Holier Than Life

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Before you can make critical judgments and say critical things, there has to be a critical thought. This is your cue to change your thought process.

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Just breathe! Pause for five seconds and take a deep breath. When you find yourself feeling judgmental, stop and take a short pause. Understand that people, including yourself, are doing the best they can. But everyone has their own unique past, tragedies, upbringing, health issues, and way of viewing the world. Assume nothing! Avoid stereotyping. There are CEOs with tattoos and wonderful parents that used to be exotic dancers. Are you strong and patient enough to determine the truth about the other person? Find a role model. Sit down and speak with them.

Ask them how they manage to be so non-critical of everyone. Ask them what they think when they see a Goth teenager covered in tattoos and piercings. Everyone makes mistakes. Understand that people can learn from their errors. Give others the same consideration. Respect the freedom of others. No one elected you to decide how others should live their lives.

Special thanks to the contributors of the open-source code that was used in this project: Elastic Search , HubSpot , WordNet , and mongodb. Reverse Dictionary. Popular Searches. Here's a list of the sites that I'm currently working on: reverse dictionary is a website that allows you to find words based on their definition.

In other words, it turns sentences or phrases into words. Give the engine a seed word and it will find a huge list of related words. It allows you to do a broader search than a thesaurus allows. It helps you find inspiration for describing things. It inclides lists of new songs from all major genres from hip-hop to classical and everything in between. By contrast, there is evidence that, when judging other people, negative information about morality has primacy over information about competence, and is weighted more heavily when forming a global evaluative judgment of that person Wojciszke, However, neither the distinctions that we are inclined to make nor the polarized nature of the bioethical debate imply that cognitive and moral capacities are structurally independent of each other, or that they can be clearly disaggregated from each other in practice.

Despite the strong psychological bias towards treating these as separate dimensions, we contend that the mechanisms underlying the expression of virtue are closely intertwined with those underlying the expression of cognitive skill.

The synthesis we present adds to previous bioethical attempts to reconcile cognitive and moral enhancement, such as papers that identify collective benefits of cognitive enhancers Bostrom and Sandberg, ; Goold and Maslen, ; Chandler and Dodek, The novelty of our contribution lies in pointing to a more direct interplay between cognitive and moral capacities. In the following sub-sections, we present a synthesis of evidence indicating that a cognitive enhancement can lead to improvements in moral capacities, and that b moral enhancement can lead to improvements in cognitive capacities.

We also discuss evidence suggesting that certain cognitive capacities are moralized and treated in the same way as more paradigmatic virtues such empathy or altruism, thereby blurring distinctions between these two types of enhancement. However, there is empirical evidence to support the idea that improvements in morally neutral traits such as attention management, thought suppression and wakefulness also play a key role in conforming to standards of right behavior and exhibiting traits typically considered to be morally virtuous.

For example, there is evidence that wakefulness, a trait that normally falls outside the realm of moral consideration, powerfully affects moral behavior.

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Across a series of studies, sleep deprived participants were more likely to show workplace deviance Christian and Ellis, , negative implicit attitudes toward social groups Alkozei et al. Unethical behavior was also shown to be more frequent in the afternoon than in the morning, when individuals are normally better rested Kouchaki and Smith, Similarly, cognitive control seems to be functionally linked to morally relevant behavior Baumeister and Exline, ; Muraven et al.

In a key experiment Mead et al. Conceptual replications further suggested that participants who had their cognitive control skills depleted were less charitable Xu et al. These effects were not mediated by emotional states, for example, frustration DeWall et al. The opposite also seemed to hold: participants who practiced techniques to focus and calm the mind without any reference to moral content were more likely to offer their seat to a suffering stranger in a waiting room in comparison to participants who had not undergone such training Condon et al.

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Therefore, future research should clarify the link between cognitive control and self-control, as well as the process whereby cognitive control might facilitate morally relevant behavior. It is also important to point out that we do not claim here that cognitive enhancement necessarily leads to parallel improvements in moral behavior. Among pre-schoolers, solitary play and for boys, also antisocial behavior was shown to be correlated with difficulties with emergent literacy Doctoroff et al.

On the other hand, greater frequency of prosocial behavior in early childhood, including helping, sharing, cooperating, and comforting, strongly predicted better academic achievement in adolescence. Similarly, from kindergarten to high school, emotional learning programs designed to foster empathy and positive social connections were found to improve academic performance in comparison to control programs Denham and Brown, ; Durlak et al.

The affective qualities of teacher—student relationships have also been shown to affect both engagement and achievement at school Roorda et al. Studies with adult population have revealed similar findings. For example, employees who reported having friends at work were shown to be more productive than those who did not Rath, Finally, in a representative sample of US elderly participants, those who had the highest levels of social integration had a memory decline twice as slow as those with the lowest levels of low social integration Ertel et al.

Experimental laboratory evidence further supports a link between socio-moral processes and morally neutral cognitive skills or individual achievement. Participants who had been asked to recall a time they felt the moral feeling of gratitude were almost twice more likely to display self-control in a subsequent delayed gratification task, in comparison to control participants who had been led to feel happy or neutral Dickens and DeSteno, In another study, participants who were subject to a brief experience of social exclusion, in this case reading a message saying they would likely end up alone in life, demonstrated significant reductions in certain cognitive capacities including logical reasoning, as measured by a Graduate Record Examination test, and a standard IQ test Baumeister et al.

