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Today the class had a huge strip of tape exactly down the middle of the room. "By this time in the semester, if you're having issues with a roommate, they might be getting near the boiling point," Anakin said a little wryly. "So before you divide the room in half and forbid the other person from invading, let's discuss some productive ways of de-escalating a conflict."

"Disputes between roommates are often small," Obi-Wan said. "They simply escalate into grander things, including because many of you may not have shared a room, or shared a room in a different way, before coming here. That makes it especially important to come up with room guidelines as soon as possible - that way, both parties have a fair agreement to fall back on."

Anakin nodded, grinning at Ahsoka. "The same things would apply to close quarters in a ship, too. Music choices, bringing smelly food into a room, how many times someone can hit the snooze button before you're allowed to beat them unconscious with the clock--"

That last one isn't a thing, Anakin.

Obi-Wan coughed. "So preparation is step one," he said. "If that fails, approaching a confrontation with reason is step two."

"Smacking them with a clock is a last resort," Anakin said, smiling slightly. "Examples of things that can drive a living situation into untenable areas can include sleep schedules, noise levels, visitors..."

"Try to find some common ground," Obi-Wan suggested lightly. "What you appreciate about each other's conduct, perhaps. Or appeal to each others'... differing senses of cleanliness. Perhaps there's a compromise to be arranged, for instance, if your roommate frequently has... guests over."

Before you were wielding clocks like weapons, even! "You can either talk among yourselves or use me as a roommate substitute," Anakin said, smiling evilly. "I'll be very reasonable."

There was a zero percent chance he would be reasonable.

"Please draw a card of potential disputes from the box if you wish to practice," Obi-Wan said. He was perfectly reasonable.

Ethics, Monday

Monday, October 2nd, 2017 04:55 pm
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: happy)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
When the students arrived, both teachers were standing at the head of the class. Obi-Wan was straight-faced, as per usual, ignoring Anakin as he spoke. "Good morning," he said. "Today, we'd like to discuss the concept of envy."

Anakin was feeling very judged right now. "No matter how self-assured you may be," he said, "there are occasionally moments where you really wish to have something--a gift, a personality trait, a friend--that someone has and you don't."

"Or chocolate," Obi-Wan continued serenely. "Say, perhaps... a chocolate egg containing a toy. Even such small things can invoke great envy, even though you weren't expecting a gift even a moment ago."

"Especially because Kinder Surprise eggs are astral," Anakin said with a smile. "Just...don't ask how we got them into the United States. Half of you will find a chocolate egg under your desk. The other half, well, you get to watch your friends open up something fun."

"How do you react?" Obi-Wan asked. "What is the proper way to deal with envy?"
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"If any of you watched American football yesterday, you probably noticed a huge controversy that has been kicked up by the President of that country," Anakin said.

"He commanded football players to stay upright while the national anthem is played, rather than kneeling in protest," Obi-Wan said mildly. "It went over about as smoothly as one would expect."

"Not at all," Anakin said with a snort, "as he's not an emperor or a dictator, even though he badly wishes to be one. This has started a discussion about the right of people to speak freely, and what limitaAtions--if any--can be imposed on them in a public sphere."

"The United States has a fairly total and strong view of what freedom of speech is," Obi-Wan continued. "No law may be passed by Congress, or any other government body, that would prohibit someone to speak their mind. Other countries on this planet take a more complicated view - ranging from dictators who make it illegal to speak up at all, to Germany. That country once went to war with genocidal intent; once they were pulled from that brink, they devised a law to make certain speech with genocidal intent illegal. Its neighboring countries have provisions about what they dub hate speech, and so on."

Anakin nodded. "Free speech here means what the government itself can punish you for expressing, not your fellow citizens or your private employers. If someone proclaims a moron opinion, you are very free to say 'that is a stupid thing to believe and I'm telling you so.'"

Which, really, was one of Anakin's favorite things to do. He wasn't very restrained on his opinions.

"Free speech laws do not cover what a company can or cannot do to its products or those in its employ," Obi-Wan said, "Nor whether a media company chooses to give someone a platform. Now, our question to you is twofold. One, do you believe the United States has it right? Two, in an ideal world, how would you legislate free speech?"
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[personal profile] sith_happened
"Today we're going to talk about something that's a current moral dilemma," Anakin began. And one he heard Rory ranting about almost daily. "It's also an extremely valuable life skill: learning how to read information with a critical eye to discover the motivations of the people releasing it. Their morals might not be your morals."

"Regardless of what kind of society you grow up in, it is likely you'll believe certain sources of information better than others," Obi-Wan said. "What those sources would be, varies. Sentients do, however, feel inclined to believe something that parrots their own beliefs more readily than what does not."

Anakin nodded. "Do you believe what your friend tells you? Does her opinion weigh more heavily than, say, a news article you read, even if hers is only a single perspective? In journalism--" he smiled at Obi-Wan, "--as my wife has lectured me more than once, there are primary and secondary sources of information. How do you know a secondary source is credible, or that a primary doesn't have an axe to grind?"

"And what does credibility mean to you?' Obi-Wan asked. "Most have an agenda, but some might be more benevolent than others. How do you judge such a thing? What do you pay attention to?"

"And does the credibility matter very much if it's about something that doesn't really affect your life? Celebrity marriages, wars on planets you'll never visit?" Anakin added. "Are you more interested in a good story or the bald facts?"

"Please share a story where you were entirely convinced one set of events was true, but the reality turned out to be rather different or more complicated," Obi-wan said, "If you have any. If you don't... why don't you?"

Ethics, Monday

Monday, September 11th, 2017 07:10 am
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: looking down)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
"Welcome back to Ethics class," Anakin said. "Today we're going to discuss a fictional tale with a real-world morality test: The Lady or the Tiger."

"It's meant to indicate, among other things, one's level of cynicism - or perhaps one's belief in certain systems of ethics," Obi-Wan said lightly. "It's the tale of a young princess who falls in love with a young man. He's not nearly of her status. It creates... friction."

"Is that what you call it when your father discovers your affair and throws your lover in prison?" Anakin asked dryly. "The judicial system in this hypothetical kingdom was bizarre: the man was to be tossed into arena in front of anyone in the kingdom who wanted to show up and watch. There were two doors in the wall. One led to a beautiful woman--not the princess--who he would be forced to marry instantly. Choosing this door was considered being found innocent. Behind the other was a tiger who would, presumably, eat in him instantly and thus reinforce his guilt. The princess knew which was behind each door, but she was a jealous, petty person. Her lover looked up at her, she gestured to a particular door...and the story ends."

"Which door did she pick? The story doesn't say," Obi-Wan said. His mouth curved. "That's where you come in. Which door did she point to? And which would you have pointed to, if you'd been in a similar - somewhat offbeat - situation?"
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[personal profile] sith_happened
"Hello again, everyone," Anakin began. "In order to study ethics, we must attempt to have a common vocabulary. Otherwise my stealing might be your culture's borrowing indefinitely and we'll be talking past each other for months."

"The language of ethics takes shape differently in every culture, but often roots itself in religion," Obi-Wan continued. "Such is the case for this world, and certainly for the culture within which this island nominally finds itself. The Abrahamic religions, as they are called, shaped a good deal of the history of this country, at least for the past few centuries. And they speak of ethics in some very simple, if definitive ways."

Anakin nodded. "They call seven common human failings the 'seven deadly sins': pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. They're considered--at least on this planet--to be abuses of our natural passions. So today you're going to pair up and discuss this list and decide which, if any, you think should be removed from the list, or if there's something that needs to be added."

"And perhaps contemplate why these particular 'sins' were singled out," Obi-Wan said. "Are these intrinsically and universally horrible qualities?"
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[personal profile] sith_happened
Anakin, dressed in his usual Jedi robes, was in the front of the classrooms, sneaking pleased smiles at his partner when he thought Obi-Wan might not notice. He'd missed him over the summer, shhh. "Welcome to Ethics," he began, "a class that is something of an institution in this school."

"We endeavour to teach you all a little bit about ethical quandaries you might run into in your life, of all kinds," Obi-Wan said. "Some of these lessons may be uncomfortable. Much as life is often uncomfortable."

"But it's better to prepare here, in a classroom where the situations might be hypothetical, than to be placed in a situation with only bad options and not enough preparation."

Or more than enough preparation and just really terrible instincts. Anakin.

"None the less, we will post the basic summary of the class to the classroom door a day before it begins. If you opt not to engage with the class material for any reason, you may tell us so, no questions asked," Obi-Wan continued. "Now... today's class will be about lying."

"Everyone does it," Anakin said, "even if they couch it in terms like 'truth from a certain point of view'. You cannot be honest every moment because sometimes you just can't say, 'yes, dear, that dress does make you seem huge' if you want to remain married."

