Emotion colors perception wonderfully. The same aspen tree, with the same white bark and the same golden leaves fluttering in the same wind, is one tree to the moonstruck lover, another tree to the poet in search of joy, and still a third to the dismal soul doubting whether life has meaning. The same sensory input offers either a happy companion, or a wistful finger pointing to another realm, or a bleached-out bit of wood. Continue reading “The color of reading”
[This is the second in a three-part series on liberal education: (1) Whether the purpose of a liberal arts college is to teach; (2) whether teachers at a liberal arts college teach for the sake of their students; (3) whether teachers at a liberal arts college are employees. For background on the subject, see my post on Pieper’s book. For a glimpse into the kind of enjoyment I hope this post offers, see my comments on the scholastic question format.]
Article 2: Whether the Faculty Teaches for the Sake of the Students
Objection 1. It seems that teachers teach for the sake of the students. If teachers did not teach for the sake of students, then their teaching would be for themselves. But teaching is an activity directed toward others, not toward oneself. Therefore, teachers teach for the sake of the students. Continue reading “Whether Teachers Teach for the Sake of Their Students”
[This is the first in a three-part series on liberal education: (1) Whether the purpose of a liberal arts college is to teach; (2) whether teachers at a liberal arts college teach for the sake of their students; (3) whether teachers at a liberal arts college are employees. For background on the subject, see my post on Pieper’s book. For a glimpse into the kind of enjoyment I hope this post offers, see my comments on the scholastic question format.]
Here’s how to read this post. Read the first objection, and then stop to think through how you would reply. Do the same with the second objection. Read the “on the contrary,” and stop to think about whether you agree with the argument. Then read the body of the article, where I tip my hand as to my own ideas, and see if just reading the body changes how you would reply to the objections. Finally, read each reply and see whether I said the same thing you would have said. If not, why not? Let me know.
Article 1: Whether the Purpose of a Liberal Arts College Is to Teach
Objection 1. It seems that the purpose of a liberal arts college is to teach. After all, the purpose of a college is to benefit students, and students go to college in order to be taught. Therefore, the purpose of a college is to teach. Continue reading “Whether the Purpose of a Liberal Arts College Is to Teach”
In light of recent essays by my two bosses at WCC, the Academic Dean and the President, I have been thinking about the nature of the place where I work. What is a liberal arts college? What is my job at a liberal arts college?
So I found myself back the at the font, so to speak, rereading a book that has taught me much over the years about education, about teaching—about humanity. The book is Joseph Pieper’s Leisure the Basis of Culture (translator, Gerald Malsbury; Sound Bend, Indiana: St. Augustine’s Press, 1998). In this post I have pulled together a few of my favorite of Pieper’s sophismata. They read well on their own, without commentary: Continue reading “Education and leisure”
Reading C.S. Lewis’s autobiographical Surprised by Joy, I was reminded of a useful distinction between two meanings of the word “fantasy.” One is the meaning I outlined in a previous post, namely a kind of literature that brings one into contact with the Other. The second is the self-indulgent fantasy we turn into the verb “fantasize.” Lewis draws the distinction nicely: Continue reading “Fantasy vs. fantazy”
It would seem that I am alive.
Objection 1. I am writing this blog post. But activity is proper to the living. Therefore I am alive.
Objection 2. If I were dead, I would be enjoying eternal bliss. That hardly describes my current experience. Therefore I am alive.
On the contrary. The life of a rational creature is a life of reason. But I am incapable of reasoning now. Therefore it seems that I am not alive. Continue reading “A scholastic dispute: Whether I am alive”
My life these past few days has been consumed by accreditation. Tomorrow, by midnight Central Time, our college has to submit its latest accreditation documentation, and the whole effort has been entrusted to me.
Our regional accreditor has a slick new online system for submitting documents. (Actually, you have to submit one document using one method of formatting, another document using a different formatting approach, and a third set is submitted still another way via the online portal—but I digress.) The online portal is easy to understand, easy to coordinate with lots of people, and all-around geeky and slick. When it works.
When it breaks down two days before your deadline on a weekend so no one answers the telephones, then it’s not so slick. Continue reading “Accreditation and confidence”
My favorite organizational tool this year is the one that almost made me rich.
Mulling over the ongoing problems with my tickler file, it hit me one day: why not have some way of sending myself an e-mail that will arrive at a certain time in the future? You wouldn’t need a program or an app, just an e-mail address that acts like a well-timed boomerang. Use it right out of your current e-mail thingy.
Last night a friend from college days died suddenly. I didn’t know Matt well, but he married my wife’s former roommate, who was a good friend, and I was always grateful to Matt for being so good to Sharon. We got Christmas cards from them every year. I kept up with Matt via Facebook.
Last November, Matt posted this on Facebook:
Ok, so I’m going through a rough day. (nothing major, I’m not dying or anything.) But it occurs to me that we have to consider our place in the world sometimes. It’s been my pleasure to know some wonderful men and women, and it occurs to me that we live as long as God plans us to. Some young, some old, but all to their cause. There really is only one sin, “Non Serviam” … “I will not serve”. On the feast of Bl. Miguel Pro I offer and ask you to say a prayer that echoes his last words, “Viva Cristo Rey”:
Dear Lord, let me be your poor servant. Grant me the wisdom to understand Your will, and the health and strength to carry it out. Allow me the grace to serve you as my Eternal King and show witness to the world of your sacrifice. I know that I am an imperfect vessel, and while I may try at times to bargain with you, I trust you and will always keep Your words in my heart, ‘Satan, get behind me’.
Proofreading is hard. Really hard. Have you ever noticed how you can wash a paintbrush forever and the paint keeps coming? Texts and typos are like that: proof and proof and proof your text, and mistakes keep pouring out.
Well, I have discovered a master secret for proofreading: text-to-speech software. The human eye is too smart, often filling in what “should” be there and so glossing past a mistake. Computers are mercilessly dumb. Whatever you have printed, they just read it, and if it’s a typo then it will sound strange.
Any time I write an important letter, a blog post, or anything else that is (a) destined for scrutiny and (b) relatively short, I crank it through my text-to-speech software. I use Natural Reader, but there are great free options as well.