Moral Symmetry & Four Domains Of Moral Education Pres
A brief foreword. <ul><li>This presentation summarizes what may be my two most important publications. While they were published in 1994 & 98, more recent research in neuroscience has only strengthened my basic thesis: anger, fear and hate play a principal role in undermining the goals of morality and moral education. </li></ul>Ronald Lee Zigler & Buddy
Moral Symmetry Rediscovering the aesthetic dimension of morality and uncovering the Four Domains of Moral Education
Moral Symmetry: A Hypothesis <ul><li>The meaning of moral symmetry? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A clue: the double meaning of fair . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An analogy: Aesthetic symmetry in the visual or musical arts. </li></ul></ul>
Moral Symmetry Defined <ul><li>Moral symmetry: social harmony. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not to be confused with physical beauty. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Entirely situational, informs judgment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A form of tacit knowledge from our subsidiary awareness. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experiencing moral symmetry provides the most compelling motivation for moral conduct. An aptitude fostered by either the individual effort of certain spiritual disciplines or through life experiences. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Balance within, balance without. </li></ul></ul>
These images illustrate the concept of balance or symmetry: aesthetic and moral symmetry.
Aesthetic symmetry is not necessarily perfect or bilateral with the exact same image on both sides. Balance is proportional.
After Virtue: A Point of Departure for Rediscovery <ul><li>MacIntyre’s theses: ancient sources may be relevant to the task of reclaiming insights into morality. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Iliad </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Bhagavad-Gita </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ancient Sources to be re-visited: </li></ul>
Internal and External Harmony: Our individual sense of moral symmetry, or our path toward external, social harmony is dependent upon a state of internal equanimity and harmony: not reasoning.
Two Heroes Both are true heroes: noble individuals, great in spirit and character despite human weaknesses In the epic stories in which they play central roles, each hero is confronted by a conflict, a dilemma which suspends the heroes involvement in a battle—each refuses to fight. Yet, each ultimately return to the battlefield. Achilles from The Iliad Arjuna from The Bhagavad-Gita It is in the examination of the conditions under which they return to battle that we gain our insights into the aesthetic dimension of moral development—moral symmetry—since resolution of their conflict does not come about through the hero’s recourse to moral reasoning, but rather through the establishment of a state of internal harmony or equilibrium which makes the apprehension of moral symmetry possible.
Parallels with both Kohlberg & Gilligan <ul><li>Achilles </li></ul><ul><li>Reasoning leading up to and through his conflict reflects a concern for autonomy and individual integrity: a Kohlbergian ethic of justice. </li></ul><ul><li>Arjuna </li></ul><ul><li>Reasoning reflects an awareness of a “no-win” situation which precludes the possibility of someone not being hurt: an ethic of care as defined by Gilligan. </li></ul>
The examples provided by the Iliad and the Bhagavad-Gita are illustrative of a perennial dimension to the way in which moral problems may be conceptualized— not how they are resolved.
Conflict/Dilemma Resolution <ul><li>In both stories, the hero overcomes their conflict and re-enters the battlefield. </li></ul><ul><li>Not an endorsement of war, but rather an illustration that moral symmetry does not preclude the possibility of war—each situation must be assessed on its own merits. </li></ul><ul><li>A state of internal harmony is the precondition for apprehending moral symmetry, resolving moral conflict and engaging in moral conduct. </li></ul>
The Character of Virtue: Internal harmony in the Iliad and Bhagavad-Gita <ul><li>Our internal harmony is defined by the presence of two qualities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A state of autonomy, also referred to as “detachment” or “non-attachment”. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A state of immediacy, integration or sense of unity between the individual and the social environment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This is the foundation of an aesthetic apprehension of our immediate situation—our perception of moral symmetry. </li></ul></ul>
Achilles & The Iliad <ul><li>Unity or integration first revealed when he resolves to re-enter the battle—ending his isolation. </li></ul><ul><li>Full metamorphosis takes place in his encounter with King Priam—unity with the enemy, with mankind. </li></ul>
Arjuna <ul><li>A state of unity, integration and immediacy with the environment along with detachment or “non-attachment” is fully encompassed explicitly in the concept of yoga. </li></ul>
Why is this not just theoretical conjecture? <ul><li>These ancient texts also identify the principal obstacle to internal harmony and the perception of moral symmetry: thereby the principal obstacle to the resolution of moral problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Fear and Anger —obscure moral symmetry because they foster an internal state of disequilibrium. </li></ul><ul><li>Walter B. Cannon’s The Wisdom of The Body first advanced this idea early in the 20 th century. </li></ul>
