This article examines the treatment of madness as a theme in drama, opera and films, concentrating its attention for the most part on the period between World War II and the 1980s. The Fall 2011 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences has just been released online. The April 2009 issue of the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences includes an article by Claudia Wassmann (U. The history of psychology has a presence in the most recent issue of Technology and Culture.
The research of University of Iowa psychologists Wendell Dysinger and Christian Ruckmick is at the centre of Malin’s discussion of emotion and technology during this period. Malin contends that research on emotional responses to motion pictures was of interest at the time due to the increasing presence of entertainment-oriented technology in society, as well as an emerging view that excessive emotion had the potential to harm. Both for those who survived and for those who came after, the Holocaust appears to exceed the representational capacity of language, and thus to cast suspicion on the ability of words to convey reality. It is for this reason, Spiegel suggests, that the historians who came of age in the 1970s and 1980s became suspicious of their ability to represent truth. A new call was thus raised; rather than celebrating individual events or actors, context became king.
The most recent issue of the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences contains two articles that will be of interest to historians of psychology. In 1946, the Lafargue Mental Hygiene Clinic, a small outpatient facility run by volunteers, opened in Central Harlem. Robert Zajonc’s was probably best known for his work finding situations in which emotion, rather than cognition, seems to lead behavior. He was also the owner of a huge private collection of fantasy, sci-fi, and horror movie and literary memorabilia that for years filled every nook and cranny of a hillside mansion overlooking Los Angeles.
These were the years in which psychoanalysis dominated psychiatry in the USA, and so Freud’s influence in the broader culture forms the central though not the sole focus of the analysis. Included in this issue are three articles that may be of interest to historians of psychology. The emphasis on technological measurement emotion, rather than introspection, is described in terms of the objective qualities of the former method.
And for the second generation [those who inherited the wound but did not experience its infliction], the question is not even how to speak but, more profoundly, if one has a right to speak, a delegitimation of the speaking self that, turned outward, interrogates the authority, the privilege of all speech. Not only were the events of the Holocaust fundamentally indescribable to any adequate degree, but the language itself seemed stricken to silence. Or rather, argues Spiegel, they died following innumerable failed attempts to describe what it was like to have been there. Lafargue lasted for almost thirteen years, providing the underserved black Harlemites with what might be later termed community mental health care. Charland (pictured right) presented the first systematic exegesis of Alexander Crichton‘s (1763-1856) contributions to the medical theory of the passions. Among the articles in the issue are ones addressing the history of nostalgia, the treatment of shell shock at the Maudsley Hospital, masculinity in Victorian asylums in New Zealand and Australian, the distinction between passion and emotion, and much more.
However, Darwin’s approach also reintroduces another kind of hierarchy in human expression, but one based on attenuation and self-restraint in the exhibition of expressive signs. There, he discussed a theory of emotion that, Wassman argues, grounded the debate that led up to William James’ famous 1884 theory of emotion. Malin, Assistant Professor in Media Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, explores the complex relationship between technology and emotion in 1920s and 1930s America. As emotion was both an object of study and a subject of concern, technology was employed to ameliorate the potential influence of the researcher’s own emotional state.
This article explores what the clinic meant to the African Americans who created, supported, and made use of its community-based services. Brecht's most important and original contribution was a form he called the "event score," consisting of a title followed by eccentric instructions, typically printed on a small white card that he would mail to friends. Burnham Early Career Award from the Forum of the History of Human Sciences, Stephanie Dupouy situates Darwin’s investigation of emotional expression within the context of previous scientific investigations on the subject.
While white humanitarianism often played a large role in creating such institutions, this clinic would not have existed without the help and support of both Harlem’s black left and the increasingly activist African American church of the “long civil rights era.” Not only did St. Even the farthest edges of chaos theory and quantum physics have often assumed that, in ways we simply cannot yet fathom, much of what we experience as freedom is, in fact, determined by natural forces.
He died in his sleep in Cologne, Germany, where he had lived since 1972, on December 5, 2008.William H. Articles by Anthony Kauders and Gerald Grob move into the twentieth century and discuss, respectively, Freud’s reception in Germany in the mid-twentieth century and challenges to psychiatric authority in the 1960s.
