In Plato’s Republic, Socrates famously kicks out all of the poets from the perfect state that he is imagining. The big problem with poetry is that it sets a bad example: it values emotion over reason, and it shows the emotions overtaking reason for dramatic effect. It’s also just too far from expressing the truth of the world. Poets are mere imitators while philosophers (and I think we would say now scientists) are able to make solid truth claims about the world.
Part II: Finding Space
In the Summer of 2003, although totally broke, I was able to spend some time in Barcelona on my way to study in Germany. I was absolutely captivated by La Sagrada Familia. What impressed me was that Gaudi was using this traditional form, the cathedral, and infusing it with organic life. The columns are not these unbending Parthenon columns but rhizomic, nodal, seemingly upside down. The building inspired me, made me realize that you can take your own vision and transform the world.
Part I: Finding Time
This is the first of a two-part “Space-Time” series on the tutorial method of teaching. The basic challenges are finding the time to hold tutorials and finding the right space to hold them. So, here we go with Part I, Finding Time.
In Kurt Vonnegut’s novel The Sirens of Titan, there are these cave-dwelling creatures on Mercury named Harmoniums who feed off music. Some come too close to Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” and die of ecstasy. Maybe there’s a moral in there, but from my point of view, we’re all Harmoniums. We just have to find out where the food is.