.