Philip’s Church provide a physical home for the clinic, it also helped to integrate it into black Harlem, creating a patient community. But, to me, what these advances — like the notion that the people have human rights, I don't think that is written in our biology. Robbins (85) founder of the Museum of African Art, forerunner to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art. Bernard Ackerman (72) pioneer in the field of dermatopathology who trained a generation of doctors to recognize skin diseases under the microscope. Ackerman was also a forceful voice on a wide range of subjects, including the causes of melanoma and the ethical issues that arise when doctors testify in court. Clapp (62) chief executive of the Cleveland-based Medical Mutual of Ohio health insurance company, formerly part of the Blue Cross system. And he’s the current president of the Mind and Life Institute, the Dalai Lama’s ongoing gathering of scientists and spiritual thinkers. Clapp had been with the company since 1976 and was named president in '92 and chairman and CEO in '97.
Michael McCullough is professor of psychology at the University of Miami, where he directs the Evolution and Human Behavior Laboratory. Writing for Calculated Risk, a finance and economics blog, Tanta was a pseudonym for Dungey, who used her extensive knowledge of the loan industry to comment, criticize, and above all instruct.
We were convened by the Center for Humans and Nature’s 2014 series, “Questions for a Resilient Future.”Ms. She eventually wrote, for the Calculated Risk site, The Compleat UberNerd, 13 lengthy articles on mortgage origination channels, mortgage-backed securities, and foreclosures that constituted a definitive word on the subject.
Tippett: Let me just say, before I start, that I've interviewed both Michael McCullough and Arthur Zajonc for On Being. He was appointed a member of the board of management in October 2000 and made responsible for sales and marketing.
And they are quite different characters, which I think is going to make for a fun conversation among us. But I think both of you juxtapose, in your person and in your scholarship, qualities and interests that the culture doesn't always bring together, especially — I have always loved talking about Arthur as a physicist and contemplative. And I thought, maybe, as a way to start, to just to ground this in personal experience, which I like to do, I wonder if you might each talk a little bit about kind of your trajectory with the word “morality.” And specifically, what did the word morality connote in your earliest life?
Molaison lived for decades with what neurologists call profound amnesia but in death will be remembered for his groundbreaking contributions to understanding the brain.
In 1935 at age 9, Molaison developed seizures after being hit by a bicycle rider and later suffered convulsions and could no longer work as a mechanic; 18 years after the accident, he underwent an experimental brain operation to stop the seizures but lost the ability to form new memories. Leading surgeons began to study Molaison, and the research helped scientists to understand that there are at least two systems in the brain for creating new memories.
Molaison cooperated in more than 50 years of research and hundreds of studies that shed light on learning and memory. He died of respiratory failure in Windsor Locks, Connecticut on December 2, 2008.Patrick H. McCullough: Well, I think as a — for me, certainly starting out in my career, it was probably how I thought about morality was very much how I thought about it as a kid. He was credited with building the company's brand and was inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame in 1995. Rogers was founder of Rogers Communications Inc., Canada's largest cable TV and mobile phone company, which owns the Blue Jays and their home at the Rogers Centre, several TV stations, and an array of other media properties including Maclean's and Chatelaine magazines. Should the stores be open?Some of them have nothing to do with harming or hurting others, actually, for that matter. Rogers was treated in October for a heart condition and died in Toronto, Canada on December 2, 2008.Oliver G. They seem to be sort of almost arbitrary lines in the sand that societies make, possibly for different functions than getting along with each other. So, I think as I've moved through my career in thinking about morality, I've started to see morality as being about more than simply helping and harming, or even about religious piety, but also about fairly abstract and almost arbitrary sorts of concerns as well.Ms. Credited with coining the term "intelligent agents" for software programs capable of observing and responding to changes in their environment, Selfridge theorized about far more, including devices that would not only automate certain tasks but also learn through practice how to perform them better, faster, and more cheaply. He died three days after suffering injuries in a fall, in Boston, Massachusetts on December 3, 2008.Robert B. Zajonc (85) Stanford University psychologist who studied the mental processes that determine social behavior and helped to create the modern field of social psychology. Fernea was a professor emeritus of comparative literature and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Texas. Kemp sued in federal court after being fired by the university in 1982, contending that she was targeted because she protested the preferential treatment of athletes. Benedict's oversized jaw and angular features were partly attributed to acromegaly, a pituitary disorder first diagnosed by an endocrinologist who saw him in a theatrical production.
