Tag: Essays

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Welcome Back Home

 

Today after fifteen weeks, I returned to Mass since the Coronavirus caused the lockdown. It was the first Sunday Mass allowed in New York City, the first Mass had been allowed this past Monday but I had not the opportunity to go the entire week.

Yes, we had to wear masks. Yes, every other row was cordoned off from sitting, and there were tape marks on the pews locating a six-foot distance. My church has two center aisle sets of rows of pews and one set on each side. The two outer sets could be used for families where one was not required to sit six feet apart.

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It’s hard to imagine Samuel Johnson, the curmudgeon’s curmudgeon, writing a paean to spring. Johnson’s world was his beloved London, where he walked the cobblestones from ale house to coffee house, eating, drinking, reading, and arguing with his friends — the center of attention wherever he went. Johnson was overweight, disheveled and sometimes dirty (he […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Age of the Essay

 

Around 1100, Europe at last began to catch its breath after centuries of chaos, and once they had the luxury of curiosity they rediscovered what we call “the classics.” The effect was rather as if we were visited by beings from another solar system. These earlier civilizations were so much more sophisticated that for the next several centuries the main work of European scholars, in almost every field, was to assimilate what they knew… As European scholarship gained momentum it became less and less important; by 1350 someone who wanted to learn about science could find better teachers than Aristotle in his own era. But schools change slower than scholarship. In the 19th century the study of ancient texts was still the backbone of the curriculum – Paul Graham

In this quote from The Age of the Essay, Paul Graham explains how knowledge and writing have been held back due to teaching curriculum throughout the ages. First came the Medieval scholars, who then congregated into the universities to study the Arts, Theology, Law, and Medicine. Graham considers these universities were more like law schools, where you spent 1/3 of your time in Rhetoric, and were required to know both sides of the argument. To finish your education, you submitted a thesis on an idea and the dissertation was the argument by which you defended it. In addition, the importance of learning Greek, Latin, and classical writings was the essence of the British Public School (for the elites) until relatively recently.

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Flying an aircraft has long been described by those who do it for a living as hours of boredom punctuated by moments of stark terror. The ratio of terror to boredom depends upon the equipment and mission the pilot is flying, and tends to be much higher as these approach the ragged edge, as is […]

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