Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Humility and Grace

A friend once told me that she did philosophy because it cultivates the virtues of humility and grace. I hope this is true.

Today was a strange experience for me, perhaps a crux in my education. Two of the most brilliant scholars and interesting people I know sat with me at a table and raised pressing questions about the various books I elected to read on account of their timelessness and renown. Seeking to elicit more than a general knowledge of the texts, they led me up to the crossroads where authors and characters and ideas and eras meet and asked me to describe the ground upon which we were standing... the terrain from Thomas Aquinas to Thomas a Kempis, the birthplace of Medea and the distance between Euripedes' account of feminism and the feminist culture of today, the characteristics of the middle ground on which Ovid and Chaucer stand... I'm still hacking my way through the brush on whether or not Chesterton's critique of the suicide of thought is fair to Nietzsche.

My habits of mind still lack rigor and vibrancy and capacity to ignite light bulbs between thoughts. I left the room feeling like a kindergarten graduate in a world full of highschoolers. I am so grateful to have their company and for their willingness to prod me along until I learn to walk at their speed. My education has only just begun.

1 comment:

  1. I think Christ Church, Oxford, gets it right by traditionally calling the students "undergraduates" and the professors "students"... though it's certainly justifiable to feel small and insignificant next to our profs, we should remember that they are learning every day, and are often confused, speechless, and awestruck, just like us. Thank God that philosophy and theology are such inexhaustible resources.