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Anne Rowland

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Everything posted by Anne Rowland

  1. Oh, thank you! (For this, and other, answers.) God bless!!
  2. I got an e-mail from CIRCE this week advertising a Great Books Challenge for parents. It looks great to me. If anyone is interested here's the link. https://romanroadsmedia.com/great-books/?mc_cid=c32c67a45c&mc_eid=c804944532&mc_cid=06ff4a619a&mc_eid=3ea9707c17 (Not trying to advertise for a non-ClassicalU company. Just don't know what's available where, and I think CIRCE is more of an umbrella org for several of the classical groups, including this one, right?)
  3. Hi Dr. Taylor, This isn't about pedagogy either, but class is over in just a week, so I'm getting my questions out while I can! On p. 103 I see your comments on capitalism and communism: "both systems... are materialistic and have little or nothing to do with eternal truths, or beauty, or goodness in any transcendent way." You go on to point out more shared characteristics: progressivism, scientific philosophy, pragmatism. That's so interesting. I've rarely seen the comparison made, but most often it has been in the context of discussions on distributism, an idea that I really like. I understand Chesterton was a distributist. I've read a book of essays on distributism and also a book on Catholic social teaching by Anthony Esolen that talks a little about it. In both books, a related topic is subsidiarity: the teaching that things should be done at the lowest level possible. For instance, education can be controlled and done by parents or local teachers. It can also be done by the federal government. It's a violation of subsidiarity (and thus unjust) for the federal government to control education because it can be performed at a more local level. Murder is also a violation of subsidiarity. It's a person at the local or individual level taking on a task that only rightly (if one believes in capital punishment) belongs to the state. In my Protestant circles, most Christians are conservative and capitalistic, even if that means affirming industrial capitalism. That just doesn't seem right to me. (Maybe I've read too much Wendell Berry.) But I can't explain why. I saw you mentioned (on p. 105) a book called Small Is Beautiful. I'll look it up. Maybe it'll help. It seems partly (to me) that industrial capitalism takes place on an inhuman scale and is motivated not by human nature or need, but by an "economic" bottom line. Somehow there's a disconnect between that and us as humans in the image of God. But I can't quite make the connection. Can you connect the dots?
  4. Dr. Taylor, I know you said skim this chapter, but this is the kind of stuff that's really helpful to me in figuring out how we got where we are now, and why people believe what they believe (and who is right). I'm pretty sure I won't have the book done by Wed. But I want to take my time esp. with understanding DesCartes. I learned about him first in a theology class. The professor described his theological influence by saying that before DesCartes, reasoning began with "In the beginning God..." and DesCartes shifted it to "In the beginning man..." (Though, as a believer, that wasn't his intention.) The prof also had a back story that helped us understand how DesCartes came to his conclusions. DesCartes was a soldier in the 30 Years War, which decimated Europe in the name of Religion. The ultimate question behind the war (which was between Protestants and Catholics) was who has the authority to tell us what is true, what to believe, who to follow? The Pope, the king, the councils, the people, our consciences? Who? (8 million people died over this question. In some places in Germany, 20% to 50% of the population perished.) Since no one could agree anymore on the answer to this question of authority, and the conflict was wreaking such horrible destruction, DesCartes wanted to identify what people on both sides COULD agree on as a source of authority. One certainly can't blame him for trying, and it's only in hindsight that we can see the ultimate results of his shift in thinking. On p. 96 you point out (through Thomas Gilby) that when some read Aquinas, they interpret him incorrectly because they are reading him through the lens of DesCartes. That is what so often used to happen to me as I would try to read older writers (like Aristotle). Partly it affects faith, too, (and esp. reading older theology) because a big deal was made about man being in the image of God. Man, according to Aristotle's definition, is a "rational animal." So I was originally taught that the main part of being in the image of God was being rational. Ok (that's partly it, though now I've come to see that it has more to do with love and the Trinity). But thanks to DesCartes, modern man doesn't mean the same thing as Aristotle did when he uses the word "rational." When moderns use the word rational, they/(we?) mean ONLY the use of reason, logical thinking. Working back toward the image of God, that makes Him look like some sort of Infinite Computer or Divine Traffic Cop, which is so wrong. It's not who God is or who humans are. For Aristotle reason was (I think) the intellect, emotions, and will, all together. As a modern that sounds so weird: reason is emotion! But that older definition is so much more complete, and it opens up whole new (and valid) ways of being human, and whole new aspects of God. On p. 101 you point out that DesCartes and Dewey "isolated one mode of knowledge and elevated it to rule all others." I guess I'm just recounting how I actually experienced that in my life (aside from my education). A lot of my maturing and healing has been about learning, accepting, and growing into that larger definition. And in a culture that prizes tolerance, it's so nice to be able to say, "Modernity, your view is too narrow and confining." ? Again, this isn't pedagogy. I hope it's alright to use the forum as an outlet to simply reflect on the text and my thoughts. I don't often have the opportunity to interact with others who think or care about such things (Carlyn being a notable exception!). Thanks for providing that for a few weeks. ?
