Cosmopolitanism Takes Room 411: LIFE Luncheon Series a Success

Maggie Odier This year, Latin’s very own ethics committee, LIFE, has decided to focus on global ethics. With the world becoming a more connected place, the co-heads decided to focus on how we interact with people of other cultures, backgrounds and values. According to its current mission statement, the topics covered in LIFE, while discussed on a big scale, are applicable to the daily lives of Latin students. Understanding one’s responsibility to others and how to react to different situations will benefit students outside of the walls of Latin, whether students are traveling the world for project week or heading off the college. Recently, LIFE has created another unique opportunity aside from speakers during assembly blocks and Q & A sessions. Kick-started by Ms. Dorer’s introduction to ethics, LIFE has started weekly lunches that are structured around a series of questions, and are led each week by a panel of students. To gain a better understanding of the luncheon topics, many club members have read Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers by Kwame Anthony Appiah. This book provides theories on global ethics, responsibilities and obligations to the global community, and has allowed for the members to pull apart ethic duties, and discuss different ethical situations and how they would react. One ethical dilemma that has come up has been the “Pond Situation.” A question was posed: “If someone was drowning in a pond and you saw, would you save him or her?” Almost everyone immediately thought that they would. However, the situation changed. What if the person who was drowning was someone who had opposing ideas from you? What if they had caused you physical or mental harm? What if they had killed other people? What if they were a political leader who had been involved in genocide? At the next lunch, juniors Annie McDonough, Tyler Hagedorn, and Caroline Kaplan will be leading the discussion. Their discussion will focus on one nation’s obligations to other nations and a nation’s obligation to the global community, says Annie. The discussion will be based around a chapter in Cosmopolitanism, which discusses cultural imperialism and whether it is a threat or not. While some think that English infringes on the cultures and customs of other countries, it also impacts how we can help other nations through their struggles. It brings up essential questions such as: If we don’t agree with their personal values, do we save someone, and are we willing to let others die just because we don’t connect with them? Club co-head Rachel Star believes that the best part of the luncheons is that people come together in an informal way and discuss their opinions, allowing everyone to contribute. Despite the enormity of the issues being discussed, they happen in a smaller scale. The loose structure of the discussions allows students to talk about what naturally interests them, and they establish a huge part of LIFE’s foundation. According to Rachel, they don’t have to be taken too seriously; just because they are important issues doesn’t mean that they are boring. She also hopes that more people, including freshmen, get involved. Everyone gets busy at Latin, but remembering the cool opportunities that we have access to can build our foundation as people for the future. If you go to a LIFE luncheon, Rachel provides the following advice. First, don’t be afraid to stand up and play devil’s advocate. It makes the conversations more interesting and can spark new ideas. Second, engage your classmates in debates. That is what the luncheons are for. Finally, don’t take the issues too seriously. They are important, but can be lively and fun, too. These tips will help all of you who want to attend the next meeting. It is Tuesday, March 5 during both lunch blocks. If you want to go, just email Ms. Dorer at [email protected].]]>