Monday, May 3, 2010

Thoughts on Education
Yesterday I finally got myself to get out all of my old "stuff".  You know the stuff I'm talking about that us girls like to keep-cards, pictures, articles, event tickets.  Well, it wasn't all my stuff because a lot of the stuff is everywhere around the house in little nooks and boxes.  But I felt I could handle taking care of this.  That means sorting and organizing.  A long with that I wanted to weed out 95% of it to make it less stuff.  Well, you know what happened.  I just couldn't quite do it.  I got rid of probably 25% but these people that wrote these notes, etc. were talking about MY life!   And from their treasured viewpoints.  Well, I just organized it all into envelopes and stuffed all of them back into the filing cabinet from whence they came.  But I did get rid of a little.  It always takes sooooo long to do this because you have to stop and reread almost everything.  That's why I dread it but, as usual, I came across treasured items.

I want to share one of these with you.  It was just a little piece of paper that I had cut out from who knows where:

"Herein lies the real value of education.  Advanced education may or may not make men and women more efficient; but it enriches personalty, increases the wealth of the mind, and hence brings happiness.  It is the finest insurance against old age, against the growth of physical disability and against the lack and loss of animal delights.  No matter how many there may be in our family, no matter how many friends we may have, we are in a certain sense forced to lead a lonely life, because we have all the days of our existence to live with ourselves.  How essential it is, then, in youth to acquire some intellectual or artistic tastes, in order to furnish the mind, to be able too live inside a mind with attractive and interesting pictures on the walls.  Learning is an ornament in prosperity, a refuge in adversity and a provision in old age."  -Aristotle

I've had people that have asked me why after so many years I would want to torture myself with going back to school.  I look at them wondering why they would be so silly.  Yes, it is hard.  And, yes, the first time I had a test I said to myself, "WHY AM I DOING THIS?!?  I FORGOT HOW HARD IT IS!"  But once I kicked myself a few times I settled down to doing something I've always enjoyed-learning.  I love to learn.  I love to read.  I've always loved it.   I've always loved the things that go along with it like office supplies-new notebooks, pencils, erasers.  I can't imagine falling in love with a Kindle, or something like that, like I would a brand new ever so fragrant book.

I don't care what happens to me (well, yes, I do-I'm just getting carried away here) if I can still read and learn I will be quite satisfied.  I have a vivid picture in my mind of my stepfather in the care center.  He had macular degeneration so bad that he had to use a magnifying glass to read.  But that man, until the day before he died, still was as sharp as a tack.

Now, if you are reading this now you are one lucky person!  I can't remember the percentage of illiterate people there are in the world but there are millions.  We have been blessed to have this skill.  Why are we so lucky?  I don't know.  Maybe it transfers to the other side someday.  That's what we believe in our church.  The learning we do now is more than important.

So, I plan to keep learning.

Art History Moment: 

Of course it's about the painting at the top of this blog.  "Aristotle with a Bust of Homer" by Rembrandt.  Rembrandt is such a master at creating mood with lighting.  His images are so 3 dimensional and you get the feeling that they have always existed on the painting support.  In this painting there aren't many colors but it's not needed to convey the feeling of intelligence and humility. Two extremely brilliant philosophers.  In order to be teachable you have to be humble.  Aristotle and Homer must have been humble men as they absorbed so much knowledge and wisdom in their lives.  It's hard to believe that the quote above was written so many centuries ago because it's as modern as today.  Don't you agree?  Wow!  Just had to add this after I looked at the painting again.  It's the perfect triangular composition!  Notice how the eye is constantly led around the painting never stopping at one point.  Cool.


  1. Julie, of course Aristotle was right. It's the first essential of civilisation.

    re: Rembrandt. When I was at college I did a series of round self-portraits in the style of R. I wanted to experience the 'doing' stage. All these paintings were stolen, and I often wonder on who's walls they now sit. I did them round because I found three matching antique frames in a junk shop. The finished results were like three Rembrant portraits of ME. Quite eerie.

  2. Oh! That is every artist's nightmare! I'm so sorry that happened. People can be so awful sometimes. I guess it's a compliment, in a way, that someone was willing to risk going to prison to have your work. It must have been something else. Don't you find that you are always having eerie experiences with your art? I always do and that's part of the adventure!

  3. i agree with you 100% on the education topic! i have always been so impressed that you were in school. i hope i am still in school when i'm 90!

  4. Well, I'm a big talker now. I have to take a very difficult math class for my degree (why didn't I finish this in the 70's when math wasn't required for my degree-drat). So, this summer my son, Charlie, is going to tutor me so I can pass it next fall. He's graduating this week with math and finance degrees-minor in philosophy. Plus he's a great teacher. Very patient and makes it interesting. He tutored me a little last summer and I took a math class but I need more prep work. I had to drop it when 2 of our kids got married in November. This time I'm going to get it done and over with no matter what!

  5. Ooooh, I needed that shot in the arm! Susan, you are a buddy. You can put me in the pastel not working category with you! Ha ha. Now, I think I'm going to make myself do something in it just because. It's good to push our limited selves.