13 February 2012

The Moral Matrix

Have you ever wondered why Republicans and Democrats can't get along or compromise, or even say the word "compromise?" Jonathan Haidt, social psychologist, has written a love languages book for conservatives and liberals and he explained some of the psycology on Bill Moyer's show.

In Haidt's video on TED, he explains the moral matrix, with a blue and red pill just like the movie. At the end of his matrix revelation he says this:
"A lot of the problems that we have to solve are problems that require us to change other people. And if you want to change other people, a much better way to do it is to first understand who we are. Understand our moral psychology. Understand that we all think we are right. And then ... step out of the moral matrix... and if you do that, that is the essential move to cultivate moral humility."

I also love these quotes from Haidt's interview:
"Within the nation your side can beat the other side if you demonize, but it makes the nation weaker."

"Both sides are blind to evidence around their sacred commitments."

This last quote reminded me of how I want to teach my future children to have better open communication than their parents:
"If we could begin to see this in each other and even challenge each other and say, "Hey, you're demonizing." Disagree with them but stop attributing bad motives to the other side. So if ten years from now people recognize that and could call each other out on in, that would at least be some progress."

Scott and I don't demonize, by the way. Lately we've just been communicating through valentine conversation hearts - the opposite of demonizing, but less than effective.