These images illustrate
the concept of balance or
symmetry: aesthetic and
Aesthetic symmetry is not necessarily perfect or
bilateral with the exact same image on both sides.
Balance is proportional.
Internal and External
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.
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
In the epic stories resolutionthey playconflict does not
symmetry—since in which of their central roles, each
hero is confronted by a conflict, a dilemma which
come about through the hero’s recourse to moral
suspends the heroes involvement in a battle—each
reasoning, but rather through the establishment of a
Both are true heroes: noble individuals, great in
refuses to fight. Yet, each ultimately return to the
state of internal harmony or equilibriumweaknesses
spirit and character despite human which makes
the apprehension of moral symmetry possible.
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
Anger is an internal
responses likely to
Hans Selye: stress hormones & self-induced
intoxication, more harmful than alcoholic
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
(See Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search
our perspective is everything.
Whether or not
depends on our
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
“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
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.
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.
DIREC EXTERNAL INTERNAL
CT EXTERNAL INTERNAL