Analysis Of Acting Cooperatively By J. Glenn Gray

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On the other hand, acting cooperatively does not only protect, but can also enrich our lives. To echo World War II veteran J. Glenn Gray, “many veterans who are honest with themselves will admit, I believe, that the experience of communal effort in battle, even under the altered conditions of modern war, has been a high point in their lives” feeling “earnest and gay at such moments […] liberated from [their] individual impotence and […] drunk with the power that union with [their] fellows brings” (44;45). Perhaps the attractiveness of community and cooperation stems from its central role in our survival. However, it also facilitates acting in a manner that reflects positive moral principles. Gray proceeds to describe that there exists a “willingness…show more content…
The generalized nature of Gray’s description points to the conclusion that we act cooperatively as an intrinsic part of our common humanity and furthermore, that such behavior can be interpreted as a deed that recognizes our own limited and small position and rather seeks to protect humanity in a larger framework. In other words, we consistently act in a manner that chooses to preserve life and because the preservation of life associates with the maximization of good, our deeds may be falsely interpreted as purely…show more content…
The two extremes of our behavior, in which we may self-sacrifice, but may also take the lives of others, demonstrate our highly mixed nature. However, with the exception of “moral monsters”, most of our sinfulness rests on “unchosen evil” facilitated precisely by our human nature (Kekes 84; 66). Philosopher David Livingstone Smith identities authorization as a necessary condition for behavior contrary to our need for cooperation (127-26). When “persons in positions of authority endorse acts of violence, the perpetrator is less inclined to feel personally responsible, and therefore less guilty in performing them” (Smith 127). Stanley Milgram’s “Obedience to Authority” experiment, in which subjects delivered shocks to another person despite hearing and even seeing the suffering they were inflicting, confirms this phenomenon. When interviewed afterwards, Milgram’s subjects expressed sentiment that they did not want to continue with the experiment, but they firmly believed such decision was not up to them (Lecture 9.28.2016). Participants’ autonomy became corrupted acted in response to the powerful cultural values of loyalty, “obedience, and discipline” which often “count for more […] than individual conscience and private morality” (Gray

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