I found this strolling along the “Freedom Trail” in Boston today, from Benjamin Franklin:
“Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.”
Refreshing for me since American responses to education are so deeply anti-intellectual (even pragmatism– our only real contribution to philosophy–doubts the efficacy of learning. Anyway, experience too often is another name for prejudice, a form of justification that verges on narcissism, believing that if it isn’t true to my own experience it isn’t true at all. The dream of reading, true or false, has at least sometimes included the notion that we can see beyond our own experience into the experience of others, that my own experience may be a starting point, but left in it I am left to my own limitations.
Side note: I have to say I love Boston. I’ve never spent more than a few hours in the city itself, once on a visit years ago after graduating from college, and then a few years ago for an afternoon with my parents. A school on every street corner, it seems. A place where walking is its own entertainment.
Advent of Revolution
One question, what is the deal with Dunkin Donuts? Did they start here? There are more dunkin donuts than pictures of patriots, and that’s saying something. According to boston.com “there are 1100 Dunkin’ Donuts within a 50-mile radius of Boston. So far as I can tell it doesn’t affect the waistlines, but watch out Boston.
I tell students not to be fooled by the myth of inspiration. Handel may have written the Messiah in 3 weeks, and Faulkner may have written As I Lay Dying in eight, but this belies the hours and hours of blood, sweat, and practice, practice, practice that made enabled them to take advantage of inspiration when it came. And the average 18 year old wonders why I’m messing with their style.
In nature nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can
be contorted, bend in weird ways, and they are still beautiful.
This kind of thing reminds me why I liked her and actually included her in my book. However, by that time Walker was well along in her efforts to become an oracle instead of a writer. Too bad. She could have been a great writer, The Color Purple and a few other things attest. Instead she often sounds like a half-baked version of Shirley McLain. Which leaves her about quarter-baked, I guess.