Friday, March 12, 2010

The Big Questions and other things

The Big Questions
I decided to make my Friday English Corner about the Big Questions humans have, so I asked the students about the Big Bang, Evolution, Creation, what happens after we die, right and wrong, can computers have minds, moral versus absolute values, the purpose of life, and what is freedom.  It was a good corner as the questions yielded lots of conversation

Right and Wrong
Asking the students how we decide what is right and wrong lead to a discussion of Bus etiquette.  One of the students asked if it was right for the youngsters to refuse to yield their seats to the elderly, and if it was right for the elderly to directly ask people to give up their seats.  I answered that it was only right and proper that bus passengers yield their seat to the elderly, and it was undignified for the elderly to directly ask for a seat -- a third party should ask get the offending person to yield their seat.  However, the student then asked what to do if the younger person was sick and really wasn't in condition to stand.....

A couple students defined freedom as being able to do what you want.  Of course, others qualified this definition.  I agreed with the student who defined freedom as more choices (a la Milton Friedman's Freedom to Choose).

Saturday morning, I had a seat at the back of the bus that was overlooking the back door.  I saw the driver use the back door, apparently, to stop a passenger from boarding.  An old lady, her bus card in hand, tried to get on the bus, but the back door closed on her.  She was wedged in and so had to pull herself off the bus.  The door was opened again, and the lady tried again to get on the bus.  But the bus started to move and the door closed, knocking her onto backwards onto the street.  Fortunately, there was a bush that caught her fall.

I am not sure why this happened.  Perhaps, the driver was trying to eject her. Perhaps, the old lady was mistaken, or too slow, in trying to get onto a crowded bus via the back door

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