I think I’ll call it the Moral Sphere… Open to suggestions though.

This next blog is one that was inspired by an essay prompt during college last semester. A lot of this could be found in my initial response to that…

There are some people that believe all we are is essentially operant conditioning, that we are complete products of our environment, that in a way, we aren’t really making these decisions… I believe this would be in the realm of a behaviorist ideology.

Then on the opposite end of the spectrum you have the humanist ideology, the freedom of will, chasing down notions like self-actualization and creating our thought and ideas…

I think that there is both, you could think of it on a spectrum with operant conditioning/behaviorist on one side and humanist on the other…. and I think that we aren’t fixed on the spectrum, but rather throughout our lives we move from side to side.

I would definitely agree that our childhood is in a large part operant conditioning, that we are primarily driven by avoiding punishment or seeking rewards and praise. Then I think we start to move towards the other side as we get older, with a mixing of both theories. Which, I am not sure if we can ever achieve a complete humanistic thinking in this world, perhaps moments of it, if we are also living mindfully in the present tense.

This brings me to the moral sphere… this is when a person has learned the morals and ethics deemed by a society and starts living within them and following the laws. By doing so, when it becomes a natural habit to avoid punishment, it should naturally free your mind to focus on what you want. I think this could certainly help attain formal operations and abstract thought. The more it becomes habit though, the better, the more you can press the fear of punishment and avoiding it to the back of your mind. You come to just act morally without even thinking about it, without fear of God or the law here on earth.

Which of course, hopefully morals reflect laws, and laws reflect morals, otherwise it can lead to bigger things like civil unrest and all sorts of things of that matter…

But, I think those that live outside the moral sphere, are more primarily concerned with avoiding punishment still. They have yet to free their minds from that cage.

Which, I think, even those that achieve a more humanistic thinking process, will still move back and forth along the spectrum. For instance, perhaps by the end of college you have achieved a certain level of it, you know the rules, you follow them, it becomes habit, you become more focused on your studies or whatever interests you, with more of your brain being used towards those efforts. But, you leave school and you get a job…

Now, this job and work environment has its own laws and rules for you to follow, and you have to figure them out, you again start slipping back towards operant conditioning a bit as you learn your role and what is expected of you. Worried that your boss may get mad at you or your coworkers, at the same time trying to impress them and make new friends… you have to become established again and get into a habit where you feel secure to truly begin to free your mind.

That is an example though, how we move about the spectrum…

My main point being, is that you want to make being a moral and lawful person a habit, where you have removed yourself more from operant conditioning. Freeing your mind to pursue your goals and achieve things like formal operations and self-actualization.

It plays into a bit, of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs… he says for instance, safety is one of the most important things to even begin self-actualization… if you live in an unsafe environment and are worried about getting shot or staying safe for whatever reason, it can be really hard to think about other things pursue other interests.

Perhaps, this would just fit in somewhere on that hierarchy… after the basic human needs of course…

But, being moral and lawful should definitely be on their somewhere…

Something to think about anyways!

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