Morals, Values, Ethics, Honor

How would you define each of those words? Schools talk about them all the time (perhaps through an honor code or something of that sort) but rarely are there thoughtful discussions about what each means. Society also talks about them. “Values” has been one of the key buzzwords of the election this year. Are morals something innate or do they change as you acquire new experiences? What exactly is honor and who defines what acting honorably means? In his book On Paradise Drive David Brooks writes:

Schools see “passing along knowledge, not building character, as their primary task. To put it at its baldest, the Achievatron micromanages the tiniest issues in young people’s lives. Their SAT prep, their recycling habits, their drinking-and-driving tendencies. But when it comes to instilling character, the most difficult task of them all, it’s ‘You’re on your own, kiddo.’ Throughout each day society reinforces the message ‘You must be an arrowshot moving ever upward into the stratosphere toward your best self.’ At rare moments in life, commencements and other high minded occasions, society adds, ‘You must also be an oak planted stubbornly into the bedrock of moral truth.’ How do you become an oak that is also an arrow? How do you do that in the cracks of your 18-hour day? Students search earnestly for the wise old head that will answer that question. They hunger for the solution. But that is the one subject on which authorities are strangely silent.”

Inside an educational institution and in everyday life, I think a conversation about these topics needs to be more prominent. Let me know if you have any good resources, books, etc. that radically changed your thinking on this stuff.

1 comment on “Morals, Values, Ethics, Honor
  • i am writing a paper on just this topic in my college writing class. talking about critical thinking and how it does not effect the childern who have not been taught basic values. why dont we give every child a chance to have an unbias education on morals and values which are licked.

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