The spectrum of moral development ranges from predator to parent. There are people who see all relationships in terms of Predator and Prey. There are other people who behave rationally. They still seek to use other people like predators do but they don’t destroy them. They form pack relationships. For many people the highest level of moral development is a partner relationship. Partners do not prey on partners, not even a little bit. The highest morals is to treat other people as if they are genetic offspring. That is a parent relationship. In the animal world, parents provide what it takes for their offspring to survive and thrive. They feed them and teach them life skills. The only reward they expect from their offspring is that they go on to survive and thrive themselves. To treat all other humans this way is the highest level of moral development.
Predators do not need much explanation. They are dangerous and will eat you if they get a chance. Criminals are overt predators. They will kill and steal. The more civilized the pack the more predators will hide their predatory nature. They still will eat you metaphorically. They don’t shorten your life by 40 or 50 or 60 years by killing you. They shorten your life by deceiving you into using your life for their purposes. They kill your life an hour or a year at a time. They steal from you by deceiving you into unfair exchanges that they know to be unfair. They see other people as prey. Prey are usually weaker in some way. They may be less intelligent then their predators but not always. They may also be timid or trusting. A great source of prey are people who have been taught to be trusting because not being trusting is bad. Young people are also a great source of prey because there is so much they don’t know yet.
Packs: People who you cooperate with, are in your pack. Packs have both predator and prey together. The stronger still get the best of the relationship but the weaker benefit too. The company that you work for is a pack. The really smart and skilled get the most benefit from the pack but the less skilled benefit too. Most people are better off working at a low paying job then they are being self-employed. When you buy something you are forming a pack relationship. Both benefit from the exchange. Who benefits the most depends on how smart each person is and how predatory they choose to be. Nations are very large packs.
Partners are people with whom you have a reciprocal relationship. Partners work together for mutual benefit like a pack but there is no internal predation. The stronger doesn’t prey on the weaker. The term sidekick comes from two person packs. The stronger can kick the weaker anytime he wants and the weaker takes it because his life is still better being in a pack with a stronger person. Partnerships are egalitarian. To partners you are always careful to give as good as you get. Give too much to a partner and they become a predator and you become the prey. Take too much and you are the predator and they are the prey. It may feel good for awhile but you lose an partner. Partners are too valuable to lose that way. Partners are valuable because they give credit. A partner will respond generously to your need today in expectation of being generously paid back in the future, sometimes the far future. Strong partnerships are the key to surviving and thriving.
Parents: In the animal world the only living things that an animal will give to and not expect a return is its own offspring. Even then, the return is in the form of carrying on the parents DNA. In the human world the attitude towards children runs the full gamut. There are parents who see their own children as a resource to be exploited. There are people who are dangerous predators to adults who see all children, even children who are not related to them, as off limits. There are older adults who will put younger adults into the category of honorary child. They may even call the younger adult son or daughter and give to them and not expect a return, not even a genetic one. The highest level of moral development is to treat all people the way a parent treats their own offspring.