I wish I could say that this quote was true for me as I grew up but it was not. I grew up in a five bedroom house with a TV in each bedroom, and two TVs in the living room, one for entertainment and another for video games. As a child I was surrounded by screens and books were difficult to find. As a matter of fact the only books I recall in my house could be found in the upstairs hall cupboard. Yes, in the dusty dark hallway, behind the closed cupboard doors lay a pile of disorganized books.
Note to the reader: This was written several years ago, so it is technically a “throwback” post, but it seemed a particularly appropriate time in our history to share it again.
“Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.”
- From “Manifesto: Mad Farmer Liberation Front” by Wendell Berry
There come times when a thing you’ve known time out of memory suddenly opens before you, blossoms into beauty where you’d never known to seek it. These are times of transfiguration, and in their witness to both the humble hiddenness of beauty and the deep meaningfulness of reality, they refresh our faith in a world where “being indoors each one dwells” and in a Christ who “plays in ten thousand places,” as Hopkins exulted.
The other day I read a passage that opened one of these times for me. It had to do with, of all things, parts of speech. Here it is:
In the beginning, Yahweh established the Day of Rest as part of the rhythm of life. It is sometimes difficult for us to properly rest in our culture; it is perhaps equally true to say that it is easier than ever to rest in our modern world. All in all, we are bad stewards of time. We do not understand either Work or Rest: work has become “hustle” and rest has become “binge”. Yet the men and women we admire did not waste their time; we waste our time using their inventions. We are lost, wandering through the worldwide wilderness.
This week, CiRCE podcasts contemplated Graham Green’s The End of the Affair, care and the modern man, Shakespeare’s play As You Like It, Schole', and, life and death during Queen Victoria's reign. Be sure to subscribe, rate, and review, wherever you like to listen to podcasts!
I am sometimes asked by my extended family members or friends, “so why are you doing this?” referring to the Apprenticeship program through the Circe Institute. As I approach my graduation from the three-year program, I thought I’d put down why I did join the Apprenticeship program, what I have gained from it.
Years back I was hanging out with a group of libertarians who wanted to create a movement. They wanted a constitutional amendment that prohibited the government from being involved in education.
In effect, they wanted to outlaw public education because they believed that it destroyed American freedoms.
I think today that it was a charming idea, one that gets a certain temperament aroused to action, which is better than people just complaining.
At some point upon entering 9th grade, the mindset of the student changes. Previously, he may have considered grades a curiosity, but now they are a badge of pride or shame. The new obsession with grades is not entirely internal, as parents also look towards college and its guardians: SATs and scholarships. While parents and students may once have accepted that a classical education is meant to nourish the soul in wisdom and virtue, they now confess the real goal is higher test scores and better colleges.
Having quit Facebook six months ago, I have no idea what my thousand or so friends think of the pandemic. They don’t know what I think of it, either. So far as my own opinions go, this is for the best. My feelings about the pandemic have changed quite a bit in the last eight weeks.
During my first year as a teacher, I moved to a Manhattan neighborhood that was a subway ride away from all my friends. My neighbors and I never learned each other’s names during the two years I lived there. I waved at them from my patio and they waved back from their balcony, but only once or twice. I shared one wall with a stranger I never even met.