Welcome to our new blog. I’m Nathan, and it is my fortune to write the first entry in the educational philosophy blog that Chris, Angie and I have elected to build together. I decided that I should introduce myself a little so that you could have some context and understanding of who I am and where I come from, and how I relate to the content in our class. To date, I consider my philosophical outlook to relate rather strongly with an existentialist perspective. I won’t go into anymore detail than to say that I tend to take the path of interpreting the world through as a subjective reality. I certainly don’t discount the possibility of objective truth, but I try and understand it in terms of an intersubjective perspective informed by the subtle influence of God. My first degree was earned at the University of Alberta where I studied psychology and economics. I’ve come to understand my education as an evaluation of how people act and behave. Psychology has giving me a perspective on the foundation of how people think and behave as individuals. Economics gives me insight into how to understand people’s behaviour at the social level. Sociology has never worked for me for some reason. Economics is certainly no end unto itself. However, I find it helps me understand some the most important practical and observable choices people make in their lives. I profess to be a Christian in the tradition of the United Church of Canada, and I grew up in a Pentecostal home. I have very recently been married to the most remarkable woman I have ever met. I love her with all of my being, and I am ridiculously lucky to have her in my life. I honestly have no idea how I got as lucky as I did, I’m just running with the wonderful opportunity while I can! I work as a youth worker in addition to my studies and I have filled my role for the last four years. It has provided me a wide array of experiences, some happy and many sad. I’ve witnessed many difficult things through my role and it is informs me of how very valuable human life is and how very tragically, people can be overlooked, and broken. My decision to attend King’s for education program reflects my belief that I’ve learned something of value through my experiences as a youth worker and my interest in continuing the work I’ve done.
To date in class, we have begun to cover the earliest of Greek philosophers with Socrates, Plato and, soon, Aristotle. We haven’t explored Aristotle to any great depth yet, but I suspect that I will find his philosophy of the telos the most intriguing of the three. Immediately, I am engaged with the notion that an object should be evaluated for it’s outcome or ‘final form or outcome’. I find this particularly interesting because there is a potential double standard at play in the notion of evaluating things for their telos. Considered the parallel statements made famous by the Prince Machiavelli “The ends justify the means”, I’ve become suspicious of where Aristotle’s philosophy of the telos might take us. To continue getting ahead of ourselves in the course for just a moment, if the ends justify the means, then genocide might be acceptable if it results in a lasting peace. However, actions and objects are not the same things, so perhaps the difference saves Aristotle’s philosophy. We have yet to cover the topic in class, so I look forward to engaging it with more deeply while reading the Nicomachean Ethics.
I won’t be much longer so I can save some space on the screen for my class mates but I did want to share one deep insight I had in class today. Our instructor Professor Den Boer remarked in class during a spiritual aside that he does not believe that the scriptures were truly about fundamental truths. Instead, he related that he believes the scriptures were about relationships. This moment had profound validity for me. For a long time I have believed in my own private spiritual understanding of the world that God acts through us all as individuals and it is in our interactions with one another that God affects the world we live in. Professor Den Boer’s words struck me at a very personal level as being very true (with the irony about the comment itself being about the lack of truths aside). I take this experience as a profoundly positive sign as a large influence upon my decision to attend King’s was to try and explore my faith and engagement with Christ. While an education degree might ultimately allow me an opportunity to work as a teacher in the future, I don’t feel the outcome of employment is enough justification for spending as much time, money and energy required of the degree. Instead, I see the opportunity to spend some time developing my faith as a meritable expression of my faith. So, I hope I feel like I’m on the right path, at least for today.
All the King’s men couldn’t put him back together again.