Meditations on a Saturday Morning

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Relaxing and reading in an armchair at The Gallery at Redlands

Sleep has been relatively difficult the past two nights, due to my mind refusing to shut down with my first summer school class beginning in forty-eight hours. I have never taught the Humanities online, so what I am accustomed to saying in person before a class now has to be loaded into a computer program for students to access. This involves use of a different set of skills on my part, and I realize that is a good thing. If only I could trust myself and relax into this, instead of this perpetual second-guessing and revisions of my decisions.

I took a break from my class work and resumed reading this delightful book, At the Existentialist Cafe. I am currently reading of the conditions of occupied Paris during World War II and Simone de Beauvoir seeking solace in the library of the Sorbonne, not hearing from Jean-Paul Sartre (who had been captured by the Nazis) and wondering if he was even alive. She was reading Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, and finding a measure of comfort in his theory that history had a way of adjusting as it moved through time.

I looked up from the armchair that I love to use for reading in this gallery, and my paintings arranged on the folding doors in front of me (posted above) provided me a satisfaction that I have trouble putting into words. Sometimes when I take a break from reading, I just like to look up at watercolors I have done from the past and lose myself in their memories. They all take me to places I love to remember, and recall stories that still shape my life.

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My work area this morning in the Gallery

At the time of this writing, I am back at the gallery desk, and have resumed work on my course. I am taking solace in Hegel’s view that history continues to shift back and forth between extremes, and from time to time finds a middle ground (that doesn’t last for long). I can see that from my study of history, and my observations of the past six-plus decades I have lived.

For the first week of class, I have set up for discussion a very recent New York Times opinion article by Frank Bruni, “Aristotle’s Wrongful Death.” I always want to begin a class such as this by engaging the university students in this perpetual debate of the value of a liberal arts education. With an American culture swirling in stupid these days (I’m still wondering how exactly Kanye West’s bipolar condition makes him a “superman”), I believe it is always appropriate to lead students into elevated reading and discussion.

Following the Bruni opinion piece, we will approach Immanuel Kant’s essay of 1784 “What is Enlightenment?” I find the writing very engaging, especially his provocative statement: “When we ask, Are we now living in an enlightened age? the answer is, No, but we live in an age of enlightenment.” I find that just as true today as in 1784. Never before have we managed such growth in technology and achievement, yet we still lack the ability to grow in ethical matters. In spite of intellectual achievement, we still maintain a culture of immaturity and intolerance. I feel at a loss every time I confront this reality.

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At any rate, I am grateful for the gifts I still enjoy in this life. This is a lovely gallery space and hotel where I feel very much affirmed and at home. Time spent here feels like an escape from the madness.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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7 Responses to “Meditations on a Saturday Morning”

  1. Brien Nicolau Says:

    As always your words ring clear and true. Sorry to have been gone.

    Like

  2. Cheryl Rose Says:

    Love the way you phrased this life we are living. I can tell your classes are as exciting as your paintings. No other art work transports me to another place and time like yours. Enjoy your class. I look forward to hearing about that as well.

    Like

    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you, Cheryl. I always hope my paintings can take a viewer to a better place, as they do that for me. I love making art, and I also love the honest dialogue with engaged students. This summer is already turning into a work of art in itself.

      Like

  3. Brien Nicolau Says:

    Bruni’s article is spot on David. Many of the “best” students that cross our path these days are sorely in need of an education that opens their minds and foster deeper thoughts, introspection, and that their place in the world is more than the next post, tweet, instagram, or fleeting moment in time that at the end of the day, the most that can be said of all that vapid chatter is, so what? Superman indeed Kayne.

    Liked by 1 person

    • davidtripp Says:

      Excellent point. Even when I engage in the online discussions with the students, I find myself wondering if some of them ever really seek that quality time for introspection rather than fill their hours with tapping on a keyboard to “anybody out there.”

      Like

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