Moral Health

It is a common human predicament that we often choose an action other than the one we perceive to be best. Philosophers know this problem as akrasia. When we are able to choose what is good for us, when we know, and act upon, our own best interest, we have moral health. (1)

:bulb: Let us here differentiate the concepts “desire” and “impulse.” Let’s explore what they have in common as well as the difference between them. :bulb:

Desire may be defined as “a longing, an urge, or a craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment”
For example, a desire for fame. Or, a sexual appetite.

An Impulse may be understood as: A sudden, involuntary inclination prompting to action: This inclination is often due to the influence of a particular mental state. [One may, for example, act from a generous impulse, or strike out at someone from an angry impulses] …with thanks to

The two concepts may be related to one another; one may be swayed by an impulse to feed one’s appetites due to harboring a desire. :cry:

Moral health is enhanced by impulse-control, that is, by considering long-term as well as short-term effects. To live an ethical life is to enjoy a high degree of moral health. :sunglasses: What is a mark of low moral health?

To find fault with others is not the ethical way to live. Neither is it ethical to blame, to name-call, to play the victim, to deride, to defraud. To overgeneralize is another cognitive error that reduces one’s moral health. To believe oneself superior to another human being is an ethical fallacy: a cognition such as, “I’m a somebody, and you are a nobody” would be a cognitive liability, an ethical mistake.

To violate Ethics is to lack moral health, or have it but to a low degree. To rate “Excellent” on the H.V. P. (the Hartman Value Profile); or [the way Axiogenics consultants score it] to have it reveal that you neither over-value yourself and the world, nor do you under-value them, is to display (at that moment in time) a high degree of Moral Health.

I have here introduced an original concept;which may serve to upgrade existing Ethical Theories.
Let’s discuss it. I’d love to hear your views on these matters.

  1. See also, Daniel P. Thero - Understanding Moral Weakness.

A critic may react to the recommendation that one control his impulses by claiming that “for moral health that are many impulses that are best not controlled.” What he has in mind are impulses to love, compassion, and kindness.

My response , though, to that is if one wants to be highly morally-healthy it is preferable that one forms the habit of being loving and compassionate, and makes it a part of one’s character. It can thus be a continuous feature of one’s integrity rather than just occurring impulsively.

It is also preferable that before giving in to an impulse to be kind one attempts to learn if the recipient of the kindness will receive it graciously rather than find it to be an embarrassment or an inconvenience. Will the recipient mind?

Say, for example, you are planning to visit someone in a hospital or rehab facility [usually an act of kindness]; would that party object to a visit at this time? That is something to consider if one wants to be loving and considerate.


I believe “Moral Health” is a good but at best a supplemental idea.
I would prefer “Moral Quotient” i.e. MQ as with IQ, Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Spiritual Quotient, Philosophical Quotient within the same family as a mental competence, skill, etc.
Perhap Moral Wisdom could also be a more realistic terms as ‘wisdom’ denote applied action of knowledge towards optimality within existing constraints.

MQ translated to a quantified value will tie in with Hartman’s axiology.

I agree impulse control is a critical element of moral quotient, moral health, moral competence, etc.

The question is how to increase one’s impulse control which involves neural connectivity in the brain?

If civilization concerned itself with moral health as you define it then I must say we must be experiencing a terminally ill coma. :sunglasses: :laughing:

Moral superiority is a fact of life.

How many free throws can you hit out of a thousand??

It’s objective…

So let’s say you get social rewards for being moral (making the most free throws)

Then all some asshole does, is comes along and says

“Hey, 3 free throws is just as good as a thousand”

You are all idiots!!!

I have exactly the same skill level!!

Keep trying to practice hypnosis on us and see what happens, you moral idiots!!


Honestly: It is very likely that “moral health” will merely lead to more “moral illness”, to more taxes, to more duties, to more censorship, thus to more dictatorship.

Look at the history of other health systems. Health systems invent more and more “ill” humans in order to control them and to become richer and richer, thus more powerful.

So are you suggesting we apprehend any of our critical thinking abilities?

Are you all suggesting we can measure morality?

The immediate and involuntary nature of any desire is an impulse. Controlling an impulse does not result in moral choices because we cannot know what the best moral choice is with absolute certainty. How are we going to know if she will be uncomfortable or happy with my flattery with absolute certainty? How can we measure the complex moral decisions we all have to progress through daily? You have committed your own fraud in stating that obvious objection; the one about compassionate impulses. That was truly laughable, a clear mistake which deliberates an ‘overgeneralization’ towards ‘Moral Health’, whatever moral health may be. Emotions, Intelligences, and Morality should not be limited by any quotient.

Can we make correct moral choices if we deduce every single possibility when making any choice, even to subconscious subtleties, of ethics?
Will resisting an impulse indefinitely provide a higher state of ethical standards?

Yes, note axiology and various quantifying methods.
All values can be quantified and be useful as a basis from continuous improvements provided we are well aware of its limits.

Note this point I posted in the other thread on the subject of an absolute moral standard as a guide for improvement [not be be enforced];

Point is Moral Absolutism [Morality -Pure] and Moral Relativism [Ethics -Applied] must complement each other for morality and ethics to be effective.

Good examples of the above are Pure and Applied Mathematics, Physics, Geometry or Chemistry, thus we can have Pure Moral and Applied Moral [Ethics].

So what we have here is objective [absolute] morality [theoretical and ideal] guiding subjective relative ethics in the applied practical world.

It is possible to implement your above ‘Hows’ through a process of continuous improvements against the absolute moral standards.

What is the absolute moral standard?
The absolute moral standard is the greatest moral standard than which not there is no greater. Such absolute [not absolutely absolute, nor ontological] standards can be worked at.

