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Are we all suffering from 'ethical amnesia' ?

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A new study suggests that our brains may deliberately muddle up or forget memories of immoral acts.

The research, which was published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involved 2,109 volunteers who were asked to take part in nine experiments.

Read More: http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/news/294765/are-we-all-suffering-from-ethical-amnesia

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jarjarbinks

Lawyer/politicians syndrome

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Nnicolette

Ah so there is a reason my ex husband cant recall well the bulk of reality (besides drugs). I used to argue all day trying to convince oblivious people of what they said or did but perhaps it really was forgotten.

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Not Your Huckleberry

I think this article is a load of crap, myself. Unless severely impaired, I find it hard to believe that people just "forget" unethical behavior. They may choose to deny it or never acknowledge it their entire lives, but they don't actually forget it.

Then again, there are people so immoral out there that they'd just as soon forget ruining someone's life as quickly as they would forget calling a friend on their birthday.

Edited by Not Your Huckleberry

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ChaosRose

Lawyer/politicians syndrome

Gives new meaning to, "I have no recollection of that."

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ChaosRose

I think this article is a load of crap, myself. Unless severely impaired, I find it hard to believe that people just "forget" unethical behavior. They may choose to deny it or never acknowledge it their entire lives, but they don't actually forget it.

Then again, there are people so immoral out there that they'd just as soon forget ruining someone's life as quickly as they would forget calling a friend on their birthday.

I think it could be true. I mean, we know that people who have experienced severe trauma can actually block memories of it. If it causes enough discomfort to think about something bad they have done, I can see it getting all hazy when they try to recall it.

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Not Your Huckleberry

I think it could be true. I mean, we know that people who have experienced severe trauma can actually block memories of it. If it causes enough discomfort to think about something bad they have done, I can see it getting all hazy when they try to recall it.

I thought about that, too, "screen memories."

People that have been psychologically and physically/sexually abused, especially as kids, often manufacture their own memories to cover up the trauma. Makes sense that the perpetrator might do the same.

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pallidin

I was sexually abused as a child, and I remember everything.

Can see, though, how some victims and circumstances would cause a "burying" of memories.

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grimsituation6

Hell yes, and some people have trouble forgetting, in come drugs

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universal skeptic

I call it "selective" memory.

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Chortle

Did they even give consideration to the fact that people may simply not want to talk about, or be evasive towards unethical behaviours? They could have undertaken a similar high profile study in the uk recently over the selective memory of UK politicians when completing expenses forms.

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paperdyer

If you are caught doing the act, I'd think you'd have a better chance of remembering it.  Also immoral in one person's eyes may not be immoral in another.

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BeastieRunner

Definition is key here.

What might be immoral to me might not be immoral to another. Vice versa, too.

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jmccr8

I don't know people are taught family, business, social, friend and a variety of other ethics that should be founded on a firm and broad base. I see myself with one ethic with many aspects, (similar to my physical self that has many abilities), and use different tools to achieve a positive end in each circumstance that I encounter.

 

jmccr8

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Frank Merton
On 5/22/2016 at 11:08 PM, Not Your Huckleberry said:

I think this article is a load of crap, myself. Unless severely impaired, I find it hard to believe that people just "forget" unethical behavior. They may choose to deny it or never acknowledge it their entire lives, but they don't actually forget it.

Then again, there are people so immoral out there that they'd just as soon forget ruining someone's life as quickly as they would forget calling a friend on their birthday.

Strongly disagree.  People do that all the time.  They just flat-out forget things they don't like themselves about.  It's a self-illusion that we are mostly or basically "good" people.

What is worse is that we justify prejudice and bigotry and self-indulgence and hurting others with custom or religion or culture or the general behavior of the public.  We need to develop a set of ethical principles mindfully, and then live by them, if we are sincere in trying to be good people.

 

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Grandpa Greenman

The older I get the harder it is to remember things.  It is like, if I am to remember something new something has to go. Might as well be something I would rather forget that I have done.  No long ago one of the my kids brought up something I don't remember doing. I ask if I was drunk at the time, he no it was one of your a**hole days.  I really like how he put that, because it is true, we all have those days.   When you have kids you don't have work at remembering the stupid stuff you do, they will remember it for you.   ;)    

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ChaosRose

I think it would only work on people with an actual conscience. Sociopaths could probably remember everything they did very clearly. 

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Katzenking

People are different. Some don't care what they say or do and seem to have forgotten it minutes later.
I recall almost everything and for too long, this feels like a curse sometimes.

 

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Frank Merton
2 minutes ago, Katzenking said:

People are different. Some don't care what they say or do and seem to have forgotten it minutes later.

I recall almost everything and for too long, this feels like a curse sometimes.

 

This is so true.  I think to be both rational and happy, one has to forgive not just everyone else but also oneself.  Even "forgive" is too weak a word.  Overlook it all is better when it comes to others.  When it comes to ourselves, maybe it is good to be a little more strict. 

