Wednesday, January 31, 2007

On Becoming a Middle-Aged Egghead

I've been re-reading the C.S. Forester Hornblower novels. I bought all of them for my library and the middle school boys have just jumped all over them. I read them in junior high school when I was about 11 or 12 and hadn't picked them up since. What great novels. It is kind of funny because I had forgotten about them until I saw Pat Sejak mentioned them on a rerun of Wheel of Fortune.

I realized about 1/2 way through Hornblower and the Atropos that I've effectively stopped reading fiction. Every since starting the PhD I've basically been reading non-fiction, Philosophy in fact. Now that the terminal degree has been reached and I didn't die you'd think I could get a life! While it could probably be successfully argued that lots of Philosophy is actually fiction that is another post. What is scary is that I've come to enjoy reading philosophy so much that I will choose it when given a choice for pleasure reading. As a librarian this bothers me because I find fiction to be so useful in making us well-rounded people.

It seems to me that there are huge differences in the way we process fiction and non-fiction

One of those differences is what happens after you put the book down. I can read a novel to put my self to sleep. I cannot read Heidegger before I got bed. Not because it gives me nightmares but, because after reading Being and Time I need to be quiet and think about it. I need to turn the ideas over in my head and grind them up and make them fit my life.

I've been reading Hume's Abject Failure: The Argument Against Miracles by John Earman and have really enjoyed it. I've been thinking about the influence of Hume upon Dewey and thinking about the way that Hume has influenced education. I've also been re-reading Karl Popper and plowing through Alvin Plantinga's little book God, Freedom and Evil which is not long but dense. I can't read it at a 15-minute setting but have to be prepared to really take notes and chart out his logic.

What this means is that my vocation and avocation have merged and I'm not sure that is a good thing. I feel like such a geek! Everybody else on the bus reads John Grisham or Japanese comic books

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Reluctant Philosopher

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