Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, August 1, 2016

Discussion Questions for August 3rd.

Discussion Questions for August 3rd.

Discussion Questions for August 3rd class.

Don Enss

1.     The Russian pilgrim says he recited “the prayer with cease,” but apparently he had time to jot down his thoughts to persuade others what they should do. This reminds me a little of Vincent Van Gogh’s life. He went to a small village to serve as a minister. After preaching for a while, he saw all around him his parishioners suffering so he decided to stop preaching and to lend a hand to help ease their burden. Is there a balance between theory and practice?
2.     “Wordsworth took to the road like a poor man,” but he used walking to compose poetry so his mind was occupied with thoughts even as he was walking and he left civilization with something others could enjoy while walking, sitting, or standing. Does this describe how Gros views serious walking versus the afternoon promenade? Did Thoreau, Kant, Nietzsche, and others actually do more serious walking?
3.     “To live above your needs, Gandhi warned is to be already exploiting your neighbor.” This sounds ideal, but who decides what an individual’s needs are? Is he referring only to basic survival needs, food and water? What about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?

4.     I understand the power of civil disobedience and I admire the courage of protestors who do not react to verbal abuse but quietly and non-violently register their protest. Is it naïve though to believe that all of those administering the physical blows will lose their desire to beat someone? Sadists actually derive pleasure from inflicting pain.

1 comment:

  1. 1. There had better be a balance. Without it you get unfettered intellectualism, scholasticism, and dessication (thinking of the "dessicated scholar" in the Tao of Pooh, among others I've known). A theory-practice balance is the pragmatic ideal my philosophic heroes pursue.

    2. I think I'd rather speak of serious thinking, facilitated or not by walking. I'd hate to denigrate walking in any form, its benefits to health and happiness (as we've learned) being so legion. (And yet, I dissed the promenade style in class last week. Do I contradict myself, Walt Whitman?)

    3. I'm sure Gandhi was talking about the elemental physical needs, mostly, given his commitment to a spartan simplicity of living. But you raise a great point, we all have "needs" it would be hard to justify in merely-elemental terms. Better to err on the side of letting one another figure that out for ourselves... while reserving the right to criticize our neighbors for what we perceive as their exploitative excess, and to advocate for equitable redistribution when called for.

    4. Sadly, sadists tend not to register high on the conscience scale.

    Great questions, Don. You've gotten really good at this!