You may laugh at the above idea but in fact such a process is ongoing naturally but unfortunately it is beyond your observation, experience and ken at the moment.

Now for the above process to get on a continuous improvement trend, there must be a continual improvement and increase in all other intelligences of the average humans.
This meant that if the present average IQ of humanity is 100, then we need to improve it to say 110 and continuously improve it thereafter. All other average Quotients need to be improved and this is possible.
When all the relevant average quotients are increased progressively, then the average moral quotient will increase towards the [impossible to achieve] ideal moral standard.

To enable the above improvement process we must have some basic framework [never mind that it has limitations] to measure moral values and other subjective elements.

Concerning global civilization’s moral and physical health I thought that I would interject with this graph below. Would the world please rise and describe it’s sick or pain level currently collectively speaking of course… :laughing: :sunglasses:

Ah, if only it could…

If we follow this moral health thing to its final absurd or hilarious conclusion it would seem moral philosophers and authoritarians are the big pharma of morality. :wink: Get the joke or pun there? :sunglasses:

We’re in agreement.

Are you not finding fault in others when you say that they have poor ‘moral health’ or lower ‘moral health’?

Are you not saying that someone with high ‘moral health’ is superior to others with lower ‘moral health’?

In other words, isn’t your ‘moral health’ classification system unethical?


Yea. :slight_smile:

Greetings, Prismatic

Thank you for a very constructive response :exclamation:

I shall take your suggestions into serious consideration, and from your contribution I have learned of possible improvements to the concept I was putting forth. And, incidentally, in a book published in 1969, entitled SCIENCES OF MAN AND SOCIAL ETHICS, yours truly proposed the concept “HQ” which stood for “Humanity Quotient.” So you and I seem to think along the same lines.

Science measures everything; and ideas are to be measured by the Correspondence Theory of Truth, not merely by the Coherence Theory. The test is: Do our beliefs about ethics correspond with facts and with evidence? These days my project is to make a science out of Ethics, and I have witnessed some progress in this direction. Both Moral Psychology and Applied Formal Axiology are the experimental branches of this new science. …More about that later.

Also we have seen the advent of several versions of a Happiness Index, and a ‘Best Company to work for’ Index. Now, in four countries, there are many practitioners, coaches, and therapists who employ the H.V.P. in their work.

…Very encouraging developments.

Yes, at times impulse-control is the right way to go. Long-term studies of kindergarten kids who deferred eating immediately marshmallows offered them by Psychologists, in order to get more of them a little later, concluded that those kids were more successful in later life than those who could not control their urge to grab the available treats and scarf them down. Good parenting includes admonishing your child who, for example, gave in to an impulse to swipe something, or some money, it desired out of a lady’s purse, etc.

Have no fear, Artemus, I have no use for “health systems” either !!

And Hahaha - we are aware of the problem; we are seeking solutions. Be careful not to fall into the trap of cynicism. It accomplishes nothing.

I agree with you, and Shakespeare, that all the world’s a stage, and we are all players.

The Hartman/Katz model for Ethical Theory, when its analysis turns to Norms, as presented in BASIC ETHICS, p. 19 -
informs us that the Intrinsic norm is called by the scientists “the Obligatory Norm.”

It arises when an individual takes a Facultative Norm [a material interpretation of the formal statement] seriously and very personally (when the particular facultative norm in question is: human beings ought to be sincere, truthful, empathic, of good will, cooperative, friendly…) and one says to himself: “I intend to be that way!! I want with all my heart to be a person of good character, having those qualities mentioned. I want it intensely, and will do whatever it takes to achieve it !!!”

Ethics, the science, predicts that if an individual makes such a commitment he or she is more liable to be ethical than someone who does not. As is the case with the moral principles derived in this new paradigm, the model proposed, this prediction is a testable hypothesis which can, and already does, correspond with reality. There are no absolutes in science. As Einstein noted, “if it is certain, it is not science. If it is science, it is not certain.”

Those with a good score in the MQ, the Moral Quotient - in other words, those with moral wisdom, respect the findings of scientific Ethics, and keep posted on the latest research coming from its experimental branches.

Furthermore, they have humility. They would not ever think of themselves as somehow superior morally to someone else with a low score; for they are nonjudgmental when it comes to morality.

Comments? Questions?

They sound like saints. And that’s only with a ‘good’ MQ score.
I can’t even imagine the ones with a great score. :smiley:

Best way to increase the IQ is through altering someone’s DnA. Giving them seminars about morality ain’t gonna do anything.

Who said anything about" giving them seminars"?

In contrast, for more-effective alternatives, see pp. 17-21 of Living Well, the first pamphlet linked to below.

And in the selection listed second on the list of references, Ethics for the 21st Century, there also are several sections on how ethical knowledge may spread and be adopted, and eventually even become conventionally accepted as normalcy.

Also, FYI, phyllo, one doesn’t have to be a saint to have humility. Those who have it usually do not feel morally superior to others.

How do those two statements work together?

If you don’t feel morally superior are you not undervaluing yourself compared to another person? I mean it’s better to be morally healthy than to be morally unhealthy - right? If it isn’t better then why try to be morally healthy?

I believe Morality and Ethics [like religion] should be a personal and private matter. In that case there is no need to compare one self to others. What is needed is one should strive to continuously improve their Morality Quotient [MQ] which I think has a greater neural plasticity than IQ.

One point is when one start comparing one MQ, the state of comparison [low self-esteem] is a negative reduction on one MQ itself.

Whilst Morality and Ethics [like religion] should be a personal and private matter, what is public will be dealt within politics, legislature and the judiciary system.