Ethos, Pathos, Logos: Teaching Ethics. [Long]

Adel Alaali
7 min readMar 28, 2022

[Assignment]- How Would You Teach Ethics?

Ethos, pathos, and logos — an appeal to one’s hubris and egocentric behaviors.

[Background] Ethical conduct, mannerism, and behavior etiquettes could be a negative manifestation of one’s ego and perhaps even hubris. Therein, the personification of one’s conceit could be considered causation to one committing unscrupulous acts. Furthermore, a tutor can ascertain and — to a degree — influence the students thought processes, especially when given a harmonious accord between both parties in the tutelage. Thereby, one can be taught ethics when the tutor appeals to the student’s ego.

It is indeed possible, albeit hard, to teach ethics. However, per my conjecture, outreach is only possible by appealing to the constructs of one’s ego, or: ethos, pathos, and logos. In theory, an egocentric methodology would be the best course to conjuring one’s anima/us and the underlying premises that confounds it.

To such an effort, the tutor must first determine confounding boundaries within a given ethical framework — wherein boundaries are defined and contextualized by localized societal norms. Unfortunately, localized norms exude high degrees of variability, as some communities tend to be esoteric in nature. Accordingly, cautious reasoning should be observed. Then once understanding the framework, one can discover the underlying premise of what’s derived from the observed behavior and its concurrency to ethical boundaries.

A well-adjusted observer may label their subject with preconceived notions — such should be avoided. A tutor imparting ethics without strong emotional boundaries will likely misconstrue evidence ascertained from the hypothesis testing. Once a non-descript foundation is established, the observer can further ascertain information that juxtaposes the subjects’ peculiarities to the spectrum of personality traits within the uncovered ethical framework.

[Deliverable] The premise of appealing to one’s logos is to get them to actually think. Transversely, to instill ethical habits, one must train the student in the art of unthinking. With classics self-help books being a worthwhile exception, most non-original mediations proliferate the half-measure:

‘Just Un-Fuck Your thinking.’

Pretty much ad-nauseum. And despite the mass appeal, the message bears little-to-no actual effect on existent, finite, or hypothetical test populate. Wherein the decree most salient, yet misbegotten by self-help authors is largely derived by ascertaining what is currently lacking in the reader's life. The myopic approach begotten to self-help authors center attunement to one’s life facets, and the varying enigmas loosely defined as ‘one’s life’s demarcation’. Wherein a positive demarcation means one is doing well, and a negative ‘needs fixing.’ However, they fail to address the axioms of one’s ego and its relation to life-succulence. Egotistical clairvoyance is necessary to learn ethics — something overlooked by new-age self-help authors. Transversely, if success is not clearly defined and the sense of one’s ego is nebulated, then the journey to ethical behavior, for many, becomes enigmatic also. A full-measure would include the juncture one would face when confronting ego. Life’s success, unthinking, and ethics fall under the prevue of either having the intrinsic ability to ‘unthink’ or one ascertaining the will-power to learn the art of unlearning.

One’s ability to unthink is predestined by their ego and the nebula Carl Jung postulates as the anima/us within. Notably so, having the want to learn and having the intrinsic ability to re-learn thought processes are all too much an overshadowed precept proliferated in today’s self-help agenda. Therein, most authors skip over the animus(a) part. Though however flawed this andragogy may be; it is indeed a result of marketplace vigor, which in-part is imparted to the get-rich-quick and get well-quick-schemas in modern society. More so, catering to the get-rich-quick populace in large plays into the author’s own animus. The inadvertent self-identity and judgments imparted by his pandering is a caustic delineation forthcoming to void egos. Therein an ironic cyclical pattern is established; the dealer sells and uses his own drug — and in this case, the proliferation of new-age self-help authors seek to both sell and believe their own esoteric bullshit. Self-help books are worthless if the student does not understand their own ego.

