Perspectives in Practice // Moral Dimensions
In this conversation, we reflect on questions of indoctrination in our lived experience. We consider the moral dimensions of hermeneutic heterogeneity in science and literature.
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mack: offer just the quick heads up, I have a meeting at 1030 the only believe.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: i'm no worries, thank you for letting us know man.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: And I wrote down on open ended question that I would love to pose to you on while we've been chatting and it's inspired by one as flow chart i'm going to call that linnaeus unhinged flow chart.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: And I mean that with love in my heart.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: What.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: If all educators, are not necessarily.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Will unintentionally or intentionally indoctrinate students into some form of belief, at some point in their career, then what is the complete opposite of indoctrination that teachers can do.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: And can you think of an example, like either when you are a student or an educator.
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mack: I think something that comes to mind currently is like.
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mack: Just this.
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mack: kind of dance i'm trying but i'm like striving toward in the classroom teaching, which is like.
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mack: This like.
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mack: kind of different language used for that, but like I don't know like consistently having generous interpretations of what people are saying and.
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mack: kind of even even, even if they say something that i'm like.
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mack: i'm not sure that that like.
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mack: Like hold water like.
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mack: Saying okay so like there could be an argument here.
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mack: If you want to make that argument like here's what you would need to do, or you can make this argument and then we can kind of.
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mack: See sort of what makes more sense.
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mack: So I think there's something about like.
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mack: modeling like.
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mack: That like like literally every part of the process can be revised and if you are taking something for granted, like.
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mack: kind of stating that as a disclaimer and.
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mack: Even if you say like Okay, like, for the purposes of right now i'm not going to justify this if we wanted to do that later we could but i'm just going to take this as an assumption.
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linnea bostrom: yeah.
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linnea bostrom: I agree to a lot of that.
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linnea bostrom: Probably all of it.
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linnea bostrom: And, and I think that, like teaching students, how to reflect on their thinking or just like go through the process of like How would I explain this or justify it or how do I explain it and justify it is.
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linnea bostrom: The opposite of indoctrination for me that's my perspective and.
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linnea bostrom: And like coming at it, as with like no judgment as the teacher and not being like there is a right answer or wrong answer for most things.
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linnea bostrom: I think one of the.
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linnea bostrom: Like serious shifts in belief that I had teaching is that there are multiple troops in like every like there is no one thing that is always true.
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linnea bostrom: And I think a lot of.
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linnea bostrom: high school teachers, especially teachers who like were really successful in school themselves and really.
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linnea bostrom: Like really love the content area they're in find out hard to agree with and they'll be like no, there is one truth.
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linnea bostrom: But that's just like not that makes it really challenging to lead students through this process of like reflection or analysis themselves because you have this end goal in mind.
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linnea bostrom: As opposed to like the end goal is helping them figure out their own thinking and giving them the like skills and process to do that.
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Miao Zhi: I just see that.
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Miao Zhi: Most of my past experience or present educational concerns are.
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Miao Zhi: indoctrination the for undergrad and I want to have an interview with my boyfriend a few days ago I like kind of introduce her like his idea of that communication and problem was an indication, and I feel like.
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Miao Zhi: The indoctrination is kind of related to communication and his opinion is that.
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Miao Zhi: Like I feel like sometimes big education is needed a like when it comes to facts facts or choose but.
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Miao Zhi: But I was thinking that like when teachers use this like entered indoctrination way of teaching is like is it intentionally or it's just easier for them to just transfer the information or transfer some truth and also.
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Miao Zhi: Another thing i'm thinking is that.
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Miao Zhi: Like teachers may like may not to be challenged to make any changes, and so they just kept doing like the transfer nation, all the time in.
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Miao Zhi: yeah that's how I feel about indoctrination.
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linnea bostrom: I think that point about.
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linnea bostrom: Like when you're teaching facts or a students are learning facts, especially in like knowing that your boyfriend is in the engineering and industrial design field.
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linnea bostrom: Where a lot of that teaching does rely on like well here's the fact that we know are like here the equations here's the math here's the principal we're using.
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linnea bostrom: um I see that as a slippery slope to like you can you can present anything as a fact.
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linnea bostrom: And this is like I see parent parental rights as a slippery slope to like indoctrinating your your children or like not acting or making decisions in their best interest.
