I think Peircean semiotics and Peirces postulate of a fundamental Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness to ontological reality can be associated with
three ways by which the human being - a biological dynamical object - is able to regulate its awareness, and that this ontological power derives from
the qualities of Firstness, Secondness and Thirdness.
The above picture is taken from the infamous Bank of America murals, and it seems like an apt description of what I mean by the morality of Firstness.
First of all, morality of firstness correlates with Peirces description of firstness as "pure feeling". This corresponds to any ideology that
situates temporal awareness pointedly on the now, and not on reflection of past or future selves which dialogically affect one another through affects
(as memory) and projective takes on the future.
A primary feature of any mind which evolves in terms of the morality of Firstness is narcissism and pridefulness, which can otherwise be described as
a robust identification with idealizations of strength and power (the primary value of firstness) and an effective denial (i.e. dissociation) of
self-representations present in the rhetoric of others.
This morality is itself a sort of artform. The self is fundamentally, at root, built by mirroring processes with others; identifications are
inevitable in interactions; identifications guide motivational processes. We thus are, in effect, constantly regurgitating our own relational
histories and the semiotic "coherencies" they hold for us - in all their nuanced particularities. Nothing, in fact, is outside the chain of cause
and effect. Only ignorant and arrogant minds which trick themselves into hiding from the fullness of the truth come to believe what sane minds see is
Yet, firstness is just this: an effective - though extremely entropic - dynamic which rigorously feeds of the life-force of the surrounding
environment. The vampire is a creature of firstness; to gain "supernatural power", he "forever" dysregulates his affective and interpersonal life;
self-sabotgage after self-sabotgage - the short term self at war with the long-term self. Firstness is the logic of the short term, the now, or what
Peirce also associates with "qualia". Qualia are feelings - this is Hollywood and the life of people who love pleasure and only pleasure - and
anything that is not pleasurable is interpreted as a function of an evil scheming demiurge who seeks to enslave human beings.
Because metaphysics - or, in fact, reality itself - really does admit different ontological zones of being and existence (according to Peircean
semiotics) that then means that the people who live within Firstness really do got a sort of existential-metaphysical reason for believing as they
believe, even if it necessarily implies the complete destruction of physical reality - hence, perhaps, Stephen Hawkings warnings to "get off the
planet". Hawkings logic is cynical and negative and disembodied. He is a profoundly inappropriate person to go turn to - or listen to when he
"speaks" - given that is operating from entirely different existential conditions from most human beings.
Humans can never really destroy Earth itself; but they, quite assuredly, kill of most of the biosphere as well as end human civilization, so long as
the morality of Firstness stays in place as it currently is in our postmodern era.
Finally, the morality of Firstness is mostly predicated in sexuality - and a conflating of love/care with sex. Asymmetrical relationships like
adult-child sexual relationships aren't properly recognized as wrong; and this becomes a big moral issue between themselves and their relations with
people in the other two categories.
Secondness is dissociative - just like firstness. Except the morality of secondness is really "caught up" in multiple competing identifications
which sometimes put them into a Firstness state of mind, and other times into a thirdness state of mind. Most people exist in this category, which is
associated by Peirce with Objects, or the fact that Pure Feeling becomes separated such that an object emerges on the other end, opposite, and in
opposition to Firstness.
Most religious people are examples of Secondness: good intentions, horribly dissociative and out-of-touch with what's actually happening in the now.
Fundamentally speaking, secondnessis objectifying, and so it corresponds to that basic human concept of "objectification": where we relate to other
people as "objects".
A corollary of Firstness is relating to people as objects, but they do this as a conscious commitment to Firstness as a way of being. Because of this,
only their experiences count - other people are "on their own", and so everyone becomes an object for the affect-regulation of the moral Firstness
of another persons functioning.
Secondness sees, but it is superficial and inconsistent. All religion is more or less this: superficial representations of reality which are based
purely in faith. This is not the "interior", or the mystical or theological, which attempts to explain and make sense of things at a higher level of
connection, but a cheap and superficial acceptance based within the insecurities of an existentially ignorant consciousness, relying on stories and
tales rather than dynamics, processes, and a sense of the "units" (part) and systems (whole) they exist within.
The logic of the morality of Thirdness is to recognize the unit - or process, dynamics, or events - which mediate two perspectives, or sides, so that
they form a "third" between them. The entirety of human consciousness is in itself a Thirdness (this would then mean that people in the Firstness
group express a Firstness at the level of conscious choice i.e. in interpersonal relationships, which is effectively dissociable from the dynamics of
bodily self-organization, which is always operating at multiple scales in terms of triads), in that it is the emergent product of an 'observing
function' which exists to mediate the bodies needs with the social world around it. Consciousness is a third which becomes entangled in yet a deeper
third: how it represents to itself - via philosophy, beliefs, and attitudes - what the nature of 'reality' is. Saying you know for certain; or you
know nothing for certain. Misrepresenting reality is perhaps infinite; only science allows a coherent or "apt" representation of the outside or
inside process being described (and based on empirical evidence as well).
In interpersonal relationships, as I have shown before, shame is that outside element which constrains and undermines the coherence of your sense of
selfhood: you are shown to be limited by the power of shame. Therefore shame refers to the largest structure which the individual human personality is
ultimately in service towards: the social context of families and communities. Michael Tomasello has described this condition as
"shared-intentionality", and it would seem to me that human phenomenology more or less functions according to an affective psychodynamical logic
which compels human minds to "acknowledge the perspective of the Other", by inflicting on us experiences of shame.