The Ethical Mindset

The Ethical Mindset

The concept of “ethical mindset” grew out of Jessica Benjamin’s “moral third.” Developed by relational psychotherapist and peace activist Irris Singer (and her merry band), this is a multi-stage guided process designed to help in stepping out of denial, overcoming perpetrator/victim identities, diminishing trauma and ending violence. This denial refers to the mental roadblocks that prevent us from acknowledging the irreducible humanity of certain others and experiencing empathy for their concerns. In stepping out of denial we must recognize the “otherness” of the other and overcome whatever resistance we may find in ourselves to disqualify difference. The opposite of denial may be compared to the fundamental act of hospitality, the offering of shelter to a stranger. The acceptance of an “otherness” that poses no threat to the identity of the host strengthens both host and stranger, affirming the freedom and authenticity of each in a reciprocal act that transcends the limited perspective of either. The “ethical mindset” concerns the systematic attention to the ethics of reciprocity and intersubjectivity built upon this notion of hospitality.

The Moral Third

The Moral Third

Relational psychoanalyst Jessica Benjamin uses the term “moral third” in the context of dispute resolution to mean a space where “opponents can intersubjectively listen to each other’s stories and feel what each other feel, while retaining their own identities. To accomplish this goal the dialogue leader facilitates the empathic connection between human beings, their ability to listen to one another and feel, hear and recognize the other”. The development of this connection builds on the individuals’ moral sense.