Bertola directed the choir for eight La Scala opera premieres, including Verdi's Guglielmo Tell and Rossini's I Vespri Siciliani, under artistic director Riccardo Muti. Before joining La Scala, Bertola directed the choir for Muti's 1983 concert for Pope John Paul II.
He also worked in theaters including the Fenice in Venice and the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome. Foch fell ill while teaching "Directing the Actor," a popular course at USC's School of Cinematic Arts, where she taught for 40 years.
Not necessarily with all of your being but just a foothold, a little space in the deterministic universe.And so science was an interesting — especially modern science became an interesting place to explore the failure of deterministic thinking. Whether it's chaos dynamics or quantum mechanics, or what have you, you begin to feel that, well, maybe it's more porous, at least in principle. Her best-remembered films include An American in Paris (1951) and The Ten Commandments (1956), followed by a long acting career on TV.
And in that case, maybe there is a question of right action that's morally grounded and true. But then if you take away all of the imperatives of parents, priests, teacher, peer group, biology — all of which have tremendous force on us — and you create a space, well then what is your moral compass? What is the means by which you live a life?And for me, that led into this more contemplative orientation. Not sort of hypothetically, but can I begin to feel my way or meditate my way into that space of openness?
With her booming, classically trained voice and spare guitar, Odetta (born Odetta Holmes) gave life to songs by workingmen and slaves, farmers and miners, housewives and washerwomen, and blacks and whites.


Is there a way in which I can know that feels morally connected to a center that I can place my life inside of? First coming to prominence in the '50s, she influenced Harry Belafonte, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and other singers who had roots in the folk music boom. Odetta was hospitalized with kidney failure about three weeks ago and died of heart disease in New York City on December 2, 2008.Robert M. It's not something which I believe I can convey to others other than just by invitation.Ms.
The company owns 22 daily newspapers, including the Lorain Morning Journal and the Willoughby News-Herald, both in Ohio, and approximately 300 nondaily publications.
Tippett: But what you are bringing home is that the reality is expansive, that subjectivity is real, it is our friend, that in fact this new science — and I want to ask you to say more about this — that it is a radical reorientation towards life. The argument goes something like this, right, that since the 17th century, mechanism and matter have dominated. Around 1900, we went through — from 1900-1925, physics went through a revolution where we began to realize, well, to a certain approximation, we can neglect the observer. She fell ill with breast cancer in 1994, but the disease went into remission; her diagnosis of ovarian cancer last June prompted a national campaign in Romania to raise money for her treatment.
We are always implicated in quantum mechanics and relativity.There is a subjective dimension, subjective not in the sense of arbitrary or capricious, but there is an observer, or an imagined observer, everywhere. This is not something which you can sort of say, well, it's a nice way of thinking about things. Scrivner landed a supporting role as Oscar Beasley in the Francis Ford Coppola fact-based movie Tucker: The Man & His Dream (1988).
But in order to make sense of the cosmos, in order to have a cosmos at all, you need that element in there.
He became a presence on the San Francisco-area theater scene, where he played Alfred Doolittle in five separate productions of My Fair Lady and later dabbled in the short-lived TV show Midnight Caller before making his feature film debut.
So there is no objective view from outside the system where you're looking at the whole thing play out according to some universal story.
Authorities discovered no signs of a break-in but were investigating the cause of death because there were bruises on Syed Alwi's body, later determined to be injuries from a fall.
The Byrds, the Doors, the Kinks, the Who, Them, Love, and Buffalo Springfield were among the bands that played there. It's odd, but it throws us back on experience, throws us back on subjectivity, not in the sense of, again, capricious or arbitrary — in the sense of connected to my person. Zajonc: Can you feel how then once you have that, the moral dimensions of life come back in.
Devlin (86) the Central Intelligence Agency's station chief in Congo in 1960 who avoided carrying out an order to assassinate ousted Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. The US feared Lumumba might ally the mineral-rich Congo with the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. By his own account, Devlin chose not to openly defy the order, believing he would be replaced by a more willing assassin; instead, he said, he stalled, pretending to go along.