  5. Gosh, our discussion last night about teaching art really got my wheels turning! Three new thoughts this morning, and as I'm typing them I'm realizing they're NOT poetic. But they might be ways your boys would be willing to engage with the art. 1) As part of my daughter's online classical composition class (from MP), when they got to Thesis I think, each week the teacher had half the class write their essays supporting one side of an issue or argument and the other half of the class write their essays supporting the other side of the issue. (She just assigned them to one side or the other.) Then the next week, she'd have them flip. Whichever side they supported the first week, they had to put themselves in the shoes of "the other guy" and argue for the opposing side the second week. So they each got to argue from "inside" both sides of the issue, and they were motivated to do their best each time because they wanted to out-do the classmates who were opposing them each week. I was very impressed by this approach. And it was an extremely helpful exercise for my daughter. (This put her in a position of having to argue for AND against arranged marriages, for AND against abortion, etc.) In my mind I'm seeing your boys as all on one side (as all the kids were in my daughter's class concerning arranged marriages and abortion). Maybe giving them the opportunity to argue for their perspective (the piece of art is bad or doesn't matter or is inferior to digital art or whatever) would be a way to affirm them and at the same time force them to actually examine their opinion. And on the other side (the piece of art is good or does matter or is better than digital art) they would be motivated to find reasons themselves that the art was good because they'd want to out-do their fellow classmates and win the "debate." Maybe? In my daughter's case, because she was forced to argue FOR arranged marriages, she saw the wisdom of having parents involved in the process and so has asked us to "let" her do courtship (with family involved) rather than dating (on her own,, more or less). So you might not change everyone's mind, but you might snag a few. And in the others you will have planted seeds that can be watered and bloom later, when they're less threatened by "art" and "beauty." 2) Something I did with my online lit kids (7-8 grade, mostly boys), when I didn't know where else to start, was to ask them what they could find in a passage or chapter that was true, good, and beautiful: "This book is a classic because it continues to speak to people through the years. We've already talked about reasons for that, including that it is a true, or accurate picture of life. It "rings true", therefore people can relate to it, and so they keep coming back. Where do you see the true coming through in this passage? What "rings true" to you?... As Christians, we're concerned about the good or moral, doing what's right or just. Where do you see the good (or moral or right or just) reflected or portrayed in this passage? (or its opposite and why?)... As a child of modernity, I have very little understanding of the purpose of beauty, and I understand you have the same disconnect. But as I'm learning more about it and its importance, I'm gonna trust that it really is important. So with that in mind, where do you see beauty in this passage? (or its opposite and why?) Is there part of the passage that sounds beautiful? Is there part that portrays something beautiful? Why did the author put that beauty in the passage? Does it point to something in the passage that is true or good?" I'm pretty sure that questions like this can be adapted and asked about different kinds of works of art. A HUGE advantage I have in connecting with my students is that I'm not a professional educator and I'm learning this stuff (esp. classical stuff) along with them, so I can very genuinely ask them to help me figure something out or ask them to help me find something in a passage (or work of art). They sense the genuineness of my questions and have always been eager to help, sometimes to the point I almost lose control of the class because they're trying so hard! That's part of who I am. You sound like you actually KNOW a lot about art, so that might be harder for you. ? But I think there is something in each teacher's personality, expertise, or background that can be used as that bridge to the students. And there are different ways to ask questions. Maybe take time to write down some of the questions you still have about a piece of art, then figure out a way to word one or two of those questions so that your students can understand them. Then actually share your question(s) with your students, and let them speculate on answers. See what they come up with. (One of my 8th graders actually answered a life-long question I had about lying by referencing natural law. It was amazing!) 