Morality Turns Us Outward

“What makes morality so fundamental to our humanity is that it turns us outward. As Plato, Adam Smith and Iris Murdoch intimated in their different ways, the pursuit of the right and the good is not about self but about the process of unselfing, of seeing the world for what it is, not for what we feel or fear it to be, and responding to it appropriately. Morality is precisely un-self-help. It is about strengthening our relationships with others, responding to their needs, listening to them, not insisting that they listen to us, and about being open to others, sometimes experiencing the miracle that just as you are about to give up and go under for the last time, a hand reaches out and pulls you to safety and the rest of your life becomes a gift for which you thank God every day.”

Morality, Chapter 2, p. 48