gmusic@nurturingnatures.co.uk

Invisibilty, and doing the right thing

This week the BBC’s moral maze  (http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/moralmaze)  provocatively asked about the role of individual conscience and whether people act less morally when they are unseen,  This came  on the back of scientists possibly having invented a Harry Potterish  ‘invisibility cloak’ capacity to become invisible by bending light etc. The program raised crucial matters relevant to issues currently in the news,  such as the banking scandals and what the likes of Bob Diamond  felt they should be able to ‘get away with’, as well as the shocking behaviours in mid-Staffordhsire NHS trust and in care homes where elderly residents were  abused. The 2 key issues  being debated were whether we need more regulation (eg of banks or hospitals) or   should moral acts by led by individual conscience, because externally imposed ‘targets’ and expectations in fact make people less personally motivated to do the right thing. These are thorny issues.

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Barclays, evolution and the neuroscience and psychology of greed

The latest scandal involving Bob Diamond and Barclays has alarmed swathes of the UK population, and many are asking if there no end to the damage that such unregulated financial power can do. Faith in our  institutions has clearly been steadily eroding, but this has accelerated in the wake of example after example of unscrupulous behaviour, the ripple effects of which cause pain and hardship to countless thousands but at the same time the many who are suffering feel increasingly powerless and  helpless. It can be no coincidence that this week saw the publication of a report showing that not only is membership of  political parties declining, and we are seeing a huge reductions in participation in  political activity of any kind, but  that this has come with the massive increase in corporate power which is seriously threatening democratic processes (http://www.democraticaudit.com/key-indicators-of-uk-democracy) .

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The good in gossip and shaming

I have been wondering for a while whether we have lost as well as gained something from the way we as a society no longer do ‘shaming’ in the way some cultures have in the past. Ok we did give Murdoch a bit of a run for his money over phone-tapping and there has been some pressure on bankers, but compared to what used to happen, this is rather mild. I suspect for most if us the public shaming by shaving the heads of French women who consorted with Nazis would be seen as bad taste now. We do not tattoo people who have committee crimes or make them wear special clothes anymore. We have the police, and judges and politicians to theoretically enforce the law and what is right and wrong.

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