3) I have been told some people are thinkers and others are feelers. For instance, some people more often say, "I feel like..." while others say, "I think that..." Even if it's something like being hungry. Culturally, I think all students, but esp. boys are groomed to be "thinkers" (whether that's what they are naturally or not). Is it different in a classical Christian school? I don't know. But because of this, if the boys are being asked to engage on a level where their emotions or feelings are involved, 1) it threatens their masculinity and/or sense of identity; 2) it makes the exercise a lot scarier, because they have to be vulnerable; and 3) they might not even be able to identify what emotions or feelings they have in the first place. It takes a bit of maturity to be able to do that, and they may not be there yet. (Partly because of my upbringing, I wasn't able to identify my own feelings toward music and art until I was in my 30s.) For these reasons, even though suggestions 1 & 2 above are not poetic (or maybe BECAUSE they're not poetic) the boys might more easily engage with the art through them because they're about thinking more than feeling. Then after analysis, they might be willing to risk being more vulnerable and saying something they like about the work. I hope that's not Poetic Heresy! 4) No new thought here, but in case it would be helpful, I have 2 books that I've picked up (recommended by friends) to help me get a better grasp of the place of beauty in the whole grand scheme of things. I have not read them yet, but as a place to start, if you don't have somewhere else better, here are the two titles. Beauty: A Very Short Introduction, by Roger Scruton (Oxtord University Press) It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God, ed. Ned Bustard Does anyone else have suggestions for learning about the place of beauty? Or how to talk to utilitarians about beauty? Or anything else?
  6. As a non-classically-educated person myself, I'll second that. ? I go to the Memoria Press Sodalitas conference/retreat every year, and one of the highlights for me is Martin's Book Club, where Martin Cothran (a writer and director for Memoria Press and Highlands Latin School) uses a break-out session to talk us through a short story as if we were in a lit class with him. This year was a bonus because they had a teacher from their upper school (high school) who did a session for homeschool parents on teaching upper school literature, and he did the same thing. We read through Tennyson's Lady of Shallot together and then he led a discussion for us, as if we were his class. It is extremely helpful for me to see classical teaching modeled so that I have something to imitate. It is also very helpful for me to actually be learning! So from all sorts of perspectives, I think finding a way to teach the parents is a wonderful idea.
  7. Thank you for sharing some of your own background. I hope you enjoy The Cruelty of Heresy. I found it helpful enough that I've read it at least 3 times so that I can have a loving answer to the questions Why the Trinity? or Who Cares? Jansenism keeps popping up on my radar. (Very different perspectives from Protestants and Catholics.) So I've ordered a biography of St. Alphonsus Liguori, who is supposed to be one of the main teachers who got Catholics back on track, and also a short-ish book on Jansenism. Please let me know if you have any suggestions.
  8. Hi, On p. 54 the text refers to "the concupiscible (pleasure) emotion of love." John Paul II wrote of concupiscence as something bad, as being contrary to love. I've been tripped up several times by words with more than one meaning. Is this another instance of words (concupiscence/concupiscible and love) being used in different ways in different contexts? Thanks.
