Gwendolyn Dolske PhD is a professor in the Philosophy Department at Cal Poly Pomona. She is the author of academic essays and the book Tips From The Professor A Guide to College Success. She teaches Philosophy of Sex and Love and Moral Theory. She produces and co-hosts the educational podcast Good Is In The Details.
Gwendolyn Dolske PhD is a professor in the Philosophy Department at Cal Poly Pomona. She is the author of academic essays and the book Tips From The Professor A Guide to College Success. She teaches Philosophy of Sex and Love and Moral Theory. She produces and co-hosts the educational podcast Good Is In The Details.
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🎶 Podcast Intro: Welcome to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast, where we give you the encouragement you need to lean into the uncomfortable stuff life puts in front of you, so you can love your life. If you are ready to overcome all the yuck that keeps you up at night, you're in the right place. I am your host, Melissa Ebken let's get going. 🎶
🎶 Episode Intro: Hello, hello. Welcome back to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast. I am so thrilled to introduce you today to Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske. She is a philosophy professor. She believes that the best life is the examined life. We get into some great conversation here. you're going to want to add your comments and your questions. Make sure you jump over to the blog site at melissaebken.com/blog or go to melissaebken.com and hit the button to take you over to the blog and click on this episode. At the bottom is a place where you can add your comments so let me know what you think, ask a question, add your 2 cents worth. I would love to hear your feedback. Now, let me introduce you to Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske. 🎶
Melissa Ebken 0:07
Today I have Gwendolyn Dolske with me Gwendolyn Welcome to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast.
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 0:14
Thank you. I'm ready to get uncomfortable.
Melissa Ebken 0:18
I should have said Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske.
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 0:21
Thank you. I appreciate that. PhD though. I can help you through an existential crisis. But if you're physically ill, there's nothing I can do.
Melissa Ebken 0:31
That's good to know. Because unique, unique approaches. So it's good to know, early on. But Dr. Dolske, can I call you Gwen going? Yes.
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 0:42
Yes for Gwendolyn.
Melissa Ebken 0:46
Gwendolyn is winding up her semester and getting ready to do some reading for the summer and other professor things that professors do. But I'm so glad that you took some time to be with us today that you're my first PhD, I believe. And for that, you're my first college professor that podcast. So
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 1:07
thanks. Okay. I'm excited to
Melissa Ebken 1:12
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 1:13
I teach Introduction to Philosophy. And then a couple of upper division courses that I teach are existentialism, and existentialism is essentially a more, let's say, a newer branch of philosophy. But by newer that means 1800s to now, where there was this rejection of just a science and logic based way of looking at the world, and the existentialist come along, and they say, What about the things that don't have a neat and tidy conclusion like anxiety, love, death, contemplation? What does it mean to have this subjective experience of the world and we should honor that instead of tried to get away from it, and try to talk in absolutes and universals. So I only get to teach existential is on once every couple of years. But it is still every time I returned to it, it's one of my favorites. And then I teach in engineering ethics. So I have a background in applied, or I'm sorry, a background in moral theory. And then we apply that to the way in which we understand technology, I love that class, it keeps me on my toes, because technology obviously is changing. So every break, I do research to see what is the latest thing and see how I can incorporate that in the class for us to discuss and really come to what, what makes technology good or bad? Does it have to do with the design, the outcome, the intention? And then what are some side effects? How is it altering our behavior, the way that we interact? So a long time ago, engineering ethics had so much to do with, here's a building, it fell apart, it killed people don't do that, or here's the Challenger disaster, we made a mistake don't do that people will die. But what's interesting is that in the last, I would say, decade, the question about technology has to do with privacy has to do with computer apps, and has to do with the way in which we're giving up our personal information. And the way or our perception of ourselves is so different by being online all the time in social media, and how do we communicate with each other? It's so so fascinating. And I also teach philosophy of sex and love, which came as a class, it was a surprise, the professor who had been teaching it, that sick and the chair asked if I could take over the class. And I said, Yes, but I didn't realize what the class was. And then, when I found out what the class was, I thought, okay, I mean, I come from a Catholic school. Even my graduate studies, we're at the oldest Catholic University in Belgium, it's from the 1400s. I do moral theory, and all of a sudden, I need to talk about sex and love. And I have no idea what I'm doing. But it turned out to be such a blessing. Because through teaching that class, I get to be the student again, in in researching, what are the issues? What are my students questions? What are Are there any ancient philosophical texts about this? And I feel like I've grown so much through that experience. So that is what I do. That's my day job.
