You don’t get it? That’s okay. I wouldn’t have before last week either. However, this meme is not only funny to philosophers, but also relevant to my participant observation of my moral philosophy class. As an assignment for my COMP 250 class, I had to do a participant observation on one of my other classes. As a result, I did it on my moral philosophy class, and we were discussing Immanuel Kant’s essay, The Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.
With Kant having revolutionized the world of nonconsequentialism through his works, my class had a lot to go through. Because of this my professor Dr. Sarah Roberts-Cady was trying to go through martial faster than normal. With philosophy being a subject that takes a considerable amount of focus and time to process arguments, I didn’t enjoy taking notes for two different class’s at once. I noted, “I just want to do moral philosophy, not this [participant observation] and moral philosophy.” It was certainly a challenge trying to be a dedicated student to two classes at once, especially when Robert-Cady was pushing the tempo. Nonetheless, I was still able to observe some things about my class.
For instance, I note that Robert-Cady uses a lot of hand motions when she talks, and she occasionally walks around when she talks. I also noticed that other students use hand motions when they talk. These observations would lead me to speculate that humans use hand motions and other physical activities to not only communicate, but also help keep the person(s) they are communicating to focused on them.
In essence, this class was a challenge to both a COMP scholar and a philosopher. However, even with this challenge I was still able to pick up on some human instinctual human strategies for communicating.
While studying today on the edge of my college campus and enjoying a beautiful view of the town below and snow capped peaks in the distance, a family got out of their truck to enjoy the wonderful view. The little boy, probably around five years old, ignored his mother’s command to stay where he was, and he ran down to the edge of the parking area. His mother immediately yelled at him to come back because she did not want him to get muddy. After some arguing between the mother and her son they got back in their truck and left. This mother was more concerned about her son getting a little muddy, than her son being able to to explore and enjoy the wonders of nature
Unfortunately, this event that I witnessed is not only common, but it has lead to a society that at large would rather stay in a “clean” and “safe” environment, than to become alive and empowered in a muddy environment. Parents all across America are not allowing their children to become empowered and alive in ways that only nature can provide. Adventure educators understand how important nature is to humans, and because of this reason, and others, they often use solo experiences in their curriculum.
I know from my own experiences that being in nature, especially when your by yourself, is very empowering. Last October I took a two night solo trip in Colorado’s Weminuche Wilderness that consisted of roughly eighteen miles, summitting a thirteen-thousand foot peak, hiking off trail over alpine terrain, bushwhacking through a beautiful forest, and even getting a little lost. By the end of the trip I was exhausted, but empowered. I was empowered not only because I was able to spend two nights in the wilderness by myself, but I was able navigate through unmarked terrain, and provide for myself. However, I was more alive than empowered. The beauty of the area, the contemplative experiences, and the adventure of the trip allowed my soul to come alive
Why do so many parents prevent their kids form being empowered and coming alive just to keep their kids clean? It is true that kids will get a little muddy in nature, but they will also come alive.