Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Dreaded Ethics Class

Today in class (Graphic Design), we began a section on ethics. Admittedly, I have been one to poke fun at classes on "ethics" because of how much of a farce they can be. Not that I would know. I've never had a class on ethics, or, I don't think, even a section on it. But for me, this seems to have come at the right time, what with my thoughts returning to the subject within the last week. To be honest, it's been on my mind a lot the past year--probably even before that, because I worry about things like that and there's a lot in the world I haven't figured out how to handle yet. It was refreshing to talk about it, although we didn't get very deep into it and my questions were hardly resolved (as if they could be in one sitting).

Still, it was good to think about and I think it would be worthwhile--no, important to do my own poking around on some or all of these questions, for the sake of my own conscience and soul, if nothing else, so I am prepared to deal with what I will inevitably face in the ever-receding "real" world. (After all, they said I'd be in the real world when I left high school.)

This stuff's important, and I think it's more possible, more traversable, than I once thought, as long ago as yesterday, when it all seemed impossible and scary. One of the most encouraging things that was said was that, yes, advertising reflects society and society reflects advertising, but this is not necessarily always in the negative way I immediately think of. Advertising has the power to shape culture just as positively as it often does so negatively; we can actually shift culture in the direction we want it to go--collectively, certainly, and there are always opposing forces, in advertising as in anything else--and literally improve society, influence and persuade people to think a different way. That's a huge responsibility.

Last semester in small group, we did a series on prayer in which we talked about praying "bigger," about really enlisting God's help to do big things in the world. There may be opponents, darker influences in advertising and the "prettying-up" business (graphic design/commercial art, etc), but think who we have on our side. Maybe it's time we actually started thinking bigger, enlisting his help; let him show us what he can really do.

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