Monday, June 11, 2007

Moral Learning - Why and How

To begin this discussion, I must state that I believe that the universe was planned and created by God, and that he controls and recreates daily new events. Even if you, personally, ascribe to the evolutionist theory, we can agree that humans were created with a brain that is "superior" to that of all other animals. Humans have the ability to perform complex thinking and to reason in ways that no other animal can.

The "problem" is that nobody supplied us with a manual on how to use the brain properly. As a result we see so many supposedly smart people doing stupid things.

The problem, sadly, is far worse than we may imagine - at least in the United States. The media feeds off American's stupidity and actually talks "down" to a low intelligence level. Schools are lowering their learning expectations, so we are raising a future generation of lower intelligence in this country.

The problem, of course, is not limited to the U.S. Look at many of the leaders of corporations, large and small. Many of them have stupid leaders in charge. You could probably say the same thing about leaders of countries!

The scarier thing is that all these leaders use their power to convince you that their ideas and ways are smart. People buy into the idea, and now another link has been added to the stupidity chain.

Fortuunately, there is a manual that teaches ethics. Between the 2nd Century BCE and 2nd Century CE, Rabbi Judah compiled the Talmud, the Judaic oral code of law. The Talmud contains over 60 volumes or "tractates" covering various parts of Jewish law. One of the tractates is known as Ethics of the Fathers, or, in Hebrew Pirkei Avot. This book is available in English translation in any book store, and in several places on-line. I shall post some on-line resources in the links section in the future.

While this book contains many Judaic rules and adages, many of the ethics apply to humanity as a whole - Jews as well as non-Jews. As a matter of fact, it contains about 60 adages and principles related to learning, as well as more specifically, the responsibilities and relationships of teachers, students, mentors, and friends.

While some of the English translations are quite good, inevitably, no translation can fully capture the subtle nuances inherent in the careful choices of specific Hebrew words and phrases. It is my hope that via both this blog and the companion web site, , to explain, glean, and share some insights on the importance and correct methods of applying ethics and morals to improve learning and enhance the way you learn, think, and behave.

If you think about it, there is no reason why the leaders of the world should be stupid, when with some effort, they can become smart and wise. You can be one of these wise leaders!

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