Per the constructs of reality, nobody can actually teach the art of un-thinking, because it is an art requiring masterful attunement. Art is not a taught process taught overnight, but rather a learned one; with effect manifesting many years thereafter the learning process has begun. Moreover, no singular man (or woman) could especially affect change to a degree inclusive of specific personalities and idiosyncratic, maladaptive patterns. Transversely, learning to unthink is a process that is found within existential-theory; specifically, to one becoming of oneself. A body of people or a population cannot be defined as oneself. And, unfortunately, self-help books skim on the heavy underlying axioms needed to deconstruct one’s ego, and overload with light puffery, which (unfortunately) is palatable to most. And as popular as these books are, the tunes sung are nothing more than mis-laden promises packaged for those fluent in idiomatic speech.

Though faultless for some individuals, no singular mechanic can actually un-fuck most people’s thinking, when given specifics like test-regions and critical values are considered. Therein the action itself is impossible to apply to all domains, especially when considering the existing variability found within the vast array of human personalities. Our idiosyncrasies are termed idiosyncrasies for a reason. Notably too lurks a ubiquitous peculiarity within self-help manuals: rather than emphasizing how to reverse one’s maladaptive process, the authors pander and successfully market their books with another half-measure promissory such as,

— — — Just Try Harder.’

The process of un-thinking is a predetermined thought process requiring deep insight into one’s ego and the toxic animus lurking within. One cannot just un-fuck their thinking with the strive of determination. However, if properly sought — once the animus is discovered, then can the ethical pedagogy start. Unthinking is an art that requires a sound mind, regimented practice, and perpetuity. And within such constructs, no human can truly be the master of unthinking, as life does not assure soundness nor does any being live forever.

As seemingly enticing as the ‘un-fucking your thinking’ paradigm may be, anyone who could actually, and would willfully demonstrate the masterful art of un-thinking, in turn, would be immortal, and perhaps even transcend the beings of deity.

[Ethics is foundational to one’s archetype. Though it is a learned process, it too is supposedly intrinsic to one’s self-identity. Thereby, ethics is both learned and intrinsic to one’s being. Unfortunately, those not taught ethics and the limitations within society’s framework from childhood are possibly at higher risk of fragmenting the boundaries of others and committing to dubious decision-making later in life.]

Given my conjecture, I would try to teach ethics by training one to think ethically and then perhaps introduce the ‘un-fuck your thinking’ paradigm. ‘Un-Thinking’ is the process of eliminating pervading thoughts. However, and unfortunately, though, as reality dictates: mental renovations are hard to complete if the mind is scarred or remains un-trained due to adolescent misgivings.

If one cannot master the art of unthinking, one can never learn how to actually think, wherein the actuality of learning (or re-learning) is inadvertently eliminated. To further postulate my reasoning, if one cannot learn how to re-think by deconstructing current processes, then he cannot learn ethics. An unwavering will to cede change is first required — as, without it, progress made would be pyrrhic, if not impossible.

In prevue to the presented quandary (‘how would I teach ethics’), appealing to one’s ethos, pathos, and logos to, at the minimum, should provide short-term relief and comfort. Deconstructing the nuances and idiosyncratic patterns that drain one from within, in turn, constructs a mental abode to which the un-thinking process may find a home. Once that home is established, then — and only then — can the actual unthinking process start.

Maladaptive thought processes are a dynamic and complex study predicated by assumption-based theory and axiomatic constructs. Therefore, everything mentioned here is just a conjecture — including the prevue self-help authors and their half-measured approach to one’s ethos, pathos, and logos. If the tutor is successful, the student can expect order in their social life and freedom, and perhaps yearn for paradise. Death, like taxes, is a nuance we all must ruminate; it's best we yearn for her, rather capitulate to her awakening.  that is my definition of freedom.

[Reflection] — 1.] If one can just un-fuck all of our thinking, his riches and fame would be innumerable. 2.] And more so, teaching ethics within the confounds of the aforementioned is seemingly an impossible task. 3.] And even more-more so, the continual publication of self-help books could not be possible with the perpetuity of those who perhaps think they have ‘fucked-up-minds.’ In a likely sense, people may think they are messed up, but in actuality (per cognitive biases and its relation to derived statistics), they’ve just adopted mal-adaptive practices as behavioral-idiosyncrasies. Learning how to unthink is complex, with many setbacks potentially preceding one’s triumphness. However, despite lurking confounds, the onus to learning how to unthink befalls the tutored, rather than the tutor. If one wants to un-think, all they must do is practice the art of unthinking for perpetuity.