It seems, from social psychology, that people want to be respected and that they consider us good people, not bad ones.
However, we also have a minimum of functional moral aspiration: that is, if it seems that others already consider us morally faultless, then we will strive a little less to be.
Abundant in this concept of social psychology Simone Schnall, in the book Good ideas:
In other words, when I am convinced that I am a good person, I consider myself satisfied and leave it there, while if I feel inferior in the moral plane I will want to help others and do good. The idea that people want to reach this moral balance and stay together in it, neither above nor below, has very important implications and can explain why people do good things, why they don't do them, why they do bad things , etc. As I said before, this starts from the idea that while we think that our actions and thoughts have a rational origin, they are basically due to factors that we are not even aware of.
Abound in it Julian Baggini in his book The complaint:
Empathy, for example, is finite enough in human beings that we can predict with a certain degree of certainty that, on average, people will tend to watch more for themselves and their close friends than for strangers. But the existence of that empathy also means that eradicating all feelings towards strangers, although feasible in the short term, will never be universal or permanent. They believe in the infinite malleability of human nature and can imagine a future community utopia, but that will also leave the doors open to the possibility of a fascist and racist future.
(I will not stop in the matter of describing what is selfish behavior and what is altruistic or collaborative behavior, because by ignoring the ultimate intentions of such behavior we cannot say with certainty which is which: it would give for another article).
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