After Lumumba was slain by Congolese political opponents, Devlin took from his safe the poison toothpaste previously delivered to him and threw it in the Congo River.
Zajonc: It's a strange thing, you know, what we experience in life as our real world, the world of children and suffering and getting old and getting born and all the rest of it.
After communism ended in 1989 with the overthrow and execution of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Dumitrescu was elected to Parliament, where he helped to draft laws that led to the publication of the millions of files of the feared Securitate secret police.
That sensual lived world of experience in the old view gets explained away in terms of a whole set of other things. He died two weeks after being released from the hospital where he was treated for liver disease, in Bucharest, Romania on December 5, 2008.Raymond F. Same sort of things in physics — you can't see that far, so you create a model, we call it, right?
Authorities said Lederer accepted the payoff in return for promising to help two fictitious Arab sheiks enter the US.
You end up worshipping the model as opposed to the thing you were trying to understand, which was mainly, like, the human being or the planet or the whole cosmos, right?Ms. Zajonc: So you need to be in an iconoclast, in some sense, to take those down and reanimate your direct experience, your direct epiphanies and insights into that world of pattern. Macharia had worn an affidavit claiming he was mislead by the colonial masters to give false evidence that would land Kenyatta in jail together with the six comrades in the freedom of struggle when he was handed a six-month jail term in the early 1980s. And yet by taking that turn, it also connects back into lived experience in a way that, to me, opens up the moral and ethical dimensions of life once again.Ms. Terry's Anti-Apartheid Movement launched protests and demonstrations that helped to persuade British universities, churches, unions, businesses, and local governments to pull their investments from South Africa, a former British colony. And, Michael, I think that provides a cosmic context for the work you do, which is about the evolution of morality. During World War II, Topus helped to train US Army spies and other military personnel in the use of carrier pigeons.
I mean, one of the — you, in your work, take an evolutionary perspective on moral emotions.Dr.
McCullough: Yeah, because the advances that biology has made has been through the notion that, to the extent that you see order in the living world — it is being driven by mechanism. I think we end up in similar places ethically, but I actually see mechanism as our friend.Ms. So — but I think a lot of your science is about suggesting that we have power and choices to not just do what seems to be adaptive, but to actually become more moral, both individually and collectively.Dr. Well, we're special because we have this ability to guide our behavior by ideas, right, not just the sort of immediate constraints or forces acting on us. But this ability to produce ideas and then represent them and then broadcast them to other parts of the mind is extraordinary.
We have so many of these mechanisms that we're able to kind of take in broadcasts from this idea-generating system that you can almost think we're free.Ms. The idea of moral progress — I mean, one of the things that you have written is that the barrage of bad news on any given day seems to counter the idea, or in your mind, can obscure the idea that the story of Western civilization, in fact, is a story writ large of moral progress. And an interesting idea that you've raised — this is on the Humans and Nature site — was that we have overemphasized moral outrage as a driver of moral progress. McCullough: Yeah, I mean, one of the things that I've noticed is that — I call it the “Network” theory of moral progress, which is that people see an injustice and that there's an emotion there that animates them to make changes in the world.
It serves us and our kind very well, but we're — it's a very rare thing when we can experience it on behalf of someone who's different from us, who's not kith and kin.Ms. But — so some of your work — your work on revenge and forgiveness is very interesting because one of the things you're saying is that, yes, we are hardwired for revenge.
And, in fact, it's made a lot of sense in human society, even sometimes towards the application of justice.
But we're also hardwired for things for virtuous actions, for moral actions that are good for other people, like forgiveness. So I want to ask you, if moral outrage isn't the trigger that — it's true, we really, really think of moral outrage — I mean, we are a society of advocates, right?Dr. What activates — what has the power to activate the instincts to moral repair, to care for the stranger, that are at the heart of our religious traditions, that actually do manifest again and again in human society and that lead to this kind of moral progress that you talk about?Dr.
One of the ways that societies have dealt with these problems is that we start by being able to extend sort of a sense of humanness, that people we call other humans gets larger and larger as society — as education increases, as technology increases, as cosmopolitanism increases. I mean, to the extent that we're learning that a brain is a brain is a brain, that a human genome is a human genome is a human genome, and for all the important bits they are the same, the reasons for treating any person differently from any other in a moral sense becomes untenable.
