Last week Evan was only at school Wednesday morning. (Tragedy for Evan (with updates)). Yesterday evening I asked him how his first day back went. He said that it was okay. He was nervous so he took a Tylenol with Codeine and that helped.
We had another one of those confusing running around in circles conversations like when I tried to explain why hanging out with criminals was a bad idea (Evan -- master of the "real world").
The main points in the circle were:
Me: Codeine is addictive when taken to control anxiety.
Evan: I won't get addicted because:
- If I were going to get addicted it would be to something that makes you feel good -- like meth.
- I won't take meth because I know it is not just about fun and energy and losing weight. It can really mess up your teeth.
- I like codeine not because it makes me feel good but because it helps me just not feel.
Me: Right. You are taking it to control anxiety. Codeine is a good pain killer, and is not addictive when taken to control pain, but it is addictive when taken to control anxiety.
Evan: But I won't get addicted.
I really can't tell if he is having fun messing with me or if he believes what he is saying. He really seems to believe it -- and he did really take the codeine. (Okay...So how did he get it? That's my fault. I left the bottle of legitimately prescribed medication on the counter instead of putting it back into the lock box).
He changed the subject to tell us all about how a friend at school told him that he could make $150/hour as an on-line psychic. He went to the site and signed up! I asked him if at the very least the site had a clear statement about being for entertainment purposes. "I don't know. I am not liable for anything." I considered trying to explain the concept of fraud and expressing that it was unethical to participate in it, but I did not.
So here is my worry -- Evan's responses to people tend to be honest and nurturing. He does not lie and genuinely feels badly if he hurts someone. He is considerate of other people's needs. He also fails to recognize any ethics beyond this. As soon as he moves away from personal relationships he feels no obligations whatsoever. The only reason for obeying the law is the possibility of getting caught. Fraud, cheating, plagiarism -- these are not wrong.
My biggest worry is Evan's confidence that he can play with fire and not get burned.
He genuinely seems to see the ethical commitments of my family as naive.
So today I am really asking...Does anyone have any idea how to respond to this? Is there a response?
Teaching Ethics II