Obi-Wan coughed. "Sometimes the truth does differ based on your point of view," he said swiftly. "Regardless. Today, we do introductions and test your acumen for lying - and detecting lies. Anakin here will lead you off by telling you three facts, one of which is a lie."

Anakin inclined his head at Obi-Wan with a little smirk. "Of course, Master. I was once the best pilot in our galaxy. I have four children. I was known as the Great Negotiator."

"As for myself, I sat on the Jedi Council, I have two brothers, and I once received a rock as a birthday present," Obi-Wan said lightly. "Which of these are truths, which the lie?"
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[personal profile] sith_happened
Anakin was glaring at the ceiling as if that would stop the festive surfer holiday music from playing. He'd been glaring for twenty minutes and so far, nothing.

"Hopefully the music won't distract you from your final," Anakin said. "You've had four days to recover from the last week, so I trust you're all fine now."

Nice, nurturing Jedi, there.

"And if not, you may always ask us to consider a resit for you," said Obi-Wan, who was... slightly more nurturing than Anakin? "We will offer you a number of questions based on these past few months. There are not necessarily wrong answers, merely wrong argumentation."

Anakin nodded. "So pick an option in the scenarios and then explain why you chose it, please."

"Try to motivate your reasoning as well as you possibly can," Obi-Wan said. "That is all we ask."

He stepped aside.

Ethics, Thursday

Thursday, December 8th, 2016 05:02 pm
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: looking down)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
Anakin wasn't sure if he was entirely grateful that he'd fallen asleep in his office last night if it meant that he woke up to...whatever the heck was going on outside.

Obi-Wan was... simply all a-sigh (if wearing his robe). "As you can tell, there is clearly something going on today, and we do not feel it responsible to keep you in the school for any longer than you need to be," he said. "There have been... noises."

Coming out of the principal's tower. Yeah.

Creepy, creepy noises. "We both have a bad feeling about this," Anakin said because it was contractually obligated for Star Wars people to have bad feelings, "so stay as safe as you can, head to the library or the weapons locker if you know how to use a weapon already, and let us know if you'd like either of us to escort you anywhere."

"And if anyone has more of an idea of what is going on than we presently do, please come forward," Obi-Wan said. "That is all."

"Be careful," Anakin admonished. "Actually careful. Not Fandom careful."
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[personal profile] sith_happened
Anakin came in looking slightly rumpled. The Coke bears had insisted on hugging him on his way to class. "As you might have noticed by the weird bears on campus today, it's December in Fandom," he began, "which means there will be weird things happening every day. Be glad today isn't the one where only eggnog comes out of the water pipes. That makes for a horrible shower."

"But, considering the spirit of this planet's holiday season," Obi-Wan took over smoothly, "We felt it was important to focus on something else. Namely, the notion of giving - charity. Often considered something of an ethical virtue."

Anakin nodded. "Either to your friends and family, too people in less advantageous economic circumstances than you, or just to complete strangers, people are encouraged to give either or their time or their money, especially this time of year. Now, is this something you agree with or would this be considered something uselessly soft in your world?"

"This world also knows the concept of 'paying it forward'," Obi-Wan said, "The idea that you do a kindness for someone, and they will do a kindness for someone in return, and so on. Do you consider that realistic?"

"The idea with that being that eventually some sort of karmic balance will make you the beneficiary of something nice, too, I believe," Anakin said, nodding.

"So please, do discuss," Obi-Wan said, "And if you believe in it, perhaps think of a way to... pay it forward."

Ethics, Thursday

Thursday, November 17th, 2016 05:11 am
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: standing)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
The puppies were gone from class this week. Instead Anakin was at the front in his customary Jedi robes, looking solemn. "Recent political events here have brought back some...less pleasant recollections from my home galaxy, which overthrew its democratic system in favor of an Emperor who then enacted heavy-handed policies against women, and non-human species--which, it might be stated, was most of the galaxy."

"When such tragedies occur - and we do not mean to imply that this will be such a tragedy - there are different ways to deal with them," Obi-Wan said solemnly. "Many simply go on with their daily lives, hoping no wrath will come upon them."

Anakin made a little face at that. "Other--especially those who are targeted by the government's wrath--choose to go into hiding."

"There is something to be said for ensuring your own safety and biding your time," Obi-Wan said. "We are not all equipped to tackle the universe's wars all on our own."

Anakin nodded. "But sometimes you just have to stand up and say, no, this is wrong. Today we're going to have a discussion about where your personal line for that might be, and how you might go about offering opposition in a productive way."

Like, say, joining a Rebellion. Cough.
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[personal profile] sith_happened
Today's Ethics class met in the Danger Shop today--which looked more like a place to nap and relax than anything mentally taxing. There were soft, squashy pillows around the room, along with blankets...and a small selection of dog toys. "Right," Anakin said, running fingers through his hair. "It's been an extremely trying few days."

"When politics change to something... terrible," Obi-Wan said slowly (not that he had experience with that), "It is useful to speak up against it, yes. But first, there is a period of mourning. For those of you who are experiencing this... we thought we would postpone our presentations."

He walked up to a small door and opened it. Small puppies spilled forth.

Anakin scooped one up and cuddled it. "They're not, technically speaking, real, so any allergies should be avoided this way. And if you'd like to talk to Master Kenobi or I--we both have some experience with rather sudden shifts in governments--we're available."

"That will be all," Obi-Wan said solemnly, and sat down.

Ethics, Thursday

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016 04:53 pm
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: looking down)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
"If you're from this planet--not even necessarily from this country--you've heard about the presidential election happening next week," Anakin began. "If you've been in my house, you've been hearing about it for two years and Tuesday cannot come soon enough."

"This election has brought out more than its fair share of ethical dilemmas," Obi-Wan said. (To put it mildly.) "We felt that perhaps it might be... productive if we took some time to dive into these, by tasking you with finding an ethical dilemma and arguing for or against it. You will have one week to prepare."

Anakin nodded. "And since the election will be over this time next week, you will hopefully be able to give it your full-throated and honest opinion without having to worry about possible retaliation from a weird skinned madman."

And Anakin knew from weird skinned madmen.

"This is why we are in the computer lab," Obi-Wan finished. "Please find a partner, or research on your own if you please. We will be here for questions."

Which Anakin would probably just pass to Rory.

Which Anakin would definitely just pass to Rory. Ethically.
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[personal profile] sith_happened
Today's Ethics class was outside. In the preserve, which was a huge step up from a desert, if you asked Anakin.

Yes, well. Which one of them had spent time in a desert lately? Either way, Obi-Wan was there, looking only... slightly tense. "We believed that perhaps it was time to remind ourselves of the spirit of charitable giving," he said, "Ethics, after all, is not simply about theory."

"And," said an unexpected addition to the teaching group today, "that's why I'm here today." Kanan grinned easily as he shrugged his shoulders. That jack-of-all-trades thing came in handy sometimes. "As you can probably tell from the chill that's starting to settle into the air, it's coming on wintertime, and some of the island's residents... frankly, are too dumb to come in from the cold. So-" he held up a handful of printouts of plans for simple livestock shelters, "we're going to build a bunch of smaller versions of these. And then we're going to wallpaper the insides with bad, preachy fanfiction from the internet. For the teal deer."

Apparently they liked that sort of thing? Kanan was just going to roll with it.

Anakin stared at Kanan. "The deer read fanfiction."

Kanan just shot Anakin a grin. "The deer like words. The fanfiction was just convenient."

"I do not," Obi-Wan said, "Want to know what manner of fanfiction it is."

He and Anakin had experiences. Experiences.

Anakin shuddered slightly. "Me either. Pair up, if you'd like, and build the teal deer some shelter. I recommend speaking briefly if you don't want them to harass you."

"Then I won't tell you," Kanan said cheerfully, and then he motioned to a pile of tools and building supplies. "Everything you need is over there. If you have any questions, I've built one or two of these things in my time. Or you can just enjoy the fine reading materials that have been provided, but we'll probably judge you for it."
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[personal profile] sith_happened
Today Anakin stood alone in front of the class. His expression told them Not to Ask about it. He didn't think that would be enough to stop Ahsoka, though.

"This weekend is Homecoming," Anakin said. "A chance for old alumni--" including more relatives than Anakin could shake a lightsaber at, "--to return and see how much their lives have changed from when they were students. Several Earth-based religions also use the autumn as a time to take stock of their lives and celebrate a new start."

Obi-Wan's absence in class was weighing more heavily on Anakin than he would admit to. Anakin had been doing some serious stock-taking since Parents Weekend. "So today, think back on the last year you've had--your mistakes--and tell the class something you'd like to become better at doing over the next year. As for me, I will work on becoming more open in my communications."

Yeaaaaaaaaaah. Good luck with that, Anakin.
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[personal profile] sith_happened
"Today we're going to have a discussion about honesty," Anakin said, very much not making eye contact with Obi-Wan.

