I had a professor in a Bible as Literature class ask a classmate, on the first day, “Do you believe in angels?” She answered, “Yes,” and he uttered the most wonderful retort. He said, “I do too,” and he went on to explain that on several occasions a stranger swooped in and affected his life profoundly, never to return. “Isn’t that what angels are?” he asked the whole class. The idea of someone entering your life changing you for the better and then disappearing, is a fairly familiar one in most of our lives. What does this comparison to Bible stories and everyday life really display?
In my opinion, and I believe that the data backs me up, the effect of any one individual on another’s life might be the most important factor in social behavior. There is no denying that there are certain influences in that contribute to well being. The feeling of being loved, or security are among the most important. An infant that is never touched or cared for would die. There is another idea that comes out of this which is: an infant, even if fed by a machine that assured that nourishment will be met, does not equate to that child becoming a well adjusted and secure human. That primate child needs the care of other primates from the first moments of its life to the last. If that child is harmed,or if its primary care givers are subject to witnessed violence and/or death, the overwhelming data shows that there is an exponentially higher chance of that child eventually becoming a sociopath. There is a simple explanation to why the data is so pervasive. There is a science to morality.
Here is an article that gives the opinions of some of the leading experts in this growing new field: http://www.edge.org/events/the-new-science-of-morality. This article gives a wonderful introduction for those that cannot imagine a “science of morality,” and surprisingly enough that is what I hear most when opening up the subject for discussion. My neighbor graduated with a Bachelors in Food Science this semester, and he looked at me as though I was a mad man when I even brought it up a few hours ago at his graduation celebration. The evidence seems so clear to me, but I expect some pundits, not landslide denial of the possibility. This was caused by my failure to see how imbedded resistance to the idea was. After all, the philosophical and religious minds have been dominating the subject for so long now, it is hard to imagine being able to a word. Yet, here science is again, proving no subject that data can be collected on, should be exempt from scientific scrutiny. Science seems the perfect platform for morality to be tested upon. Finding the closest to accurate design for human happiness should be of the utmost importance to all of mankind.
Too long now religious, financial, and political models for the conformity of what they want happiness to be must be examined and questioned. Why should we even think of ourselves as consumers or democrats? There is no data to suggest that the greatest possible happiness lies anywhere in these ideals. What the data does point to is a change.
A change in attitude about morality needs to come, sooner rather than later. We must change in our businesses, communities, family, and peers. The more peers the better. Who want’s to listen to family and neighbors all of the time? Nobody. Peers on the other hand, homies, are a person’s greatest asset when we can open up to them. One acquires peers via mutual respect. Not to say that you should agree with every peer, but realizing that even the simplest peers can have original thoughts and change your life needs to be a lens always used. Because in this view, angels are lurking everywhere.