3.0 Philosophical-Scientific Basis of Political Thoughts; Natural Ethics
3.1 Introductory Thoughts on Human Nature, Ethics, and Religion
3.2 Human Nature
3.3 Human Instincts and Culture; Psychiatric Problems
3.4 Global or Natural Ethics
3.5 Ethics and Political Institutions
3.6 Quality of Life; Simplicity, Comfort versus Pain, and Meaning in Life
In the pursuit of a scientific basis of political thoughts and natural ethics, relevant knowledge and understandings are derived from many fields of research: anthropology, ethology, including the study of animals, very primitive cultures and technologically more advanced civilizations, psychology and psychiatry, and neurobiology-neurosciences.
Instincts are very important in directing social interactions and influencing cultural developments. Some instincts have impeded progress particularly people being very much oriented towards learning from parental figures and older peers, generally not wanting novelty and usually believing that the past was better than the present. Instinctively, people are also docile, comparable to the animals that lend themselves to be domesticated and exploited: animals that are easily subdued with punishments and that continue reproducing even when severely abused; women generally go along with cultural and religious teachings that victimize them. In addition, cooperation among people is often prevented by “us-versus-them” thinking.
Generally, cultural institutions develop in a rather random fashion, influenced by environment, strong leaders, contact with other cultures, technological developments, etc. Cultural institutions cannot change human nature, but they modify, exaggerate or suppress expression of natural predispositions with little or no consideration of ethical principles. Broad efforts to improve people’s behaviors and quality of life must address changing their culture and institutions.
The study of global and science-based natural ethics is important. Ethics deals with conflicts between self-interest and altruism. It is primarily based on social instincts and empathy. A distinction is made between natural ethics and culture-bound, often with religions associated mores or morals. Empathy, the study of human nature, and our broad understanding of disparate cultures are fundamental to a worldwide pursuit of human rights and natural ethics. Ethical values must comply with the limitations of human nature. While ethical thinking includes prescriptions, such as not to lie, steal or kill, there are no absolutes: humane, ethical thinking must be pragmatic including intuitive valuations of positive and negative factors, and conscience.
Ethical attitudes and conduct, particularly compassion and empathy, are partly learned. Compassionate empathy and healthy expression of social instincts probably results from favorable early psychosocial environments. Support of nuclear families by their community is usually needed for the healthy development of children. Ethical thinking, particularly the broadening of empathy and overcoming the propensity towards us-versus-them thinking, must be taught at all levels of education and applied in all human endeavors.
Institutions must address other aspects of quality of life, including a natural pursuit of healthy lifestyles, communities that give a sense of belonging, access to natural environments and artistic expression, a reasonable standard of living, and the further development of medical and psychological-psychiatric treatments.
The scientific understanding of cultural anthropology, of instincts in humans, of neurosciences, and of ethics provides the foundation of the proposed model framework of institutions.