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Old 11-17-2007, 10:42 AM   #51
Yael Grauer
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You must like teaching more than I do. That sounds close to what my first year was like, actually. Not sure if I would still be doing it if I still had to invest that kind of time.
Yeah, I hear it gets better... Of course, I want to switch from middle to high which means I'll have to do the whole fun joy of curriculum mapping aligned with the standards and benchmarks at a high Bloom's level using 21st century skills all over again...not to mention gathering necessary material to teach when our textbooks only cover one of the three strands and the school rations out paper...

Don't get me started!! I'm gonna have smoke coming out of my ears! At least there is UFC tonight.
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Old 11-17-2007, 12:11 PM   #52
-Ross Hunt
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Ross, you make a point that there is a higher purpose for college. And that purpose is to be trained to complete a task that helps society function. When you get trained and then fill this job, you help the society function. I guess it's everybody's job to be busy doing something to help the society. My role could range from cleaning up the pollution put off by greedy corporate-run factories, automobile exhaust, etc. to building bridges/constructing dams/laying out plans for buildings, etc. But the question is not am I able to do this, it is why would I want to do this with my life?

What is the point of cleaning up the mess of society? It doesn't help oneself. It only fixes or reduces a problem I didn't create and will only be remade as corporations become greedier.

I just don't see the point. I also am inspired most by nature. A simple life would be great for me. Maybe it isn't for others, but as long as I get my degree and mature from college, I can do what I want after college. My life can go pretty much anywhere.
It seems like you're splitting your options into 'education for responsible citizenship' on the one hand and 'simple life that has little to do with education' on the other. I don't think it's that simple. You're right to ask of the first option, 'What's in it for me?' But there is something in it for you in good education; good education can help you figure out how to live a better life. Old books have a lot of things to teach about happiness and the good life that are very hard to figure out on your own by trial, error, and nature. Take up Aristotle's Ethics, for instance; it starts with the question, 'What will make you happy?' and tries to answer it.
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Old 11-17-2007, 02:26 PM
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Old 11-17-2007, 03:22 PM
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:18 AM   #53
Yael Grauer
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I don't hold authors in high esteem just because they are famous, but I recognize that work that has stood the test of time has grappled with the types of important questions that people have been wrestling with for eternity. I like looking at different perspectives.

Have you read Your Money Or Your Life? Great book.

Anyone who says that money is not necessary, though, has never had to live without it.

I disagree that any paying job will give people decent, healthful food. I've been to a lot of houses where the only food available is prepackaged. There is ramen and junk like that, but no meat, no fruit or vegetables. I had to get a food box once during hard times and what I received was Tang and rice and beans.

It is true that muscles must be stressed to grow, but too much stress can be their downfall and the same goes with mental stress.

I think that happiness depends on serving others; that is the only thing that has made me truly happy.
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Old 11-18-2007, 05:40 PM   #54
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I'm currently reading some of Aristotle's Ethics from a site provided by Stanford University. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-ethics/

I disagree with the statement: "[Aristotle] says, not that happiness is virtue, but that it is virtuous activity. Living well consists in doing something, not just being in a certain state or condition. It consists in those lifelong activities that actualize the virtues of the rational part of the soul."

But then the author of the article says that Aristotle wrote that virtue is to take on material accomplishments. I disagree. Looks, money, and fame do NOT give you happiness. They make life easier for you, but having an easy life is worse than having a hard life. It makes you weak. It makes you depend on your material accomplishments for support. You are, then, not a strong person. You are weakened because your life is easy.

Aristotle is just as biased as any other philosopher. You can't hold him in esteem because his name is famous. I think he coveted money and fame and that made him happy; he also lived in the greco-roman era where education and social status affected whether you ate stale bread and water or drank wine and ate many meals for your evening meal. He lived in the city. And in such an institution as he was in, one needed money and fame to survive or live happily, to merely be able to afford decent food.

Today, food is easily accessed. Just work at any paying job, and you can afford to eat decent, healthful food. Work out and eat healthy, copious amounts of food and you'll become healthy physically. Mentally, you must stress yourself to grow, just like you must stress your muscles for them to grow. And Emotionally, you must be stressed to advance emotionally. College provides much of this stress. But, unfortunately, after college, you get stuck in the rut of life unless you make the effort to constantly teach yourself new things, constantly work out, constantly make every experience a learning experience. A lot of people get this, but not all.

Happiness depends on your health/advancement physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially. Not on wealth, good looks, or status.
I don't think Aristotle disagrees with you about that. He implies that a certain amount of money is a prerequisite to happiness; I don't think anyone would disagree with this. The reason I bring him up is not because he's famous, but because he advances what I think may be missing from your account of happiness. It seems like you're understanding happiness as something that a person possesses in private, by themselves, outside of the context of society; and it seems like you're understanding it as a kind of perpetual increase of strength. Aristotle points out the way in which happiness is on the one hand inextricably bound up with all sorts of involvements--not just property, but more significantly family and friends--and that the kind of satisfaction that one seeks from honor or private moral self-perfection can ultimately prove unsatisfying in comparison to a more contemplative life.

Just another possibility to chew over; the Ethics is a good read.
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Old 11-19-2007, 12:14 AM
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:03 AM   #55
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Ross and Yael, I don't want to argue about philosophy really. I mean, we all have our set ideas and something like this cannot be resolved, due to our own experiences and differing opinions.

I do think, though, that it is better to experience life for yourself than depend on being told how to live it; though the Chinese proverbs are usually helpful in advancing your wisdom as well, don't get me wrong.
...
I do agree with Greg though, that a simple life brings the least stress and most potential for happiness; I guess how you are made happy though depends on your personality. I'm very calm and nonchalant. To me, everything happens the way it should.
There is a third alternative to experience and doing as you're told though; you can try to think through how to live your life in a way that gets away from your own experience.

Obviously, the ultimate goal of this is to acquire some sort of knowledge that you can apply to your own experiences; but philosophy (as the attempt to better know your own particular experience by means of better knowing universals) is a good way to step back and get perspective sometimes.

You make a good point when you say that what you're happy with depends on your personality; there definitely seem to be irreducible natural differences between what will make one person or another happy.
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Old 11-24-2007, 02:26 PM
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Old 11-27-2007, 09:42 PM   #56
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That sounds very reasonable.
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