Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Books you (and every member of "XYZ") ought to read

For quite a long time I spent a large amount of energy being involved with an organization I shall here misidentify as "XYZ" - a certain social organization based upon good and virtuous principles and, though secular, having more than the usual helping of sound philosophy and even Christian virtues.

Recently I met four other members of "XYZ" - themselves intelligent, alert, and curious to know more, as I hope I am. We spent a pleasant lengthy lunchtime reviewing some ancient history, some very esoteric bits of American history, some long-vanished practices of "Institutes of Higher Learning" and so forth. Of course it also involved that very common and very funny human action known as eating, and as an aside it is amazing how much fascinating talk enriches the meal... more on that another time.

While we ate, among other things, I called their attention to some little-known books which I had read some time ago, and which I am convinced anyone with intelligence, especially anyone belonging to "XYZ", ought to read - and re-read, and contemplate. They do not readily link one with the other, though all three allude to "Institutes of Higher Learning" either directly, abstractly, or imaginarily. Each has its own curious powers, and will provide enlightenment and maybe even regenerate a degree of enthusiasm. Fortunately all three are available out here in the e-cosmos...

1. By John Henry Newman: The Idea of a University

2. By Walter Havighurst: The Miami Years

3. By George Fitch: At Good Old Siwash

There are, of course, many others; the idea of selecting books for a library is complex, and in many ways open-ended. But this will make a start.

Well, no. I also have to include this one, even though it does not really talk about "institutes of higher learning" it IS a form of higher learning itself: The Consolation of Philosophy. Another time I may suggest some more for your consideration, but at least you now have a good starting point.


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