Finding Direction: The Model of Moral Growth and Moral Decay 2.0.2
At the foundational level, our discussion of Growth and Decay begins building on philosopher Erich Fromm’s (1900-1980) observations of human behavior in both ordinary and extraordinary situations, especially as he explains it in The Heart of Man: Its Genius for Good and Evil. However, we won’t use Fromm’s model exactly as he did in his struggle to understand the great evils of Nazism and the Holocaust of World War II. Instead, we will move toward a wider view that encompasses all kinds of decisions, large and small. This version of moral Growth and moral Decay helps us analyze attitudes and behaviors as we see them at all levels of human society, from individuals to communities to nations.
For this purpose we need to avoid getting trapped in theoretical disputes that are unending and impossible to resolve into practical action – because we need practical action. So we will step around the jargon of psychology and psychological theories, even though they might be useful in other circumstances. We also need to step around arguments about particular religious theologies. Although the issues in Living As Though There Is a Tomorrow can certainly be related to religion, they do not have to be filtered through any one specific religious perspective. Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox Christians; Jews or Muslims; Buddhists or Hindus or Taoists; followers of indigenous beliefs, Greek philosophy, or scientific humanism; and also agnostics and atheists would be equally able to try these Thought Experiments. Instead we will test and analyze our thinking about moral Growth and moral Decay as we face practical, real-world decisions and actions. We need to ground-truth our thoughts and suggestions. Let’s just ask basic questions: What do I think and what should I do? What do we think and what should we do?
Without Words We Cannot Think
“The way you do anything is the way you do everything.” (anonymous Yoga saying)