Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Turning a veil into gauze...

Today, my friends, classes started up again. I am so excited! I sat, smiling wide, in each of my classes front and center so I wouldn't miss a single word that the professors uttered (which I found was a strategy to be saved until at least the second class period, as the first is usually reserved for the reading of syllabuses). I'm just so excited to be learning in a direction again! I spent the entire summer soaking up random information from books and blogs, but it feels great to be guided, to be pushed in a direction I wouldn't otherwise go, to become more complete through knowledge. Perhaps that sounds a bit trite and overly optimistic about the power of knowledge, but I suppose that kind of language is hard to avoid after the excitement of all new classes.

I'd like to share a quote with you from one of my new favorite texts, entitled "The World's Religions," by Huston Smith. It's more of a dense book than a textbook, which makes me all the more excited to read. Anywho, it goes thus:

"Being of a different cast of mind, we shall never quite understand the religions that are not our own. But if we take those religions seriously, we need not fail miserably. And to take them seriously we need do only two things. First, we need to see their adherents as men and women who faced problems much like our own. And second, we must rid our minds of all preconceptions that could dull our sensitivity or alertness to fresh insights. If we lay aside our preconceptions about these religions, seeing each as forged by people who were struggling to see something that would give help and meaning to their lives; and if we then try without prejudice to see ourselves what they saw - if we do these things, the veil that separates us from them can turn to gauze."
-Huston Smith

I find that quote to be such an eloquent way to describe why I'm in the department that I'm in. I'm a human, and I am in love with learning as much as I can about the human experience, seeing as I'm a part of it. Everything from classic novels to world religions, from jazz music to philosophies on the Self. It's all helping me to grow into this world we all inhabit and share, now more than ever, as a single race.

So here's to the next semester of classes, to learning and growing, to not being "an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world," as Diogenes puts it. Once more unto the breech, dear friends. Once more.


lindsey said...

I'm so excited to be living vicariously through you Sparky! :-)
We are going to have some great discussions this semester I can feel it.

Before you know it, Esposito will be calling you "girl". ;-)

Anonymous said...

All of my classes are going to be fun, but Our Three will be freaking incredible.