The readings that seemed to resonate with me the most were from the second week of the fellowship, where we began to talk about where our morality seems to stem from. Morality is concept that we continued to talk about throughout our sessions, but these readings are what really made me stop and think about why I was coming to the answers that I had and why my moral compass pointed a certain way. Accompanying the readings on morality was the article on “The Biology of Suffering”. I really appreciated this text because put perspectives on things around us that we take for granted or ignore because we are so focused on what is happening within our own lives.
Josh Greene’s idea of “point and shoot morality” helps to break down when it is appropriate to judge things solely in the realm of whether it is morally “good” or “bad”. At times, it is important to just trust our intuition and go with our gut instead of waiting to process where we are going to place the situation to fit onto our scale of morality. Before learning about this concept, I thought about situations in a way where if I wasn’t an active participant, then technically if something “bad” happens, the blame could not be placed on me. But upon further reflection, I realized that even choosing to not become an active participant, is still making a choice and denying the situation the help that you could have given. I think that understanding this is really important because it ties into how people view giving donations of any kind to charities around the world. They may think that they won’t be able to help with what they give, so why give anything at all? With that mindset, nothing would get done.
In “The Biology of Suffering”, they talk about the several ways that the concept of suffering can be broken down. There is the biological aspect as well as the experience of suffering, which many people believe to be the line between how suffering that occurs within organisms can be categorized. There is a distinction between the biological side and the conscious understanding of suffering, and while the lack of one does not detract from the other, I think that prioritizing the acknowledgment of the conscious understanding of suffering is important. The ability to empathize with those that are suffering is what allows us to want to reach out and help them and work to lessen their suffering.