  9. Hi Dr. Taylor, I was at a homeschool retreat last week. I attended a science talk and the presenter kept using the words awe and wonder. I assumed he knew your book and so went up afterwards to discuss stuff. Turns out he didn't know about your book. But it's on his list now! Also, he was able to clarify a couple things for me. 1. You and I are talking past each other when we talk about science. I thought I'd seen a definition in your book, and now looking back I'm missing it, and all I can find is examples, but the first example is Gradgrind fr Hard Times. It's all about facts and formulas. And that's ok for your definition. And that description fits what IS happening in modern education. And the reason is the Enlightenment & Des Cartes and the belief that "knowledge is power" and we can conquer nature. And that has led to looking at the parts rather than the whole and the deconstructivism movement in literature & everywhere else. I agree with all of that. Acknowledging all that, and that the modern world is the way it is, that just isn't the definition (or experience) of science that a scientist would use (or have). Parts of the scientist's definition of of science fits very well in your emphasis on pre-rational sensory experience. For instance, the scientific method states that in order to be studied scientifically something (an event, process, thing) has to be observable. And contrary to popular belief, ah honest scientist will point out that science can't prove anything. Science is about repeated observations and the probability that the things observed will continue to occur. Scientific knowledge is ALWAYS changing because scientists continually discover things that prove the old models invalid. The discovery of superconductors is a good example. That doesn't fit with your use of the phrase "scientific knowledge" as meaning something clear and certain and opposed to a sensory experience of wonder. But it's the way the "other side" uses the words and thinks of itself. I used to be an engineer (BC... before children), and my dad was one, and I'm married to one. So that's the language I know, with many of the words meaning almost the opposite of the way they're used in the conversation about poetic knowledge. I'll try to do better about remembering what definition we're working with and frame my thoughts and learning around that. 2. The book, and this class, are about pedagogy. You pointed that out to me once, and it went right over my head. My questions are almost never focused on pedagogy--how to teach. They ARE about how I LEARN, which is a related topic, but not the same. I'm sorry for that. I'll try to remember what the conversation is really about and phrase other questions appropriately. Everything you say about needing to include the poetic in teaching I believe is correct, and I will try to stay on track. Thanks again for your patience.
  10. I'm just a student like you, but I think it makes sense. I really liked at the beginning of Chapter 3, in the discussion about "gymnastic," Dr. Taylor says, "In spite of distinct treatments of the acts of the intellect and the modes of knowledge here, they are in reality never separate, but more like the n otes of the musical scale... notes of knowing that can be sounded distinctly but have no meaning outside their relation to the others. To sound the gymnastic note strikes the sympathetic reverberation of the poetic, up to the highest notes of metaphysics" (p. 59-60, emphasis mine). I LOVE that gorgeous sentence! And I love what it means! (And I think it agrees with what you're saying.)
  11. Hi, Maybe what I was thinking of didn't happen in class. Possibly I was thinking of your book on p. 48, in the first paragraph. "[Poetic knowledge] ... needs to be taken seriously once again as a way of knowing, distinct from but in no way inferior to scientific knowledge." I suppose calling them "equal" isn't quite the same as calling one "in no way inferior to" the other. "Equal" can be an equivocal term. Also, about Pope Benedict's words you comment: Maybe I have poetic knowledge (though not in a positive sense, if that's possible) of what he means. The church I grew up in was good in many ways. (Please hear me say that.) But one of its flaws (in my opinion) is that it was very experiential and emotional (and held that up as a standard by which to judge "good" Christians) and actually ANTI-intellectual (e. g., preaching against tradition, higher education and psychology). I didn't grow up in a cult (really!), but there is at least one split from that denomination that IS a cult. (Historically it was actually the smaller group that stayed "orthodox" and this is what I grew up in.) I'm not sure of the parameters of who is attending this class, & not everyone may identify as Christian. But "orthodox" (with a small "o") Christianity believes in the Trinity, and the (larger) splinter group no longer affirmed that. I think the Pope's comments refer to that sort of thing. It takes some rational examination to evaluate one's experience & emotion and make sure they're actually what the Church teaches. Otherwise the whole Church could end up like where I came from. I've read several books on the development of the doctrine of the Trinity. It was in no way intuitive. In a nutshell, my understanding is that It was the result of rationally wrestling through the clash of the Jewish "deep knowing" of God as One on one hand, and the "deep knowing" of Jesus as Lord on the other (and how each fit with Jewish tradition, esp. scripture). The fact that the wrestling occurred in both Greek and Latin, often through written correspondence & not face-to-face, with neither side completely understanding the other language, and with words intentionally being used in completely new ways (e. g. Latin persona), increased the need for accuracy in expressing what they were trying to say. As cumbersome and un-poetic as all that sounds, one may be tempted to say, what's the point? Just believe in God & don't sweat the details. But another book I read, called The Cruelty of Heresy, points out, over and over, one of the points in your book: "one becomes like what one loves (p. 74)." God calls us to become like him (imitation, transformation, (& a word often misunderstood by Protestants) deification). Cruelty traces what we become when we start with a wrong understanding of God. None of that is directly related to the subject of pedagogy. But it's what was in the back of my mind when I read the quote from Pope Benedict. It also may be an example of the spiral relationship between poetic & more scientific/metaphysical knowledge. (Our ancient Christian ancestors had pre-rational wonder experiences (and divine revelation) of God that they needed to understand & put together in rational ways so that later we are able to develop within that truth, and I can feel God give me a hug every time I cross myself in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. I am realizing more and more that my thoughts and comments often have little to do with pedagogy. I think you pointed that out a while back. Since this comment also doesn't directly address pedagogy, and that's what the class is supposed to be about, please feel no obligation to comment! Thanks for your patience.
