The final term of the school year started this week, and so I had my Ethics class today for the first time since 4 weeks ago (I missed the last week before the holidays due to the ISO Photography meeting). Fortunately I remembered all the kids’ names! We’re on a new topic, which they actually started non the week I was away, with a substitute teacher. This one builds on the destiny and fate stuff we did a while back, and poses the question of whether people are morally responsible for all of their actions, or whether their actions are caused by their circumstances.
Today’s lesson concentrated on whether everything has a cause, or if some things just happen for no reason whatsoever. An example: when you feel angry, is it because something happened that made you angry, or do you just get angry for no reason? And similarly for feeling happy. I asked the kids to think of some time when they were angry, and if there was something that made them feel that way. The ones who I called on had clear examples of events that made them angry.
I then asked if you can change how you feel just by thinking about your feelings. Can you make yourself feel happy? They said yes, if you think happy thoughts, or about something you like. Then I asked if something caused you to be happy. They identified that, in this case, the fact that you were thinking about something nice was the cause that made you happy. It’s not an external event, but it’s still a cause.
By now the kids were going along with the idea that pretty much everything that happens has a cause. So we moved onto whether the decisions you make have a cause. If you’re choosing between a ham sandwich and a salad sandwich, and you kind of want the ham, but you remember a lesson on healthy eating and that the salad will be healthier, so you choose that – was your decision caused by something? Or did you just decide without any sort of cause?
The path through the questioning leads the kids to the answer that your decision is caused by the health lesson you had. They then expanded on this in a very insightful way: one of them said that this means any decision you make is probably caused by things that have happened to you, either recently, or while you were growing up. Maybe if you grew up really liking ham, you would have ignored the healthy salad and chosen the ham sandwich, but that decision too has a cause.
That was the end of the lesson, but it’s approaching the question we’ll be looking at next week. If all our decisions are caused by events in our lives, should we be held responsible for those decisions? It should be interesting.
In other news, I got my first Etsy shop order from overseas! I thought I’d go to the local office supply place to get a bulk pack of envelopes large enough to mail my greeting cards in, to save money on those, but the website said they were out of stock, and I couldn’t get them before about 5 November!! So I ordered a box, but it’ll take 3-4 weeks to arrive. In the meantime I’ll have to keep buying expensive envelopes to mail orders out.
New content today: