Short Writing Assignment Four: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition
Part One: “The Principle of the Common Good”
1. What do you think John Paul II was trying to communicate in “The Principle of the Common Good?” Why was his explication necessary? Please support your interpretation with direct quotations from the text.
2. Do you have your own understanding of what it means to act in the common good? How is John Paul II’s interpretation of “The Common Good” like or unlike your own?
Part Two: “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen”
1. In “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen,” Borowski is expressing something about human nature. What do you think it was?
2. What element of the story did you choose as the subject for your analysis? In the context of the story, and our larger discussion about what it means to be human, what do you think that element is communicating? Please, connect your reasoning to specific quotations from the text, and confine your analyses to the text as it is written on the page (rather than what you know or assume about what is happening ‘off-screen’).
Part Three: Reflection
1. People don’t always act in the interest of the common good—and much of the academic work done in the humanities seeks to explain why. Why do you think people fail to act in the interest of the common good? How does psychology seek to answer that question?
2. Everyone has failed to act in the common good at one time or another. Describe a time when you failed to act in the common good. Why do you think you did it? How do you feel about your decision now? Did your choice affect your subsequent behavior?