Sunday, December 8, 2019 | ePaper

'Goodness' in the Classroom

Wisdom and goodwill increase together

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Anita E. Kelly :
In my Know Thy Self seminar at Notre Dame, I teach a system that makes the students remarkably thoughtful and good at thinking. Yes, wisdom and goodwill increase together.  Try out Goodness in your classroom, or get your coworkers to do it. Expect to love one another as though playing a game.
Monopoly
The world is like Monopoly. It has a law and the official rules. The law is to play lawfully. It is to use logic to follow the rules. Each rule names a lawful process like "Pass Go, collect." The players keep in mind all the rules and past plays to deduce the correct play each turn. Good play conforms to the rules. Logic makes a yes or no decision. The rules give each player the independence to use logic to follow them, and the law demands it. Lawful play unites the players in tracking processes named by the rules. Good thinking creates goodwill.
However, a warping of words has tricked some of the world's players into thinking that lawfulness is bad. They say, "I don't play by the rules." Rules to them imply other people's rules, causing them to reject lawfulness-goodness itself. There are rules still, because words themselves are lawful.
Yet without agreed-upon rules, logic cannot verify plays. The players defend their plays instead. Their lawless plays are "wicked and foolish" to those who know the rules. This game has been hell. The Bible explains that we are born into lawlessness because our ancestors agreed to defy Truth. Truth is the word. Across generations, their lawless words made their way to us, the creatures who talk. Every person receives the word.
Goodness System
Students in the seminar use the logic tools (OH, Kelly & Maxwell, 2019) to verify what is said in class. OH was derived from methods in psychology, philosophy, and the Gospel. The Gospel teaches logic or deductive reasoning, the kind that IQ tests measure. It also teaches how to avoid inductive reasoning, which causes lawlessness by taking words out of context. The Gospel is a blueprint for everyday lawfulness, with a law and two rules. The law is Truth. It is to use logic to live by the rules. The rules are to love Truth (i.e., God) first and fairness (i.e., people) second in every word and deed. Agreed-upon rules permit verifying our own conduct with logic, just as the rules in Monopoly let us play well. Knowing oneself demands thinking and speaking in the format of logic. The students use OH to follow the two agreed-upon rules in class.
Truth is unlimited lawfulness. Rather than lawlessness, Truth is the context or standard for every thought. A person uses logic to verify truth in specific contexts. A true statement or word and its negation become part of Truth when they name a lawful process. If Truth is a house, then true statements or words (and their negations) are the rooms. Truth is the word. A word names lawful variation. Each word denies another word. An example is door, which opens, versus wall. Truth justifies, "Here is the door." Logic verifies, "It is not the wall."
Two Rules. Just as in a game, preset rules permit logic to format and track what we say and do. We follow these from the Gospel (love Truth first, people second):
Platinum Rule (sincerity): love Truth first. When serious, mean what you say. When joking, make the reference point clear for your words.
Golden Rule (kindness): love people second. Treat others just as you want to be treated.
Logic is the key that unlocks Truth. Logic verifies a statement in a context. If not, then the statement is by default compared to nothing or perfection, which makes it lawless. We use the logic tools OH to keep every statement in a context. Here is how:
Compare two opposite or contradicting statements (O) to Truth. Use the Platinum and Golden Rules to reject the one that does not fit.
Explain how and why (H) you ruled out one, rather than the other.
Example: Is it better to live in the moment or for it (O)? Logic tells us to rule out for the moment, because one must be in the moment to enjoy any moment (H).

(Anita E. Kelly, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame. She is author of The Clever Student and The Psychology of Secrets).

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