This week, CiRCE podcasts contemplated Schole', the real you, life and death during Queen Victoria's reign, and Graham Green’s The End of the Affair. Be sure to subscribe, rate, and review, wherever you like to listen to podcasts!
When I was in EMT school, on one of the first days, our instructor was putting us through scenarios. “You are dispatched to a call for a man down. You arrive and find the patient face-down, with a weak pulse, and shallow, slow breathing. What do you do?” I’ll never forget when one of my classmates raised his hand and shouted out confidently, “Call 911!” I’m not sure I can even describe the look on our instructor’s face when he said, “YOU ARE 911!”
Allow me to propose what might be the underlying moral dilemma in all our relationships, public and private:
When people gain power, they become able to do bad and inconvenient things. For example, the toddler is capable of wreaking a great deal more havoc on the house than the nursing infant.
Nonetheless, the essential duty we have to other people is to help them gain more power. Nowadays we call it empowerment. More enlightened ages called it cultivating virtue.
That is true love.
I almost didn’t fall for Patricia Highsmith.
Reverend Dr. Frank Prescott, founder and recently retired rector of the venerable all-boys school Justin Martyr, has been taking a walk with his young protege, the convalescent Brian Aspinwall. They were walking along the river, near the home of Dr. Prescott’s daughter, where, at Dr. Prescott’s insistence, Brian is residing while he returns to health. Dr. Prescott is not merely presiding over a younger man’s recovery from pneumonia; he is successfully speaking new life into Brian’s troubled soul and weakened faith.
There are probably a thousand ways to introduce Shakespeare, though I have very little interest in speculation about his politics or whether he was secretly Catholic. Neither do I think it best to begin with the place of his birth, the Globe Theater, a history of stage directions, or controversies about his identity. Those introductions are too bookish, too content driven, too postmodern, or too collegiate.
World War II was progressing in earnest 80 years ago this week, so I have been tracking it with short readings and a video series on YouTube.
Last summer, Germany took over Czechoslovakia without much of a shot fired, and in September, allied with Russia, they took over Poland. Over the last month or so, the Russians conquered Finland while the Germans spent a morning taking Denmark as an afterthought while they invaded Norway.
You know those moments where you come across a really simple idea and it explains so much that you see it everywhere, when things that used to make you wonder now make you go, "et tu, aliquid!" (which is a goofy way of saying, "even you, whatever!") so then you become annoying to everybody around you because you can easily identify how this thing sorts everything else by its relation to this one thing?
I had one of those and it's making me kind of annoying I(n a new, particular way that is).
I want a classical education, desperately. Together, my wife and I have given one to our three children, all of whom have continued in it to one degree or another. They all have seemed to thrive in it, too. I did not get a classical education. I have, to some extent, recovered one over the years, although sometimes it feels more like I've gotten an education that is about classical education rather than one that is itself classical.
Some people spend too much time thinking about their goals, their dreams, their visions, etc.
Other people spend too much time thinking about their obstacles, their problems, their immediate activities.
I believe we should spend enough time thinking about our goals to figure out what they are, to say, "this is what we should do today" or "this is what we should do this week" or "this is what we should do this quarter". And then we should spend most of our time thinking about how best to act and acting.