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Morals have a large part to play in the decisions that we make. When you make a moral decision, rational thought logic and legality have little to do with it. Making a moral decision has everything to do with the emotional part of your brain. Guilt and shame are two large emotions associated with making a decision that goes against your morality. The emotional part of your brain is the same part of the brain that defines your moral code and helps you decide good from bad or right from wrong. So what determines our morals?

The three biggest factors that determine our morals are our experiences, environment and perspective. The experiences you have in your environment coupled with the perspective you used to look at these experiences determine the morals you have in life. You are essentially the one who determines the morals in your life with the meaning you give the experiences you have encountered in your life. As you can imagine there are a wide range of moral beliefs in the world due to the array of different experiences in our environments with different perspectives,

To help you understand this let’s look an example. At school, you and your friends are bullying other students who are younger than you that are in the special ed classes because they have trouble reading and writing. A large part of why you do this is because when you were younger upper classman bullied you . Another reason you can become a bully is if you have an older brother or sister who is a bully. A lot of the time bullying can be learned at home.

You may be asking yourself “If my morals are formed through life experience, can they also be reshaped?”. They can be.

Reshaping Our Morals

One way to help shape your morals is to try and view things through a different lens, try and see things from the perspective of someone else. This will help you to develop empathy, which in turn will produce compassion.by teaching yourself how to shift your perspective you can see the same situation played out from different angles, making it easier to see things from another person’s point of view being more understanding and compassionate. In the situation your bullying someone, and they start crying right in front of you suddenly realize the effect your actions have had on them because of this. You never really thought about how your actions were making that person feel what you were thinking about when bullying these kids was how you’re protecting yourself from not getting bullied by doing the bullying. Because of this your perspective changes and you no longer take part in bullying anymore.

Your morals on the situation which will change the decision you make in the same situation in the future

Another way your morality can change is due to a change in your environment, you may go to a different school or you may start hanging out with a different group of friends at the same who don’t engage in bullying like your old group of friends uses to. Your morals can also change vise versa from the last example just given. Say you go to a new school or you get a group of friends and the last group of friends didn’t do any bullying but the new group of friends does then you will be much more likely to engage in bullying along with your new friends.

Through your beliefs and standards, you make choices when you go against your morals emotions of guilt and shame come about. Is it possible to have no morality? What would that be like? The terminology for a person with no moral identity is, a psychopath. They are so dangerous because they have damaged emotional brains they have no inner emotional empathy They have inner emotional emptiness; they can lie, hurt, and kill people and it doesn’t affect them. As they get more aggressive their heart rate actually drops they’re missing the emotional piece in life to make moral decisions In a regular person a fearful face brings about more activity in the brain and a fearful response but with the psychopath they have no response. It’s helpful to remember that our emotions can hijack our decision-making process, but no moral compass makes it hard to have empathy for other people and weigh the outcomes of others as well as yourself.

Aggression doesn’t make them nervous they never learn from their actions even when they hurt someone it’s the only way they know how to get what they want they have no morals. When you have no morals than any decision you make is fine because you don’t have any standards or beliefs that what you’re doing is wrong. Remember that at the end of the day it’s you who give your morals meaning through the experiences you go through in your environments with the different perspectives you at them with. No one else can determine the morals in your life but you because you are the only one who gives meaning to things in your life. Nothing has a meaning until you decide to give it meaning. So what moral code have you created in your life?

Book: How We Decide – Author Lehrer