The Echoes of the Mind (164) Cultural Morality

Cultural Morality

Seeing oneself as part of a group readily warps morality. The erosion of ethics emanates from the empowering effect of feeling part of a larger force.

A group of people will often engage in actions that are contrary to the private moral standards of each individual in that group, sweeping otherwise decent individuals into ‘mobs’ that commit looting, vandalism, even physical brutality. ~ American psychologist Rebecca Saxe

The role that a person plays in a group affects their ethical decisions.

When people switch hats, they often switch moral compasses. The same person may make a completely different decision based on what hat they may be wearing at the time, often without even realizing it. ~ American management academic Keith Leavitt

A sense of competition dims morality. Hence cheating is ubiquitous in professional sports, which combines competition with a compelling profit motive.

Ethics are largely erased when competition shifts from “me versus you” to “us versus them.” Individuals commonly apply different ethical metrics depending upon their group identity.