morality | January 27, 2013

Eyal Press: Navigating Today's Moral Dilemmas [VIDEO]

What is it that causes some of us to stick to our conscience, even in the face of punishment? Eyal Press, the author of Beautiful Souls: The Courage and Conscience of Ordinary People discusses how we compartmentalize ethical concerns in a new interview. An exclusive Lavin speaker, Press explains that we often become aware of modern ethical conflicts but then shrug them off. "It's so easy to see a news report and then just kind of go on in our lives," he tells us in the interview. We will read or watch something about a big issue, such as climate change, without thinking critically about it or doing anything to help the situation.

While we know that something is terribly wrong, life tends to get in the way of us spending an extended period of time thinking about the issue. We have a dinner to make or a flight to book and lose sight of the ethical dilemmas we are faced with daily. The easy conversation to have is one about the conflicts of the past, he adds. We are able to discuss and predict what we would have done during a genocide from 50 years ago, for example, but we often neglect to ask ourselves: "What do I do today, given the world that I live in?" Press explains that this illustrates how the most threatening things to our lifestyle are abstract or hidden. We know they exist, but we put other concerns at the forefront of our thought process.

Press is an award-winning journalist and writer who speaks to the way we navigate issues of morality. His talks land at the intersection of politics and morality, and he has discussed everything from the highly controversial Israeli-Palestinian conflict to urban poverty. His subject matter is dramatic and eye-opening, and he asks audiences to question how their own moral compass operates—and what that means to society as a whole.

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