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Ethical Wisdom

The Search for a Moral Life
Paperback Book
Publisher: 
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
 | 
June, 2012
ISBN:
9780767930680
In stock now: 
3
$18.95 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

In this engagingly written and deeply insightful book, Mark Matousek explores a perennially troubling question: How can we be both good and evil?

Contrary to what we’ve been taught in our reason-obsessed culture, argues Matousek, emotions are the bedrock of ethical life; without them, human beings cannot be empathic, moral, or good. But how do we make the judgment call between self-interest and caring for others? What does being good really mean? Which parts of morality are biological, which ethical? When should instinct be trusted and when does it lead us into trouble? How can we know ourselves to be good amidst the hypocrisy, fears, and sabotaging appetites that pervade our two-sided natures?

“Nothing human is foreign to me,” said Terence, the Roman philosopher, and he wasn’t kidding. We’re kaleidoscopes of contradictions, Satyricons of lust, greed, and hatred, rationalizers of fairness and justice, idolaters, cheaters, and fakes—not to mention hypocrites—with hearts that long to be divine. We are moral platypuses with seemingly mismatched parts who manage to come up with healthy eggs. Pulled in opposite directions, we search each day for some sort of middle path, a balance point, to navigate our way through this obstacle course. We ask ourselves the Holy Question: How ought we to live?

Drawing on the latest scientific research and interviews with social scientists, spiritual leaders, ex-cons, altruists, and philosophers, Matousek examines morality from all angles in this thoroughly entertaining and helpful guide to crossing one’s own murky moral terrain.

Evolution is “thrifty and tinkering,” after all, as neurologist Antonio Damasio writes in Descartes’ Error, and may well be pushing our complex species toward a more benevolent future, in spite of what we read in the paper. This book is a mirror on that path.

Publisher’s Description: 

In this engagingly written and deeply insightful book, bestselling author Mark Matousek explores a perennially troubling question: How can we be both good and evil?

Contrary to what weve been taught in our reason-obsessed culture, argues Matousek, emotions are the bedrock of ethical life; without them, human beings cannot be empathic, moral, or good. But how do we make the judgment call between self-interest and caring for others? What does being good really mean? Which parts of morality are biological, which ethical? When should instinct be trusted and when does it lead us into trouble? How can we know ourselves to be good amidst the hypocrisy, fears, and sabotaging appetites that pervade our two-sided natures?

Drawing on the latest scientific research and interviews with social scientists, spiritual leaders, ex-cons, altruists, and philosophers, Matousek examines morality from all angles in this thoroughly entertaining and helpful guide to crossing ones own murky moral terrain.

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