  12. Dear Pam, I am so sorry! I meant to direct that question to Dr. Taylor. In class last night Dr. Taylor said that no one mode of knowledge is superior to the others and pointed out that Pope Benedict says the same thing. But in his comment above he says that mystery is superior to rational knowledge (if I'm understanding correctly). I'm no expert either !! Ha! So I'm hoping to clarify, since this is related (I think) to the parts of the class I keep getting hung up on. Again, sorry for the confusion. I'll be more careful in the future. Anne
  13. In class you took the time to say poetic knowledge isn't superior, just different (and they're both necessary and part of the whole picture), and you quoted Pope Benedict saying something very similar. (It was a beautiful quote. I loved it. Thank you for posting it. And thank you to the original post-er.) Do you mean something different here?
  14. Hi Dr. Taylor, I'm still stuck. (And I can stop beating a dead horse if this topic becomes old. Let me know when we get there.) I don't understand why the things you describe in the quote above can't act upon us through theology. When Lewis read theology his heart was engaged in "some universal experience of longing, irony, ... acting upon him." But you refuse to allow me to call it wonder (even when I'm describing my own experience) and substitute the word pleasure instead. You did something similar in part of the discussion on math. I don't understand this, and it leads to several related questions. 1. With all due respect, how can *you* say that *my* experience is not wonder? (Reframed, can one person define another person's awe-filled experience as something less (or more) than the experiencer himself defines it?) 2. Again, not meaning any disrespect, in the book (and I think in class) it was mentioned that we can only know what we love (from Augustine). Do you (yourself) say that it's impossible to experience poetic knowledge of math or science (possibly) because you don't love them and so can't know them? Would a mathematician answer differently? Would Euclid answer differently? When you say that poetic knowledge of math and science can't be had, are you thinking only of "modern" mathematicians and scientists? Did Fabre's study of science include poetic knowledge? (This wasn't made explicit in class.) 3. Is the way you've been thinking of (or describing on the forum) science & math maybe a little shallow? (Or are you possibly, intentionally, addressing science in only the modern sense, and I didn't pick up on it?) I can agree with you that a poetic, wonder-filled experience & poetic knowledge might lead one to investigate something, and that would lead to scientific knowledge. (First poetic knowledge, then science.) But that isn't the end of the story. It's like a spiral. One has a wonder-experience (poetic knowledge) then one investigates (science). In one's investigation, one stumbles across something new (at least to that one person) and wonders again (poetic knowledge), and follows that with more investigation (science), and on and on. For Fabre it might be something like (cycle 1): 1a he sees a really cool looking wasp (Imagine his thoughts..."Dearest friend, thou art beautious. Whence comest thou?"), 1b he follows it to its nest. (Cycle 2): 2a he sees the nest ("Dearest friend, thy home is astounding, its cells so symmetrical, its walls so thin!"), 2b he takes measurements. (Cycle 3) 3a He sees the baby wasps being taken care of (like bees, I assume.) ("Dearest little ones, what energy is spent on thy care!"), 3b he tracks the workers and follows the little ones through their development from egg to grown wasp. Can you see how the original wonder leads to science, which in its natural course leads to another stage of wonder, etc? 4. A related aspect of science-wonder would be those who come after the original discoverer/investigator and read or re-do his work. Say a budding scientist reads Fabre and decides to go out in a field and find a wasp's nest and is struck with awe at some aspect of it. Is the original discoverer (Fabre in this instance) the only one who is allowed to call the experience "wonder"? Just because the second scientist was reading the papers of the first and was inspired by them to explore, does that mean his own sense of discovery and wonder is not valid? Just because my daughter comes and tells me to look out the window at the sunset doesn't necessarily mean I feel any less wonder at seeing it, does it? Do you see what I'm saying? 5. Math. In your book I'm picking up the tie between the senses and poetic knowledge. Math is a step further removed from the senses than science. (But I *think* it's still a "real" thing. Not really sure.) Is it the distance from the senses (either external or internal?) that keeps an aspect of wonder from being "poetic" experience or knowledge? Is it because we don't typically think of math as being sensory that you don't think of its wonder as able to inspire poetic knowledge? I really do believe in the importance of poetic knowledge, and in remembering humans are embodied spirit, and the power of habit (repeated bodily actions), and the role of the senses and the body in learning (and in worship). One of the main reasons I'm looking to become Catholic is the protestant neglect of these things (at least in my experience and knowledge). I REALLY believe in these things. And I am finding your book to be extremely interesting, engaging, and helpful in understanding all this. Please don't interpret my questions as nay-saying. That's not my intent. Thanks.
