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What we have here is a failure to...imagine

Somehow I had a decent discussion with some of my 7th graders yesterday.  We had been covering the birth of Buddhism and discussing the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, when I brought up the concept of the purpose of morality.  For an example, we briefly turned to the Ten Commandments...specifically the command to refrain from stealing.  I asked students to imagine what the world would be like if they knew that nothing they had would ever be stolen.  I was surprised, though I shouldn't have been, by the limited vision they possessed.  The majority opinion was that the world would be boring.  Somehow, the idea that knowing your property would never be unjustly taken from you only conjures thoughts of boredom.  Mistakes and poor choices are the only way we can learn one student offered.  I shouldn't be too hard on them, I asked this question at the beginning of my teaching years and received nearly the same answer from high school students.
We are quite good (in a pedestrian way, quite often) of imagining evil, but we fail in envisioning what true goodness looks like.


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