How is motivation to do good acquired? How can decisions as to what is right be legitimated? Is fear of punishment necessary? Can ethics be a source of joy? Can it be the primary source of joy?
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In the Humanianity Belief Manual, "ethical sense" is defined as: The motivation to do, the wanting to do, that which one believes one should do, because one believes one should do it. (A person can believe that something is the right thing to do, and yet not have much motivation to do it simply because it is the right thing to do, or one can be strongly motivated to do whatever is believed to be the right thing to do.)
In my opinion, low motivation to act following the REUEP is more of a limitation to better human behavior, than any incompleteness and uncertainty in the meaning and implications of the REUEP.
Among other things, I think such low motivation is due to the limited level of psychological development of most persons. One understanding of such levels of development is described in the attachment. This document combines a recently completed two-week series of daily meditations. In this series, Richard Rohr discusses eight levels of human maturity development.
- Levels Development v2.rtf
- Levels of Development
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I believe that membership in a group, especially a small group in which members know each other fairly intimately, which advocates for a particular way of life or set of actions, is what produces the strongest ethical sense. This is seen in radicalization, wherein individuals can have a strong need to live according to beliefs that they should even do things in which they themselves will be killed. The extreme of this is the family, in which children develop their somewhat strong tendencies to adhere to ethical beliefs. Our child rearing methods, however, are very poor, and tend to produce substantial oppositional tendencies and a more basic motivation to not get caught, rather than to do what is expected. So I don't think it has to do that much with intelligence or education in an academic sense. Religious organizations do indeed help, but there is a wide range of intensity of such influence, the extreme being radicalization.
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