Melissa Ebken 4:29
I love everything you just said, thank you. I start because all that you just talked about has so much relevance to each and every day of our lives and everything that I do. And that's when philosophy is at its best is when we don't think of it as some stuffy conversation in a building somewhere, but something that informs every moment really of our lives. I mean, you talk about existentialism be no there's that Push and Pull in our society with science and Bible, and reason and experience, and all of those things that are woven together in my understanding, but get so often pitted against each other in society. And in the town where I live, we had an explosion in a chemical plant just outside of our town several years ago. And a lot of times when kids get into middle school, and they hit that biology classes start talking about evolution, they'll come to me and say, Okay, now what do I do with this? And everything I've learned about God. And I won't talk to them about that chemical plant explosion that, imagine if a poet and a physicist, both saw it explode, and they both wrote about it, their writings are going to be different. But does that mean one is wrong? No, it just means they understood it in different ways and can converse that way. So yeah, the existentialism conference is so so relevant.
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 6:08
That's such a great, that's such a great example of a scientist and a poet were to look at it. That's, that's fantastic. That I think that's a lovely approach to it.
Melissa Ebken 6:19
Well, in the, because something's right doesn't mean that something else has to be wrong. Right?
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 6:26
No, I mean, the tension with science and religion, for me, is a frustrating one, because it is often pitted, they're pitted against each other. So it's an either or. Now, it's true that there are plenty of people in science who do not hold any beliefs, and but the idea that they're at odds with each other, the way that I look at it is actually similar to the way you described it. Because sometimes my students asked this question in philosophy, we have to discuss the existence of God, and they read arguments, different arguments, making the case that God exists, and they read other arguments to say that God does not exist. And I tell them, you know, no matter where your belief is, you need to know the arguments, but so that you have a foundation, it can, it can strengthen your belief, or it could disrupt it, but that's part of the process. And I think that with, when it comes to religious texts, sometimes people are surprised that I hold them in the esteem that I do, because they know that even though I have a Catholic school upbringing, philosophy kind of philosophy put a nice wrench in that. But it is an effort to describe the world. And it's a beautiful effort. And there are these truths in it. And science is another way of trying to describe the world. We don't know how we got here, we're just kind of thrown into existence. We know that everything that makes us survive, we did not create, we didn't create the solar system, the planets, the animals, oxygen, so we're thrown into this existence without any clear rules. And there's been a way either through science or through religious texts throughout history that have tried to come to some sort of guide as to how we're supposed to exist. And so I think that regardless if somebody takes a religious texts, literally or not, I think that the there's moral lessons that are invaluable in there.
Melissa Ebken 8:38
Yeah, and I think having the conversation is so valuable. Yeah, however you come out, you know, having these conversations are helpful, because I understand more about me and what I believe and how I come to things. And spoiler alert, I may understand you more and how you understand and come to your conclusions. And perhaps that's a helpful exercise in itself.
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 9:12
I completely agree. The heart of Western philosophy is with Socrates and his trial, I kind of joke around those put on trial for being annoying, which I think is still kind of true, but he's, you know, and an older man, and he hears news from this oracle. This is ancient Greece, this is Athens, that there is no one wiser than Socrates. And what I think is fascinating about the trial when he's talking about this experience, he didn't hear that from the Oracle and the Oracle would be the mouthpiece for God. He didn't take that and say good for me. Yay. What he did was he still question what that meant. And he went around and he interviewed the citizens of Athens. had to figure out what was the meaning of this. And he learned more about himself and the truth of the Oracle. As a result of that dialogue with others, he didn't retreat from the world. He didn't give himself a pat on the back, he wanted to understand it. This predates Christianity. But I would imagine that some of the most thoughtful exercises in something like Christianity would be something similar in that you can read a religious text, and you learn more about the meaning of it as life goes on as you dialogue, and you learn more about yourself, and maybe something will happen in the world that will make you read a passage differently. And I think all of that is part of honoring these sacred texts, is to let them let them be part of of your daily rumination, you know, if you will, or the way in which you interact with people. And that's how you can really get so much out of it.
Melissa Ebken 10:59
Thank you for that. That's beautiful. I really like looking to the text to understand how these flawed saints wrestled with their beliefs and how to incorporate them into everyday practice. And some of them and I use the word saints with air quotes. Because they are saints, but not because they were perfect. And how we would understand the word saint to be they were saints, because they kept and kept up with the struggle. They kept coming back with more questions. They didn't stop with the doubts. They kept pursuing more. And that's what I love about that. But with technology, oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness, the questions that come from philosophy and technology have Did you ever come across that show on Netflix? The black mirror that?
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 11:57
Oh, yeah. Yeah. My students had recommended it for me. And I finally sat down. I think I watched season three, a couple years ago. Yeah, that's an incredible show.
Melissa Ebken 12:08
It is. I tell you another show that that really made me think was a Star Trek, spin off series of Star Trek Voyager. And probably that's because of the timing. But I had just finished seminary and came to this town where I live and minister and I didn't have cable, but Star Trek, Voyager played all the time on one of the channels I got. And there were so many existential questions, questions of what does it really mean to be human? Because they interacted with the species who would reanimate a corpse, if you will. That's how they reproduced. And all of these questions of what is humanity? What does it mean to be human? I questions about community and connection. But technology just opens so many doors, and it's like that, okay, that we're going there. You go for it. In the Garden of Eden, the way I view that story of eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. I stumbled over that I apologize for that. But to me, that symbolizes that when we take a bite out of something new when we encounter some new technology or some new understanding that there's good in that. But there's also unintended consequences of it. And technology has a lot of good in it. But there's also a lot of unintended consequences that negatively affect us. Every time we take another bite out of another apple, lowercase a apple, then we have these questions that come along with it.
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 13:56
I completely agree. First of all, science fiction is a great window into examining existential question science fiction writers just have it spot on I think, because of their their imagination. And something I'm mean that you might be interested in. It sounds like, by what by what stood out to you was there's we're getting learning more and more about genetic engineering. And there are these questions about, well, what makes us human and I know this might sound odd, but the you can edit this out if you want. You can edit this out if you want. We're going to I don't know why I think it's odd. Maybe it's just a thing. But there are going to be more and more people born not as a result of their parents having sex. But we now have the ability to be creating life outside and then implanting. And in that process, making decisions about the genetics Do you want your child to be told All good in music? I mean, it's not that advanced, but it's on that trajectory. And I, yes, yes, exactly. And that is interesting, because then there's this question of, well, what does it mean to be human? And and then is it going to be so competitive after a while that it would be considered immoral to not do this? Like, did you harmed your offspring by not genetically manipulating them? So that's a really interesting question. And then what would that do to income disparities, wealth disparities, because then it's who can afford it? Things like that. And then what we said about oh, I liked what you said about the, the apple, it's true. You know, I'm, I mean, things like technology, like the way that we're communicating right now, this is amazing. This is fantastic. I know, through podcasting, and then through zoom, and all of this, I've been able to meet people that I would have never met any other way. I just, I don't know how else it would have happened. To be able to connect with people in this way. Then there's, of course, the other side of it. And I think it has to do more with youth. But I just worry about the level of time and the potential for bullying that happens. On that I was just thinking about this with myself. I mean, I was teased when I was a kid. And but I came home after school, there's no smartphone. I don't even think we didn't have the internet yet. Okay, I totally data myself, you know, you get home, you've got some cartoons, or maybe got homework, play with the kids in the neighborhood, then come in for dinner, maybe read a book or want to watch a bit more TV, and then you go to bed, at least the bullying stop. I can't imagine now the smartphones, that the last thing a young person reads on their phone is something cruel from the internet. I just cannot imagine that. So when you say unintended consequences, that's one of the things that I think we really, really need to pay attention to, with people who I don't know people who were born after the smartphone, remember the time before the smartphone, but to navigate that it is the world for the child, it is their world, we have to pay attention to that.
Melissa Ebken 17:25
That's a great insight. Now, in your podcast good is in the details. You cover a wide range of topics.
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 17:34
Yeah, it's so much fun, I get to tap into being a student again, I get to find amazing people and then reach out and say, Hey, I have this educational podcast. And I get to pick their brains. And for me as a book nerd, it's a it's a dream come true to be able to talk to some of the people whose work I've read. And it's, it's my favorite thing to do. And my co host Rudy Solow is not an academia. So he's a lawyer. He loves science fiction. He loves film noir, and he does some acting for fun. The guy is amazing. And, uh, he kind of brings it down to earth in case I get too nerdy. during, during the episodes of this familiar for even though it's educational, it's, it's, it's good for a broad audience. And he is, I can't even tell you how lucky I am to have Rudy he. When I told him I had this idea for a podcast, which was pretty much just, I was having these lovely conversations with my students. They were so thoughtful. And there were so many great topics that came up things like do you have free will, you know, what is real? And then the philosophy of sex and love? We were talking about? The, how does sex ed work in America? What are we not? What are we leaving out of sex? Ed? I think that's actually the more interesting question and why. What are our ideas about the rightness or wrongness of the way in which you are with somebody? And so we have any then with the technology stuff. So I went to Rudy, and I said, I just have this idea that a broader audience might enjoy these things that my students were talking about. And I don't want to get keep academia. I feel like everybody could have access to these kinds of conversations that we're having in the university. And I said, but I don't have an audience and I don't know what I'm doing. And he's like, he's like a, he's like a big lawyer. I mean, like he graduated from UCLA, Georgetown Law. I mean, he's, he's the proper adult. And he said, Yes. And he's been with me on this journey. And we just won an award and I was just tearing up because an award for the show and I was just tearing up because I was thinking about how we started did and how you just how it is for somebody to see something in you and say, Yes, I'll be part of that. You know, when a lot of people want to wait until you've made it, if you will, before they'll hop on board. But for somebody to be there from the beginning and say, I think this is good, let me know what I can do. I'm onboard. And like I said, Rudy is brilliant. And one of the most humbling things that he's ever said to me is, I am your student. And that blows me away because he is extremely intelligent. So I think one of the reasons the podcast works is because both of us while we are different, like he likes science fiction, I'm not as into it. He's Arab American. And so sometimes that comes up in the podcast, what was that like growing up in the United States in that way? He's far more religious than I am. Because you kind of tease each other about that. And he does not like ambiguity. And in philosophy, there can be, but But Well, you're
Melissa Ebken 21:04
in a philosophy.
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 21:06
I know, I know. But I will say one of the things we have in common this core value is curiosity. And that's why I think that the show works between the two of us. And, yeah, he's just an absolute, absolute joy. And I say that for anybody else who thinks that they have an idea, or if you're in the position to mentor or help somebody, when you see that they're budding, and they have an idea, do it, you know, because you just you do it, you know, reach reach out. But if you see somebody that could just use a little bit of a nudge or a little bit of confidence, a new have that position to do that. Do that when you can participate and in somebody else's success, because by Rudy having that faith in me now, he's part of an award winning podcast, right? There are other people who turned it down. And a couple of other people would turn it down, or they started and they thought, I don't know if I just want to invest in this. And I said, okay, but really stuck with it the whole time. And he did it because he genuinely is curious. And he likes learning, just like I do.
Melissa Ebken 22:13
Well, a couple of things come to mind. First, you know, a burning question I get all the time is, what would happen. If a cardiologist, a philosopher, and a lawyer walked into a podcast,
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 22:26
you listen to that? I did. And it was a
Melissa Ebken 22:29
great episode. So it makes sure that you check out good as in the details podcast, it really is great. And it is like being a fly on the wall in the classroom. It was fantastic.
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 22:41
That was great. I forgot about the yet so Tony, the the guest the cardiologist has a background from Notre Dame in theology. And, and then he went into become a pediatric cardiologist. I mean, he works on you know, your listeners can't see this, but hearts that are this big. I'm just barely holding up my, my fingers. He, yeah, he's, he's extraordinary. And what I loved about that episode, so thank you for listening to that. Thank you for mentioning that was that you could really, that was our first episode that we recorded in studio since the pandemic, and we could have done it over zoom. But I thought no, Tony is an old friend. I've known him since the third grade Rudy's known and since since high school, I think that the dynamic and the chemistry will be better if we're all there together. So one of the things I loved about that episode was that it was and this is something I've gotten out of podcasting, that I'm not only learning, but sometimes I've been able to call on people from my past, and ask them and to be on the show, and to learn from them and see them in this white. And so there's something about podcasting, that has also made me look at the people in my life differently, and really, really seeing the value and what they have to contribute just in a different way. And I'm really thankful for that. Yeah, Tony was great.
Melissa Ebken 24:06
Yeah, you could tell there was a lot of synergy with the three of you, it was great. So help us to become students because philosophy when it is recognized as having an impact on the day to day details of life, it really can be impactful. So how do we bring this lofty other world study not other world but you know, something that happens on a on a college campus in a building that's red brick with ivy growing all over? It didn't people in robes and spectacles, how can we bring that into, you know, our everyday lives to inform infrastructure of what we do and how we move through this world and what we believe.
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 24:53
Yeah, I'm gonna, I'm going to, let's see, I'm gonna make this three fold. I don't want to forget that. All right, the the first thing that I would say is more of an existential way of looking at things. But I think one of the things that's important for us to do, and especially in times like this, where there is so much chaos that's going on in the world, and then also just here in the United States. I think it is important for us to take a moment to realize especially if we are have a lot of anxiety or not anxiety, but a lot of behind some sort of a particular topic, or were extremely angry at somebody else with a different point of view. That we need to recognize that there are factors about ourselves, that are outside of our control that have contributed to who we are, meaning you did not control the time in which you were born. And that will dictate part of the way in which you see the world. We don't, we don't dictate the body into which we are born, we do not dictate our first religion or knock of religion are the things that we eat the economic bracket in which we're born into, we also do not have any control over our first language, which would also contribute the way in which you organize the world because we think in language, and as anybody who's bilingual, or has ever tried to be or trilingual, there are words that exist in one language that don't exist in another, which means the idea doesn't exist in the other. So the linear first language has a way of you organizing the way you think about the world. I think that all of those things, when we sit back and realize that we were born into that, and that contributes not into controls, but contributes to who we are, it will give us a lot more grace and humility and curiosity. Because that means that if we had been born just in a different time, different place, different family, different body, we would be having different ideas about the world. And I think that that humility is important. And I think that that's an that's an existential issue. The second thing that I would say about so let me back up when somebody has a different point of view than us. I'm not saying you always have to agree with it. And I do think that some ideas are intolerable. I do. There are if there's a debate over taxes, I have no problem having a conversation in terms of politics. But if there's a discussion discussion that has to do along the lines of bigotry, I'm not I'm not interested in that conversation. So I will admit that there are some topics where I am just so turned off, that I don't care to engage or to really understand. So I just full disclosure there. I'm not, I'm not a saint. There are some things when somebody says that they hold a particular view, like let's say, a white supremacist view, I'm not interested in engaging, but