"Specifically, in the context of last weekend," Obi-Wan said, his mouth a thin line. "I'm sure you've all felt inclined to tell white lies, either to your parents about your current situation, or to your friends about your parents."

"Or to your roommate's visitors just for fun," Anakin said.

"Whatever the case," Obi-Wan said, "Sometimes lies are not spoken with ill intent, but rather to defuse a potentially bad situation. In such cases, do the ends justify the means? Are white lies acceptable?"

Anakin nodded vehemently. "I would say yes."

"There is a certain arrogance in it, I feel," said Obi-Wan, like he didn't rigorously embrace the practice on a daily basis. "To believe you know every consequence your words - and the truth - may have."

Anakin snorted. "Because the Great Negotiator has never stretched the truth a little."

"I'm merely offering a counterargument," Obi-Wan said. Serenely. Sort of. Okay, it came with a bit of an edge, considering Anakin's track record.

"Sure you are," Anakin said, pursing his lips.

Obi-Wan ignored him. "Today, we'd like to discuss this matter," he said. "Do you think white lies are helpful? Damaging? Arrogant? Best avoided, or utilized when necessary? And when do you consider them necessary?"

Ethics, Thursday

Thursday, September 29th, 2016 10:29 am
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: secrets with anakin)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
When the students arrived, they'd find the teachers up at the front of the classroom as usual. Anakin, not like usual, was eating a giant bar of chocolate.

"Good morning, everyone," he said, smirking slightly.

Obi-Wan, rather more like usual, was looking faintly exasperated about Anakin in general. "Envy can be a dangerous emotion," he said. "Driving some of the worst impulses in sentient nature. For instance, today, you might be feeling envious about your neighbor, as we have given half of you chocolate bars, and the other half of you-- nothing."

"Really good, really big chocolate bars," Anakin said because he enjoyed piling on. "Now those of you who don't have anything... well, you didn't have anything when you came in, and you really had no expectation of getting a treat coming to class, but that's probably not what it feels like right now, is it?"

"Life rarely allows us a level playing field," Obi-Wan said, "and even when it does, the outcomes are never fair. How do you deal with that? If you do not have chocolate, will you let the envy ruin your class? If you do, will you gloat or share? Is it simply a case of saying 'too bad' to your classmates, or are you driven by some desire to even the scales?"

"And if you're unmoved by free sweets, think back to our exercise in privilege and think of something that you don't have that others take for granted, or the reverse," Anakin said. "Because, as Master Kenobi says, this isn't really about the chocolate."

"To conclude," Obi-Wan said, "How will you cope?"

It sounded like the end of the lecture-- except it was followed five seconds later with, "Anakin, stop eating chocolate in front of the students."

Ethics, Thursday

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 01:59 pm
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: looking down)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
"There is a very old work of fiction from this planet," Anakin said as he passed around copies of a short story, "that uses a hypothetical situation to debate a larger moral question."

"It speaks of a king in a distant land, who meted out justice by putting the accused in a large arena. The arena would hold two doors. Behind one laid a hungry tiger; behind the other, a suitor the accused had to wed immediately, regardless of the accused's marital position prior to winding up in the arena," Obi-Wan continued smoothly. "This king had a daughter, and his daughter had a lover - one she was not meant to have."

Anakin coughed, shooting Obi-Wan a slightly guilty look. "As sometimes happens, yes. The king eventually found out, and immediately tossed the hapless youth into prison to await his sentencing. Everyone knew he was guilty of the crime of loving someone above his station, but the king insisted on his instant, impartial justice system. The boy would go into the arena with the two doors, choose one, and end up either tiger food or wed to the most beautiful woman the king could procure--not, of course, his daughter."

"The princess, being so close to the king, knew which door was which," Obi-Wan said. "She even knew the suitor the king had picked - a beautiful girl she loathed. And her lover knew she would know, which was why, as he walked into the arena, he looked up to catch her eye, hoping for a hint as to which door to pick."

"She pointed him to the right-hand door without hesitation," Anakin said, "and he opened it...and that's where the story leaves us. Did she send him to the lady or to the tiger? Read the story for yourselves--there's nuance in it we have skimmed over--and then pair up and discuss it. Which do you think she chose for him?"
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[personal profile] sith_happened
Today's classroom was rearranged again, this time with a single round table in the center of the room, with Anakin and Obi-Wan already seated at it. "Last week we did an exercise in perspective," Anakin began. "Today we'll discuss how it made you feel and what kind of ethical obligations it might bestow upon beings who might not have seen how privileged they were until that moment." He smiled dryly. "Those without tend to already know it. Those with tend to assume everyone has their same experiences."

"As we said at the beginning of last week's class, privilege is a complicated creature," Obi-Wan continued. "Even those of us who have less privilege, still sometimes have privileges of which we are unaware, because it has always seemed to be part of our lives. Some of us have none at all. Some of us have many, and are aware of it." He looked around the table. "Historically, rulers have often wielded privilege like a blade, a tool of division, giving one group or another the 'right' to feel better than everyone else. At the same time, they have used it to intimidate those with less privilege, to ensure their power."

A pause. "This was not what we were trying to do to you last week. We were merely trying to give some indication of what privilege is, and what forms it can take."

Anakin nodded. "Take, for instance, the Jedi in the room. In our own galaxy, we are a privileged group: we never have to worry where our next meal will come from--assuming we are not out in the field--we have access to an entire galaxy's full of learning, we are afforded respect wherever we go, even if it's sometimes given grudgingly. But without the protections of the Jedi robes, we would have very different experiences on a planet with, say, a strong tradition of matriarcal thinking or a history of anti-human xenophobic thought."

"On the other hand, Jedi are recruited very young: they usually have little choice in the matter. And the Order frowns on 'normal' luxuries such as private property and attachment," Obi-Wan said. "There are things we are asked to give up." A pause. "Meanwhile, being different has also painted a target on our backs, as it has done for any isolated group. The Jedi have been blamed for many things of late, and it has become increasingly dangerous for us to be out in the galaxy, to be recognized as such."

Ahem.

"This goes to show how complicated such privileges can be, and how they can easily shift, especially when it comes to groups who are easily identifiable," he continued. "So our first question to you today is: considering last week's class, what is privilege to you? How do you see yourself in relation to it?" He folded his hands together. "Secondly, how do you feel about such a disparity? Should we find ways to ensure that everyone who stood in front of the line, moves back? That those who found themselves behind it be moved forward, so that everyone is on the line? How would such a system work? Or do you feel differently about the disparity? Does your position last week work into this? And so on."

He smiled at the class. "Thirdly... It is said that a being's worth can be judged not by how he treats those more privileged than he, but those less," he said. "How do you feel about that statement?"

Ethics, Thursday

Thursday, September 8th, 2016 02:22 pm
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: secrets with anakin)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
Today the classroom's desks were shoved to the sides of the room and a white tape was going down the middle. Anakin and Obi-Wan were standing on it. "Today we're going to explore how assumptions we make about how we interact with the world might not be universal," Anakin began.

"This is a class we teach every year," Obi-Wan said, "In an effort to communicate the principle of privilege. Privilege is a complicated concept, which touches each of us in different ways: depending on which planet we are on and what era it is, simple things such as skin tone, education, wealth, ethnicity and so on may make our lives harder or easier. One may experience privilege for one element of one's self, and lose it for another. And so forth."

Anakin nodded. "Since Fandom covers the gamut of space and time," and has a statistically unusual number of orphans, "it's very difficult to get a group of questions that accurately reflect the challenges and the privileges in your life. I would ask that you answer as honestly as you can. Master Kenobi and I, as always, will participate as well. Though we both became Jedi, which is a group of privilege in our galaxy, we grew up quite differently."

"If you are uncomfortable with the assignment, you are allowed to sit it out," Obi-Wan continued. "Please tell us if this is the case."

"Everyone else, stand on the line, please," Anakin said.
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[personal profile] sith_happened
"Hello, and welcome to this year's Ethics class," Anakin said, glowering from the front of the room. Don't you feel welcomed, kids? So welcomed.

"In this class, we will discuss a variety of topics concerning morality and ethics," Obi-Wan said. "Our goal is not to coerce you to give us the 'correct' answer, mind you. We are looking to help you establish your own moral code, and define its boundaries."

Anakin nodded. "And then learn to live with the consequences of the boundaries you've established. What might seem clear-cut in a classroom setting is seldom that easy to figure out in a real-world scenario. It's fine to say that you wouldn't steal anything, but when you're out of shampoo and your roommate's is right there--"

"--it may well seem tempting. Easy. And not a crime at all," Obi-Wan said. He cleared his throat. "We always like to start our first class with lies. Or rather, a lie and two truths."

Anakin smiled at Ahsoka. "And while we're aware that some of you have had specialized training in discernment, it's not always as easy to see the truth as we'd like." And Mr. "Secretly Married For Years" would know.

