Since the days of the first primitive tribes, we have tried to determine why one man is good and another evil. Mark Matousek arrives at the answer in Ethical Wisdom.
Contrary to what we've been taught in our reason-obsessed culture, emotions are the bedrock of ethical life; without them, human beings cannot be empathic, moral or good.
But how do we make the judgement call between self-interest and caring for others? What does being good really mean? Which parts of morality are biological, which ethical? When should instinct be trusted and when does it lead us into trouble? How can we know ourselves to be good amidst the hypocrisy, fears and sabotaging appetites that pervade our two-sided natures?
Drawing on the latest scientific research and interviews with social scientists, spiritual leaders, ex-cons, altruists and philosophers, Matousek examines morality from a scientific, sociological, and anthropological standpoint. Each chapter features a series of questions, readings, interviews, parables and anecdotes that zoom in on a particular niche of moral enquiry, making this book both utilitarian and fun.
Ethical Wisdom is an insightful and important book for readers crisscrossing their own murky moral terrain.
Mark Matousek is the award-winning author of two memoirs, Sex Death Enlightenment and The Boy He Left Behind. He is a contributing editor to O: The Oprah Magazine and writes for numerous publications such as the New York Times Magazine and Harper's Bazaar.