I know that there are people out there who will. And I think that that is good work to understanding that the reason why some people come to some ideas like white supremacy, that there are a series of causal factors. And it's important to understand those causal factors in order to dismantle that problem. I don't have it in me to do that, but I know other people would. But that would be an example of accepting that when you realize so many things that contribute to you being you means that a bunch of things contribute to the way somebody else is. And if you were born in a different part of the world, you might have a different first language, a different religion, different economic bracket. And that's important, different body. You know, imagine if you were born into a different body. Imagine if you were born with a disability, you know, born super tall, I wish I was, but something different. And that's a philosophical thing to recognize that our place in the world are that we're fragile, and then we're temporal. And
that's important. And I think the other thing was, I like the air Sicilian idea that the object of life is this Greek world called Greek word called the diamond Nia. And it shows up in Buddhism as well. And our own American documents have this the U diamond, a diamond yet can be loosely translated in English as happiness. And it was such so important that even in our own American documents, it says you have the right to pursue it. So the question is, what is it is it this subjective thing? Hang? Or is there something that all people have in common for pursuing it? And I like the way that Aristotle handles the question. And he thinks that happiness is the only thing for its own sake. So it's different from anything else. Like if you say, I want an education, what do you want that for those answer, I want money. What do you want that for? When you get to happiness? What do you want that for? That's the end of it. And so Aristotle takes great pains to describing what this is. And he thinks that it is an activity of the soul. It's that kind of flourishing of the mind. Somebody today might say, character development, if they do not think if they're atheist, for instance, and do not think that they have a soul, they would still value character. And that's also why we have that in our American documents, we don't want laws that would insert themselves to prevent somebody from pursuing a development of their mind. So if there was a lot tomorrow that said, No more women can be in biology, that would be a bad law, on what grounds we could say, it'd be interrupting somebody's capacity for pursuing happiness and happiness, we mean, a development of the mind. I think that's how we use philosophy. How do we gauge if we in our everyday life? How do we gauge if we're on the right path? And this ancient Greek notion of Eudaimonia tells us, if we're moving in the direction of excellence, that doesn't mean you have to do it 100% time. So if you know, if you want to binge watch a show on Netflix, go for it. But generally speaking, are we doing something that increases our character or soul? are we engaging in relationships that are meaningful? And I think this is so important, it makes me think about the social media phenomenon of depression rates going up? And I think the reason is, we can even look at Aristotle for an answer for this. But it is because we are starting to, to confuse the difference between character and image. And that confusion is damaging. People are getting these dopamine effects from clicking from finding clicks, you know, that make them validate themselves, when you can never really grow from somebody else liking you, you have to grow within yourself. And that's what character development is, or of the soul, as opposed to your image. I'm not anti social media, I like social media, I've been able to stay in touch with friends that I've made throughout my whole life. But the younger people are having a tough time with it. And I would argue it's in part because there's a misunderstanding of what really makes us happy. And that's also a philosophical question. I always say, philosophy talks about things that don't occupy space. So like, what is justice? Does God exist, what is real? What is happiness, and the things that we can't use our five senses for. But we still want to say that exists. Like, if you want to say justice exist, we still need to be able to have a conversation about it and figure it out. The third thing I would say that is useful for philosophy, and this is just a very practical thing, which is critical thinking skills, where you learn of different types of arguments, and different kinds of fallacies. Facebook, memes are full of fallacies. And as a philosophy professor, they drive me nuts. I would say if you can reduce your entire idea into a meme, you have stopped thinking, because they're often you know, they're they're so they're so absurd. But you can see, sometimes people today day today, people seem to be confused as to what information is correct. And how do you know or some people are saying, and there are some very basic critical thinking skills that can help you go through and see fallacies straw man's are a big one. I see those all the time. Red herrings. Yeah, lacks lack of definition. So we're not even talking about the same thing. But I would say that's one of the things I wish more people had.
