Eudaimonia

In Studio Eidolons Between Classes

“Excuse me. Aren’t you a religion professor here? Tripp, right? I think I had you in class years ago. I saw you walking the other day and said, ‘Hey, I know that guy!'”

That was my highlight of the morning. I’m taking the October Challenge sponsored by my fitness club (10,000 steps a day through October–so far, I’m on it!), and in the midst of my walk across Texas Wesleyan University this morning, I was stopped by this young gentleman who turned out to be director of one of our university’s departments. I of course am delighted that he actually remembered me (I’ve been an adjunct off and on here since the year 2000). As a full-time high school instructor, I enjoyed that special bond you develop with adolescents as you see them several times a week. But at the university that hasn’t happened, and frankly, I’m shocked that any of my college students remember or speak well of me.

On top of the recognition, this young fellow had something else to add in parting: he thanked me for what I contributed to his education. In recent years, I’ve been surprised to hear words directed at me that have heretofore been reserved for military and first responders–“Thank you for your service.” They deserve that. But I myself never expected to hear those words directed at me. In recent years it’s been happening (a State Trooper as he handed me my traffic warning, a grocery checkout clerk, seeing my college faculty I.D. still dangling from a lanyard, a gallery patron on learning that I had taught school as a career). I’m being thanked for my service, and I’m touched by this.

This morning’s Ethics class focused on Aristotle. Before beginning, I asked them to write out (during Roll Call) their own definition of ethics. Following that exercise, I probed the students to find out how many had defined ethics as a matter of treating others well. I then asked, “Did anyone say that ethics involved how you treat yourself?”

I decided at this moment it was time to share my own position. I believe one should consider two things: 1) treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself (the Golden Rule), and 2) always remember to pay yourself first; if you aren’t happy and fulfilled in life, then how much good can you do for those around you? The class seemed to grow rather quiet and heavy as I continued: “You can give all you’ve got, and they will take it from you. And when it’s all spent and you have nothing left, there will still be those who say you didn’t give enough, they expected better from you.”

It was time to introduce Aristotle’s eudaimonia–spirit of good will, the good life, happiness, etc. This sage from Macedonia had plenty to offer anyone thirsty enough to find out if there is more to life than making a living, building relationships, and acquiring wealth. When class ended, I felt like something good was in the air, I hope so anyway. Two students lingered to offer good words that I’m still digesting in today’s journal and may (or may not) share in future blogs.

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.

One Response to “Eudaimonia”

  1. Emanet Dizisi Says:

    Good Post, I am a big believer in leaving comments on sites to help the blog writers know that they’ve added something advantageous to the world wide web!

    Like

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