Ought Does Not Exist in Nature

“Ought” Does Not Exist
in Nature: Illusion, Conscience, and Moral Myths

June, 2016


Consensus reality is the agreed-to truth of any given social group: what we believe to be good, bad, moral, immoral, right and wrong. But consensus reality isn’t the truth, as everyone knows. If a woman wears a mini-skirt in the United States, she is likely to receive compliments; in Saudi Arabia, this same fashion choice could get her stoned as punishment (or worse). Nature does not dictate morality — people do — and the arbitrary nature of social taboos is a boggling fact of human life. In this edition of The Seekers Forum, we’ll be looking into a philosophical conundrum that has confused people since the dawn of time: How does the brain conjure “ought” from “is”? The answer can be found in a process known as projectivism. The Scottish philosopher David Hume famously put it like this. “[Just as] beauty is not a quality of the object, but a certain feeling of the spectator, so virtue and vice are not qualities in the persons to whom language ascribes them, but feelings of the spectator.” From the privacy of our own minds, we simulate the world, coloring it with our likes and dislikes. When you realize this, break loose from consensus reality and free yourself on the path of awakening. This can be a life-changing discovery and I look forward to exploring its possibilities with you this month.

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Guest Interview with Dr. Dacher Keltner

Dr. Dacher Keltner

Dacher Keltner is a social psychologist who focuses on the morality of everyday life and importance of “prosocial emotions” such love, sympathy, and gratitude. A professor of psychology at The Universtity of California, Berkeley, Dr. Keltner is the  Co-Director of The Greater Good Science Center and the author of Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life.