Melissa Ebken 34:06
I'm going to do a very eloquent summary, okay. statements that you gave. So we were talking about how philosophy can enrich and become a part of our everyday lives. And the first thing you mentioned of three was context, understanding our context and how it's unique to each of us. And while we have one others have one as well. You mentioned the the right to grow. And I don't recall the Greek word you used. I know you diamond. Yeah, diamonds.
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 34:48
Go with that. You have diamonds. I love that.
Melissa Ebken 34:50
Okay. So the second one, you have diamonds, you have the right to grow to pursue something more within yourself and I loved that. quote, I wrote it down, it said, you can never grow from someone else's, like a view that has to come from within. Love that That's brilliant, I'm going to quote you on that. And then third, that philosophy helps us to be critical thinkers. Not just that, it may be a country song, but it's a saying as well, if you stand for everything, you'll fall for anything, yeah, identifying those things that are critical for you that are important for you. So that you won't be blown by every wind that comes by.
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 35:40
And sometimes, critical thinking can also be a little bit painful. And that you might have, I have, let's see, everything should be on the table. So one of the issues that we have in social media is that we're just thrown into an echo chamber, where our beliefs are just re informed, and the algorithms are getting more giving us more and more of what we seem to like. And then we stop being critical of that information. So it's the confirmation bias syndrome. And I think it's really important to take those steps to read something outside of your comfort zone, you might change your mind, or you might strengthen your ideas. We can't be afraid to read positions that are different from our own, because that is actually I know, for myself when I have been the strongest thinker, but like I said, sometimes you might read a position that is different from yours. And you might then realize that your position is flawed. And so sometimes the critical thinking doesn't just mean examining the other side, if you will, but it's also taking a look at what the people you listen to what's going on there. Are there are their straw man's in there. Are there leaps of logic or like if then clauses if this is true, does that necessarily follow? So critical thinking enriches us but I think that people also have to not be afraid to let's just consider for a second that you're wrong. And what does that mean? What does that look like? I have to tell you, I don't particularly enjoy that I may be I'm imposing I mean, like this can be hard. I don't like being wrong, I don't. But I but there's no other way to grow, there's there is no other way to learn. That's what's important for wisdom, that's you have to be you have to have a humility and a curiosity. And that means reexamining the things that you think that you know,
Melissa Ebken 37:50
you know, though, was a part of what was behind starting this podcast, pursuing uncomfortable if we stay in what we view as comfortable. And I would argue that comfort is maybe a fallacy, but maybe we could have that conversation, you'd be the perfect person to have that conversation with maybe another day. But that if we stay in what's comfortable, we can't grow, we immediately take number two, that you have diamonds off of our list of potential because to grow, involves stretching. And when we grow as children, we have growing pains, those muscles in sinews and bones growing and stretching. And the same is true spiritually, emotionally, mentally, all of these things, you have to be uncomfortable, or at least willing to be uncomfortable to experience growth. And when we have something difficult or uncomfortable in front of us, I would encourage people to lean into it, don't run away from it, but lean into it and see, see what's there. Maybe it isn't so scary once you confront it. Or maybe it is and maybe you have a superpower you'd never knew about. Or maybe the superpower is a very human connection with someone else, or hearing an inspiring story or just knowing that someone cares. But with a Kierkegaardian of me.
