Added: Keira Lehto - Date: 26.01.2022 19:05 - Views: 34210 - Clicks: 2267
Twenty years ago I encountered a remarkable woman; over the past two days we hosted a conference on my campus that brought scholars from North America and Europe to discuss and celebrate her work. A few reflections. She dresses with no regard for what she looks like, usually wearing baggy pants and sweatshirt combinations, together with an ankle length trenchcoat-style garment and a ratty beret to complete the ensemble when she goes out.
She chops at her curly hair with a pair of scissors when it gets longer than collar length. I once saw a picture of her taken when she was twelve years old—the beautiful, innocent, angelic girl with a swan-like neck in the picture bears little resemblance to the adult woman. My mistress hardly ever smiles, has no sense of humor, is intense beyond belief, is incapable of small talk, eats almost nothing, chain smokes like a chimney, and definitely does not suffer fools gladly.
I walked into the large gathering room where a dozen or so silent men were sitting around; she was in the corner, staring in my direction with an intensity that burned a hole through me. She was obviously waiting to be picked up, so I picked her up. I took her with me to a comfortable couch in the corner of the room filled with silent men and we began to talk. Five or six hours later, we were still talking. I took her back to my room with me and Looking for a mistress in Vance talked through the night; we pretty much talked all the way through the three-day retreat, I guess.
I introduced myself to Simone by describing my life as a teacher of philosophy. I was teaching at a small private college which focused on business and engineering. The place paid so poorly that I was teaching four sections of business ethics per semester, three in the day and one in the evening, plus one other course just to make ends meet.
I was only in my second year of teaching after getting my PhD, and was not at all convinced 1 that I was a very good teacher or 2 that my students were learning anything. Simone told me that she also had taught for a few years here and there.
I thought this to be irrelevant to my frustration with business ethics or insecurities about being a mediocre teacher. I was just about ready to return Simone to where I picked her up from, but then she said something else very interesting. The intelligence can only be led by desire. For there to be desire, there must be pleasure and joy in the work. The intelligence only grows and bears fruit in joy. The joy of learning is as indispensable in study as breathing is in running.
Where it is lacking there are no real students, but only poor caricatures of apprentices who, at the end of their apprenticeship, will not even have a trade. Why did I want to teach at all? She had expressed what I had lacked the words for—in my at that time thirty-seven years, what brought me the greatest joy, the most intense exhilaration, was the life of learning. Early in my life I had been infected by the love of books and of ideas; when it turned out, after many by-paths, that I was going to spend my life in school, I was not surprised. And all I wanted to do was pass this infection on to others.
All I wanted to do was to help others find the joy in learning that had sustained me through times in my life when there seemed to be nothing else worthwhile except a book. As a matter of fact, it was Jeanne who, a few years later, started calling Simone my mistress because of how much time the two of us spent together. Simone has changed how I think about myself, about my relationships, about the world around me, and ultimately about what transcends me.
She frequently comes with me to class. A few years ago, I received a card at the office from a young woman who had graduated as a philosophy major the spring. The card was a thank you card, uncomfortably over the top as the young woman thanked me for a of things that she probably should have been thanking others or herself for.
Morgan, thank you for introducing me to Simone. Get newsletters and updates Close. Also, send me the Progressive Christian Newsletter and special offers. Also, send me the Progressive Christian Newsletter.
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