And I — when you talk about — some language that you've used in terms of connecting contemplative practices to education to leadership and, I think, just to human life, seems to me to speak to that a bit in terms of activating empathy. I know you said, “Mindfulness practice includes the primacy of awareness and the quality of one's attending.”Dr. Because on the one hand, mechanism, as you describe it — well, a lot of life — my car runs as a mechanism. But I also know that there are aspects of life, which, at least as far as I can detect, aren't mechanistic. And in particular, this, for example, line of argument which says the illusion of the person, illusion of selfhood — right — is very evolutionarily or biologically adaptive. And now we've discovered that it is an illusion and that really we are mechanisms all the way down.
Why not just, ‘Hey, listen, anything goes?’So where does the possibility for, you might say, authenticity arise somehow?
We want to be in the know, and yet we also somehow still practice a moral life and love our children and all the rest of it. Zajonc: Yeah, but what you end up with is a — again, a world of mathematics, a world of theoretical entities and objects. If those are illusions, then the empirical foundations of science that are based in experience or experiments, which are even in the most attenuated way related to experience, that's what we have as our foundation.
I mean, I want to read this lovely thing you wrote because you talk a lot about love as something we need to take seriously. In this way, love can become a way of moral knowing that is as reliable as scientific insight.”Dr.
I'm trying to, though, speak up for, on behalf of or for those people for whom that's been — that when they hear that, they go, “You know, I know that place.
Doesn't happen all the time, but I know that place.” And at a certain point — William James talks about this when he's writing about mystical experience.
It's noetic, it's completely compelling for the person who has it and doesn't change anything for the two of you.But it's — to me, it's like teaching. When I'm teaching a class, and I'm up at the blackboard, and I'm having my epiphanic moment in front of some differential equation, and the students are all going — looking at me cross-eyed. And then the one in the front goes, “Oh, I see that too.” In other words, it can be contagious. And then there's that “aha.”I think you could say that the moment I'm describing there is a moral analog of that moment. Sometimes it happens at the hand of a teacher, you might say a moral teacher or something like that, or a moral dilemma that you're in the middle of and you just don't know — can't see your way through. Somehow, people think because you can make mistakes — to me, if you can make a mistake then you could also not make the mistake. Tippett: Yeah, and, I mean, I have to say my head is spinning a little bit 'cause — and I want to say, as a layperson, as a non-scientist who — and I interview a lot of scientists. And I'm always just barely, barely grasping around the edges what we're talking about, enough to ask a good question. But I've had this conversation more recently with physicists who will say that there is really no room in the math, which is the only real thing, for human free will, for human action and choice and decision. So here we have the physicist who's saying that love and pain and experience are the only real things. And our psychologist, who works in biology, talking about us as mechanisms.But, I mean — I know that's not just — I'm reducing it there. But one thing about it, though, as a non-scientist, is this view of the world, of us as not having control and of everything we experience, all this complexity of us, as being illusory.


It's illogical, it's messy, it's not elegant, it's not all of those things that scientists insist on when they look for truth.
And it just makes me wonder that it's so important that we keep having these parallel conversations because, as you say, this experience is the only reality we can work with.Dr.
My meditations — so I can boringly try things out for 40 years and occasionally something opens up and then you step in.
So, for me, it opens up science to a much broader perspective, a much broader terrain, a landscape with many domains that can be explored, not just the physical universe, but also the mental universe.Ms.
Tippett: I think that is an insight from contemplative traditions, from Buddhism, but not just Buddhism. McCullough: Well, I mean, to me, I don't find it at all morally depressing or morally hazardous to imagine that experience is — I mean, the idea that reality is served up to us in a subjective way that suits human life, to me, is very morally encouraging. Because, I mean, it allows me to say, with some degree of certainty, that the things that bother me, that would humiliate me, that would cause me physical pain, I can attribute those to you as well.So, I think it is one of the things that makes the Golden Rule a truth to be discovered. So — and I can know it — I mean, even in a world where we hear a story a lot that there are genetic differences among persons, those genetic differences, for the most part, are trivial. To me, the notion that experience is driven by matter is a terrific moral encouragement, ethical encouragement. Tippett: And you're also working on the cultivation of generosity and the source of generosity. And some of the gratitude work you've been doing is just about people cultivating really basic practices, really simple practices of gratitude, not even, like, every 10 minutes, not even every day, right? But that changing them and, one imagines, changing experiences for others — you can't study that.
