Ideas from books, articles & podcasts.
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by Zena Hitz
It is perhaps a cliché to say that our humanity is displayed best and enjoyed most when faced with serious limitations, but it is true for all that. Without distractions, we notice what is around us. Without rewards, living closely with others, we see how our activities and actions meet or fail t...
I tried to envision what authentic intellectual work might be, how it might draw in ordinary learners without losing its reach to the depths.
Intellectual activity nurtures an inner life, a human core that is a refuge from suffering as much as it is a resource for reflection for its own sak...
What does it mean to pursue learning for its own sake? Is it even possible? Is the joy of learning itself selfish
For Aristotle, only contemplation—the activity of seeing and understanding and savoring the world as it is—could be the ultimately satisfying use of leisure.
The robustness of the capacity of human beings to savor, contemplate, and enjoy indicates its natural depth in us. Leisure, recreation, and art, music, serious conversation, and loving service, by contrast, bring out the best in us. They are goals toward which we strive; they are engines for lim...
Consider Mendel Nun, a fisherman on a kibbutz in the Galilee, born just after the First World War. He found ancient stone anchors as he fished and collected them into what is now a small museum. Seeking to understand what he found, he studied the sources on fishing in antiquity and, since this wa...
Consider the story of Albert Einstein. Judged a failure as a graduate student in physics, he could not find work teaching and researching at a university. He worked for seven years as a patent clerk, and in his spare time he wrote his seminal papers on the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, a...
Intellectual life is not a merely professional activity, to be left to experts. Because its central goods are good universally, it belongs in taxicabs, at the beach house or the book club, in the break room at work, in the backyard of the amateur botanist, in thoughtful reflection whether scatter...
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