Ethics is to the brain’s sense of right or wrong, what a noble life is to a highly intelligent and thoughtful person. Truth is – the brain comes with moral potential. It equips people to do what is good – even when that good comes with personal cost. Sure, it takes a bit of work, yet ethics physically reshapes the human brain. No wonder it also shapes our lives and entire communities. But did you know that magnets can change your moral values?
Interestingly, when your brain determines what good looks like – and leapfrogs you over bad habits, new neuron pathways are created to lead toward that action. Ethics engages the basal ganglia, and enables you to move past bad habits, in favor of ethical rejuvenation.
Moral values engage the brain – through heaping supply of intrapersonal intelligence. Each person is born with a unique mix. As one of your multiple intelligences, intrapersonal capability depends on both your gene pool supply as well as ethical acumen you cultivate each time you do what is right on a daily basis.
Not surprisingly, a person strong in ethical capability not only knows what is right, but does good and in that way finds happiness. What may come as a surprise though, is the brain’s practice of rewiring its plasticity to act morally in future dilemmas.
Called neuro-anatomy of ethics here, it’s simply an adult brain’s ability to grow a stronger moral code, through generating new dendrite brain cells for ethical choices.
Ethics in real life situations usually involves a choice about what is right and what is wrong in controversial settings. Unethical practices most prevalent in the news this week involved:
We could all add to this list of unethical practices that impact any ordinary day. More importantly, what would an ethical person do to rewire the human brain for more ethics.
You’ll know ethics guides your brain if you:
- feel good when you do good, and feel bad when you act unethically.
- find courage to live life cheerfully
- create space for your own spirit and value spirit in others
- act compassionately
- avoid lies, cheating, or greed
- revere life, and welcome differences in ways that teach all
- depart from old ways in favor of more ethical discoveries
- attempt to model values in your community to benefit others
- care for the earth and preserve its riches for future generations
- protect freedom for yourself and others
- love justice yet act with mercy
- learn, grow and remain open to opposing views
- use good tone to communicate with respect for all
- help others and shrink from anything that harms humankind
- live so that others clearly see a code of morality embedded in your actions
- care for animals in ways that recognizes their vulnerability
- open your understanding to grapple with great mysteries of the universe
- remain loyal to doing good for others in your world
- refuse to promote your own well-being at the expense of another’s
- reverence sacred parts of life, and value other’s sense of sacred
- work hard, and pay others fairly for their labor
- apologize and make restitution whenever you harm another person
- never think less or more of yourself than is true
- develop a conscience that remains sensitive to goodness
- believe in and do the right thing when faced with choice
- avoid conflicts of interest
- live transparently so that others can evaluate your actions
- grow and develop with each new discovery about the good life
- express gratitude for all that is given to you
- practice the Golden rule daily
- act morally rather than preach morality to others
- sacrifice to maintain goodness over evil
- recognize the good in others, before you identify differences
Would you agree that daily ethical practices, the kind that Dr. Robyn McMaster described in Uncle Earl’s story here, could lead each of us to a life far more worth living?
For further consideration, check out interesting research on the possibility that magnetic pulses to certain parts of the brain appear to manipulate a person’s sense of morality. This relates to additional research which affirms how moral judgments can be impaired in patients with damage to ventromedial prefrontal cortex. It infers that moral judgements depend on our ability to infer intentions. What do you think?
YOUR TURN! Join our Brain Based Circles! Would love to meet you at any of the following!
Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset
Smart Skill 14. Target Agreement in Disagreeable Settings
Smart Skill 15. Target Lessons from Opposing Views
Smart Skill 16. Target Multiple Intelligences – Run from Lectures
Smart Skill 17. Target Teen Talent
Smart Skill 18. Target Brain Cell Regeneration
Smart Skill 19. Target Differences between Gender Brains
Smart Skill 20. Target Neurogenetics of Ethics