McCullough: Well, I mean, it's nice to know how we can — what windows we have into people's lives to help them live better lives — right — to live more fulfilled lives and happier lives.
So, to the extent that we understand what the effects of feeling grateful are — I mean, I like to understand what it's for, why we have this capacity in the first place. Tippett: You can listen again and share this conversation with Michael McCullough and Arthur Zajonc through our website. There, you could also watch our entire 90 minutes on stage at the American Museum of Natural History. Morality is a word thrown around in culture wars, and it’s newly resonant from another direction as we analyze ourselves scientifically as highly sophisticated machines.I’m with two scientists at the American Museum of Natural History, at a convening of the Center for Humans and Nature.
Research psychologist Michael McCullough believes that understanding our brains as mechanistic creates moral possibility. He’s led groundbreaking studies on the evolution and cultivation of moral behaviors such as forgiveness and gratitude. Arthur Zajonc is a physicist and contemplative, and he’s the current president of the Mind and Life Institute, the Dalai Lama’s ongoing gathering of scientists and spiritual thinkers.Ms. Tippett: So, to circle back around to this topic of mind and morality— and Michael, I think that with your work as well — and, again, this gets at — we haven't even talked about a definition of mind.
But it seems to me that a shift that has happened, even a scientific shift, but a shift that's penetrated our culture is that morality and, I don't know, a good life, in a more expansive sense of that, is not just about willing.
And so this kind of movement towards morality is about practices and habits and experience, as well as just about any kind of aspirations or behaviors in an old-fashioned sense.Dr. McCullough: Or measure where your food comes from, or to see what the economic effects of your choices are. There's so much less ignorance to hide behind that it makes it uncomfortable to act in ways that could be hurting people, but you're not really sure with a whole lot of impunity, I think. Most meditation that takes place today with — completely outside any spiritual or religious framework.Ms. And that is just — kind of going back to where we started, that is just a whole new layer of us thinking about what our lives mean, what our behavior means. This — adding this layer, often very much beyond the bounds of traditional religion, places where these things were contained — this layer of reflection — I mean, so the morality is not about a set of moral values or willpower. I'd say the majority of the folks within that scientific and contemplative community are either materialistically oriented or agnostic on the whole question. But that's fine because we're not there to adjudicate that particular set of ontological commitments, that high-level stuff. We're there to do some experiments, do what seems to benefit, come to insights that we have confidence will ultimately benefit folks, reduce suffering, and promote human flourishing. And I think that's just the way it should be.By the same token, I think, personally, that the good science, if you will, that's done also has this sort of agnostic character.
And where I get worried is where the mechanism commitments and the materialist commitment is slipped in as if this were the only thing any good scientist could possibly believe.Ms.
In fact, I would make the case that simply on the matter of science, from the standpoint of good physics, materialism is very implausible, or you have to reinterpret it in a way which makes it bizarre. Seems to me that the term “moral imagination” may be something we're growing to — growing into, even with our science — that it's a more generous, spacious kind of language.
And what I think — one thing you're interested in and helped chart is how societies evolve morally and the qualities and conditions that we can create that are necessary for that to happen.Dr. I mean, I think — I really do think if we look at the long arc of history, some of the things that make it so that we're living in the safest time in history, the most abundant time in history — we are the most fortunate people to have ever lived on the planet. Some of the things that are making that possible over the long arc of history are sort of workaday. They're not mystical.I think the rule of law has been a critical factor — literacy, contracts.
I really do, the more and more I think and read and work on these topics, marvel at how privileged we are to live in cities where you can go somewhere and prove that you own a piece of property. But there were plenty of times in history, and still in lots of places today, where that privilege is not something that can be taken for granted.
