The Psychology of Ethics

On the role of ethics in personal development and the need to develop a comprehensive psychology of ethics

Ethics is a very relevant area in the study of psychology as ethical values on what is wrong and what is right relate directly to an individual’s moral standing in society. Our ethical standards could closely associate with our moral standards although morality is more individualistic and moral standards could vary between cultures, societies and religions. Ethical standards are however more general as they depend on our basic human nature and human values and ethical values are more human and thus more about psychological dynamics than the moral values. Yet ethics is considered as a branch of moral philosophy

In a study of the Psychology of Ethics it is important to distinguish between ethics and morality and a Psychology of Ethics would be more about values of being human whereas Moral Psychology specifically deals with questions of morality. Moral psychology or psychology of morality is thus considered a part of the broader psychology of ethics. Ethics deals with morality as well as questions of right and wrong, moral and immoral, virtue and vice, good and evil and responsibilities of being human.

Ethical philosophy also shows how ethical judgments and ethical statements or attitudes are formed. Ethics was studied in philosophy from the days of Socrates and Aristotle and was related to self realization about the needs of the human condition. Doing the right thing at the right time and in the right manner for the right reason is considered virtuous and ethical. Yet a psychology of ethics would involve more than just understanding moral values and appreciation of the human condition. The psychology of ethics is about our basic beliefs and attitudes and the formation of these beliefs as also how our value systems are shaped in childhood through moral development. Psychoanalysis and social and developmental psychology could use a range of theories to explain ethical development in children and adults.

Freud has used the concepts of Id, Ego and Superego to suggest that the superego serves as a moral filter and helps individuals to decide what is right and what is wrong. The id, ego and superego are described as the three parts of the psychic apparatus with the id being the instincts and base desires, the ego is the realistic part that balances the desires and the superego is that which monitors and controls and the part that has a strict moral dimension. The superego is thus the part of the psyche that deals moral values and triggers us towards moral justification. This means we seek an ethical explanation of behavior or tend to consciously or unconsciously behave in a certain way because of the underlying ethical needs.

Apart from psychoanalysis that would explain ethics mainly as a mechanism controlled and directed by the Superego so that all dark unethical desires are somehow filtered, ethical development is also explained with social and moral psychology.

In social psychology belonging to a group would mean following basic standards of conformity and conformity determines the extent to which social behavior would be in accordance with what the society accepts or considers as standard. Standard behavior would in fact be closely related to ethical behavior thus within the context of social psychology, ethics is about conformity and doing what is right according to social standards or values. If we consider developmental psychology, individual needs are met through social conformity as following ethical standards and engaging in ethical behavior would be continually rewarding to an individual and would encourage or reinforce ethical standards. Ethics fulfils our social and recognition needs and our moral needs of regulating our desires. So psychoanalysis would consider ethics as the moral aspect of our psychic structure and according to social psychology theories ethics is essential to group behavior and conformity as ethics according to social theories is an important social developmental process in our interaction. Some of the questions that would be central to the psychology of ethics are the stages related to the development of ethics. This would be similar to moral development although ethical values and beliefs would be distinct and unlike general morality can be shaped even at old age.

The slight distinction between ethics and morality apart from the fact that ethics is a part of broader moral psychology is that ethics could be changeable or related to attitudes that may change with time. For example euthanasia is an ethical decision and doctors or nurses who face such a situation in their profession depends on their ethical stance and this could be affected by what they have learnt in their profession, their years of experience and their personal upbringing or value systems.

In some cases, circumstances could determine ethical choices as also social systems and individuals and their thoughts are influenced by others in ethical development providing the social theory of ethics. However specific theories such as cognitive dissonance theory could explain ethics as a change of behavior or attitudes through discomfort with a specific view of things. If certain actions are basically incongruent with attitudes held then the individuals will either have to change their actions or their attitudes and thus personal ethics would also change. Evolutionary psychology also explains our moral and ethical development as when we are constantly rewarded by society for certain behavior, we would naturally consider these as positive and this would then be socially acceptable and ethical. Behaviors rewarded over time are finally seen as ethical and ideal.