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linnea bostrom: To like flourish brick houses.
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linnea bostrom: But it is like it's a hard tension, because there are times like Nick was saying, where we have to be like we're going to make this assumption, and like we're not going to go into the background or the deeper analysis but yeah I think teachers totally get.
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linnea bostrom: caught up in just like doing and like sharing the information rather than thinking about the processes or students engaging with their brains.
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mack: But bringing brings to mind to this term deal, the owner like, and I mean like relativism.
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mack: And there's like moral relativism they've also like epidemic relativism, which is what i'm reading about in this philosophy of science and like.
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mack: i've heard this feminist philosopher kind of identified as critique and kind of more traditional epistemology is saying well you know corrosive relativism if we say that everything is relative then we reach a point where.
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mack: You know factor out the window and anything remotely in the direction of some like accurate kind of representation of reality.
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mack: It out the window as well, because everyone can have a different opinion and then all of a sudden, that seems like this breeding ground for indoctrination at the same time, because it's like well I you know my family.
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mack: has decided to opt out of.
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mack: some kind of like central you know I mean I feel like we see this with like the CRT thing to right it's like right so.
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mack: At the same time, like I don't necessarily think that.
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mack: We can just abandon the pursuit of a thing, that is, the facts, but maybe that effect is more of like an ideal thing that can never be reached and as it's like a like an asymptote you're like always kind of getting closer and closer, but you never claim to kind of be on the diet.
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mack: which I think also then it's like somehow like epidemic question.
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mack: quickly becomes a moral question it's like, how do we know what we know it's like.
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mack: whoa what way of knowing is good for right or just.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: I have a great example.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: For you on on that subject of like, how do we know when we know something.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: This is related to what I wrote my undergrad thesis about.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: And so, bear with me it's about plot Okay, when you think about how plot.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: looks in a story like if you were to visualize what it looks like i'm.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Like a plot trajectory like in a book or in a story, what does it look like.
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linnea bostrom: I can just think of the chart that got drawn over and over and over again, and my English classes it's like up and down yeah.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Like looks like.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Like a like an art.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Because it's like inciting event like starting event and then like rising action climax day new ma or resolution and.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: hero's journey well here's your needs a circle because, like there's kind of a return um but it like it's the hero's journey can complicate the like.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Arc narrative but maybe there's also like an often argument that like there's just more like more rising action and, like and like many climaxes like on the way to the like.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: You know their face they're facing the ultimate beast and like showdown and then they like become the Prince um.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: And like they're obviously like stories that like fall out of that like narrative.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Like formula, but usually, when people are taught like how to read fiction, or how to reply, like their teachers like let's just assume that, like this is how plot is constructed right like that let's just assume that that's how it's done.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Which is fine.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Except like the way that like we understand plot, most of the time is based on the relationship that like we have to the author as readers that like.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: we're negotiating a relationship constantly as we're reading a book with the author, because the author is like.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: kind of in control of the environment and we're relying on them that, like we have they set up this story.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: We buy into it, and so, then we have desires of like I hope this happens, and I hope this happens, and I hope this gets fulfilled so there's a lot of like desire fulfillment that happens with that negotiate of process.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: um, which is why things like the cliffhanger are so awful because, like they set up this promise that like doesn't follow through.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: And so that's all fine and good.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: So we understand that, like if there's kind of this like negotiate of principle out play like with like pleasure and like wish fulfillment and like whatnot with the author, but if you look at.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: In history at how we understand bear with me here how we understand the male orgasm and from masters masters sex research from the 1960s and the male orgasm looks really similar to this.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Of like inciting incident rising action climax quick denouement.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: So basically, I think the way that like we even understand and make assumptions about how plot functions and stories is equated to male pleasure.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: So, like it's fine to make an assumption, because this is a whole lot of people understand plot, but like we have to understand that, like even this like epistemic like simple way of knowing is equated to like.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: an experience that, like a lot of people don't fit into.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: like this is not how most people experience pleasure like this is not how women experience pleasure trans people experience pleasure lesbians experience pleasure like it's completely outside of that, and so, then.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Like the way that they're approaching, like their head demonic understanding of stories is inherently a way where like they're not going to see their pleasures replicated in the books that they're reading.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: um and like.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: that's just how we understand plot like that's how it's I don't know the teachers are necessarily like thinking about that, when they're just like teaching their kids how to like read books.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: i'm sure they're not thinking about orgasms and like pleasure, but it's in there in it anyway that's what my undergrad thesis was on and so i'm always thinking about that's why i'm always thinking about plot and narrative.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: And it just your example MAC of like epistemic like ways of knowing and, like the way that we know.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: plot and storytelling when everything how we understand life is all chalked up to like narrative and storytelling and, like the narratives we tell ourselves.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: What happens when the narratives we tell ourselves are following a format that is rooted in patriarch game.