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Even though social exclusion cannot be equated to moral de-enhancement, these findings support our argument that socio-moral functioning is intertwined with cognitive functioning. The notion that improved moral competency facilitates the acquisition of putatively cognitive skills is consistent with the more general notion that cognition is a social and collaborative process, as put forward by a number of developmental psychologists Bronfenbrenner, ; Vygotsky, ; Rogoff, , Cognitive development does not occur in a vacuum; it depends greatly on social engagement, communication, and shared participation in socio-cultural practices, and promotes shared goals.

We should be clear that it is important not to oversimplify and misrepresent the relation between cognitive and moral capacities.

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We have all encountered cases where exceptionally gifted individuals in the cognitive domain were found guilty of seriously immoral behavior or cases where highly moral people seemed endowed with only modest cognitive ability. We do not aim to claim that cognitive and moral capacities influence each other in ways that are straightforward or uniform. However, the evidence that we adduce supports our claim that the two kinds of capacities should be understood as nevertheless existing in a dynamic and interdependent relationship that casts doubt on the putative separability between them that is suggested by the relevant literature regarding their enhancement.

It is uncontroversial to point out that there is a vast and culturally, historically, societally, and geographically conditioned plurality of moral norms. Despite the apparent distance between cognitive and moral capacities, we contend that there is also variation in terms of what kinds of putatively cognitive skills are valuable and, thus, presumably would be desirable targets for enhancement. Although it might appear that certain capacities, for example focused attention or alertness, have no particular evaluative dimension, such capacities are valuable, or not, in relation to their context and the norms to which individuals in that context conform.

In other words, what is considered cognitively good, skillful, and a worthy target of enhancement depends on culturally shared norms. Indeed, the scale at which norms can be shared is considerable. This attribution of value is often implicit; however, in some cases, cognitive capacities are explicitly understood as moral values, both in individual lives and at the level of culture.

Across various cultures and historical periods, different cognitive strengths involving knowledge acquisition and use have been placed in the domain of virtue, including traits such as critical judgment, open-mindedness, perspective, curiosity, and creativity Peterson and Seligman, ; Dahlsgaard et al.

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There is also evidence that reliance on reason and evidence in the formation of belief is considered by some as a constituent of moral capacity. Finally, in Aristotelian philosophy, practical wisdom, which involves cognitive processes of deliberation and discernment, has been referred to as not only a virtue, but a master virtue that can give rise to all others Aristotle, ; also see Schwartz and Sharpe, for a modern psychological reinterpretation.

Findings such as these seem to suggest that human societies often tend to value cognitive advancement in its varying forms, and implicitly or explicitly imbue different skills with the status of valuable or virtuous. When the line between what constitutes valuable expressions of morality and cognitive skill is blurred, there might be no reason to think that normative decisions with regards to enhancement in the former case should differ from the latter.

In the following discussion, we strengthen our central claim that cognitive and moral skills and capacities are integrated and interdependent, rather than clearly separable.

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So far we have attempted to illustrate the interplay between, on one hand, capacities conventionally considered morally neutral such as wakefulness and cognitive control, and on the other hand, apparently paradigmatically moral traits such as compassion and helpfulness. It is evident from empirical data and from the inconclusiveness of the bioethical debate that accurately identifying the constituents and determinants of cognitively and morally skilled behavior is complex and does not admit of unitary explanations. For the reasons outlined, the complexity partially arises from conflicting accounts of what is considered good for individuals and societies.

Norms regarding the desirability of certain capabilities or actions are socially conditioned and cognitive skills may or may not be deemed as constitutive of those norms, depending on the contingencies of the population making the judgment. Of course, it does not follow from empirical data which shows that people perceive the relation between cognitive and moral capacities to be a certain way that their perception is correct.

But this empirical statement does not undermine the argument that we make. Even if scientific understanding of the relation between cognitive and moral capacities is lacking, it does not change the fact that persons are moral agents embedded in a moral community, within which norms of mutually beneficial interaction must be agreed and established. The essential point to be emphasized here is that moral thought, feeling, judgement, and behavior all occur at, and are only fully intelligible at, the level of the experiencing person, and not at the level of the brain or a particular sense organ, biological, or neurological system alone.

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It is persons within a moral community who make judgements about the moral status of the actions of others irrespective of the biological and neurological separability or otherwise of the functions that give rise to the actions being taken. We should be clear here that it is not that we should stop trying to understand the neurobiological basis of capacities such as, for example, memory, since no doubt it is important to understand how the components of such a capacity operates. However, understanding how such a capacity operates necessarily involves recognizing that it is realized in a person doing the remembering since it is part of the nature of a memory that somebody recalls it.

By extension, although the specificity available from studying the scientific basis of certain capacities via experiments is a vital component in understanding those capacities, it is insufficient for a complete account. It is not that trying to identify the relation between these components is unimportant; rather it reminds us that: i the level of explanation that we employ when thinking in normative terms is that of the acting person; and ii this level of explanation is therefore constitutive of the norms by which judgements are made.