Monday, June 16, 2008

"Mom, You're such a geek."

I received this comment from Artist Son with a smile as it was given with a smile and was not at all pejorative in nature. Truly, I had just enjoyed an afternoon of unadulterated geekiness (except for the M&M's); while the fam headed to the local pool to cool off in the scorching Arizona heat, I stayed at home, afraid to subject my finally subsiding major-allergic-reaction-to-who-knows-what-hives to sun and chlorine, to read philosophy, ponder, and write book notes. At my disciplined best, I try to summarize each chapter I read, but I am not often at my disciplined best. My usual MO is to underline, star and bracket (pencil only) and then, when time allows, to write or type up my 'book notes', adding some summary on the fly where I can.

School's out and I've just begun three books that have been on my shelves for some time. As I prepare to dive into a study of Ancient Literature for our Great Books Course next fall (second time)it think these books will help prepare me, as a tutor to guide my students, Active Son and Artist Son:

The Greek Way, Edith Hamilton

A wonderful book, so far, by the late classicist, Edith Hamilton, explaining the Greek mind and the it's impact on and contribution to Western Civilization. I read the first several chapters of this book on our international flight but left it on our domestic connection--thankfully, Delta has retreived it and it is waiting for me at the baggage claim.

Six Great Ideas, Mortimer J. Adler

I'm about a third of the way through Alder's primer on philosophy and his discussion of the six great ideas of truth, goodness, beauty, and liberty, equality, and justice, which the ancients gave such particular and in depth attention to is sparking lots of teaching ideas for next fall. For some years I have felt that philosophy is the subject or, better, way of thinking, which is sorely absent from education. I am in full agreement with Alder that philosophy is everybody's business:

"It cannot be too often repeated that philosophy is everybody's business. To be a human being is to be endowed with the proclivity to philosophize. "

"It is also necessary to understand why this is so and what philosophy's business is. The answer in a word, is ideas. In two words, it is great ideas..."


Chesterton presents his essays on orthodoxy as autobiographical however he "will not call it my philosophy; for I did not make it. God and humanity made it; and it made me." I'm not completely sure how this one is going to dovetail with the other two, but after just two chapters, I'm pretty confident it will.

One thought I'm pondering, particularly as we re-enter American culture:

..But nearly all people I have ever met in this western society in which I live would agree to the general proposition that we need this life of practical romance; the combination of something that is strange with something that is secure. We need to view the world as to combine an idea of wonder and an idea of welcome. We need to be happy in this wonderland without once being merely comfortable.

1 comment:

MagistraCarminae said...

I think you sound both Geeky *and* disciplined! What great reading!

And I'm glad you are safely at rest in AZ...and wondering if you couldn't head over to NM sometime while you're here? Perhaps we can find some lovely high-altitude race to tempt the menfolk...