Back in my freshman year at university, a professor asked us to write a short paper on our greatest academic influence. I chose St. Thomas Aquinas, but like most eighteen year olds I didn’t have much to say at the time, since lower education focuses primarily on teaching fundamentals, and not so much evaluating and forming a worldview. I’ve thought about the question occasionally since then, as I’ve encountered several works that have given a much more definite shape to my ideas, making them more like a finished vessel than the pre-college mound of clay (not that there isn’t still plenty of room for refinement, of course). Recently, I’ve given the question some more thought, and decided it may be useful to consider what works have given the most shape to how I view the world around me.
Such an endeavour may, perhaps, turn into a series of posts largely praising famous men, but to that I’ve no objection. Modernity may praise the new and the individual above the old and the traditional, but I believe that most of what a man learns in his life he learns from other men. To hit a ‘reset’ button on human knowledge every generation seems hugely wasteful, when generations who’ve gone before have written down so much for our benefit. Indeed, a respect, even a love for tradition forms the great common thread among all of the men I can think of who’ve inspired me so far, men like Confucius, St. Thomas Aquinas, or Ezra Pound.
So, this is my project for the next couple weeks – to outline where I am now, and how I got to this point.
“Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.” – Deut. 32:7
Categories: personal stuff
Tags: Academic Influence