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mack: You know what were you gonna fit.
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mack: makes me wonder too about like this question of like okay so we're going to take this for granted and then move on with this thing right.
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mack: So, like how that can okay so backing up.
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mack: At some level, we do need to take certain things for granted, because, even if we want to have like our own little like kind of different perspective over here.
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mack: And many settings like we're teaching and learning with the assumption that we're going to like go out into the world and kind of pick up this comprehensible language that the rest of the world is kind of built around right so there's a utility component to kind of following the norm.
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mack: And that can quickly become this like coercive thing of like.
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mack: kind of implying well you can't change with already there, so they.
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mack: to the point where it's like well if you have a different way of doing math or something, then sorry like that's not going to mean anything in the world and then you're projecting this.
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mack: Your yeah it's a razor you know you're projecting an eraser rate.
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mack: So, then, I guess, my question is like, how would you teach like a non.
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mack: phallocentric like conception of plot.
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mack: In a way, that's like legible, to the outside world, or does it need to be legible, or you know.
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linnea bostrom: I think that kind of ties into what I was going to comment on which is.
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linnea bostrom: Somehow i've wound up on book talk on tech talk, which is like not surprising to me at all, but it is also because the algorithm scares me but.
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linnea bostrom: I keep coming across content creators, who are like we always hear people talk about how they don't like indigenous novels or like indigenous literature, because and like they talk about how the plot structures are different.
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linnea bostrom: Until like the way that we've been trained to read, and so there they like break down how indigenous writers.
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linnea bostrom: Tell stories and indigenous storytelling so that people like have an entry point into a different type of plot narrative and it just makes me think about the like.
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linnea bostrom: The the conversations that English teachers or school districts have about teaching the same stories like.
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linnea bostrom: Why did I have to read a tale of two cities in high school like, why is that a thing that I had to do, and like whose stories are we telling and.
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linnea bostrom: The conversation about like Well, this is like a shared culture and like we're getting students ready to participate and like have a common cultural set of like knowledge.
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linnea bostrom: But to the erasure point like when we're not considering all these different people who are also in the United States, a part of our culture and like a part of the culture that we just like systematically don't.
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linnea bostrom: Ignore acknowledge, or like interact with in a.
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linnea bostrom: Intellectual way.
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linnea bostrom: yeah but.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Even if we were.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: I would even argue with that that like we could be I don't think that we should be choosing and assigning the same like great text over and over to high school students and.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: But even if we did if we taught them to approach the stories from a different point of entry.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: You would get a fundamentally different story like, if you like, to have the books, I talked about in my undergrad thesis where the sun also rises by Hemingway.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: And the great gatsby by Fitzgerald, which are two books that like a ton of teenagers read in high school.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: And Oh, and I also mentioned the culture and Ryan, and if you approach those from like a feminist or a queer lens.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: They have very different endings and very different possibilities of like what happens and.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: You know who you're rooting for necessarily or like the just the context in which you understand the book So even if you like.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: You know, were to say like okay fine like we can't change the the the syllabus you know we're going to keep all of the same books, but if you just like.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Ask your students more open ended questions and like didn't present like forms of knowing as like I given they could still lead to really interesting and different interpretations and you can do that, to a ton of.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Great text you can do it to Faulkner you can do it to Dracula like that is it that's kind of the.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: There was this like post structuralist movement and like English literature in the 90s of like we need to get rid of every book, like every great texts that we've ever read and now there's this kind of like revival, right now, of.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Actually, it seems like most of the great texts are actually pretty good and worth talking about and it turns out they're all kind of gay, so why don't we talk about that.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: So it's it's funny I mean it I kind of go both ways of like one we should be reading like just different books period to like.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: What if we read the same books and also like allowed for different thought processes to occur because, like on one hand, I read a tale of two cities it's an amazing book and I think people should read it.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: it's really long, though, and I also think it's fine if people don't.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: So I kind of go both I kind of see you both ways, because I also like.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: I don't think everyone is going to.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: want to read as many books, as I do, like not everyone is going to find as much pleasure in it, as I do, or.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Like I read like 50 books, a year and not everyone's going to do that, you know that's a huge time commitment that I myself a nerd have decided to take on and not everyone is that way, or can do that, like that is so not feasible for like.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Most people.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: But I mean English syllabus is art, I think, a very generative place to start, because then you can kind of get into like the whole topic of like.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: banned books and whatnot of like books that kids shouldn't read that really popular why author john Green has talked about.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: there's like a scene in his book looking for Alaska that has gotten his book band at a ton of high schools, because someone pretends to give a tube of toothpaste, a blowjob.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: But, like the one of the main themes of the book is teenage suicide and that doesn't get the book band the blow job that is on a thing of toothpaste gets the book band and he's like that is.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Just so silly.
