Ethics Chapter 1 Attitude Part 6

THOUGHTS AND MENTAL HEALTH

Some research psychologists have repeatedly demonstrated that faulty thinking patterns cause maladaptive behaviors and “negative” emotions. If you harbor negative beliefs and negative thoughts, you attract negative thinking people, negative situations, and negative events. For example, if you believe that it’s difficult to make friends, then your life will reflect hardship when selecting and keeping new friends.  In order to change this aspect of your life that is making you unhappy, you can learn to create changes from within yourself by choosing different and more adaptive thoughts and beliefs to build a social network of friends. Jeffrey Schwartz in his 2002 book, The Mind, and the Brain, showed that we can sometimes choose to think differently about things, which in turn will change the physical wiring of our brain and, in doing so create, a kind of ”upward spiral” for ourselves. “None of this is to minimize the seriousness of depression or to suggest that there aren’t real physical causes for it. But it does seem our creative human fullness may be more at play in determining our own happiness.”

PART C – MORAL AND POLITICAL ATTITUDES

MORAL ATTITUDES

Moral values are the highest among all natural values. Goodness, purity, truthfulness, the humility of man rank higher than genius, brilliancy, exuberant vitality, than the beauty of nature or of art, than the stability and power of a state. What is realized and what shines forth in an act of real forgiveness, in a noble and generous renunciation; in a burning and selfless love, is more significant and nobler, more important and more eternal than all cultural values. Positive moral values are the focus of the world, negative moral values, the greatest evil, worse than suffering, sickness, death, or the disintegration of a flourishing culture. This fact was recognized by the great minds, such as Socrates, or Plato, who continually repeated that it is better to suffer injustice than to commit it. This pre-eminence of the moral sphere is, above all, a basic proposition of the Christian ethos.

The fundamental attitude of reverence is the basis for all moral conduct toward our fellowmen and toward ourselves. Only to the man possessing reverence is revealed the full grandeur and depth of the values which inhere in every man as a spiritual person. The spiritual person as a conscious, free being, as a being who alone, among all the entities known to us, is capable of knowing and grasping the rest of being, and of taking a meaningful position toward it, can only be comprehended by a reverent mind. A being who is able and destined to realize in himself a rich world of values, to become a vessel of goodness, purity, and humility—this is a person. How could one really love another person, how could he make sacrifices for him, if he senses nothing of the preciousness and plenitude which is potentially enclosed in man’s soul, if he has no reverence for this being?

The fundamental moral attitudes include five components –
1. Reverence
2. Faithfulness
3. Awareness of Responsibility
4. Veracity
5. Goodness
Moral values are always personal values. They can only inhere in man, and be realized by man. A material thing, like a stone or a house, cannot be morally good or bad, just as moral goodness is not possible to a tree or a dog. Similarly, works of the human mind (discoveries, scientific books, works of art), cannot properly be said to be the bearers of moral values; they cannot be faithful, humble and loving. They can, at the most, indirectly reflect these values, as bearing the imprint of the human mind. Man alone, as a free being, responsible for his actions and his attitudes, for his will and striving, his love and his hatred, his joy and his sorrow, and his super-actual basic attitudes can be morally good or bad. For, far above his cultural accomplishments, raises the importance of the man’s own being: a personality radiating moral values, a man who is humble, pure, truthful, honest and loving.

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