The psychology of ethics will have to encompass theories from psychoanalysis, evolutionary psychology and social and developmental psychology to provide a comprehensive understanding of moral development and changes in the development of ethics. Ethics would be affected by the unchangeable element of basic values that we hold and the changeable element of experience as ethics are values shaped and even changed by experience.

The stages of ethical development will have the general structure of social and moral development as individuals go through guilt in childhood (of mischief etc.) through group conformity and learns what is right and what is wrong. This is developed further in adolescence which is marked by identity crisis (as suggested by psychologists including Erikson) and ethics is formed in young adulthood as part of this identity consolidation. When a 20 year old man says to himself ‘I believe cheating is wrong’ he is suggesting that his sense of ethics is connected to his sense of identity. Finally in middle and late adulthood experiential changes may lead to change of ethics and the final stage of reflection and evaluation in which there is evaluation and the need to defend one’s own ethical beliefs and attitudes. The stages of ethical development could be thus given as guilt-group conformity-identity crisis- identity consolidation-experiential change-evaluation or defense.

Psychoanalysis and the role of superego could suggest why ethics are formed in humans and the general interplay between the psychic structure and the formation of ethics. Evolutionary psychology shows the interplay of the biological structure or human body systems and ethics formation and suggest how ethics are formed over many years of evolution and social psychology shows the general interplay of social structures and formation of ethics or value systems and highlights the basis of ethics in society telling us what ethics are formed according to the demands of society. Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality with an emphasis on social systems could also provide insights on the study of the formation of attitudes, values and ethics.

Along with the social, developmental, psychoanalytic and evolutionary dimensions of ethics, it is important to delineate the types of ethical decisions for example ethics from a legal perspective, ethics from a moral perspective, ethics from an educational perspective, ethics from medical perspective and so on. Business ethics, legal ethics, medical ethics and all branches of ethics will have to consider the psychological stages of ethical development with social, psychoanalytic, evolutionary theories.

from Reflections in Psychology – Part II – Saberi Roy (2010)

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Inspiration Ethics – The Value of Integrity

Integrity – Noun; Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code; the state of being unimpaired; soundness; the quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.

The date is January 16, 2009. The day after US Airways Flight 1549 pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger of Danville, CA, maneuvered his crowded passenger jet over New York City and ditched it in the Hudson River – successfully. All 155 passengers and crew are safe and miraculously escaped major injury – just bumps and bruises really. National media is abuzz with reports and first-hand interviews with passengers, now all safe, warm and dry, along with their rescuers and safety experts describing the ordeal. NBC dubbed the accident “Miracle on the Hudson”.

Pause now. Think about your values as if you had to list and describe them. What are your core values? If you are like most individuals and organizations Integrity shows up on your list of values. But what does it mean, this word, ‘integrity’ (perhaps the ultimate virtue)? What does it mean to you? How does your value for integrity show up for others daily? How is it you developed your integrity? How might you further develop this quality? Why does it matter?

For most of us, integrity means something like “doing what you say you will do”, or “how you act when no one is looking”. These are good tests of integrity, but don not really explain how one develops integrity. Structural integrity for a building is defined as “uncompromised ability to safely resist the required loads”. Structural integrity of a person could be defined as “uncompromised ability to appropriately resist challenges to virtue”. How do we develop this steadfast adherence to a strict moral code, this ‘sound’ response to difficult circumstances?

Like most things we do well, integrity comes from practice. In fact, the proper manner with which to refer to the quality of integrity as a human value would be “to practice integrity”. A person speaks and acts with integrity out of practice. Integrity is the result of preparation and choice, when one has lived long enough to have recognized one’s own innate capacity to act on whim, caprice or selfishness rather than deeply-held principle. Integrity comes from training and increases with the quality, length and adherence to the intent of that training. Integrity follows solid neural pathways, developed over time, that stimulate certain attitudes and habits, which produce seemingly instinctual right actions. But these actions are not based on animal instinct; right actions result from human desire and practice.

