Growing Up Wallace,Memories of the way we were- and anything else that crosses my mind.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Ethics and Technology-My Favorite College Class-Reposted from June 2010

One of the best classes that I ever took in college was a philosophy course called "Ethics and Technology" Now, one of the most beautiful things about ethics and philosophy, there are no right and wrong answers. The only catch was the instructor insisted that we be able to intelligently defend the position that we took. He was a killjoy that way.

This class was one of those night classes that was worth three credit hours that met for three hours once a week. I don't know if any of you guys ever took a class like that, but they can be kind of fun because they tend to be more informal. The instructor for my class was probably the best teacher that I ever had. He was an ex-Jesuit priest with degrees up the Yazoo. He was a brilliant lecturer and extremely funny. He would stand in the middle of the room and just talk, never once using lecture notes.

His humor was delightful. For example, on the first night of class, he introduced himself and told us his credential, He said" and I have a Master's degree in philosophy from Berkley and a Master's degree in theology. I am also a former Jesuit priest, so I can talk God, or not." (My kind of humor.)

It seems like every night class that I ever took had the obligatory religious fanatic who felt it is their obligation to make the rest of us feel like we are on our way to hell. This class was not an exception.
It was right before Christmas, and this young lady felt it was her sacred duty to inform the entire class that "she keeps Christ in her Christmas" Not missing a beat, our instructor quipped"not us, we're Lutherans"

I laughed until my gut hurt. It was one of those things that you needed to be there for, but his face was so straight and the way he said it was like a master comedian.

The beautiful thing was that one learned to think and defend what we did believe. It also forced us to give up the beliefs that we had from our parents, our childhood, etc.. and to form our own thoughts.
I would have taken that class again and again if it were possible.

Toward the end of the quarter, we were on a break outside, and our instructor walked up to me to pass a few words, With a straight face I told him that I had finally figured out this ethics and philosophy thing. He said ,"and what is the answer?" I said " it is all a bunch of bullshit" He laughed and told me that I was the only one on the class who "got it". I got an "A" in the class.

1 comment:

Go Figure said...

Cedar: Hmm. I usually said such things about the classes my professors were teaching...without nearly as much luck! I took a "modern literature" class once. I thought we would read the Nobel prize winners for the past x years. Wrong. He had us start reading trash like Norman Mailer's 'Prisoner of Sex'. With all due respect to Norm...if any is due...I stood up in class told him what I thought about his selection of books and explained to him that I was seeking an education...I left. Came back at the end of the semester and took the final exam...didn't get an 'A' but I did pass. Ha.