It was a different kind of day at school, yesterday.
Arriving on campus I headed not to the office but instead straight to a colleague's speaking appearance at the Student Union. He was speaking on a bioethical theme, wondering about the future of intelligent machines and how we'll relate to them. Fascinating to think we may one day have to parse the autonomy and ethical standing of our own creations.
En route to the talk I was intercepted by my favorite student Research Assistant, who says I'm the only teacher she knows who takes classes outdoors on these beautiful Fall days. That's one good reason to continue pushing the peripatetic approach. We've become sedentary strangers to the sky. We need to look up and take our bearings, chart our path by the clouds and the stars, place our small indoor lives in proper perspective.
And we did, again, in CoPhi. But our time was shorter yesterday because we convened at the library, for a tutorial on research. Good information from my friend David on how to make the most of the Philosophers Index, Google Scholar, and the like, before my crash course on Pyrrho and Epicurus.
When discussion time finally came, we spilled out into the late afternoon sunshine and took a couple slow laps around the Science courtyard pondering the ultimate Epicurean question: is death anything to fear?
As always, interesting and unexpected things were said. And conventional, boring things. Wheat and chaff are separable, but it takes time.
That's the big Epicurean message, isn't it? Time is of the essence. The good life takes time. Take time for happiness. No time like the present. The time to live is now. Our ground-time here is brief. Time's a'wastin'. We're almost out of time, it'll soon be time to go.
So, take a breath, relax, enjoy the time you've got. It was in that mood and spirit that I decided to stop at the Mayday Brewery on my way home last night, and was pleasantly rewarded to encounter two former students with kind things to say about those old classes. One said Happiness class had a major impact on her life.
That's what we all want, isn't it, to have an impact before time's up?