The Dispersion of Moral Energies

Humans have long been, and remain, deeply attached to morality. Even confirmed criminals will routinely say things like “That ain’t right,” which is purely a moral judgment.

This focus on morality holds firm across the panorama of human of life. Examine any workplace and you’ll find a long stream of moral judgments: “He didn’t treat me right,” “She’s arrogant,” “That’s a man you can respect,” and so on.

This moral focus of ours is a good thing, and says a great deal good about us. That said, we’ve allowed our moral energies to be wasted. And the crucial aspect of this isn’t that our moral energies have been suppressed (though that sometimes happens), but that they’ve been dispersed; so widely dispersed that they are often of no use at all. 

Here’s the problem in a nutshell:

Humans have limited amounts of energy, and that includes energy for willpower and moral concerns. Disperse them and there’s insufficient energy for the important uses.

This is precisely what has been happening to us, and especially to people who spend their time on TV and social media.

Their are many systems in this world which can only endure if insulated from moral scrutiny. That’s something of a frightening fact, but it remains a fact. 

And so, this is a natural consequence:

Systems that would lose legitimacy if held to clear moral standards (like the Golden Rule) must redirect the moral energies of the populace into non-threatening directions.

If what you want requires that people don’t turn a moral eye toward you, it’s best to spread their moral energies every which way, so that they don’t have much left in reserve. (Naked suppression backfires over time.) 

The internal energies of a mainstream couple, for example, are almost fully directed away from serious moral issues. This couple likely devotes their emotional and moral strength toward whatever terror is in the news that day, to sports teams, to hating one or the other political party, to complaints about all the small moral failures they saw that day, and so on. After all that, they’re simply tired; it easier to spit out a slogan and roll into bed. 

And so the morally questionable entities of this planet have learned to disperse moral energies, leaving people too depleted to focus.  


It’s important to understand that we (all normal humans, as best I can tell) were born vulnerable to this. We are easy marks for anyone who uses our attachment to morality as a tool.

We need to recognize this.

Our moral energies are precious; we must direct them to where they matter, and not be tricked into throwing them every which way. 


Paul Rosenberg

One thought on “The Dispersion of Moral Energies”

  1. Right on. Every human must develop a philosophy to guide one in one’s everyday life. All religions are philosophies but not all philosophies are religions. Each philosophy, and therefore each religion, has 5 branches as follows: First is metaphysics, which is the study of the origin and nature of existence. It answers the question, “What is?” Second is epistemology, the study of the nature, methods and limits of knowledge. It answers the questions, “What can I know? How can I know it? and What can’t I know?” The third branch of each person’s philosophy is politics, the study and practice of proper human relationships. It answers the question, “How should I relate with all other human beings?” The fourth branch of everyone’s philosophy is ethics, morality, the study of the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. It answers the question, “What should I do?” And the fifth branch is aesthetics, the study of the role of beauty in one’s life. It answers the question, “What should I value?” Everyone’s philosophy differs slightly from everyone else’s and everyone’s philosophy is in constant change and development as one learns. All the branches of one’s philosophy are under constant pressure to change. It’s necessary to choose a philosophy consistent with human nature and the closest to it I have found is Objectivism developed by philosopher Ayn Rand.

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