This Month’s Book Recommendation by Paula McCormack, VP
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion
by Jonathan Haidt
Vintage; Illustrated edition (February 12, 2013) 528 Pages
“Politics and religion are both expressions of our underlying moral psychology, and an understanding of that psychology can help to bring people together.” (Haidt) Jonathan Haidt is a social scientist who researches moral psychology, and this book, his latest, invites serious study and discussion (remember highlighting, note-taking, thinking deeply and reviewing it all? Get ready!)
However daunting that may sound, Haidt’s writing style is engaging, accessible and endlessly fascinating. He provides summaries after each chapter, recognizing the depth and complexity of what he’s covered. For instance, have you ever tried to analyze an ethical dilemma rationally, and found that you still have a “gut” sense of something being wrong or immoral, despite reason to the contrary? Have you been flummoxed by how liberals and conservatives can view the same event so differently? What framework informs our moral judgments? How does our righteousness create blindspots that we can’t imagine having? And, in a broader sense, what factors constitute the “glue” that allows some societies/groups to flourish, while others fail?
Whoa. This book is well worth reading (and studying!) for anyone who is “ready to trade in anger for understanding” (cover blurb). Jonathan Haidt clearly adds to our understanding of the predicament of polarity in which we find ourselves these days.