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 39:33
I love that. Yeah, I agree. Yeah, Kierkegaard was one of one of his books, cash shoot, what is it called? A works on love works of love, I think. And he does this. I'm glad you mentioned Kierkegaard he did this beautiful analysis of examining what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. And presupposes that we understand what love is that you This is his stuff, you know that you that you do love yourself. And yeah, Kierkegaard is just really fantastic about that about getting away from just pure dogma and that the the real Christian ethic is to do this kind of self examination. So I think throughout philosophy throughout theology, the wisest people have also wanted us to understand our minds first, before we spend a lot of time worrying about what other people think about us. And as far as being uncomfortable, I'll throw in philosophy here again. But Socrates tied Morality with knowledge in a way that we wouldn't do this today. But I think it's a really valuable lesson. And that he started when he started to understand what the Oracle meant that no one is wiser than Socrates. He started to interview the people of Athens. And when he realized that a lot of them were talking that they didn't really know what they were talking about, they were talking just to talk, because they valued fame, they valued pretending to know that whole fake it until you make it type thing in ancient Greece. And Socrates started to rethink what the Oracle meant. And he took the Oracle to be a calling from God, to continue to interview the Athenians to let them know that they didn't know what they didn't know. And the reason why this is a moral issue is because when you are pretending to have knowledge, you are dishonouring what is human knowledge, which is beneath divine knowledge, you are pretending to have divine knowledge. And so arrogance is not just a matter of a character, Quirk, but it's a moral flaw, and it is putting yourself at the level of God. So the best way to honor your soul for the ancient Greeks would be to maintain that curiosity and that humility, because the soul lasts outside of the body. So why would you ever pay more attention to something like fame, or money, when the soul is of more value, now, it's not an either, or it doesn't mean that you don't care about the body whatsoever. It just means that if you're going to invest your time and your energy, in a good way, it goes to your soul. And I think that theology, you know, and Christianity is ensue with that, I think there's something to be said about radically different thinkers in different areas of the world at different times coming to very similar conclusions. But it ends up being a moral claim, like if I told you I have $10,000, and I'm going to buy, I have a choice between two cars. One, and I look great in both of them. And was that's not an issue. But they're pretty much the same, except for one of them is going to poop out in two years, and the other one is going to last me for 10 years. And I tell you, you know what, I made this decision, the 10,000 is gonna go to the one that's going to poop out in two years. How would we describe that? That's not a good decision was probably a bad decision. If we're willing to have that kind of conversation about where are you going to put all of your money into something that's not going to last? There is a value and a question of your intelligence as well in that, so we can understand it in that term. In those ways, somebody like Socrates would say, put all of your energy into the thing that's going to last, the thing that makes you you, and that is your soul.
Melissa Ebken 43:29
I would love to talk to you for another.
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 43:34
Thank you so much. Thank you so much. i It's such a it's such an honor. And I have to tell you, I think it's I love what you're doing your podcast is just I'm really humbled that you've invited me to be on the show. And I you know, even though I'm in philosophy, I think that there's so many I mean, our roots are similar with with theological questions or questions about the divine. And I always, it's always a treat to be able to talk to somebody who's in ministry. So I appreciate that.
Melissa Ebken 44:06
Thank you so much. We'll have to do this again sometime. I'd love that. Right. Thanks again, and make sure folks that you check out the good as in the details podcast, it's really great. And the link for that is going to be in the show notes. It's in the description. And if you want to learn more, make sure you check that out and make sure you apply these philosophy. Tips. What was it you
Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske 44:35
Melissa Ebken 44:36
Yes, context. You've got diamonds, critical thinking skills, make them a part of your life every day. All right. Thank you so much. Dr. Gwendolyn Dulski Thank you
🎶 Episode Outro: Thank you so much for tuning into today's episode. If this encouraged you, please consider subscribing to our show and leaving a rating and review so we can encourage even more people just like yourself. We drop a new episode every Wednesday so I hope you continue to drop in and be encouraged to lean into and overcome all the uncomfortable stuff life brings your way. 🎶
Gwendolyn Dolske, PhD, is a professor in the Philosophy Department at Cal Poly Pomona. She is the author of academic essays and the book Tips From The Professor A Guide to College Success. She teaches Philosophy of Sex and Love and Moral Theory. She produces and co-hosts the educational podcast Good Is In The Details.