"I will go first," Obi-Wan said lightly. "I was once known as the Negotiator. I was born on an ocean planet in an underwater habitat. I once beat an enemy by surrendering."

Anakin smirked slightly at Obi-Wan. "I've saved Master Kenobi's life ten times," he said. "I drink my caf with sugar and blue milk, and I have four children."

Obi-Wan caught Anakin's eye as he was smirking and rolled his eyes. "And now it is your turn," he said, turning back to the class.
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Two Jedi stood at the front of the class looking solemn. "Welcome to your final exam," Anakin said, passing out the sheets of paper. "As with everything in ethics, we are more concerned with your thought process than your actual answer. If you can live with yourself and the choices you've made, then you've succeeded in our eyes."

Unless you're fine with slaughtering children or something. Then they'll judge the hell out of you.

"May the Force be with you, and enjoy your breaks."
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If anything strange had happened over the weekend, Obi-Wan was ignoring it so staunchly, some might have been under the sudden impression that the weekend itself had not occurred at all. He was standing at the front of the class, wearing the one robe and tunic his doppleganger had left him, and in front of him stood a line of boxes. "It is holiday season on this planet," he said, "and with it come very special ethical challenges."

"How much do you spend on a gift? Who do you buy for? What if someone presents you with a gift and you didn't get them something in return?" Anakin eyes sparkled mischievously. "What if someone gives you something absolutely terrible?"

"Do you speak your mind, or do you choose to soothe them?" Obi-Wan said. "I personally believe it's usually best not to make a spectacle of yourself."

Anakin, with images of Obi-Wan from the past weekend vivid in his mind, tried unsuccessfully to hide his snicker behind his hand. "Yes, you do," he agreed, "but sometimes the gift is just too awful not to say something."

"This is of course a minor ethical concern, but it is still something many grapple with," Obi-Wan said. He waved his hand at the gifts. "You will all pick up one gift, and give it to the person sitting next to you. The person sitting next to you must then decide how they will respond."
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And extremely irritated (and Santa-hatted) Anakin stood alone in front of the class. "Master Kenobi said he had a eopie-related emergency," he said, "but I think it's a lie to cover up how ridiculous he would look in a Santa hat and that he doesn't want me to see it."

Keep thinking that, Anakin.

"Which brings us to today's topic: would you rather people tell you a hard truth or a comforting lie? Is it easier to know that your dog died, or would you rather pretend to believe your parents that it's really at a farm up state?"

He leaned back against the desk and batted at the fuzzy white ball on the end of his hat as it drifted into his eyes. "Tell what you prefer, and then tell me either the hardest truth you ever had to deliver or the biggest lie you ever told to try to be comforting."

Ethics, Wednesday

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015 03:43 pm
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: studying)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
"There is a proverb on this planet," Obi-Wan said quietly. "'Forgive and forget.'" If he had noticed the influx of children last weekend, he was not saying a word about it. There might have been a reason for that.

Anakin nodded. "Given the number of bags that were reported on the radio last week, I'd venture that this island, in general, has problems forgetting and forgiving."

"Some of you also had your slate wiped clean for the weekend," Obi-Wan said. "These two factors combined bring us to today's topic: regret. How do you handle your own regret? How do you handle another's?"

"The people here, on the whole, tend to be astonishingly forgiving when the island's...whimsy...leads to gender-switching, sudden attack of childhood, or being someone else for the weekend. I don't think the rest of the world would be nearly as sanguine with the idea of, say, sleeping with someone else's girlfriend because you thought you were someone else," Anakin said.

"Forgiveness can hence be... situational," Obi-Wan said. "But I am certain there is at least one of you who has woken after such an event filled with regret, in spite of any assurances that you were not the one who chose to do the things you did."

Regularly, if you were Anakin. "Where does regret slip into self-loathing?" he asked. "Why is it sometimes easier to forgive others than ourselves?"

Definitely not looking at Obi-Wan there.

"Or, for some of you, why is it easier to forgive one's self than to forgive those around you?" Obi-Wan asked. "Are all regrets created equal?"

"Is there a mental limit you have for forgiving or excusing the same person?" Anakin added. "Think about it for a moment, then we'll discuss it."

Ethics, Wednesday

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 06:38 pm
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: secrets with anakin)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
Anakin lounged back against his desk today, this time without coffee. Turned out that being mean to the barista meant that the rest of them wouldn't serve him for the remainder of the month. Oops. "Today we're going to talk about the seven deadly sins, or easily identifiable vices found in most sentient species," he began.

"The Earth religious document known as the Bible is rather clear on those, so we feel they are rather useful when we speak of ethics on this planet," Obi-Wan said smoothly. "There are seven, as Master Skywalker has already pointed out: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth."

Anakin gave Obi-Wan a little smirk. "And everyone has one that calls to them a bit more strongly than the rest. So today we want to you to take a moment to really think about your personal weaknesses and figure out which of the sins Master Kenobi mentioned is closest to you. I, for instance, have problems with both wrath and pride."

Which wouldn't be a shock to anyone in the room.

Obi-Wan was not bringing up his own. This, too, should be predictable. "Please explain your choice," he said, "and how you deal with your vice."
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Anakin had a coffee in a cup that he was staring into dubiously. "They got my order wrong," he complained to Obi-Wan. "This has stuff in it. I just wanted coffee." His jaw clenched. "I'm going to do something about it after class. How hard can it be to get BLACK COFFEE right?"

Obi-Wan was not facepalming. Obi-Wan was looking incredibly serene as he ignored Anakin completely. "Today," he said, "we will discuss the importance of keeping a cool head, and how feasible it is to do this when your emotions may insist on you taking other paths."

Anakin was, apparently, now trying to set Obi-Wan on fire with his brain. "All I wanted was coffee. I'm not overreacting!"

He was completely overreacting.

"For example, Master Skywalker would have us believe it is entirely normal behavior for him to run his mouth at a barista who may have not provided the service he was hoping to get," Obi-Wan said lightly. "Of course, this is only a minor example of what acting on one's impulses can cause."

Not looking at you, Isabela.

Tooootally looking at you, Isabela. "Fine," Anakin grumped. "Sometimes it's better to behave like a rational, uptight stick-in-the mud like Master Kenobi and not express your every disappointment. But only sometimes! I can think of times when trusting my emotions has gotten out of tough spots."

"Master Skywalker and I are not the only ones who might disagree about the ethics of acting," Obi-Wan continued. "Some of this planet's philosophers were very insistent that only the motive behind the action truly mattered. If you act impulsively, but out of some sense of the greater good--" No, your coffee didn't count, Anakin, "--then even if that act was, how shall we say, overkill, it would still be good. Yet others would argue that the outcome of such an act is rather more important. And so one must think about the consequences before one lashes out, regardless of one's emotional state."

Anakin nodded, frowning at his coffee cup before putting it aside. "So today, come up with an example of each to share: a time where you reacted purely on emotion, and a time where you thought the action through before doing something."
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"Hope everyone enjoyed the free candy and didn't freeze too much without heat this weekend," Anakin said, finishing up a fun-sized Snickers he'd pilfered from his son Christopher's Halloween stash. "Today we're going to do one of our traditional hypotheticals, pulled from a story on this planet called the Lady or the Tiger."

"It is a tale of trial by combat," Obi-Wan said, "-- and no, that planet was not my fault, we are not having that argument in class again, Anakin, I can see you wanting to start -- ahem. In the tale, a young princess becomes rather enarmored of a commoner. Her father discovers this, and is rather displeased about the whole matter."

"If by 'displeased' you mean 'murderously pissed off', then yes," Anakin said. "And it was absolutely your fault but that's not under discussion. He captured the young commoner, put him through a sham of a trial and then placed him in an arena with two doors. Behind one was a beautiful woman--not the princess--that he would have to marry immediately. Behind the other was a tiger, who would devour him with severe prejudice. The princess, who wasn't exactly in the relationship with the commoner for entirely altruistic reasons, knew which door led to what. The commoner looked up to her, she nodded to a door...and that's where the story ends. What you get to decide is what fate she led him to...and what you would have done in her place."

"Was she struck by jealousy, or perhaps did she decide that the relationship had run its course and it was best to clean up, so to speak?" Obi-Wan asked. "Or did her feelings for the commoner trump such selfish desires?"

Anakin smiled at Obi-Wan. "What would you do, Master?"

"I would choose the woman, of course," Obi-Wan said, without even a moment's hesitation. QUELLE SURPRISE.

Anakin smirked. "Of course you would. Okay, class, your turn."

Ethics, Wednesday

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 02:18 pm
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: looking down)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
When the students arrived, they'd find the teachers up at the front of the classroom as usual. Anakin, not like usual, was eating a giant bar of chocolate.

"Good morning, everyone," he said, smirking slightly.

