Thursday, October 10, 2013

More Wacky Morality

I barely survived the kindergarteners last night. I had no energy and not much in the way of lesson plans. The main thing we had to do was work on the song we're singing in church the Sunday after next. My problem child was in full-on brat mode, and it spread to all the other kids. When we were singing the song, he started doing it in funny voices and then making up his own crude words. The other kids followed suit. I shut off the music and gave them the full guilt treatment, reminding them that when we sing in church, we're singing to God and asking if that's how they talk to God. That settled them down enough that we were able to practice together with the preschool choir. I'm still worried about what they'll do in front of an audience. Problem Child is the type who would choose that time to act out and get attention.

Otherwise, Beethoven saved my bacon. We had a rhythm stick day, first seeing if we could copy rhythms. Then I showed them how music can sound like other things, and we made a rainstorm using the sticks. And then I put on the "Tempest" movement of the 6th Symphony, and it turns out last year wasn't a fluke. They listened to it in rapt near-silence. I still had more than five minutes left, so we got out the crayons, passed out paper and had them draw what the music sounded like to them. I may check the Peter and the Wolf CD out of the library and start introducing them to that, bit by bit. Small children seem remarkably receptive to classical music if you present it to them as something cool rather than treating it like musical broccoli that they should only consume because it's good for them. If I can just instill a love for music in general in these kids, I figure I'll have done my job.

I've been thinking more about yesterday's wacky morality post and realized even more weirdness with the Star Wars universe. Supposedly, it would start Luke down the path to the Dark Side if he killed the Emperor to save his friends, the Rebel forces, the Ewoks and pretty much the whole galaxy in general. And yet, killing the Emperor to save his son was what redeemed Darth Vader and turned him away from the Dark Side. So apparently the same action can either doom you or save you, depending on where you start, and personal motives are better than big-picture motives? And it also seems that shooting down fighter pilots or shooting stormtroopers has nothing to do with your dark vs. light status (since no moral questions were ever raised about that), but killing the person who's sending them into battle will make you evil. Moving that into our world, it's like saying it was perfectly okay to mow down all the German troops (many of whom were conscripted) and bomb German cities, but it would have forever darkened your soul to take out Hitler one-on-one.

I don't know if this is really a black and white vs. shades of gray issue. It depends on how you look at it. On the one hand, there's the view that the villains are bad and should be dealt with accordingly. On the other, there's the idea that villains act one way and heroes act another way, and if a hero acts like a villain (regardless of motive), it's bad, but if a villain ever acts like a hero, then it's good. So killing is bad for the hero, except for killing the villain's minions, which is okay. But if the villain kills the right person, he's redeemed.

This issue may be why Grimm was my favorite of the fairy tale shows. I think they've shown Nick to be a pure white hat because he's taken a cop's approach to his family legacy, treating each creature he comes across as an individual case. He's not "kill 'em all" like his ancestors, but rather befriends and helps those who need help and deals with the ones who are a threat, whether they're a threat to humans or to other creatures. He may feel some remorse when he's forced to kill, especially when it's someone acting more out of biological imperative than out of sheer malice, but there's no implication that he's turning toward any kind of dark side when he does so. He's a good person trying to help the greater good, even if that sometimes gets messy, and I don't get the impression that we're expected to question his morals.

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