In case you missed it, you can now watch Dr. Robert Enright’s presentation during yesterday’s (Feb. 4) Greek Forgiveness Education webinar, on YouTube–for free.Details about the webinar can be found in the article posted immediately below this one.
The unique webinar was broadcast live via Zoom video conferencing from Greece. More than 4,500 individuals participated in the webinar or have watched the YouTube video since it was posted.
Dr. Enright, Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and founder of the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) was the featured presenter for the webinar. His topic, “The Healing Value of Forgiveness from the Aristotelian Philosophical Perspective,” has special significance in Greece because Greek philosophers like Aristotle not only helped shape the world some twenty centuries ago, but they are still very much alive in the principles underlying what is being taught in the country today.
“I have been relying on Aristotle for 35 years,” Dr. Enright said in his opening remarks during the webinar–the same length of time he has been studying the “moral virtue” (Aristotle’s term) of forgiveness. “The English translation of what Aristotle described as a moral virtue is ‘magnanimity’ or ‘largeness of heart,’” Dr. Enright added–what he calls the very essence of forgiveness.
Following Dr. Enright’s presentation, Dr. Peli Galiti, Director of the IFI’s Greek Forgiveness Education Program spoke on “The Way to Forgiveness: From Theory to Practice.” For the past eight years, Dr. Galiti has been conducting Forgiveness Education training workshops for Greek teachers. During that time, she has trained more than 600 teachers to use the Forgiveness Education Program developed by Dr. Enright which is now being taught to more than 6,000 Greek students.
FORGIVENESS: PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF A TIMELESS VIRTUE
Live Internet Event
Thursday, February 4, 2021
7:00 p.m.EET (Eastern European Time) MEETING TIME CONVERSIONS U.S. – EST – Noon U.S. – CST – 11:00 a.m. U.S. – MST – 10:00 a.m. U.S. – PST – 9:00 a.m. GMT – 5:00 p.m.
REGISTRATION REQUIRED NO LATER THAN TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2021
The program for this one-of-a-kind free webinar includes presentations by:
Robert Enright, Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and founder of the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) – “The healing value of forgiveness from the Aristotelian philosophical perspective.”
Peli Galiti, Researcher in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Director of the IFI’s Greek Forgiveness Education Program – “The Way to Forgiveness: From Theory to Practice.”
Konstantinos Kornarakis, Professor of Christian Ethics – Bioethics in the Department of Theology of the Theological School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens – “Functional and dysfunctional aspects of forgiveness in texts of the ascetic Christian literature.”
Konstantinos Bikos,Professor of School Pedagogy and New Technologies in the Department of Philosophy and Pedagogy, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki – “Socio-emotional and moral development of the Greek student: the contribution of education to forgiveness.”
The webinar has been organized by Dr. Peli Galiti, Ph.D., M.Ed., and her associates at the University of Athens(where she was previously a lecturer in the University’s School of Education) and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (A.U.Th.). For the past eight years, Dr. Galiti has been conducting Forgiveness Education training workshops for Greek teachers and for the past five years that training has been in collaboration with A.U.Th. During those eight years she has trained more than 600 teachers to use the Forgiveness Education Program which is now being taught to more than 6,000 Greek students.
The author of two books, Dr. Galiti has received funding for her work in Greece from the prestigious Stavros Niarchos Foundation, established by Stavros Spyros Niarchos, an Athens native who assembled and operated the largest shipping fleet in the world before his death in 1996. A descriptive video (4 min. 11 sec.) of the Greek Forgiveness Program is available at this YouTube linkor you can visit the Greek Forgiveness Education website.
The International Forgiveness Institute’s widely-acclaimed Forgiveness Education Program was developed by Dr. Enright along with collaborating curriculum experts and experienced teachers. Using children’s story books (many by Dr. Seuss) and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) techniques, the Program teaches students about the five moral qualities most important to forgiving another person–inherent worth, moral love, kindness, respect and generosity. The Program is now being used in more than 30 countries around the world.
Additional Webinar Information: 1) Dr. Enright’s opening presentation will be delivered in English while the other three presentations will be in Greek with no English translation or subtitles;2) The event will take place online on the ZOOM platform for free; 3) Registration must be completed by Tuesday, Feb. 2; and, 4) The link to the meeting will be sent to registered participants by e-mail on the eve of the event; and, 5) More than 700 people have already registered for the webinar.