Obi-Wan, rather more like usual, was looking faintly exasperated about Anakin in general. "Envy can be a dangerous emotion," he said. "Driving some of the worst impulses in sentient nature. For instance, today, you might be feeling envious about your neighbor, as we have given half of you chocolate bars, and the other half of you-- nothing."

"Really good, really big chocolate bars," Anakin said because he enjoyed piling on. "Now those of you who don't have anything...well, you didn't have anything when you came in, and you really had no expectation of getting a treat coming to class, but that's probably not what it feels like right now, is it?"

"Life rarely allows us a level playing field," Obi-Wan said, "and even when it does, the outcomes are never fair. How do you deal with that? If you do not have chocolate, will you let the envy ruin your class? If you do, will you gloat or share? Is it simply a case of saying 'too bad' to your classmates, or are you driven by some desire to even the scales?"

"And if you're unmoved by free sweets, think back to our exercise in privilege and think of something that you don't have that others take for granted, or the reverse," Anakin said. "Because, as Master Kenobi says, this isn't really about the chocolate."

"To conclude," Obi-Wan said, "How will you cope?"

It sounded like the end of the lecture-- except it was followed five seconds later with, "Anakin, stop eating chocolate in front of the students."
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"Last week, you were afforded a unique chance to see ethics in action," Obi-Wan said lightly, "Or perhaps the absence thereof, depending on your opinion of the park."

"Cloning and genetic manipulation have long histories in some cultures," Anakin added. "Adjusting food sources to be hardier, or to grow faster, or to be more nutritious in harsh conditions...that is considered to be a good use of science by many. I'm not sure where 'bring extinct species back for a theme park' falls."

"There could be some nobility in such pursuits," Obi-Wan said, "For example, to resurrect a species can be an act of life-giving, a way to give another being a second chance. But it also brings great dangers; one could consider it opening up a door that was better left sealed. You might also see it as an arrogant claim to divinity."

Anakin nodded. "Where is your personal line? Bringing back extinct plants are okay, but giant carnivores are not? Is it all right to clone people? Can you re-terraform a planet to make it better for your species? What if that will kill another species--say an insect, or a ugly, annoying rodent?" Yuuzhan Vong, he's thinking of you even if you are in the future and no longer movie-canon compliant.
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Anakin'd already had a run-in with the island weirdness via inadvertently serenading the Perk staff with Oh Blessed Holy Caffeine Tree, so he was in a bad mood even before class began.

You lucky, lucky people.

Obi-Wan, for his part, still had particles of glitter in his beard and hair. He had somehow managed to get them out of the robes, and yet...

He cleared his throat. "Today," he said, "We talk about expectations, and..."

Anakin opened his mouth and began singing. Badly.

"Anything you can do, I can do better," he began, looking mortified, "I can do anything better than you."

Get the popcorn, gang.

What in the--? Obi-Wan shot him a confused look. "No, you can't," he answered, which was most definitely not what he had been going for.

"Yes, I can," Anakin insisted. After some back and forth on that, Anakin continued with, "Anything you can be, I can be greater. Sooner or later, I'm greater than you." That wasn't awkward at all, or in any way like a standing argument they'd had when Anakin was a Padawan. Really.

And here Obi-Wan had hoped he had finally outgrown that. Still. This was strange. Perhaps he should start ushering the students out of-- "No, you're NOT!"

"Yes, I am," Anakin sang with a smirk and a shrug.

"I can shoot a partridge with a single cartridge," Obi-Wan sang, with a confused frown. He had no idea what that even meant.

"I can shoot a sparrow with a bow and arrow," Anakin countered, looking equally confused. The class then had to suffer through the two Jedi trying to sing higher than each other (Obi-Wan had the better voice, but Anakin was apparently Really Invested in winning this thing, to the severe detriment of everyone's ears), and them fighting over who could be cheaper before settling in for a musical battle about drinking. "I can drink my liquor quicker than a flicker," Anakin sang, glaring at Obi-Wan.

"I can drink it quicker and get even sicker!" Obi-Wan pulled a face. He had long since resigned himself to this, which was why he was so surprised when he opened his mouth and his intended comment-- "Actually, I remember who I had to pick up off the floor repeatedly during Organa's last bash on Alderaan, Anakin,"-- actually came out.

"Gravity wasn't working that night," Anakin managed before launching into a verse about being able to open a safe (of course, that's what lightsabers were for), and wearing Obi-Wan's clothing, which was just mortifying for everyone.

Obi-Wan's hand had settled securely over his face. Not enough to drown out the singing, unfortunately. If only. "Anything you can sing, I can sing sweeter, he sung. (He was right. This didn't stop Anakin from arguing the point with ever-worsening singing skills.) "I can sing anything sweeter than you."

That wasn't difficult. Anakin was a lot of things: sweet wasn't any of them.

After a truly earsplitting finale that had the squirrels throwing acorns at Anakin and hissing in disapproval, Anakin finally regained control of class. "Right. Expectations. Let's talk--if possible, sing if you must--about what expectations people have you for, what you have for yourself, and if one is easier to live with than the other."
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"Since I didn't hear about any babies being eaten or used to test gravity from the top of the dorms, I'm assuming that you all did better than some of my classes on this assignment," Anakin began.

"Though some of you have also been rather neglectful of your children," Obi-Wan said. Looking at no one in particular. Really.

Anakin also wasn't looking at anyone. Fascinating ceiling this classroom had, truly. "If this is your first time in Fandom, trust me that this experience will come in handy."

"If it is not, you're already aware of it," Obi-Wan said blandly. He slid his hands into his sleeves. "As you turn in your children, we would like to hear about your experiences, and what you may have learned."

Anakin's gaze kept drifting to Isabela. He had a low-level bad feeling about this, for some reason...
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Do you have a bad feeling, class? Do you? You should! It's terrifying droid baby week! Hooray!

Anakin was currently holding a particularly cranky baby as it wailed. "Welcome back, class."

"Every semester, we run a class about parental responsibilities," Obi-Wan said smoothly. "Child-rearing is a path that takes great care and commitment, though it is often rewarding. To nurture such a young being into adulthood is to be conscious, always, of the values you choose to pass along, and how to do so."

"As we rediscovered last week, our formative experiences directly contribute to how we see and interact with the world around us," Anakin said, carefully placing the baby back in its carrier, "and while it is natural as humans to make mistakes, the ones we make with small children have lasting, sometimes irrevocable effects. Here in Fandom, surrounded by many people eager to help, abundant food, water, and climate-control, your babies should be off to a good start."

"We have formed pairs," Obi-Wan continued. "Bar one of you. It will be your responsibility to treat these 'children' well, and to attempt to instill in them some manner of basic values. Kindness. Consideration. Affection."

"Not biting people," Anakin added a little dryly. "And that goes for you as well. If you're going to whine about this assignment, do it where I can't hear it."
'
"We will be monitoring your efforts. You may return the babies to us in class next week, unless there are unforseen circumstances." Obi-Wan smiled. "And no, 'I barely get any sleep' is no unforseen circumstance."

Ethics, Wednesday

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015 01:56 pm
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: looking down)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
Today the desks were shoved against the walls (and two guesses about how that had happened and "actually pushing things with their hands" wasn't the answer), with a giant piece of masking tape down the center of the room.

"We're talking about privilege this morning," Anakin began.

"When speaking of ethics, it can be highly valuable to be aware of which platform you are speaking from," Obi-Wan continued. "There are issues we might not be able to speak of with full understanding, or issues we might understand better than those we are speaking of, based on how much privilege we had growing up. And these privileges may well be smaller, and yet more significant, than you think."

"In a school like this one, especially, what you might think of as universal experiences--space flight, for instance, or unlimited amounts of water--can be unfathomable fantasies to the student next to you," Anakin said. "We've tried to come up with examples to be as helpful as possible in this exercise, which is not intended to make any of you feel better or worse than the other beings in this class. It's intended to remind you to reflect on your own worldview and how that affects your reactions to things."

Like, say, if you grew up on a slave planet with a kill-button implanted in the back of your neck, you might be a little prickly and homicidal as an adult.

"So please step forward and stand on the indicated line, where we will also be joining you," Obi-Wan said, gesturing at the floor. "We will read a number of statements, and whether you should take a step forward or a step back if it is true."

Anakin stepped onto the line, jaw set. This wasn't exactly his favorite exercise.
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Anakin's weekend had been...eventful...and while the first person to mention his gremlin bite experience were getting detention (you too, Obi-Wan), in general he was in a much better mood than normal. Seeing old friends did that for him. "Hello again," he said, leaning against the desk with his mug of black coffee.

"We hope you've all recovered from the weekend," Obi-Wan said easily. His own weekend had been rather uneventful. "Today, we'd like to talk about the concept of mercy, and how it weighs up against justice."

"As Jedi, we were often called on to deal with matters of justice and mercy," Anakin said, nodding. "But a decision doesn't have to have planetary consequences. Say your roommate was eating your leftovers. It's stealing, and illegal, but calling the troopers downtown might be considered a bit of an overreach. You have to temper justice with mercy--understanding the circumstances that led your roommate to take your things." Anakin shrugged. "If he did it just to be a jerk, then call the cops on him."

