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Tribal and territorial
Celia Green made a distinction between tribal and territorial morality. She characterizes the latter as predominantly negative (not bad negative, but more like empty space negative) and proscriptive: it defines a person's territory, including his or her property and dependents, which is not to be damaged or interfered with. Apart from these proscriptions, territorial morality is permissive, allowing the individual whatever behaviour does not interfere with the territory of another. By contrast, tribal morality is prescriptive, imposing the norms of the collective on the individual. These norms will be arbitrary, culturally dependent and 'flexible', whereas territorial morality aims at rules which are universal and absolute, such as Kant's 'categorical imperative' and Geisler's graded absolutism. Green relates the development of territorial morality to the rise of the concept of private property, and the ascendancy of contract over status.
I like this analogy. Water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, when those come together a water molecule is formed. There isn't some preexisting thing called water that the atoms belong to.
The self is the same way, it arises when all the necessary causes and conditions come together, there isn't some thing that exists outside of those causes and conditions that belong to the self. It isn't YOUR body or YOUR mind, you ARE the body and mind.
So what we are giving up isn't the body and mind that we are, we are giving up the false idea that there is a self aside from the body and mind.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." —Carl Sagan
Interesting. I am dealing with something quite similar right now in my own life (psychiatric testing as part of disability claim) and find that I simply cannot answer the questions. I registered with the intention of taking the test but a quick scan of the questions left me confused. For example:
" When you decide whether something is right or wrong, to what extent are the following considerations relevant to your thinking?"
- Whether or not someone showed a lack of respect for authority.
I mean, I can answer for myself - but not someone else. This seems so obvious to me but despite my attempts to communicate my inability to answer for someone else, I seem to keep missing the 'missing link' that could get others to understand where I am coming from. shrug
Funny, I ran into similar things too. On one of them that tested moral relevancy towards certain behaviors I only thought something had moral relevance if the action had an effect on others, for example lying or stealing. And had zero moral relevance if it only effected oneself, for example drug use or laziness. So I ended up scoring higher than others on relationship morality but way lower on everything else to the point of making me wonder if I'm totally amoral. I guess most people don't make that distinction between what they do and what other people do in terms of morality?
And then there are questions like do you consider taking care of the planet as being more important that taking care of people. I'm like taking care of the planet IS taking care of people.
I love personality tests. This is a site where social scientists post questionnaires for studies they are doing into moral values and character. There are a couple dozen current studies and many more old, closed studies where you can still take the tests to see where you shake out and compare to others. For those who are interested in such things. I especially recommend taking the MFQ (moral foundations questionnaire) A,B and C.