Fear & Anger: The Iliad <ul><li>“ Sing goddess, the anger of Peleus’ son Achilleus and its devastation, which put pains thousandfold upon the Achiaians.” </li></ul><ul><li>Achilles: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I wish that strife would vanish away from among gods and mortals, and gall, which makes a man grow angry for all his great mind, that gall of anger that swarms like smoke inside a man’s heart and becomes a thing sweeter to him by far than the dripping of honey.” </li></ul></ul>
Fear & Anger: The Bhagavad-Gita <ul><li>People are compelled to “sin… even involuntarily” due to “anger.” </li></ul><ul><li>Anger is: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ all consuming and most evil”, and “the enemy here on earth.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ From anger arises illusion, from delusion unsteadiness of memory, from unsteadiness of memory, destruction of the intellect, from destruction of the intellect he (the individual) perishes.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>From Spinoza to Rawls: Many moral philosophers have argued that anger is not a “moral emotion.” </li></ul>
Psychophysiology of Anger <ul><li>Leonard Berkowitz </li></ul><ul><li>K.E. Moyer </li></ul><ul><li>Erich Fromm </li></ul>Anger is an internal condition with physiological and biochemical correlates that makes reckless, aggressive responses likely to occur. Hans Selye: stress hormones & self-induced intoxication, more harmful than alcoholic intoxication <ul><li>The principal problem of ethics. </li></ul><ul><li>Achilles’ “character-conditioned hate”. </li></ul>
Neuroscience & Neurotheology <ul><li>Brain researchers such as Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania have contributed important research to the underlying thesis presented here. </li></ul><ul><li>Specific parts of the brain, namely the amygdala are over stimulated during anger, fear and hatred, undermining our ability to become thoughtfully engaged with the reflective parts of our brain: namely the pre-frontal cortex. </li></ul><ul><li>Consequently Newberg refers to anger as “Humanity’s greatest enemy”. </li></ul><ul><li>Such research has contributed to our ability to define a new field first identified by Aldous Huxley: Neurotheology. </li></ul>
The Gita & Arjuna’s Fear <ul><li>Cannon: Fear as well as Anger. </li></ul><ul><li>Arjuna is paralyzed by fear. </li></ul><ul><li>“ My limbs fail and my mouth is parched, my body quivers and my hair stands on end. Gandiva (the bow) slips from my hands and even my skin burns all over; I am unable to stand and my mind seems to whirl.” </li></ul><ul><li>Krishna counsels: Yoga to re-establish equanimity (internal harmony). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Yoga: a state of “balance of mind” in which “fear and anger have departed” and one does “not incur sin.” </li></ul></ul>
Transformative Experiences Can Realign Our Impulses <ul><li>Achilles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Death of Patroklos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encounter with Priam </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Arjuna </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A transcendent vision triggered by Krishna, but fostered by yoga. </li></ul></ul>Either experience can potentially sensitize us to the aesthetic element of life and morality.
When unprepared for the vicissitudes of life, our life experiences may be disruptive to our equilibrium and thus not evoke positive transformations in our capacity for apprehending moral symmetry. (See Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning ).
Perceiving symmetry: our perspective is everything. The analogy to visual symmetry is just that: only an analogy. This is a dimension of tacit knowledge which lies within our subsidiary, not our focal awareness.
Caveat <ul><li>Cynicism/Pessimism </li></ul>When we fail to foster the aesthetic element, our aptitude for apprehending moral symmetry atrophies. The result: When we become overwhelmed by our capacity to perceive moral symmetry everywhere and at all times, the result is equally problematic: Blissful Fatalism
“ There is no better evidence of a well formed moral character than knowledge of when to raise the moral issue and when not. It implies a sensitiveness to values which is the token of a balanced personality” John Dewey Knowing when to, and when not to raise the moral issue is itself an art. It is an art which portrays our sense of moral symmetry, as well as a sense of when moral growth can be optimized in a timely fashion.
Summary & Conclusion I: The obstacle to moral growth. <ul><li>Each hero is confronted with a problem that triggers an emotional dislocation: a dislocation accompanied by internal emotional responses that obstruct a vision, an aesthetic apprehension of the moral symmetry of their situation—thus leading each to refuse to fight. </li></ul><ul><li>Moral growth for each hero is linked to a state of equanimity or harmony within that is also defined by emotional-physiological parameters that accompany our aptitude for moral symmetry. </li></ul>
Summary & Conclusion II: The Meaning of Moral Autonomy <ul><li>Moral autonomy: the personal effort involved in spiritual disciplines that foster our internal equanimity and capacity for apprehending moral symmetry (yoga, tai chi, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>These disciplines not only expand our awareness of the human and natural ecosystems in which we live, but they also expand our subsidiary awareness and our capacity to apprehend moral symmetry. </li></ul><ul><li>This is the internal domain of moral education. </li></ul>
Four Domains of Moral Education A chicken is more than a collection of parts. The same is true about the four domains of moral education. Any one or two, by itself, is inadequate to the task.