Very helpful, Anakin.

"However, perhaps he was new and hungry, and unused to food being in such bountiful supply," Obi-Wan said. He gave a wave with his hand. "Take this to a different circumstance, however. Perhaps food is scarce. He has already eaten his allotment, but is still hungry and decides to dig into your supplies. Then what?"

"If I remember correctly, you replied 'Anakin, you do not have a hollow leg and you won't starve before breakfast. Put that back right now,'" Anakin said. His Obi-Wan impression was a bit uncanny.

Obi-Wan cleared his throat. Loudly. "What would your jugdment be?" he asked. Pointedly.
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There were two men in long robes standing in front of the class, one significantly taller (and smugger) than the other. (Mind you, the second might have easily been smug, as well, but his expression was largely hidden behind his beard.)

"My name is Obi-Wan Kenobi," said the shorter one of the pair. "Welcome to Ethics. Over the next few months, we will be discussing various topics and problems pertaining to, well, ethics." He smiled a little. "We do not pretend to know the perfect definition of good ethics, if there even is such a thing, so we prefer to let this class be a conversation."

"Which means that everyone in the class needs to listen to everyone else, too," Anakin said. "We encourage discussions, but they can't happen if someone gets stoopa about ideas that aren't what they grew up with. This is a school located in an interdimensional nexus, so chances are there's going to be something that shocks you about someone else. For instance, I learned that this planet likes to make giant sculptures out of butter for fun, and I find that very, very bizarre."

Just at the Iowa State Fair, Anakin, not the entire planet.

"If that statement didn't make it perfectly clear," Obi-Wan said, amused, "Master Skywalker and I are not from this planet." He slipped his hands into his sleeves. "Now, it is tradition for this class to begin with a round of 'two truths and a lie', to get the conversation going. Anakin?"

Anakin smiled. Well, quirked up his lips. "I have two tattoos," he began, "I've saved Master Kenobi's life ten different times, and I've been married three times."

"As for myself," Obi-Wan said, "I was once destined to become a farmer, I've fought in a civil war, and I very much enjoy flying a speeder."

"Take your best guesses on us, and then give us your two truths and a 2lie," Anakin said. "We'll start with...you."
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If you thought a little thing like weeks of unrelenting trauma was going to stop your final exam, you didn't know Anakin very well. He at least look vaguely sorry about it between texts on his comlink (that was only half to avoid talking to Obi-Wan).

Smooth, Anakin. Very smooth.

It was Obi-Wan who cleared his throat and began speaking after the exams had been distributed. "It is traditional for this class to end in a written exam," he said. "No choice listed on these sheets is wrong--" though he and Anakin might disagree about which ones were least wrong, ahem, "--as we are primarily interested in your reasoning. Please be thorough."

"And legible," Anakin added. He coughed. "And if anyone feels the need to talk about this weekend, or last, for that matter, we're around after class."
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"Last weekend saw you with an influx of potential children from your futures," Obi-Wan said. "I am led to believe this is not an unusual occurrence..."

Anakin shook his head. "It happens annually, or near enough. Some of those children are more likely than others. Some are practically impossible."

Sorry, Tebb.

"Whereas others might be almost unavoidable," Obi-Wan said wryly. He had had none, which suited him fine. Minding Anakin's children from a distance was enough for him. "Normally, prophecy does not take such... practical forms. But regardless of what form they take, notions of what the future might be are often vague, and easy to misinterpret. It is such ideas about the future we would like to speak of today."

"Precisely," Anakin said. "And prophecies are notoriously unhelpful and stupid about such things."

Not that he was suuuuper bitter or anything.

Obi-Wan began to pace around the room. "So now that you have met these children and seen these futures, my question is: would you work towards them? Work away from them? Do you believe it is even possible to do such a thing? And if you had no children, do you believe that says anything about your future?"

Ethics, Tuesday

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 12:14 pm
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: standing)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
"Today, we would like to confront you with a somewhat more mythical ethical scenario," Obi-Wan said. He had his hands tucked into the sleeves of his robes, but looked to be somewhat in good spirits. "Which circumstances have delayed a few too many times..."

Like through invasions and ancient Jedi Masters.

Details!

"But it's much less traumatizing than the droid babies," Anakin promised, which, admittedly wasn't that high a bar to clear. "There's a story from this planet called The Lady or the Tiger that I believe many of you might have already heard about, in a mythical land where trial by combat was still a thing."

He shrugged. "Obi-Wan and I have been to a similar planet. It was Obi-Wan's fault."

Keep telling yourself that about Geonosis, Anakin.

"Excuse me?" Obi-Wan said sharply. "I rather distinctly remember the situation surrounding Geonosis going rather differently." Beat. "It is Geonosis you're referring to, isn't it?"

Look, they'd been to a lot of planets. Some of which utilized trial by combat.

Anakin nodded, smirking slightly. "With the...space tiger." Easier than explaining a nexu. "Anyway, in the story, a princess has taken up a relationship with a commoner and her father finds out, which is never how you want these particular stories to go. He proposes a trial by combat: if the man is innocent, the door he opens will lead to a beautiful lady--not the princess--who he will immediately be married to. If he opens the second, he gets a grisly and public death by tiger."

"The man is understandably in quite a state," Obi-Wan said, "so he looks up to meet the gaze of his former lover. Perhaps she can tell him which door to choose? She then grants him an answer with a gesture of her hand."

He smiled faintly at the class.

"This is where the story itself ends," he said. "The question that remains is: which answer did the princess give the commoner?"

"Take a moment to read the story," Anakin said, "because this isn't exactly a fluffy forgiving princess, and then give us your opinion about what the princess did, and then what you would do."
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There wasn't a holo set up for today, students. Instead you were faced with two Jedi, one of whom had an extremely sour, even for him, look on his face.

"Right. Apparently we need to have a little discussion on not buying creepy cursed items from guys who sound evil," Anakin began.

Obi-Wan took a deep breath. "Anakin," he said, "He did not 'sound evil'. We are teaching an Ethics class. Let us not venture into 'judging people for their parents' choices'."

Anakin made a face at him. "Fiiiiiiine. Don't buy creepy cursed items from guys who are definitely evil."

He stomped on the floor. "Talking to you, too, Fandom."

"Good a lesson as that is, I do not believe it is something that will come up very often for our class," Obi-Wan said mildly, turning to face them. "However, the pursuit of one's heart's desire... and what is justified in doing so... that may be a valuable thing to speak about."

Side-eyeing you a bit, Anakin.

Anakin certainly wasn't blushing at all. Nope. Nothing to see here. Move along. He coughed. "We understand wanting something to be a different way, or seemingly pointless rules that might be preventing you from achieving what you want. We just want to you to stop and think about potential consequences before leaping."

Or marrying in secret. Ahem.

"The classic rule of thumb is that your gains should end where another's suffering begins," Obi-Wan said. "However, in reality, these situations are rather more complex. What is more important than the one thing you may have wanted all your life, that may depend entirely on your situation, your morality, and the world you grew up in."

Anakin nodded. "Like if you really really wanted to be ruling a galaxy with an iron first, other people suffering is not going to be a major philosophical hurdle for you."

"That would be the other extreme," Obi-Wan said, "But... yes. I thought this may be as good a discussion as any: how much does what you want most matter? And how far should anyone be allowed to go for it?"
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On the plus side, Anakin wasn't a cat any more! On the minus side, the island was giving him a serious case of "I've got a bad feeling about this."

"Spring is in the air," he deadpanned. "The snow melts, the flowers bloom, and something weird and creepy happens on the island."

At least he hadn't been locked onto the island without cell service for a while. Bright side.

And here Obi-Wan had spent the past week on Tatooine, bringing his eopies to safety and checking on Luke. Coming to the island was unpleasant, to put it mildly. "There is a disturbance in the Force," he said, because of course he did. "Something appears to be deeply wrong with this island, so we have decided to move this week's lesson into the next week."

"For those of you looking for something to do, the library is generally a good bet," Anakin said, "or the gun range, gym and salle if you prefer a less cerebral approach to problems, but only if you've used a weapon before in your life. This is not a good time to decide to take up fighting."

"So far, we have no reason to believe anything needs to be fought," Obi-Wan said lightly, shooting Anakin a glance. "I would encourage you all to remain safe, until the cause of the disturbance has been found. You may remain in the class and view instructional videos, or you may leave."

Anakin's nose wrinkled at the phrase "instructional videos." "I've been here a decade. Something almost always will need to be fought. It's kind of a thing."

"Anakin," Obi-Wan said, as he walked towards the holoprojector, "You always believe something needs to be fought."

"And I'm usually right," Anakin retorted.