You most certainly are not worthless. Why? It is because all people are special, unique, and irreplaceable. There never was a person on this earth quite like you…..and there never will be again. As with the case of self-esteem or negative feelings toward the self, your thinking sometimes can become too general about who you are relative to the betrayals which you have experienced. You might slowly, and without even noticing it, drift into negative self-statements about who you are as a person. It is time to resurrect the truth: You are a person of worth no matter what, not matter how much pain you have, no matter the condemning statements from others. I urge you to re-read the previous sentence until this new thinking about who you are is solidified and consistent within you. You….have…..great……worth.
Those are very good reasons to forgive. I would say one of the highest reasons to forgive is this: to exercise goodness, particularly love, as an end in and of itself regardless of how others react to your offer of forgiving and whether or not you show immediate psychological improvement. In other words, to offer love regardless of the consequences seems to me to be a special reason to forgive.
We sometimes think that those who hurt us have far more control over us than they actually do. We often measure our happiness or unhappiness by what has happened in the past. My challenge to you today is this: Consider forgiving those who have hurt you, who have hurt your happiness. Your response of forgiveness now to the one (or ones) who hurt you can set you free from a past influence that has been toxic. Try to measure your happiness by what you will do next (not by what is past). Your next move can be this––to love regardless of what others do to you. I gently urge you to try this and see if your happiness increases.
Here is a summary of self-forgiveness for you: Commit to doing no harm to yourself (for example, better nutrition, more rest and exercise). See yourself with “new eyes.” Yes, you are imperfect, but your strong guilt shows that you now have good intentions toward yourself and toward others whom you might have hurt. You are a person of worth. Try to bear the pain so you do not subvert yourself or even toss that pain to others. Try to be good to yourself as an end in and of itself… and then go to those whom you have offended and seek forgiveness.
You are correct that some people live with injustices that are not likely to end in their lifetime. Even if forgiveness does not completely get rid of all injustices, that forgiveness will heal individuals, families, and communities from the damaging effects of the injustice (deep resentment, hatred, and the resulting anxiety, depression, and hopelessness that too often accompany unsolved injustice). A quest for justice is good and important. Yet, the quest for justice alone in these circumstances can lead to frustration, anger, and the displacement of that anger onto one’s own children and community members, leading to serious psychological compromise. Forgiveness can reverse and prevent these negative effects.
The short answer is no, forgiving others never is overly self-centered or selfish when truly practiced as a moral virtue. Why? This is because forgiving is given to the other as a gift of mercy and love (even if the forgiver never reaches this difficult endpoint of love). Is forgiveness ever immoral because it enables bad behavior? No, it never is immoral precisely because it is a moral virtue and all moral virtues are good in and of themselves. Forgiving does not enable bad behavior because forgiveness and justice need to be a team.
The philosopher, Trudy Govier (2002) has used this term. Secondary forgiveness occurs when you are hurt because of a person’s actions toward a loved one. In other words, the mother truly is offended and hurt when someone bullies her daughter in school. It is secondary in the sense that the mother was not directly bullied. Yet, the fact that she is resentful and legitimately so because of the actions toward her daughter, the mother then can go ahead and forgive the one who bullies. It is important to note that the mother is not forgiving the one who bullies on behalf of the daughter. It still is up to the daughter to offer primary forgiveness or not. It is the daughter’s choice. The mother’s forgiveness does not substitute for the daughter’s response.
Govier, T. (2002). Forgiveness and revenge. New York: Routledge.
I think you are right that the negative view of humility within philosophy has been with us for centuries, with the writings of the Scottish philosopher David Hume and the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. For example, in the late 1800s, Nietzsche stated that those who try to humble themselves are actually trying to exalt the self. The famous philosophers Albert Camus and John Paul Sartre, in post-World War II France, split over the theme of humility. Whereas Camus embraced moral humility, rejected absolutism and violence, and acknowledged human fallibility, Sartre was not convinced (Dresser, 2017). I am not surprised, then, that philosophers such as David Hume have a negative view of forgiveness, which he called “a monkish virtue.” I wonder what Mr. Hume did when holding resentment toward those who were less than fair to him.