They can put their head down and do their work without getting whacked and that they feel safe. McCullough: Yeah, I think the ability to take risks is really encouraged when people are not worried about their safety or where their next meal is going to come from. I mean, there's a sort of basic — I think, a basic ability to take risks that is encouraged when we know that not everything is on the line. When we begin to take some of these affordances away or threaten them, some systems may not be resilient enough to have too many of these affordances peeled away before the system becomes fragile.So, I don't think there's anything inevitable about things getting better and better, actually. I think we need to safeguard and sort of buttress what we've got and try to not take it for granted, not allow those — these rights we've discovered that people have.
Zajonc: And I think one last thing in this regard — this kind of conversation is very precious also, the fact that Michael and I can disagree on certain fundamentals in a safe context.
You know, the computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum wrote a book, Computer Power and Human Reason. I remember him talking with great bitterness and difficulty about how he was treated by his colleagues for even questioning the possibility of the infinite power of the computer and the possibilities of artificial intelligence and so forth 'cause he was on the inside of all that. He had to leave the United States, went to Hamburg where he had a home and so forth in order to let things calm down in difficult time. Our community of scientists is very — it's got a certain set of ideological commitments.Ms. All this kind of soft language of mine, it's all hazardous — or raising the question of materialism. I've done it occasionally and more consistently recently, late in life.But we shouldn't have illusions about science, even today, welcoming the full discourse.
So, I think we should practice this kind of work more and more, allow for that difference, explore it with real respect and civility and have it be the — what Hannah Arendt might like as our public place of discourse where really the most important ideas can be debated openly. Tippett: Michael, you've used — a couple of times, you've used the language of that's a discovery, that's a moral discovery.
And I kept thinking, when I was getting ready to talk to both of you about a conversation I had years and years ago with a cosmologist named George Ellis, who's from South Africa, who has this idea that ethics — and I think he might use the word “morality” or “moral life” also the way we're using it here — is discovered rather than invented in the way people say Einstein discovered the laws of relativity, that the laws of physics are somehow embedded in the fabric of the universe for us to discover.And George Ellis believes that a moral sensibility, what we call ethics, is also embedded in the fabric of the universe for us to discover. And across history, it's traditionally been philosophers and theologians who are on that frontier of discovery. I feel like it's so interesting that we live in a moment now where psychologists and biologists and even physicists are on this — neuroscientists are on this frontier discovering.Dr. McCullough: Yeah, it's a strange world where one of the greatest psychological mysteries that we're trying to tackle right now is why people are mean to each other, why they're nice to each other, what the bases for these sorts of interactions are. So, in a lot of ways, it's a great time to be doing it because there's so much to learn.Ms. Tippett: What do you two think of that idea of morality being somehow there for us to discover rather than invent?Dr.
One is a way in which, in some sense, it's the biology of evolution, evolutionary psychology, the neurosciences that underlie, you might say, any of our actions.
See, I think of it as all of that evolution, all that neuroscience, all of that gives biological support to the possibility of ethics.
I think the same thing is true for morality and most of what we talk about in terms of evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and all the rest. I mean, when I talk about ethical discoveries, I would not want to be getting my ethics from my biology. But I think — all I wanted to say when using — and maybe I was being playful in using the term discovery — but I do think that some of what makes those ethical advances possible are recognitions of similarity or universality, which are not always easy to see. The universals of human nature may be difficult to see with the naked eye.So, maybe I'm wrong about that.
But, again, to me, what these advances — like the notion that the people have human rights, I don't think that is written in our biology. That was — call it an invention if you like — but it's a really good one, it's a really useful one.Ms. And she lived a very — she was a Beguine, and she lived a very kind of proper, Beguine life as a lay monastic kind of person. And then she quotes Augustine, "Love love and do what you will," that this becomes the moral axis.So it's no longer the church telling her what to do. She says, “I leave the little church and now I go into the large church, the great church.” So, she left the little church of the virtues. Because she, I think, discovered the source of the virtues themselves, codified and rigorously enforced. Most of us have, I think, in this room, probably stepped out of the little church and may be finding our way to the big church.
But it's that way and pathway of discovery that you're pointing to, not just communally, but individually.Ms.
And that's OK because I think putting a good question out in the world is a generative, redemptive thing. Since 1945, Americans have turned to Mutual of America to help plan for their retirement and meet their long-term financial objectives.



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