  15. This is only an aside, but to follow the second quote from Pope Benedict, I wanted to share that there's an old edition of Christian History Magazine on Bach, and one of the articles is about Japanese music students who have converted to Christianity after hearing and playing Bach, because (they say) music like this could not exist if there were no God. Isn't that cool?
  16. This is a comment mainly for Chris, who brought up the really good, really important question in class of evangelism and how it is hindered by living in a culture that isn't educated poetically. So, Dr. Taylor mentioned the importance of community as a partial answer to the problem. That's what I wanted to share, too. I have a friend (graduated 4 homeschooled kids AND used to teach in public schools & still has valid teaching certificate) who has been sent by her denomination to coach missionary families on how to homeschool their children rather than send them away to boarding school. I think this is wonderful, not just for the families, but for their ministries. I am currently protestant, and I really don't know what evangelism looks like for Catholic & Orthodox. But from a protestant perspective, this is a huge shift in thinking about evangelism & ministry. The old model was about the missionary interacting with the unreached people and "sharing the gospel" or however you want to say that. The new model is about living as a Christian family in the midst of the unreached people. I think that's much more "poetic" because (though "sharing the gospel" probably always includes some sort of actions as well as words) the emphasis of the old model was the "message" and the emphasis of the new model is the experience of seeing a living, breathing unit of Christian community up close & personal. That's an oversimplification, I'm sure. But I think the answer to your question is along these lines. I think that when Christians remember how to do community, we'll start to overcome the handicap of living in a non-poetic society.
  17. Thank you, Br. James, for your patience with my questioning. I like the poem. I just finished my second Wendell Berry novel, Hannah Coulter. So let me try to restate, and you can tell me if I got it. Mathematics and science can definitely inspire wonder, as can the experience of other things, such as poems. (Wonder is the recognition of our ignorance and a kind of fear. ok.) But wonder inspired by poems, etc. leads to poetic knowledge and wonder inspired by math or science phenomena leads to scientific knowledge? So the two are different in the kind of knowledge they produce? Poetry wonder produces sensory-experiential knowledge and is related to the intuitiveness you mention? Science and math wonder produce (as the knowledge is figured out or discovered) mathematical models or formulas and scientific data (and eventually theories)? So here is a stab at (partly) trying to explain what's tripping me up. Admittedly, science & math wonder will eventually lead to scientific knowledge (the math models, formulas, data, theories). But why can it not ALSO lead to poetic knowledge? Math & science knowledge can definitely be intuitive. (Math texts are (or used to be) full of explanations of equations that are explained with only the statement, "It is intuitively obvious that....".) I can give examples if you like. Modern science is, by definition, empirical, which means experiential. So poetic and scientific knowledge are both (at least partly) intuitive, both experiential. I could make the argument that science is also sensory (it has to be observable.) It would be harder, though maybe not impossible to show math as sensory. But it wouldn't be sensory in the same way. So maybe that's a beginning of a difference. The sensory part? Stated another way... Any single sensory-experiential wonder-event can result in one or more of the 4 modes of knowledge, which are just ways to describe the different (possible) aspects of the knowledge inspired by that event? The part that involves axioms and postulates (the un-provable initial assumptions) is metaphysical, the part that involves inductive reasoning is scientific, the part that has to do with persuasion or opinion is rhetorical, and the part of the experience that is the most sensory & emotional is described as poetic? Or am I still missing it? I am also still thinking about the connection between poetry and "art": music or painting or sculpture, for instance. If the intuitive mystery & wonder experienced through a piece of art is due in part to the math (or science) behind the art, then isn't that experience of art or music also an experience of math? I was told by my kids' piano teacher that some people actually see different colors when they hear different frequencies (different notes). That just seems like such an integrated math-music-poetry experience to me. Or maybe think of the contrapuntal compositions of Bach, which are incredibly mathematical? Especially his "Musical Offering" (a series of mathematical-musical puzzles) to Frederick the Great? One experience that leads to multiple modes of knowledge. Maybe??? (Tell me if it's time to quit.)
