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Donald Hess

Making Connections

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This topic relates to the last course discussion between Christopher Perrin and David Schenk. Christopher started with a question How does philosophy create connections? and David quickly noted that philosophy doesn't create anything, it discovers things. I've just finished Lewis' Perelandra. It ends with the Great Dance, Lewis' beautiful portrayal of how everything is connected. His prose in this novel seems to be a poetic mixture of philosophy and theology. I am also currently reading a biography of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In it the author describes the uncanny parallels between Coleridge's life and the character of the mariner in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Evidently, even though Coleridge was well known as a poet, he also had a great interest in philosophy, particularly metaphysics.  As I attempted to make my own connections between what I've been reading lately and what I've been learning in the philosophy lectures, it occurred to me that philosophy and poetry are connected. They lead us to the exploration and discovery of the intertwined essence of things. The difference is that they do it in different ways. Philosophy's domain is the ratio;  poetry's is the intellectus.

I invite anyone who views this topic to explore with me the connections between poetry & philosophy. How do they uniquely enable us to discover connections in our chosen disciplines, our personal devotions, our daily lives? 

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I like the distinction that philosophy doesn't create connections, it discovers them. I don't know that I have anything of substance to add to your essential question, but I just want to add my enthusiasm for Coleridge to yours. Until recently, I always thought of Coleridge as an opium-influenced Romantic poet who wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, and not much else. For years, I've know that Charlotte Mason referred to him as a "philosopher," but I didn't really investigate. Last year, I acquired a copy of Coleridge's Treatise on Method, and was absolutely floored. It's not easy reading, but this work had a deep influence on Charlotte Mason, and it's basically a discussion of the similar method of Bacon and Plato, in spite of Bacon's claim to be rejecting Plato.

Here's a bit of what he says:



We have shown that a Method, which is at all comprehensive, must be founded on the relations of things: that those relations are of two sorts, according as they present themselves to the Human Mind as necessary, or merely as the result of observation.


The relations of things cannot be united by accident: they are united by an Idea, either definitive or instinctive.


Education is the science of relations (ala Charlotte Mason), yes?

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