Posts Tagged ‘logic’

Morning Coffee with Dave and Waldo (again)

August 21, 2018

logic

The middle region of our being is the temperate zone. We may climb into the thin and cold realm of pure geometry and lifeless science, or sink into that of sensation. Between these extremes is the equator of life, of thought., of spirit, of poetry,–a narrow belt. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience”

I simply cannot read an Emerson essay quickly; his layers of eloquent prose enrich me so that I have to pause often, reflect, scribble in the journal, and continue on. I would love to linger longer over this bard’s writing this morning, but it is the first day of class for me at Texas Wesleyan University, and I have to drive over to the campus to meet my new students. This semester offers much better than what I’ve known from past decades: As a high school teacher, I taught six classes of four different subjects over a course of a two-day cycle, with classes numbering as many as thirty-five students each. As an Adjunct Professor, my class today will consist of ten students, and I have only two other classes, both online–one with twenty-two and the other, fourteen.

Logic is the class I meet today, and those who know me are no doubt chuckling. One side of my brain has dominated throughout my educational career, and it wasn’t the linear one. I was invited to teach this subject over ten years ago, and it has been hard work for me the whole way, because I just am not naturally built this way. To use Emerson’s metaphor, I have had to be forced into the upper regions of mathematical precision and analysis. My comfort zone has been the arts and humanities in the lower, sensual realm. But thanks to the university’s assignments throughout the years, I feel that I am moving closer to the equator and learning to balance analytics with feelings.

John Locke defined logic as the “anatomy of thought.” I have always been smitten with that idea, and will try again this semester (both in class sessions along with online sessions in my other section) to nurture the students in the search for understanding the structure of our language and arguments.

Gotta run to class! Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself i am not alone.

 

 

Coming Back Home

July 12, 2014
My Restored Study

My Restored Study

Wherever I sat, there I might live, and the landscape radiated from me accordingly. . . . The morning wind forever blows, the poem of creation is uninterrupted, but few are the ears that hear it.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Last night I finally finished the clearing out and refurbishing of the study that I abandoned about three years ago.  It took a long time to get rid of all the debris that had been stacked and piled into this second bedroom-turned-warehouse.  This Saturday morning, rising at 6:00, I gladly took possession of this space once again, and sat in the stillness reading, while the sounds of Handel’s “Messiah” wafted down the hallway from my distant bedroom.  The dawn was breaking, the light peeking through the windows was beautiful, and I was once again in my element.  In this chamber for over a decade, I saw many beautiful ideas and art forms come to life, and cranked out many pages of manuscript.  It is time for these things to happen once again in this environment.

At the time of this writing, I have finished yet another huge installment to my fall semester Logic course, have written extensively in my journal, read another portion of Moby Dick (finally finishing that New Bedford chapel sermon), did some translating from the Hebrew Bible and Septuagint (Psalm 1) and now turn my attention to clearning out the third bedroom that has accumulated debris over the past couple of years.  By the time I return to school Monday, I intend to be living in every room of this house, instead of just the front end.  It’s a good feeling.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

As Bach’s Concerto Filled the Sunlit Morning Chamber

July 11, 2014
John Locke Drawing/Collage

John Locke Drawing/Collage

Good poetry seems so simple and natural a thing that when we meet it we wonder that all men are not always poets.  Poetry is nothing but healthy speech.

Henry David Thoreau, Journal, November 29, 1841

Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during a moment.

Carl Sandburg

The early hours of the morning could not have been sweeter.  A few minutes after waking, I put on Bach’s harpsichord concertos and cranked up the volume, allowing them to fill up the chambers of my house while I showered, groomed, dressed, made breakfast, and then sat down to my work for the day.  A surprise visit from a couple of dear friends came later in the morning, and I realized it had been quite a long while since I was afforded such rich conversation (it seems I spend most of my hours lately commmuning with those creative spirits who published then left our earth centuries ago).  After lunch I divided my time between reclaiming one of my abandoned “junk rooms” (it is 90% complete now!) and continuing my work on this Logic course for the fall.  I am falling in love with John Locke who described logic as “the anatomy of thought.”  A few months ago (on my birthday to be exact), I came up with this notion that poetry was the discipline of language, and that I should devote more time to writing verse, composing songs, and distilling some of the ideas I have cultivated over a lifetime into smaller, more disciplined packages.  The study of logic is reinforcing that conviction, and I am finding a joy in mathematics that I never knew before (I loathed math in high school and college).  Currently, as I puzzle out the Aristotelian and Boolean squares of opposition, I am getting a kick out of analyzing categorical propositions for their truth values.  I know this all sounds dry, but it really isn’t–not to me at this moment, anyway.  It’s a whole new “Scene of Thought” to put it in Hume’s words.

I also love this “compost” idea that shows up in another Lockean quote that I put on today’s collage: “The great art to learn much is to undertake a little at a time.”  When I was a youth, I would sit in my pastor’s study, gaze across his massive library, and feel so ignorant, so under-educated.  I would often express to him in conversation that I wish I could possess a greater knowlege of the Bible.  He would merely smile and say, “Be patient.  It will come.  It just won’t come quickly.  Stay with it.”  Those words mean more to me now than they did at the time, but I still remember them, and am reminded of them now as I read pages from John Locke.  I was never a quick thinker, but a plodder.  Often I wish I could have picked up things more quickly, but I’m glad for what I’ve managed to acquire over the years.  And I’m still on that road, and loving every mile.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

A Morning with Aristotle

July 10, 2014
Aristotle Drawing/Collage

Aristotle Drawing/Collage

All men by nature desire to know.

Aristotle, Metaphysics

Vacation, for me, means not going to my everyday job, though many of my work habits may remain the same.  And so this morning, without an alarm, I was awake by 5:56, and, following a good breakfast with coffee, thought it best to give myself to the study of logic while my mind was awake and fresh.  This fall, I will teach a logic course online for the first time in my life.  Though I have taught the subject in classrooms several times, the experience of assembling a course online is totally new, and I have to think of teaching the discipline from a way never done before.  I was glad to have a few days without school, so I could focus without interruption on this new venture.

Upon completion of my first third of the semester, I felt the itch to pursue an Aristotle collage, since he is regarded as the Father of Logic.  I have always been charmed by the opening of his Metaphysics–“All men by nature desire to know.”  Hence this quick drawing/collage of the Great Philosopher.

It’s never interesting to discuss housekeeping issues, but I am pleased with myself that I used several stretch breaks last night and this morning from my logic studies to tidy some rooms in my house that have turned into junk rooms.  And I have surprised myself in that one of the rooms (my former study) is about 75% junk-free, and I can barely recognize the space–I could actually go into that room and set up another work area to pursue one of my other hobbies.  Perhaps by the time this vacation ends, I’ll have all the rooms of my dwellling debris-free.  And that, to me, would be a most satisfying accomplishment.

Oh well–back to logic!

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am never alone.