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AustinHinton
On ‎5‎/‎24‎/‎2016 at 6:00 AM, Frank Merton said:

Strongly disagree.  People do that all the time.  They just flat-out forget things they don't like themselves about.  It's a self-illusion that we are mostly or basically "good" people.

What is worse is that we justify prejudice and bigotry and self-indulgence and hurting others with custom or religion or culture or the general behavior of the public.  We need to develop a set of ethical principles mindfully, and then live by them, if we are sincere in trying to be good people.

 

Sounds like the Veneer theory if you ask me. The Veneer theory is that all humankind is naturally, at our core, nothing more than amoral, vicious animals. And it is to the Church and the School to drill principals and morals into us, least we succumb to our beastal urges. Thus morality is little more than a thin  veneer (layer) atop an animalistic and brutal body. And those who are not "placed on the right path" by the Church and the school will become rapists/murders/killers etc, because that is human nature.

The Veneer theory lost steam many years ago (aside from a few holdouts), and I am glad for that. Because if you ask me, that theory is complete bunk! Humans are not pre-disposed to being amoral creatures. Behavioral studies of many species have show compassion, kindness and cooperation among species traditionally thought to be nothing but savage killers. This, I feel, punches the biggest hole in the Veneer Theory, which relies on nature being a slaughterfest rife with amoral animals.

Are humans capable of amoral actions? Yes, just like every species. But do we need a guiding hand (the church, school) to teach us how to be moral? No, of course not. At least that's what I think. ^_^

 

 

 

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Podo

Ethics are all subjective anyway, so forgetting "ethical" breaches could be perfectly logical if something perceived as unethical by an observer is not unethical to the perpetrator.

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Frank Merton
7 hours ago, AustinHinton said:

Sounds like the Veneer theory if you ask me. The Veneer theory is that all humankind is naturally, at our core, nothing more than amoral, vicious animals. And it is to the Church and the School to drill principals and morals into us, least we succumb to our beastal urges. Thus morality is little more than a thin  veneer (layer) atop an animalistic and brutal body. And those who are not "placed on the right path" by the Church and the school will become rapists/murders/killers etc, because that is human nature.

The Veneer theory lost steam many years ago (aside from a few holdouts), and I am glad for that. Because if you ask me, that theory is complete bunk! Humans are not pre-disposed to being amoral creatures. Behavioral studies of many species have show compassion, kindness and cooperation among species traditionally thought to be nothing but savage killers. This, I feel, punches the biggest hole in the Veneer Theory, which relies on nature being a slaughterfest rife with amoral animals.

Are humans capable of amoral actions? Yes, just like every species. But do we need a guiding hand (the church, school) to teach us how to be moral? No, of course not. At least that's what I think. ^_^

Well, no, it is not the Veneer theory and your assertion is a bit insulting and certainly puts words in my mouth.  If people were really like that they would have no reason to "forget" their ethical lapses.

Nevertheless, what we think is right ain't necessarily.  It is a case of one plus one equals twenty.  

 

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Frank Merton
4 hours ago, Podo said:

Ethics are all subjective anyway, so forgetting "ethical" breaches could be perfectly logical if something perceived as unethical by an observer is not unethical to the perpetrator.

I don't think so, but I appreciate your giving me the chance to say why.  It is true there are no ethical absolutes (meaning it is always possible to invent a scenario where one would be morally obliged to break any ethical rule you might normally observe), but thinking ethical people will agree on the exceptions.

I think we have to "mindfully" (I borrow a Buddhist term and that is the best translation I have) work out our ethical system.  Not too different from starting from axioms and deriving theorems, the axioms being our general principles and the theorems being decisions in specific situations.  In other words, think about it rationally, ignoring custom, religion, authority, even the law, in deciding how to behave ethically.  Mainly ignore one's feelings (aka "conscience") as that is nothing more than cultural indoctrination that happened when we were children.

Even then one never gets absolute answers -- there is always a judgment factor involved, and I use "minimize harm" for my tie-breaker.

 

 

 

 

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AustinHinton
17 minutes ago, Frank Merton said:

Well, no, it is not the Veneer theory and your assertion is a bit insulting and certainly puts words in my mouth.  If people were really like that they would have no reason to "forget" their ethical lapses.

Nevertheless, what we think is right ain't necessarily.  It is a case of one plus one equals twenty.  

 

I'm sorry! I didn't mean to be insuling! :o

 

But I stand by my word that we don't need a Church to tell us what's right and moral. 

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Frank Merton
Just now, AustinHinton said:

I'm sorry! I didn't mean to be insuling! :o

 

But I stand by my word that we don't need a Church to tell us what's right and moral. 

Oh I agree.  The Churches seem, at least in my experience, to leads us the wrong way far too often.

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