"No, you usually believe you're right," Obi-Wan said. Not that he ever had that problem. "Which is something else entirely." He tapped the activation button. "This vid should demonstrate the importance of ethics in combat en--"

He frowned as the opening screen of the vid declared, in happy letters, SAFETY IS A JEDI'S FIRST RESPONSIBILITY "...this isn't the vid I chose..."

He was feeling a dawning sense of horror and recognition...

"Oh, I remember this one!" Anakin looked amused. "It's funny."

If you liked lightsaber accidents.

And young Obi-Wan being perky and ridiculous.

Present Obi-Wan pinched the bridge of his nose. "What did you do, Anakin?"

Anakin looked innocent in a way that no truly innocent person ever did. "Why are you blaming me?"

Ethics, Tuesday

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 01:25 pm
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: looking down)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
On the downside, Anakin was still a cat.

On the upside, at least this time there were no interlopers.

Still, it was a harried-looking Obi-Wan who met them in the Danger Shop that day. He had been forced to put the eopies indoors for the time being; there was something about the local wildlife that seemed rather more menacing than it had been previously.

But that was another matter.

"Today, we will be trying our hand at an ethical exercise," he said. One he had dug up from the old logs of this class, in fact. "Lies are often seen as something terrible, something inherently injust. There are even some who would argue that one must always speak the truth."

Personally, he did usually speak the truth. He just chose his points of view wisely.

"But wartime and conflict can make such lofty notions less tenable," he said. "Occupying forces often pit local citizens against one another. Such is the case in this exercise. If I read off your name, you are a fugitive, attempting to escape persecution. You will have found yourself in the home of another students, the military hot on your heels. You have three minutes to convince the homeowner that hiding you is worth the risk. If you fail, you will be killed."

He glanced down at his datapad.

"If I do not read off your name, you are a homeowner," he said. "You have to decide if you will lie and say you have no idea where your classmate is, while your classmate tries to persuade you not to surrender them. If you get caught lying, you'll be killed as well. And your final option is, of course, to turn in your classmate for a small monetary reward."

Ethics, Tuesday

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 02:17 pm
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: looking down)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
There weren't two men in robes greeting the class today, but rather one man in a robe, a man in a tunic and jacket, and a very pissed off perched in the latter's hands. The first was looking at the latter two with rather clear perturbation in his expression.

"I'm sorry, but... why are you here?" Obi-Wan asked.

Atton rolled his eyes. "Because your co-teacher's a cat," he said. "And when I was gone, he covered my class, so now I'm covering his."

"There's really no need," Obi-Wan said, carefully disguising his irritation as politeness. "I can handle the class myself, I can assure you."

"Sure, but two teachers is better than one," Atton retorted.

The cat mewed angrily.

"See?" Atton said triumphantly. "Skywalker agrees with me." That was actually... pretty debatable. Skywalker-the-cat, if that cat truly was Anakin and Atton hadn't just picked one up off the street, didn't seem pleased by anything. "Anyway, hey, Ethics class. I'm Atton Rand... )
sith_happened: (Default)
[personal profile] sith_happened
"I saw many of you on the spring break trip last week," Anakin began, "trying to adjust to being thrust into a time that wasn't your own. For some of you, this isn't the first time you've been faced with a culture that's unfamiliar: Fandom has a habit of taking people from various places and times and tossing them together. In some ways, it's amazing there aren't more fistfights as cultural mores and ethical assumptions rub against each other...."

"Sometimes these mores and assumptions can vary so thoroughly, it might seem almost incapable to bridge the divide. Though obviously, your world's 70s were not quite so drastic." Obi-Wan smiled faintly. "Now, one who experiences these differences often enough in enough contexts often develops an ability to deal with these issues diplomatically, swallowing one's judgment." Beat. "Most of the time..."

Not that he was looking at Anakin or anything.

"And sometimes they should be judged because they're wrong," Anakin replied. "Unlimited smoking, no sunscreen--that stuff will actually kill you."

"It can be difficult to judge what is an issue of lagging progress, and what is simply a cultural difference," Obi-Wan said. "As an outsider, especially, it might be nearly impossible to judge if something requires a change of any kind."

"So today we want you to pair up and think of something from your home culture or galaxy that might surprise or even shock a visitor," Anakin said, "and to decide if it's lagging progress or a cultural difference." He held out his hands. "For me, I would say that I find your universe's lack of space travel to be lagging progress, but if you visited my galaxy, you'd probably be shocked by the acceptance of violence and almost constant, if low-level, warfare, as normal." He arched an eyebrow at Obi-Wan. "Master Kenobi, would you agree with my assessment?"

"I would say the lack of space travel would be both a case of lagging progress, and of some snobbery on your part, Master Skywalker," Obi-Wan said, sounding amused. "Though I daresay your last point shows some manner of bias to our present location. I'm led to believe this is a relatively peaceful area on this planet." He looked to the class. "There are areas of our galaxy engaged in cultural practices we find distasteful, but there is often little we can do about them. But I believe the position of the Jedi, as they were, might also be something of a shock. I cannot recall running across any such organisation in my studies of this planet."

Ethics, Tuesday

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 11:03 am
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: secrets with anakin)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
Their class today took place in an ordinary classroom, with ordinary desks and ordinary chairs, and an ordinary Jedi in thick robes who looked as if for all the world, everything was ordinary at the moment. Obi-Wan had been with the Order all his life; deflecting feelings such as desire into the Force was old hat.

Mildly irritating old hat that he had to work slightly harder for than usual, but still: old hat. The only thing that was different was that now he held some mild concern as to the identity of the 'Jaye' who had sent him flowers.

"I hope your week with the babies has been educational," he said, when it became apparent that Anakin would be late. "Difficult as some of you appear to have found the task, going by what I've heard on the radio. Today, you may relinquish the children, and we will talk about the lessons you have learned..."

...and speaking of lessons, the kids were getting an unintentional one of completely inappropriate Huttese--and Tusken curses, with a bit of Bothawui thrown in for effect--as a glitter bedrenched blob that could only be Anakin stalked into the classroom and stood in front of the class. "I hate everything and everyone," he declared, then pointed a (glittery) finger at Obi-Wan. "And one word about hate being of the Dark Side and I'm punting you out the nearest window."

Congratulations, class: not only would you be learning educational lessons about babies and curse words, you would also be there to witness the deployment of the nuclear-grade epic eyeroll Obi-Wan had spent years developing: Codename: Anakin. "I would concern myself with letting your anger pass into the Force, first, before moving on to more complicated emotions such as hatred," he said, with barely constrained amusement.

"I haven't missed you even a little bit," the glitter pile muttered. "I've noticed the...sense...of the island as I arrived," he added, "so please don't do anything or anyone you'll regret when this wears off."

It was hard to take a sex-ed PSA seriously from what amounted to a walking, talking, disco ball, so don't worry if you can't, class.

"Good advice," Obi-Wan said, in desperate hope that his own presence might bring some actual respectability and truth to the disco pile's words. "Now, that aside: today, you may tell the class what you learned about responsibility and caretaking in this past week. Please stay at your desks as you do so, for reasons my colleague has already explained."

He'd pull up his hood, however. Anakin was rather safe from any teenager's directed interest, being that there were limits to what one could find attractive about a pile of glitter. But he had been in enough troublesome situations that he'd like to decrease the risk of being the target of anyone's looks.
sith_happened: (Default)
[personal profile] sith_happened
Do you hear the sound of mechanized screaming, kids? Do you have a bad feeling about this?

Good. It's terrifying robotic toddler week!

"The issue of ethics is about more than simply the greater fate of the galaxy - or your personal relationships," Obi-Wan said. He was trying not to side-eye the robotic toddlers too much; did you have to make them so creepy, Anakin? "Within our old Order, it was said that a Jedi did not truly become a Master until he had trained a younger Jedi. Caring for another is a daunting task in its own right."

It's so they don't get attached! It's very Jedi! And not all Anakin just being a jerk!

...it was about 80 percent Anakin being a jerk.

"Depending on your universe of origin, it's entirely possibly you're expected to either take care of younger siblings as a primary caregiver by now or be preparing to marry in the next five years." His lips quirked up. "And Fandom has certain...quirks...regarding Valentine's Day and children unexpectedly popping up, so think of this as preparation if small children you never met wake you up Saturday morning."

Obi-Wan's eyes darted briefly towards Anakin. "...As that is apparently a risk you take by attending this school."

HE HADN'T KNOWN.

HE DIDN'T WANT TO TAKE AWAY THE JOY THAT OJ WOULD BRING HIM.

Anakin shrugged. "It happens. They don't stick around for very long." He pointed back to the droids. "We've paired you up. You'll each get one baby for the week--they are old enough to walk, but are not yet toilet trained. They also don't like napping, but need to once a day."

They also hated baths like burning but he'd let them discover that for themselves. "Today you get to name your little darlings and figure out childcare arrangements for the week."

