I believe in three core ideals, central for human positive development. These ideals are compassion, discipline and rationality. Cultivating these ideals should lead to a better life. In my research, i try to define compassion, discipline and rationality in greater detail. I also test the theory if these attributes leads to a better life.
Note that all three core ideals are required to perform a rewarding act. If one is lacking, there will be serious problems in our development. The ideals are also hierarchical. Compassion should influence both disciplinary and rational acts.
I do not want everyone to be the same. I do not wish that everyone are buddhist supermonks that are masters of these ideals. But I do wish that our society try and cultivate these ideals to a greater extent than done today. They are vital, and our development, whatever direction we have chosen, will benefit from these ideals.
It is difficult to measure compassion, discipline and rationality. Everyone WANTS to be compassionate, disciplined and rational. Subjective scales might be biased with wishful thinking.
Virtue Theory is also relevant, and I think it is possible to categorize these virtues into the three core ideals:
Wisdom and Knowledge: creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness, love of learning, perspective, innovation
Courage: bravery, persistence, integrity, vitality
Humanity: love, kindness, social intelligence
Justice: citizenship, fairness, leadership
Temperance: forgiveness and mercy, humility, prudence, self control
Transcendence: appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality
It would also be very interesting to correlate these ideals with brain activity, to identify active brain areas. If the areas are in the same place, or if they are seperate.
Well… this will be future research, but it influence my thinking very much.