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O Say What is Truth Part 2

Note: This is part two in a three part analysis. Part one can be found here

Second AssumptionThe pathways to understanding Truth are legion. This posit would entail epistemological considerations that I'm not interested in following here, but anyone curious could start here for an overview of the philosophy. Rather, I'm interested in pursuing broader swaths of understanding and knowledge, recognizing that a lot of the road has been paved by philosophers and theologians, but focusing more on my own process of thinking.
To begin, I think there's something to be said about prima facie impulses about basic sensory data. The sun is hot, we can feel it and see it, and those physical stimuli come from a cause which we can point to and agree with. Intersubjective agreement may be necessary on one level, but once there, we're discussing common knowledge, verified through the senses. This kind of truth can be considered a rudimentary Truth--human senses are triggered via exter…
Recent posts

Who Am I?

When I talked about dual identities a while ago, I focused on the Batman and a little on the Hulk. I had originally planned on incorporating an analysis of how Peter Parker and Spider-Man intersect as identities, but the essay was going too long by that point. I cut the stuff--which, for me, means highlighting the text and pressing Delete. So whatever I was thinking about apropos of Peter/Spidey, it's gone now.

However, I'm at the precipice of beginning another school year and I've been feeling incipient stirrings of what I can only assume is the (apparently) real phenomenon of a mid-life crisis. My parents were pretty steady, stay-the-course kind of parents, so I don't have a lot of up-close context for these feelings, but I've been struggling a lot with what I understand of myself, my goals, my ambitions, my dreams, and my realities. One of the things that I've always used as part of my identity, with varying degrees of severity, is my obsession with Spider-M…

At Ten Years

I'm starting my tenth year as a teacher--all at the same school--which feels arbitrarily momentous. I mean, being a base 10 culture means that something like a decade "means something" and the thing that it means is that we've decided that it means something. There isn't anything inherently powerful, wonderful, or noteworthy about ten consecutive years, but it does feel like I ought to mark it.

Thinking back to what I was doing that first teacher training week in 2008 makes me smile. I was so enthusiastic and ungainly, like an evangelizing foal. I mean, I love my job--and I've loved it since the beginning--but I was a pretty lousy teacher back when I started. I cringe at the mistakes I made, the assumptions I had, the poor teaching choices I selected.

One of the things that I remember about that year was when I had to take charge of a break-out session for the students. Back then, we gathered the two hundred or so students for a welcome assembly, then sent th…

In Defense of the Youth

I finished reading In Defense of a Liberal Education by Fareed Zakaria. Having read two books now by different authors (coming from very different backgrounds) about "the classics", I have to say that I much preferred this second one. It's not an apples-to-apples comparison by any stretch--one book was a quasi-manual for teaching in a prescribed way, the other was an argument for why liberal arts and the humanities ought to be invested--and, in a sense--believed in.

The fifth and final chapter of Zakaria's book really made me happy. Perhaps it was an echo-chamber effect--I'm not above confirmation bias--but I felt optimistic about the students I teach and my role in the world. The other book left me disgruntled, abused, and pessimistic; this one made me hopeful. And the last part of the book is where it made the most sense to me.

In it, Zakaria goes to great lengths to describe the accusations against the "millennial generation", of which I am barely a …

Returning to Redwall

I'm clawing through my memories, trying to remember the books that I loved as a kid. See, my two older boys love listening to audiobooks (whilst reading along) when we're in the car. It's a great pacifier, too--they don't argue or fight or wiggle too much, because the books keep them occupied and focused. Plus they help them improve their reading, and it gives me something to do whilst driving. Since the daily commute equates to about an hour a day, that's pretty good.

Though there are more Pern books, I kind of don't want to revisit McCaffery's special planet again for a while. The emotional ending of All the Weyrs of Pern is so perfect I'd rather let it rest for a while, as I mentioned before. Being "done" with the series for the nonce, we scoured the library for the better part of an hour, trying to find the next set of books to read/listen to. I managed to score a digital audio copy of Redwall, by Brian Jacques. Frustratingly, there weren&…

Farewell to Pern

My boys and I have spent the summer listening to (and they, reading) All the Weyrs of Pern. It is, to me, a culmination of eight books (three of which we read) that build toward the dragonriders of Pern finally eradicating their age-old enemy, Thread.* The ending (spoilers) has the deaths of some beloved characters, and it's written with such loving tenderness that, despite the fact that I hadn't read the book since I was in elementary school--maybe middle school--I still remembered some of the moments.

After the book was finished, I asked my kids if they thought it was a good ending. "No," said my seven year old. I could hear a hitch in his throat. Glancing in the rear view mirror, I saw that his eyes were plastic wrapped with tears that hadn't yet freed themselves. Now, my middle son is a sensitive soul; he cries anytime he feels a little too much emotion. But I could tell the ending was getting to him. My older son, who is 10, confessed that he had cried a lit…

On IT

Note: Since the new film version of the book is coming out soon, I'll put a spoiler warning on this post, if only because someone may be planning on watching the film without having read the book. So here it is:


As I mentioned before, I'm reading Stephen King's It. The book is massive--clocking in at over 1,400 pages--and tells the story of a haunted town called Derry, set in King's home state of Maine. A handful of kids end up being compelled to defeat the evil entity known as It (or Pennywise the Clown), and then, when they get older, they have to return to Derry in order to defeat It once and for all.

So the set up is pretty straightforward, but part of what I found so interesting was how the story was told. Despite its sprawling size, the book is tightly connected. Small details ripple through the narrative, which spans a summer in 1958 and a spring in 1985. Even the paper boat that kicks off the tragedy and terror and leaves by the end of the first chapter ("…