"Good luck," Obi-Wan said. At least the thought of the students dealing with such an ornery baby-- ah, the idea that the students would be learning something truly important, he meant, truly-- was enough to bring amusement back to his voice. "But know that if you abandon the babies, we will know."

Ethics, Tuesday

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 08:13 am
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: looking down)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
There was no particular set-up this week; just your usual view of two grown men in robes the likes of which certain types of hippie would fight for. "A classic topic within the realm of ethics is the notion of the ends justifying the means," Obi-Wan said. "There are schools of thought that consider the means true as long as the end is just-- intention being more important than the actual consequence."

Anakin, who'd spent a lot of time with Atton recently, pursed his lips at that. "And then there are those who think that sounds like 'just think happy thoughts at the problem; instead of, you know, fix it."

Hard to believe this guy fell to the Dark Side, huh? Mmm, impulsiveness.

Was that a sigh? ... Yes, that was a sigh. Anakin.

"Or, at the other extreme, it might end in extreme and harmful actions taken for some hypothetical future gain," Obi-Wan said. "There is a middle road, of course: one can commit to some less than savory options for a common goal..."

"...and then deny ever having done so to maintain the moral high ground," Anakin finished, nodding.

...Obi-Wan turned to him and shot him a look. "No."

"So explain it to the class, Master 'I Faked My Own Death'," Anakin retorted.

"Are you still sour about that?" Anakin, really. Your ability to hold grudges... "Yes, I faked my own death. So I could disguise myself as a criminal and stop a Separatist plot that, we felt at the time, could cause immeasurable harm." He took a deep breath. "Anakin here is still upset because I didn't tell him, which is hardly the level of consequence I was attempting to describe."

Anakin rolled his eyes. "Every consequence doesn't have to have galactic ramifications," he said. "Hurting people's feelings is still a consequence you need to take into account." Another sour look Obi-Wan's direction. "Even if you didn't mean to."

"Your reaction is what sold my apparent death to the galaxy in the first place," Obi-Wan said. He shook his head before he got mired in this entirely. "...But, yes, let's discuss. Does intent ever excuse one's actions? Is there an end that justifies any means? If the answer to the first question is 'yes', and to the second is 'no', then how far do you believe someone may go and still remain in the bounds of the acceptable?"
sith_happened: (Default)
[personal profile] sith_happened
The desks had been shoved to either side of the room and a large white strip of tape had been placed down the center. Looked like it was an interactive class activity today, kids!

"Please line up along the line," Anakin said, then waited for the students to comply before continuing. "There's a philosopher from this world named John Rawls who believes that most principles of justice are things everyone would accept and agree to from a fair position. In Fandom especially, we are coming from a variety of cultures and traditions to examine ethical dilemmas, and so the idea of a 'fair position' is a bit of a moving target. The choice that might be right for you might be completely contrary to my own life experiences, but that will not make your point of view less valid."

"And so, what is a fair position?" Obi-Wan said. "This philosopher held his own ideas: he believed in a 'veil of ignorance' we had to assume, to forget the privileges and the responsibilities of our place in history." He glanced towards Anakin. "We cannot - nor would it be ethical if we could - simply put this veil on you, but we can knock you all down to the same level, so to speak."

He gestured towards the line on the floor.

"This is our veil; it is where we all begin, before circumstance steps in. Whatever your position in life - wealth, knowledge, midichlorian levels..." Hi, Anakin, "On this line, you have none. And then we begin our count."

Anakin rolled his eyes at the midichlorians and added, "Or your age or Inner Rim accent. We'll ask ten questions, see where you end up ahead or behind the line, and then we'll discuss how your perception on the world affects your reactions to things."

Like how being a slave for almost a decade could leave you with a giant, giant chip on your shoulder, for instance.

Obi-Wan looked faintly amused. "Perhaps we should join them," he said.

Anakin arched up an eyebrow. "I'm up for it if you are."

"It would be setting a good example."

And with that, Obi-Wan strode forward until he was standing on the line.

Ethics, Tuesday

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 12:07 pm
saddeserthermit: (obi-wan: with anakin neutral)
[personal profile] saddeserthermit
The vast majority of the glitter had long since left Obi-Wan's hair and clothes, but there were scraps still left in his beard and in the folds of his robes. Luckily, not enough that it went trailing everywhere as he stepped into the class... but there was still more of it fluttering to the ground than he felt was dignified to admit to. "Last week," he said, "you suffered the stuff of a teenager's nightmares: being unable to lie. It would be prudent to reflect on that, I feel."

Anakin made a barely perceptible grimace at that. He wasn't big on reflection in general, and on examining involuntary word vomit in particular. "Sometimes we're keeping things to ourselves for a reason," he offered. "It's like ripping off armor to share personal stories with people we might not have voluntarily chosen in other circumstances."

"But the consequences of telling such lies can also be grim," Obi-Wan said. Not that he was looking at anyone in particular here. Anakin. "It might not be the best course of action to default to."

Because "Soooooo, I kind of got married?" would have gone over so well back in the day, Obi-Wan. "Perhaps not," he said with a seemingly unconcerned shrug, "but it is an understandable one. We won't ask you to tell us your secrets unless you choose to reveal specifics."

Yes, because that marriage had turned out to be such a brilliant idea. And who knew what consequences could have been averted had Anakin at least-- well, never mind that. "Instead, we want you to find a partner to speak with," Obi-Wan said. "Share a lie you once told that you decided to give up, and what motivated you to do so. Then discuss whether your reasons to keep the lie were valid - and whether the consequences of giving it up were as grim as you suspected."

As opposed to letting it wait until you'd already turned to the dark side over some visions you didn't tell anyone besides a Sith Lord about.

Well, it wasn't like anyone else knew Palpatine had been a Sith Lord either. Anakin shot Obi-Wan a look, then added with the mix of frustration and resignation that came from a decade of living in someone else's pocket, "And if you were lying about how badly injured you were, know that was always a bad choice."

'Not knowing Palpatine was a Sith Lord' was fairly high up on the list of things Obi-Wan spent a great deal of time kicking himself about, as it transpired. "Never lie to a healer," he agreed. Was Anakin talking about lying to anyone else about that? Pffft, surely not.

Anakin shot the class a "You see? You see what I put up with?" look, then waved his hand. "Go ahead and pair up and talk about what you learned, even if it's 'I shouldn't do a radio broadcast without access to quality duct tape.'"

Obi-Wan furrowed his brow and reached up to pluck some glitter out of his beard. "A radio broadcast...?"

Lie, lie, lie, Anakin.

Yes, kids, watch your ETHICS TEACHER lie bald-faced and without the slightest remorse to his co-teacher. "Nothing important," he declared. "Not your concern."

Obi-Wan shot him a quizzical look. "If that is what you believe to be true," he said mildly. "Class, please proceed."
sith_happened: (Default)
[personal profile] sith_happened
"Today we're going to start with one of the most common ethical dilemmas when you're not working alone," Anakin began, standing straight in front of the classroom with his cold fingers tucked up into his Jedi robes. (Winter was ridiculous. Being cold was ridiculous. Being married for years to a girl from Connecticut didn't make winter less pointless, in Anakin's opinion.) "Do you follow orders exactly or do you follow your gut when the situation changes?"

Obi-Wan might have made a joke about Anakin's sensitivity to the cold, but considering the circumstances, he batted the thought away. He was making no such displays with his own robes. "To be precise," he said, "when is it worth the risk to flee to another's defense despite being specifically told not to do so?"

No one would was actually innocent would look as innocent as Anakin did right then. "For those of you who are already acquainted with this island, it's not a surprise to you to learn that we have fairly regular invasions of...things."

"Things" was nice and non-specific. "And almost every time, the administration advises the students to stay safe and not get involved and we pretty much plan for you to ignore that order with impunity. Because it's human nature to defend those we care about, orders be damned."

Guess which side of the argument Anakin fell on, kids? Go on, guess.

"However, taking such actions can expose you to greater risks," Obi-Wan said mildly. Consider which end of the argument he fell on. These days. "Consider the scene: a friend has been sent on a mission to spy on a gathering of people who may be inclined to attack your home planet at a later date. In the process of spying, he is captured by enemy forces. The enemy intends to put him on trial. Now, they have not attacked yet, and sending in a force to reclaim the captured spy could easily escalate the conflict beyond ideas into reality."

"Or it could have led to them executing him and I wasn't the one who called in the Troopers," Anakin shot back, making a face. This had become a lot less hypothetical, suddenly. "I hadn't planned on getting caught."

He never did.

"You rarely do, but it was a risk inherent in disobeying the orders you were given," Obi-Wan said. "Now, you've made it clear to class what actually happened - but I wonder, what would they do in a situation such as this? If a friend was captured and at risk of execution, what would you do? Especially if someone told you that the risks of doing so extended far beyond yourself?"

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