Why forwarded messages on ethics and morality fail to improve us?

The flood of forwarded messages on ethics and morality, often containing quotes attributed to great people, poets, philosophers, religious figures are reaching us daily through social media. However, this raises a critical question about their success (effectiveness) in improving our behavior morally and ethically. While reading these messages receive a lot of time daily, their impact on transforming our society remains surprisingly limited. In this reflection, let’s see why these forwarded messages fail to instigate significant change in us.
1. Lack of Curiosity and Processing: Forwarded messages, especially those on ethics and morality, often go unread or are skimmed through without much thought. The primary reason for this lack of engagement is our failure to approach these messages with curiosity. The human mind, when uninterested, tends to dismiss information without processing it. To enhance the impact of these messages, a mindset of curiosity is necessary that encourages people to examine deeper into the information provided in forward messages.
The disconnect arises when we read these messages without relating them to our ‘personal’ queries or experiences. Without connecting the wisdom in the social media posts/messages with their internal issues, profound understanding and appreciation of the messages is not possible. For a significant change, individuals must be prompted to think how these ethical teachings align with their own lives.
2. Externalization of Responsibility: A common tendency while reading these messages is to externalize their relevance by thinking, “Others should understand this.” This externalization of responsibility hinders personal growth and transformation. Instead, individuals should internalize the message, reflecting on how they can implement these teachings in their own lives, rather than shifting the burden of understanding onto others.
3. Justification of Actions: Often, when facing ethical and preaching related messages, individuals compare the message with actions of others rather themselves. Thus it becomes a tool for self-justification rather than a mechanism for personal improvement. Shifting the focus from others to oneself can break this cycle, encouraging individuals to embrace self-reflection and acknowledge areas for personal development.
4. Timing and Psychological Preparedness: The human psyche and biological self undergo a continuous process of adaptation and adjustment. Reading forwarded messages on ethics and morality might not be as impactful if received without prior psychological preparation. The timing of such messages is crucial. To maximize their influence, individuals should be open to education, training, or counseling, ensuring that they are receptive to ethical teachings in a state of psychological readiness.
5. Integration into Subconscious Programming: For ethical and moral messages to have a lasting impact, they need to penetrate the subconscious and become integral parts of our programming. However, the constant flood of information and the ongoing adjustment of previously received irrelevant messages, videos, or images pose a challenge. Encouraging repetition, reflection, and practical application of ethical teachings can facilitate their integration into the subconscious, making them more likely to shape behavior.