An intensely satisfying explanation of a complex idea is probably the most enjoyable of all non-sensual experiences. This is what “The Righteous Mind” did for me, it explained so much so well.
The reasons we do the things we do, from self-sacrifice to self-sabotage, the variety of religious beliefs and practices, and the complete inability of one side to listen to AND come to understand and respect the other side are illusory upon cursory examination. Jonathan Haidt takes us deeper into the human mind and perhaps more importantly, into the intertwinement of the mind with cultural and biological evolution (he argue pretty convincingly for groups selection, which is largely not embraced by the community of evolutionary biologist but should be, IMO).
We fail to understand the other side because we fail to recognize that we speak our own moral language and operate within our unique moral matrix (moral worldview) which is all but impossible to transcend and really see how others see everything in the world, seemingly, completely different than we do. We refuse, unconsciously, to give value to the other side and we will probably always see their worldview as ‘less than’ our own.
“The Righteous Mind” gives us a peak into how others see the world and offers us a look from the outside into our own moral matrix. Whether you are religious or not, whether you are conservative or liberal, and even if you already consider yourself well-versed in moral psychology and philosophy you will learn something new and satisfying from “The Righteous Mind.”
Seriously one of the best books I’ve ever read.