December Retreat – Morality Humility Is the Key

This weekend was the December Retreat, a time I have been looking forward to since September, knowing it would signify the start of our attempt at change. We learned about the cameras, interviewing setup and choices, as Jason Mittel put it, a Middlebury college professor, as well as formats for our documentaries. But one thing that I didn’t remember from last year, but turned out to be the highlight of the retreat, was the attention to teamwork and the idea of how do we actually make change. We started by talking about Psychological Safety, the idea that our teammates will be understanding and will be able to support us whether in having an idea, confronting an issue, or creating a solution, all of which is imperative for good collaboration. We then took time to discuss how our own individual team’s were doing. My team, Olympia, Alex, Rachel, and I are working very well together. There is a strong sense of psychological safety and we feel like we can trust each other to get things done. We also talked about how well our sense of meaning and impact is as well as our structure and clarity regarding our team’s purpose and issue we are addressing. The third and final thing the entire cohort watched Jonathan Haidt’s TEDTalk on Moral Roots. This is where I really started to grasp the importance of moral humility. Haidt talked about the five fundamental morals that all humans are born with that are shaped by their experiences. The first one was harm/care, the idea that no one deserves to be harmed and everyone should be cared for. The second was fairness/reciprocity, the moral that everyone should be treated like equals. The third was ingroup/loyalty, our want as humans to be a part of a group, a family, to belong somewhere. The fourth was authority/respect, the idea of acknowledging others who we respect and will follow. The final was purity/sanctity, the idea of controlling what goes into our bodies. Now, he also talked about changing someone’s mind and how to get outside of the moral matrix, the “place” where it’s only about ourselves and we are close minded, but to look at it with an open mind and see the world from someone else’s perspective. This is when I realized we need moral humility and  I don’t think my team has enough of it. When I think about our issue, I see the facts and I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t be able to accept those facts and make behavior changes to accommodate for those facts. But I’ve realized that facts doesn’t mean right and denying is wrong, there is no right or wrong because every story has sides like a coin. Each side is different, but if the coin didn’t have those sides, there wouldn’t even be a coin to begin with. Issues are the same way, even though they usually have many more sides than a coin does. For our documentary, we need to represent all of those sides even if we personally don’t agree with them. That is the only way to create change. We must achieve personal moral humility before we can try to tell others how to change.

 

Moving forward, I am very ready to start interviewing and contacting stakeholders involved in my issue. I think my group will do well, as long as we get the ball rolling early and keep it rolling so we stay ahead of deadlines. I am really excited to play a part in what this team discovers by learning from people as much as I can and trying to tell the stories of those who don’t have the voice to. Moral humility is what I plan to use whenever I interview someone and will use that to search for the bits of information that is most important and will be able to create the most change. I am now about a quarter through this book called What’s the Story? 2017-18 and I am loving every bit and am ready for more.

Elsa Lindenmeyr

One Response to “December Retreat – Morality Humility Is the Key

  • Thank you for your thoughtful and well crafted journal entry– I am grateful to be working with you, and your team; combined I truly believe you will have an impact on your community.

    I really appreciated how you thought deeply about the TED talk we watched. Despite it being late day, and you not feeling well, your take-away was powerful:

    ” When I think about our issue, I see the facts and I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t be able to accept those facts and make behavior changes to accommodate for those facts. But I’ve realized that facts doesn’t mean right and denying is wrong, there is no right or wrong because every story has sides like a coin. Each side is different, but if the coin didn’t have those sides, there wouldn’t even be a coin to begin with. Issues are the same way, even though they usually have many more sides than a coin does. For our documentary, we need to represent all of those sides even if we personally don’t agree with them. That is the only way to create change. ”

    This is so tricky, because of the nature of your topic. Are there two sides to climate change? What a great reminder to stop and allow for other’s opinions, and voices, to enter into the discussion. I needed that reminder today.

    Thank you for being so inviting. I am thrilled to be a small part of your team work.

    Moira

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