My favorite value-based definition of leadership is “authentic self-expression that adds value through relationships”. This includes relationships to both people and events. When self-expression begins to consistently add value over time, through every human encounter, through every decision and through every split-second reaction to events, then you have integrity.

Aspire to have integrity: practice discerning what is right, saying that you will do right, how and why you will do right, and doing so whether or not someone else is paying attention.

You can bet there are at least 154 people in this world who are thankful for the value Chesley Sullenberger has added through their brief relationships. What do “Sully” Sullenberger and Flight 1549 have to do with integrity? Sullenberger is reportedly an U.S. Air Force Academy grad who flew F-4 fighter planes in the 1970s while in the Air Force. He started flying commercial jets in the 1980s. “He is about performing that airplane to the exact precision to which it is made,” says the wife of her hero-husband. In addition to working for US Airways, he runs a safety consulting firm focused on the psychology of keeping airline crews functioning in the face of crisis. He has been an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board. I understand he is also certified to fly gliders – skills that surely helped land an Airbus A320 with both engines on fire in a controlled descent on a nearly frozen river rather than in the middle of a neighborhood of one of the world’s most densely populated cities.

Instinct didn’t take over for Sullenberger as he steered his jet toward those icy Hudson waters, practice kicked in – the practice of integrity. This is a man who decided earlier in life that safety and human lives were important enough to him that he would dedicate himself to preserving those ends. He trained, he studied, he learned day after day, year after year with those ends in mind. What once began as a pilot’s tenuous first flight, over the course of 40 years of practice became unconscious competence – the right attitudes, habits, decisions, actions and demeanor to save lives in a crisis.

Reflections to inspire personal growth in Integrity (with your learning partner)

How would your life be different if you were to practice integrity with greater intent and consistency? What can you do daily to increase your integrity? What is your personal code of ethics; what must you change to demonstrate them more fully? Find an accountability partner or hire a coach to help you practice integrity and take these actions:

  • Integrity is the glue that binds your other virtues. What are your other core values? Why these?
  • How do these values, together, define who you are, how you think and act, and how you are viewed by others?
  • What words and behaviors do other people observe of you daily that demonstrate your values?
  • What purpose would you have your life lead toward that you are willing to practice day after day, year after year, to be prepared for the chance event that may provide the ultimate test of your Integrity?
  • What specific attitudes, habits and behaviors must you practice consistently to become the person of Integrity you aspire to be?
  • Describe an experience or event when you were at your personal best and demonstrated Integrity.
  • Describe a current situation in your life that, in your heart, you could apply the same level of Integrity as you did in your example above.
  • Make plans to touch base with your learning partner in the next month about how you each are practicing Integrity. Hold each other accountable.

The Ethics of the 21st Century Renaissance

The present goal of governments wanting to stay in power is to secure greater business opportunities and an expanding economy. This particular obsession with power disregards the future accumulation of unsustainable debt, resulting in inevitable demoralising chaos, and in continual conflict.

This science of chaos, is governed by the second law of thermodynamics, which Albert Einstein referred to as the ‘Premier Law of all of Science’. His colleague, Sir Arthur Eddington, called it the ‘Supreme Metaphysical Law of the Entire Universe’. In his most famous essay entitled ‘A Freeman’s Worship’, Lord Bertrand Russell wrote that we had no other choice but to worship the law in a total anguish of despair, devoid of any sustainable natural ethic arguing otherwise. Very recent scientific discoveries have confirmed that this philosophery of science was dangerously wrong.

These discoveries also validated the original basis of science, which was constructed in ancient Greece. The Platonic tradition of Geek philosophy had been used for centuries to fuse ethics into a model of creation called the Nous, postulated during the 5th Century BC by the father of cosmological science, Anaxagoras. He thought that a supreme creator of our world left our section of the universe in order to construct others elsewhere, leaving us with freewill to develop an ethical purpose for the evolution of life.

