Self-Improvement



I don't have any stellar hikes to blog about this week.  The weather has changed, and hunting season is underway.  This time of year, I basically have two hikes.  The first one is a City of Lodi walk that occurs before dawn.  The second is my country road walk which is only safe to do during daylight hours.  I've been able to get my five miles in each day,  which makes Callie happy and keeps me from getting too fat.  

Things are also slow on the brewing front.  After keeping my kombucha culture alive and well for about a year, I've decided to shut that down until at least spring.  I just wasn't drinking that much kombucha anymore.

My sourdough culture is doing well, and I use it regularly.  I don't make bread every week, but we have sourdough pancakes at least weekly.

Because I've been mostly home-bound this month taking care of Justin, I have tried to find some things to keep from going stir-crazy.  One of my more successful endeavors was to take a free online course from Yale called, "Moralities of Everyday Life."  As one might expect, it doesn't teach what constitutes a moral decision, but it does spend a lot of time examining the roles that biology and environment play.  Professor Bloom also sorted out the role of values:  care/harm; fairness/cheating; loyalty/betrayal; authority/subversion; sanctity/degradation; and liberty/oppression.

Another interesting part of the course was a discussion of liberals vs. conservatives.  We know deep down that most Republicans aren't complete idiots, and that most Democrats aren't complete idiots. Sometimes, however, we fail to recognize other people's perspective, which may involve a different weighting of values.   The key to bridging the present divide is to understand viewpoints different from our own. 

That doesn't mean agreeing on every point, but we need to stop thinking of one another as enemies in every context. And we need to listen to other viewpoints so that we can find the common ground upon which we  do agree.  

Speaking of listening, Mary Gauthier, one of my favorite musical artists, played a virtual concert at the Kerrville Folk Festival, which included a talent competition for new folk artists.  They have a youtube web page with a whole lot of good new folk music.  Again, highly recommended if you enjoy the genre. Folk music has come a long way since Peter, Paul, and Mary.  The voices of new folk musicians and songwriters, young and old,  give me another reason for hope during these difficult times.  




Comments

  1. "The key to bridging the present divide is to understand viewpoints different from our own.
    That doesn't mean agreeing on every point, but we need to stop thinking of one another as enemies in every context. And we need to listen to other viewpoints so that we can find the common ground upon which we do agree."

    The course is obviously more specific, however at first glance that statement has some assumptions that need to be taken into account. Foremost, especially in political compromise, there needs to be moral leadership. Just as most parents teach their children morals, they lead by example. They are also the control in that relationship and ultimately the power. In today's politics it has been reduced to control and power, sacrificing morals and compromise in leadership. Whichever party is out of power is subordinate to compromise. Control and win at all cost in the norm. This has gone to the extreme in America. Some semblance of, inter alia, morals is at stake in the upcoming election. Restoration of compromise will take much longer. Much longer.

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  2. You make some good points about leadership and the way that parties work, which go beyond the scope of this class. The particular paragraph that you quote is more something that I derived from the class than anything the instructor asserted. You're not at all wrong.

    What the instructor was pointing out is that we don't all have the same values or moral system He asserts that moral systems are derived from a combination of evolutionary forces and cultural forces.
    He would strongly agree that leaders, parents and peers have a strong influence on our morals. If you want a child to turn out well, you surround the child with good parents and friends who make good choices. However, what constitutes "good" is universal in some respects but not others.

    In parts of the world, it's completely acceptable to eat dogs and/or insects, while in other parts of the world, this would be regarded with disgust. In some cultures, the group is valued over the individual, and in other cultures, it is the opposite. Some people place a high value on authority or purity; others do not. One example that we see in the Trump administration is where some people value loyalty more than honesty. These differing values often compete in moral choices. It's easy to say that we should never lie, but should someone lie to save a life? Should someone lie to avoid an injury? Should someone lie to avoid offense? Should someone lie to save their own job? What about if losing that job hurts your family? What about not lying but just withholding information? These examples are a small sample of what is covered in the course.

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  3. Oh crap! Yet another on-line course that I have to add to my to-do list - -

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  4. This is the first one that I've taken. I have to say that the methodology for quizzes has changed since I was in school. They let you re-take quizzes and keep the higher grade. Also, many of the readings were TED talks. I actually enjoyed that alternative way of learning.

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