Morality as aesthetics?

This is not about some information technology or the nature of some media, but I found this interesting column by David Brooks on New York Times, which, after illustrating some of the latest scientific discoveries on how our brains work, reads:

Think of what happens when you put a new food into your mouth. You don’t have to decide if it’s disgusting. You just know. You don’t have to decide if a landscape is beautiful. You just know.
Moral judgments are like that. They are rapid intuitive decisions and involve the emotion-processing parts of the brain. Most of us make snap moral judgments about what feels fair or not, or what feels good or not. We start doing this when we are babies, before we have language. And even as adults, we often can’t explain to ourselves why something feels wrong.

The column quotes some of the most prominent scientists like Steven Quartz or Jonathan Hardt who explain that our brains value things around us every moment while they are awake. This behavior of seeing and judging things, according to the column, is a combined process, and extends over (conceivably) complicated processes such as ethical decisions. In other words, our interpretation and decision on what feels right or wrong resembles what we like and find pleasing, far more closer than we’d like to believe.

This somehow iterates one of my unspoken convictions in a different way. Somehow over the years I have begun to believe that emotions lead you to the ultimate goal (as they say, “stay true to your heart” or “listen to yourself”) while rational judgment provides the most efficient and shortest path to that goal. It could even be said that emotions grant values, hence meanings to things, although rational thinking may garnish them with certain definitions and details. It is, after all, somewhat relieving that two major parts of what we are, presumably rationality and emotions, are not contradictory but instead mutually complementary in more ways than we have known.


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