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mack: I feel like i'm hearing you say that, like.
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mack: The interpretive frame that we associate with the book is somehow the thing that like packs of cleanser like leaves this greater impact like materially in the world.
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mack: And these post-structuralist we're like we'll get rid of the books, because.
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mack: The books come with this interpretive frame and this interpretive frame is garbage though with get rid of it and then you're saying like lately people realize oh wait like there is a.
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mack: kind of palette of interpretive friends that we can draw upon and apply all of them to the text, and maybe lead to different like material outcome.
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mack: OK, so now, my question is like I have tried it into book talk.
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mack: And, have you seen the tip top of the person who talks about jk Rowling and how like I forget exactly what she talked about but.
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mack: I don't know I don't have like good details, if you don't have been talking about, but she has another tech talk on banned book that are like.
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mack: All right, ideology text, but I guess, my question is like are those fair game as well, like can we are you saying like yeah let's give a quick analysis I don't know, but you know, like let's do it let's go there.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: I mean that kind of goes into.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Like personal ethics of like.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Do I think something should exist in the world, even when I don't agree with it and.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: that's part of like I feel like the P, if you agree with democracy you kind of have to accept that, like about half the time you're going to see public discourse that you think is wrong or you don't agree with.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Because like about half the time like people get elected, or things exist in the world that you just.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: didn't vote for don't agree with, but that also exists in theory of like a working democracy, so I I struggle with like I struggle with that concept that you're kind of pointing to MAC of like.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Yes, oh my God so good, like I but yeah I struggle with that and, like in theory like yes, I even if, like there are fringe beliefs, that I don't agree with like, I think that they should exist in the world, because, like.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: You know I don't think that anyone has the right to like say like you don't have you shouldn't think what you think you shouldn't do what you do I, like I don't know if anyone should have that power but also like, then, with context and in historical practice.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: I don't know how to balance those two things it's like how I theoretically like intrinsically feel about it versus what has historically.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: taken place, you know.
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mack: I think.
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mack: I don't know I think some of what you're raising about like in a functioning democracy it's.
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mack: giving me a little bit of this like break house energy so there's a part of me that kind of wants to push back and be like.
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mack: Is it worth making space for ideas that are like actively violent against these historically oppressed people.
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mack: Right like there's a part of me that's like no I I do think that there's a right direction it's like I do think that there is good science I don't think that this by and right, but like.
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mack: I do think that there is a there is some sense of like material truth and the world but that's like corrosive relativism.
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mack: makes everything like too difficult to kind of sort through on.
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mack: But I think for me like there's an argument for like memory and like kind of.
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mack: This like hermeneutics process of remember I.
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mack: For me it's like I think sure we can review the awful alright text as the like to reflect on kind of what the depth of humanity has reached and to be kind of grateful for know under being there.
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mack: Okay, I sorry I need to get going Oh, I like talking to you guys.
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mack: If I can log off and keep.
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mack: happening, I think i'd be down to get the ball rolling.
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mack: Let me see if I can make someone else.
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Katherine Gonella Manley: Do you want to stop the recording.