Morality and Self Esteem

    Most men desire for high self esteem and to be esteemed by others. So why is there so much strife in the world?  One would think that if humans are born with these qualities that they would live peacefully, that there would be no crime and everyone would be good to each other. However, the desire for personal gain is something we are also born with and that can conflict with moral behavior. We have the ability to rationalize justifications for immoral behavior so that we can feel high self esteem about carrying out immoral actions.  If we rationalize that the person we want to take advantage of is bad, and taking advantage of us, it is much easier to feel good about taking advantage of them.  The qualities we have of wanting to feel good about ourselves can be twisted in to making us worse than we would be otherwise. This is also true with the quality of wanting to be loved by others, because if the group we are a part of is bad then we will be motivated to carry out the evil wishes of the group in order to be loved and respected by the group. An example of this can be seen in street gangs whose members refer to the gang as their family and who engage in violent activities partly in order to get acceptance and respect from the gang.

    Even without rationalization the desire for self esteem can be a force toward hurting others if someone's self esteem is attached to how much that person can hurt and control others. A person is more likely to think in this way if he has been abused by everyone, especially if he wants revenge. If others interfere with his efforts to acquire power he may desire revenge and then his self esteem may become connected to hurting others.

 

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