The Four Domains Of Moral Education INDIRECT DIRECT EXTERNAL INTERNAL DIRECT EXTERNAL INDIRECT EXTERNAL DIRECT INTERNAL INDIRECT INTERNAL
John Dewey Moral Principles In Education (1909) (Two Basic Dimensions Defined.) <ul><li>Here Dewey draws a distinction between direct and indirect moral instruction and argues that the indirect approach has a more profound and lasting impact on the student. The “indirect” elements include “all the agencies, instrumentalities, and materials of school life” (Dewey, 1909, p.4). </li></ul><ul><li>Contemporary “character education” has attempted to address the indirect elements. </li></ul>
The Nature of Direct Instruction <ul><li>The explicit curriculum & course work. </li></ul><ul><li>Direct, active, explicit, didactic instruction, guided by measurable educational objectives. </li></ul><ul><li>The mission for which schools are most readily held accountable. </li></ul><ul><li>When moral instruction is direct , its primary purpose falls in spelling out the social/moral expectations (behavioral) that we hold for the student (often disparaged, but not to be dismissed). Most frequently taught by parents and teachers (religious and secular). </li></ul>
The Nature of Indirect Instruction <ul><li>The social climate of the school which defines how the student is treated as a human being in the process of socialization. </li></ul><ul><li>Defined by the peer group (and media) as much as by the administrative policies and procedures of the school. </li></ul><ul><li>Also emerges as the tacit component of a teacher’s conduct (tacit teaching). This is what Dewey termed collateral learning . </li></ul><ul><li>May be planned , but is more often unplanned . </li></ul>
Indirect (Albeit Planned) Instruction: The Social Climate <ul><li>Classroom and school-wide strategies for shaping moral climates: with specific regard for activities aimed at applying moral principles in school as well as the classroom to solve real problems. e.g., Kohlberg’s “just community”, and the models advanced by Thomas Lickona and Edward Wynne & Kevin Ryan </li></ul>
Dewey on The Indirect (Albeit) Unplanned Instruction: The Teacher’s Role <ul><li>Perhaps the greatest of all pedagogical fallacies is the notion that a person learns only the particular thing he is studying at the time. Collateral learning in the way of formation of enduring attitudes, of likes and dislikes, may be and often is much more important than the spelling lesson or lesson in geography or history that is learned. </li></ul><ul><li>This is fundamentally what counts in the future because it determines whether the desire to learn, to grow itself has been imparted—life’s ultimate ideal. </li></ul>
John Dewey Moral Principles In Education (1909) <ul><li>“ But the consciousness of ends must be more than merely intellectual. We can imagine a person with most excellent judgment, who yet does not act upon his judgment. . . there must also be a delicate personal responsiveness, — there must be an emotional reaction. Indeed, unless there is a prompt and almost instinctive sensitiveness to conditions, to the ends and interests of others, the intellectual side of judgment will not have proper material to work upon. Just as the material of knowledge is supplied through the senses, so the material of ethical knowledge is supplied by emotional responsiveness” (Dewey, 1909, p. 52). </li></ul>(Emotions are pivotal to the internal domain )
The External Domain <ul><li>Didactic Instruction: Conveying clear behavioral objectives for the moral-ethical domain. Helping students examine and understand the moral expectations for life in the classroom, school and society. </li></ul><ul><li>Classroom and school-wide activities/policies that foster moral climates: with specific regard to opportunities for applying moral principles to real problems in the classroom and school; </li></ul><ul><li>collateral learning. </li></ul>Direct Indirect
The Internal Domain <ul><li>Self-regulation: foster harmony between the mind and body-- reduce errant internal responses and nurture a capacity to find moral conduct intrinsically rewarding ( endorphins ). </li></ul><ul><li>Dewey: “rationality is not a force to invoke against habit and impulse, it is the attainment of a working harmony among diverse desires.” </li></ul><ul><li>The examination of emotions: in oneself and in others--with special reference to their influence on our perceptions of others and ourselves, and our conduct with others. The consideration of strategies for controlling impulse and regulating mood: Goleman’s “Self Science.” </li></ul>Direct Indirect
Conclusions <ul><li>All four domains must work in concert, neither can be neglected. </li></ul><ul><li>Without a comprehensive strategy for addressing each domain we cannot foster optimal growth. </li></ul><ul><li>“ It is not easy to exaggerate the extent to which we now pass from one kind of nurture to another as we go from business to church, from science to the newspaper, from business to art, from companionship to politics, from home to school. An individual is now subjected to many conflicting schemes of education. Hence habits are divided against one another, personality is disrupted, the scheme of conduct is confused and disintegrated.” </li></ul><ul><li>John Dewey </li></ul>