  18. I'm not trying to be a naysayer, or the difficult student, but I'm gonna push back a little. Don't the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio inspire wonder? Doesn't the immensity of the universe inspire wonder? It's possible to describe it all with mathematics. And artists and architects use the Fibonacci sequence and golden ratio in their work. I think maybe the distinctions aren't as cut & dry as it would seem. Could this be another instance of modern v. classical thinking? (See thread on relationship btwn the 4 kinds of knowledge.) Would a mathematician from 1000 years ago think there was no wonder in math? or geometry? Did the discoverers / inventors of Pi (3.14) not experience wonder? Doesn't it inspire at least a little wonder to realize that non-terminating non-repeating decimals even exist? Or that prime numbers continue to be discovered? Does that not count as the right kind of wonder? My heart hurts when I consider this denial. https://goo.gl/images/NoZ3dp https://goo.gl/images/nJkjnL https://goo.gl/images/pCBXLe https://goo.gl/images/UjhUaM
  19. Chris, thanks for bringing this up. I had a related question: Is it possible for metaphysical knowledge to BECOME poetic knowledge, to become something felt and sensed? To further explain the question, in last week's lecture Br. James listed 4 modes/types of knowledge with respect to their mental clarity and sense-feeling. Here's a chart of what I wrote down. (and the answer to the question MAY have something to do with what you (Chris) said about Br. James' use of "scientific" in the Cartesian sense rather than the classical.) Mental clarity Form of Knowledge Level of sense/feeling 1st (highest) metaphysical 4th (lowest) 2nd scientific 3rd 3rd rhetorical 2nd 4th (lowest) poetic 1st (highest) When I saw that metaphysics was labeled the lowest in the sense/feeling category, I was dismayed. As Chris said above, I also have read philosophy and theology and found both my head and my heart completely engaged. C. S. Lewis, in his essay, "On the Reading of Old Books," writes about his experience of reading books of devotion and books of doctrine. He says, "For my own part, I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await many others. I believe that many who find that 'nothing happens' when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand." THAT is my experience (sans pipe). My heart sings. Remember the movie Chariots of Fire? Remember when Eric says, "When I run, I feel His pleasure?" The way I used to describe to others my feelings when studying was by stealing (and tweaking) that line: "When I study, I FEEL His pleasure." If metaphysics has the lowest sense/feeling, how does this happen to me? How can this experience be explained? Also, not that we all don't have plenty to read already, but there are several of Lewis' essays that I came across while looking for the "heart sings" quote that deal with the issue of poetic knowledge and metaphysics (in some sense). In case you want to look them up, the most pertinent are "Is Theology Poetry?" and "The Language of Religion." I thought it was interesting, in light of the reading and discussion for this class, to come across his thoughts and opinions on very similar subjects. Happy reading, and thanks for any insight on this subject!
  20. My favorite line from one of my favorite movies: There is ALWAYS hope! 3 thoughts on WHY there is hope: 1) for your own children: Only God knows why He had you find classical education when you did, and your children are in His loving hands. Considering your passion for classical and poetic learning, I would imagine they'll have a better shot than most to come around to that themselves. 2) for your own children, again: *I* came from a public school background and have become a lifelong seeker-learner and a lover of classical-Christian and poetic learning. So it's definitely possible! (I would guess that most of those involved in the classical-Christian "revival" were themselves publicly educated.) 3) for those non-classically educated kids you teach: When I started homeschooling, the rule of thumb I heard for families taking kids out of public school was to expect to spend the entire first year adjusting. It might take longer for those without the homeschool or classical background to move beyond multiple choice, etc. But given enough time and encouragement, my guess is that most of them are capable of making the transition (though I don't know what your specific situation is).
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