Cooking leftovers, a new Ethics class, and one less Ethics class

Today I did some housework, vacuuming and then refreshing all of the damp absorbers in the wardrobes and storage chests. Sydney is a humid place to live, and we use damp absorbers with calcium chloride crystals to avoid problems with mould.

I had my first lesson in a new timeslot for online ethics classes, at 5pm today. My other three classes are all either full or close to full, so I listed a new timeslot just last week, and by the time it started today I had two new students signed up. Unfortunately one had connection problems and dropped out after a few minutes, but I had a very good class with the remaining student.

We discussed stealing, and I presented a range of scenarios. One began with imagining a lemon tree inside someone’s property, but close enough to the fence that you could reach through and pick a lemon. Is doing so stealing? (The girl said yes.) What if everyone in the neighbourhood knows the people who own the house never use the lemons, they just let them fall off the tree and rot – would it still be stealing? (Yes.) What if one fell off and was sitting on the ground – would it be stealing to reach through the fence and take it? (Yes.) What if it fell off and rolled through the fence, onto the footpath – would it be stealing to take that lemon? (She said no.) I was also asking her to explain her answers, and at this one she said that the difference was that the lemon was in a public place now, so it was fair game to take it.

I switched and said what if someone dropped their wallet in a public place? Would it be okay to take it and not give it back, or would that be stealing? (She said it would be stealing.) So what’s the difference between the wallet and the lemon, if they’re both in a public place? She said the wallet was valuable, and could cause a lot of problems if they didn’t get it back.

I said what if someone is buying groceries and while loading their car a lemon – something not very valuable – falls out onto the car park, a public place. Is it stealing if someone else takes that lemon? She said yes. So I asked what’s the difference between that lemon and the one that fell off the tree and rolled through the fence?

By this point she was grinning and almost laughing each time I ramped up with a new question – she clearly realised what I was doing in making things trickier and trickier for her to answer consistently. I told her that I was trying to make her think really hard about her answers and try to come up with clear reasons why one thing is stealing but some similar thing is not.

By the end we’d gone through 5 or 6 similar scenarios, and given her brain a good workout. She said she really enjoyed the class. So hopefully she’ll be back next week, and the other student will get his connection problem sorted. And maybe we’ll even have another new enrolee.

In other news, school was supposed to start again after the winter holidays next week. But today the NSW Government extended our current COVID lockdown another week, and said all schools in Sydney would be doing home learning rather than face-to-face classes. This means my face-to-face Ethics class on Wednesday morning is cancelled, for next week at least. Given the current state of spread of the COVID Delta variant here in Sydney, I have trouble seeing that just one more week of lockdown will get it under control. They’ll play it by ear as the days go by, and I guess we’ll see.

For dinner tonight I used the leftover sweet potato, beans, and corn from Monday’s dinner, added some chopped onion and tomato and chilli and spices, and made enchiladas!

Sweet potato, beans, corn enchiladas

It was a nice change from the usual Mexican-spiced pinto beans we normally use. Really good – definitely a recipe to add to our list of semi-regulars.

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