By the 3rd Century BC, the resulting Atomistic science derived from fusing ethics into the Nous, was taught at the Greek universities, The Lyceum and The Academy. The science became known as the ‘Science for Ethical Ends’, which was also compatible with the 3rd Century BC Atomistic ‘Science of universal love’, taught at the University, Ho Kepos.

When the Great Library of Alexandria was burned in 415 AD, most of the mathematical scrolls about these sciences were destroyed as the works of the Devil, plunging Western civilisation into the Dark Ages. As the new discoveries now demonstrate, we were literately left with a culture devoid of sustainable scientific ethics.

The Cornell University Library posted about one of these discoveries, made by two Chinese scientists in 2011. The scientists used mathematics to demonstrate that proteins in DNA continuously enfolded into shapes, in order to evolve in contradiction to the Einsteinian World-view. Ten years earlier, the Science-Art Research Centre of Australia, had predicted this protein phenomena to exist, an idea that had been derived from the Platonic Science for Ethical Ends.

The science of quantum mechanics has been accepted as being the basis of modern science since 1927. This science encompassed an erroneous concept of continual chaos, thought to lead eventually to the destruction of all life in the universe. In order to correct the destructive ramifications of this ‘Greed Energy Law’ governing current economics, politics, technology and quantum science, we must upgrade and modify quantum mechanics accordingly to the new discoveries.

Discoveries made by utilising nanotechnology, provide photographic evidence demonstrating that the evolutionary functioning of the molecule of emotion, discovered by Dr Candace Pert in 1972, does not obey the greed energy law at all. This demonstrates that global economic slavery is an unnatural and unethical greed driven obsession. The geometrical pattern of the dance of life is known to be based upon variations of the sacred geometries, used to produce a intuitive emotional pattern recognition transferred to and encoded in the emotion molecule. We can explain the cancerous nature of this obsession by showing that its mathematical logic is unable to generate healthy biological growth and development through space-time. This cancer-like growth is contrary to the mathematical functioning of the lost ethical science, which can generate healthy biological blueprints through space-time.

In 1990 the Science-Art Research Centre’s mathematics of life-energy was selected for reprinting as an important optical discovery of the 20th Century literature by the IEEE SPIE Milestone Series, the world’s largest technological research institute. This phenomenon had been alluded to by Einstein, as belonging to the mythological reality of Babylonian mathematical metaphysical conjecture. The first mythological mathematical structure of the Greek Nous was non regenerative, because its mythical creator was thought to have left our universe upon having completed its creation.

The prolonged application of consciously weaving ethics into the Nous’ mythical existence, transformed its original Euclidean mathematical structure into a dynamical geometrical living mathematical system. However, Einstein forbade the development of this Nous mathematics to be part of any living system. Although his mainstream world-view now accepts that the dynamical fractal mathematical logic extends to infinity, it refuses to link it to any life-science, because Einstein thought that the energies of chaos radiating away from dying star systems. would eventually bring about the cessation of all life. Therefore, according to Einstein, the living process could not possibly extend to infinity.

This reasoning is incorrect. The recent Cloud Chamber experiments at the CERN Hadron Collider demonstrated that cosmic radiation from dying novae, 30 million light years ago in the Milky-way, causes rain to fall on earth today. Furthermore, the process can be linked to the evolving formation of endocrine fluids within the molecule of emotion. The process of consciousness affecting the subatomic fabric of the material universe, the basis of quantum mechanics, was thought by Einstein to only obey the lifeless laws of the physical reality. The 1937 Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Szent-Gyorgyi, argued strongly to the contrary. He insisted that consciousness belonged to a second energy system by interacting with Einstein’s understanding of the energies of chaos. In ancient times, that second energy system was associated with a spiritual intuitive reality. Today it is known to belong to the functioning of the infinite holographic universe.

