The widely respected social philosopher embarks on his most gripping and broadly appealing work, asking the ultimate question of human nature: Why do we repeatedly violate our most deeply held values and beliefs?
After nearly forty years of weighing humanity's deepest dilemmas-working in settings ranging from university and high school classrooms to corporate offices and hospitals-bestselling author, philosopher, and religious scholar Jacob Needleman presents the most urgent, deeply felt, and widely accessible work of his career.
In Why Can't We Be Good? Needleman identifies the core problem that therapists and social philosophers fail to see. He depicts the individual human as a being who knows what is good, yet who remains mysteriously helpless to innerly adopt the ethical, moral, and religious ideas that are bequeathed to him.
Most people have a intrinsic desire to do good rather than evil, yet\t\t all humans fail in perplexing ways to do good. Needleman's titular question has\t\t haunted philosophers and religious thinkers since Socrates. Needleman,\t\t professor of philosophy at San Francisco State and popular author of\t\t Lost Christianity, offers his eloquent and\t\t entertaining thoughts about why humans are such flops at goodness. He draws on\t\t a wide range of philosophers, religious thinkers and psychologists "from\t\t Socrates to Buddha to Rabbi Hillel "and discovers that our inability to be\t\t good is simple: humans are creatures of choice, and our freedom allows us to\t\t make bad choices as well as good ones. This freedom, however, is also "the\t\t freedom to love and act justly toward man." Using exercises from his own\t\t classes, Needleman suggests that the practice of attending to the\t\t other "listening carefully, repeating what the other person has said to ensure\t\t an accurate hearing "moves us a long way toward achieving the good. Though\t\t Needleman's answer to this age-old question about goodness is no more\t\t satisfying or original than any other, his lively prose, storytelling skills\t\t and lucid insights draw us into an animated conversation with a brilliant\t\t teacher.