It has been a frenetic few days and promises to continue. Hence not too much time to write here.
Despite the schedule, I finished Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities by Martha C. Nussbaum yesterday. Last night and this morning I was typing notes and quotes from my reading of it.
I won’t put all of them here, but I will quote her a bit. She says that the “American Dream” continues to need its “dreamers.” People with imagination developed by first hand contact with the arts.
Here are three of the shorter excerpts I typed out this morning to keep in mind:
“… [A] catalogue of facts, without the ability to assess them, or to understand how a narrative is assembled from evidence, is almost as bad as ignorance, since the pupil will not be able to distinguish ignorant stereotypes purveyed by politicians and cultural leaders from the truth, or bogus claims from valid ones.” p. 94
“Knowledge is no guarantee of good behavior, but ignorance is a virtual guarantee of bad behavior.” p. 81
“[C]hildren do not just move in a predetermined way from stage to stage, but actively ponder the big questions of life, and … the insights they come up with must be taken seriously by adults.” p. 73
from Not for Profit by Martha C. Nussbaum
I have been doing quite a bit of non-fiction reading lately. Read Hitchen’s Hitch 22 in which I was charmed by the man but not his ideology. Reading in Tony Judt’s collection of essays, Reappraislas: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century.
Judt came to my attention as many thinkers and makers do through his obituary. He seems to be that rare voice of reason (or maybe just one I agree with) in my reading of public rhetoric.
I don’t plan to read every essay in this book (There are 23 of them). But I have read a few including “Hannah Arendt and Evil,” “An American Tragedy? The Case of Whittaker Chambers,” and “The Silence of the Lambs: On the Strange Death of Liberal America.”
The last essay was particularly insightful. It was the first time I have read in print a criticism of Thomas Friedman’s cheerleading of the War on Terror from the pages of the New York Times. This is a criticism I share. Friedman lost his credibility for me at the time as I read his defense of what seemed to be indefensible to me: a war modeled on Israel’s preemptive strikes.
Anyway, I’ll spare you, for now, quotes from Judt even though I typed in a bunch of them this morning also. Good level-headed stuff that balances out my intentional reading and listening to the radical voices of American (so-called) conservativeness (not just Republicans but most public speakers including most Democrats).
I finished my letter to the parish and emailed it to the boss and the secretary yesterday morning before going off to dance class. That seemed to be enough church stuff for me on Monday even though my church tasks are numerous as I prepare to start my programs his fall.
Eileen and I managed to sneak in a bit of breakfast at LemonJellos before our days took off. I tried to relax a bit in the afternoon. Then had supper with Eileen at work and drove to Grand Haven for a couple hours of auditions.
Back at it today with even more work to do: Dance class and two sessions of auditions tonight. Also driving Mom to a doctor’s appointment if she feels up to it. She has been having mild bouts of stomach stuff. Church work keeps breathing down my neck, but I am trying to pace myself and keep reminding myself I am supposedly a part-time employee.