The Science-Art Research Centre’s Director of Bio-aesthetics, art appreciation theory, the late Dr George Cockburn, Royal fellow of Medicine, London, wrote a book titled A Bio-Aesthetic Key to Creative Physics and Art, analysing 200 years of painting methodology employed by Australian Art-masters. He concluded that some artists were compelled to paint by an innate inner sense of belonging to a holographic universe. Cockburn advanced the electromagnetic aesthetic theories of the philosopher Emmanuel Kant and modified them to derive a mathematical understanding about Kant’s Godlike electromagnetic ethic for perpetual peace on earth. Cockburn’s conclusions were similar to the work of the mathematician Bernard Bolzano, who had also developed mathematical theories about ethics through a correction to Kant’s work. In the past, some scholars had used Kant’s aesthetic theories to develop a mathematics for perpetual economic growth and development, which, as already explained, ins now considered to be socially carcinogenic. The difference between aesthetics and ethics is explainable through an entanglement between the quantum mechanical reality and the holographic reality of the now emerging quantum biology.

Following Dr Cockburn’s death, the Science-Art Centre used his mathematical electromagnetic definition of the creative Nous, to locate their optical properties within the modern manufacture of various 3-D viewing glasses. The relevant glasses, when used to view paintings, transformed some of them into holographic images. By using these glasses to view computer images of complex dynamical systems, within the scientific book entitled, The Beauty of Fractals, it was discovered that these pictures became vivid holographic images. Within this book, a chapter called Freedom, Science and Aesthetics, was written by the eminent scientist Professor Gert Eilenberger. He stated: ‘That is part of the excitement surrounding these pictures; they demonstrate that out of research an inner connection, a bridge, can be made between rational scientific insight and emotional aesthetic appeal; these two modes of cognition of the human species are beginning to concur in their estimation of what constitutes nature.’

This optical bridge is the one that the molecular biologist, Sir C P Snow spoke of in his famous Rede lecture at Cambridge University in 1959. Unless that bridge between modern science and the ancient Greek Humanities’ ethical knowledge was constructed, the Einsteinian understanding of the law of chaos must collapse global civilisation. It is also the basis of Buckminster Fuller’s warning, that unless we developed the energies of two universal energy systems, instead of Einstein’s single system of chaos, then oblivion would result. The lost pagan mathematics can now be linked to the quantum entanglement between quantum mechanics and quantum biology, to show that modern science, technology, politics and economics have no long term sustainable ethical content.

It is nonsense to continue to prevent this issue from being researched because it had been erroneously classified during the 5th Century as the work of the Devil. This was because the mathematical understanding, once taught in the Mystery Schools of Babylon, belonged to the worship of the Goddess Ishtar. The attack upon the mathematical teachings by St Augustine followed, because the Bible had linked such mathematics to the worship of the Whore of Babylon. The use of sacred geometries had been used in the Babylonian ceremonial worship of Ishtar, the Goddess of prostitution and war. However, the sacred geometrical mathematics taught in the teaching of the ancient Egyptian Goddess Maat, was about mercy, compassion and justice and the prevention of the universe from reverting to chaos.

Buckminster Fuller derived his spiritual, optical engineering, mathematical world-view, from the Egyptian school of mythical mathematics. Whereas, Lord Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein developed theirs from the mathematics developed from ancient Babylon. The reader can confirm that Fuller derived his synergistic universe from the Platonic spiritual mathematics developed from the Egyptian Mystery Schools, by reading Harvard University’s Novatis Professor Amy Edmonson’s, free 1987 on line edition of her book entitled The Fuller Explanation-The Synergetic Geometry of R Buckmister Fuller, Chapter 4, pages 36 and 37.

No matter how clever our obsolete mathematics becomes, the more damage it causes. For example some scientists are realising that the three Nobel Prizes awarded for mathematical economic logic in 1994, appear to have brought about the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the mathematics is now collapsing the global economy. This example of chaotic mind over the functioning of mathematical matters can be adversely compared with the ethical mathematics upholding the lost Science for Ethical Ends.

The above-mentioned Professor Eilenberger’s chapter about Freedom, Science and Aesthetics is derived from the ancient Greek ‘Science for Ethical Ends’. When Pythagoras introduced light into the Greek ‘Music of the spheres’ concept, he used the ethics of Egyptian political teaching. His Egyptian spiritual concept of liberty is now depicted on the Great Seal of America.

During the 18th and 19th Century, philosophers of science, such as Kant, Oersted, Schelling and Humboldt, realised that the Pythagorean ethical spiritual mathematics was alluding to their much later discoveries, related to their electromagnetic environmental reality. Schelling corrected Kant’s religious concept of the Godlike electromagnetic ethic for perpetual peace on earth, by linking it directly to the scientific principles upholding the pagan ‘Science for Ethical Ends’. These scientists were searching for a force to be harnessed, to make Faraday’s electric motor seem a child’s toy by comparison. Scientists from around the world have now constructed various aspects of the electromagnetic ethic that fits together to make such an electromagnetic model of reality feasible.

An electromagnetic motor drives the tail of the sperm to the ovum. Upon entering, it is transformed by the feminine electromagnetic field. into the cellular centriole. The centriole energises the first bone created in the embryo, the sphenoid (known in alchemy as the Golden Mean). The sphenoid bone vibrates with the seashell Golden Mean design of the cochlea, using the same life-energy forces as those discovered by the Science-Art Centre, during the 1980s. This then creates the electromagnetic functioning responsible for evolving consciousness, as has been derived from the Greek Music of the Spheres concept by the Texas University scientist, Dr Richard Merrick, as is explained in minute detail within his book entitled, Interference.

Nanotechnology is helping to outline the relevant ethical technology, which is unimaginable to scientists who are locked into the mindset of those obsessed with the physical functioning of the greed energy law. The term, ‘greed energy law’ was used by the anthropologist, Dr Maria Montessori, listed in TIME Magazine’s Century of Science, as the greatest scientist for 1907. Her work with the Jesuit Priest, Tieldhardt de Chardin, who also challenged the single energy system of Einstein’s world-view, was derived from the electromagnetic theories of Immanuel Kant. Montessori established a particular teaching system to explain how the creative thinking of young children developed outside the influence of parental and religious psychological input.

During the 21st Century, the Science-Art Research Centre began to focus upon creating a Social Cradle to assist the more rigorous research of the Florentine New Measurement of Humanity Project at Florence University. On the 24th of September 2010, the quantum chemists, Professors Paolo Manzelli and Massimo Pregnolato, were awarded the Giorgio Napolitano Medal on behalf of the Republic of Italy for their quantum biological research discoveries. This was internationally declared as the birth date of the 21st Century Renaissance.

Together, with their colleagues, they have extended the organisation, Art Quantum International, to further the Italian Science-Art research. In June 2012, the Science-Art Research Centre printed the book entitled, The 21st Century Renaissance, using the pioneering history of Science-Art Research in Australia to introduce the human survival ethical ethos of the Florentine Project. This book contains a chapter written by a Dr of International Law, outlining how UNESCO and the United Nations can upgrade Immanuel Kant’s failed vision of an ethical League of Nations, in order to implement his ennobling electromagnetic ethical ethos. A Doctor of Medicine has written to support the legal text, with the general ethical concept endorsed by a UNESCO Chair for World Peace and by the Electrical Engineer who headed the development of the Telefunken Communications Complex in Europe.

It is well known that scholars throughout the world are developing similar concepts about the new ethical science and technology. If they can somehow merge their intuitive endeavours for critical debate, within the structure of the 21st Century Renaissance, they may well combine to advance science for the betterment of the global human condition, under its ethical umbrella.

© Professor Robert Pope

Advisor to the President Oceania and Australasia of the Institute for Theoretical Physics and Advanced Mathematics (IFM) Einstein-Galilei