Fall Falling Leaves Moon
Not sure why, but today I told Greg, my Latin tutor, why I was doing this. Or, maybe I’ve told him before and don’t remember, but I don’t think so. (Of course, by definition, how would I know?)
The story begins with my traipsing off to college, already doubting my Christian faith for a number of reasons, not the least of which was what I perceived as a holding back by my native Methodism of (to me at that point) elegant proofs for the existence of God. I got them from the local Catholic priest. I didn’t know that he re-iterating Aquinas.
It was not far into my first history of philosophy class that we dismantled each one, piece by piece. Oh. My.
Philosophy set my mind on fire week after week. I signed up for Logic in the second semester and the second history of philosophy segment. Even though I left Wabash I had already earned half a philosophy major’s worth of credits in my freshman year.
All this excitement led me quickly to the conclusion that I wanted to be able to read German, so I could pursue Kant, Hegel and Heidegger in their native language. So, I signed up for German, too. From my point of view it was a disaster. I struggled in every aspect of it and was faced with getting a D at the end of the second semester. That was not going to happen, so I dropped it.
A youthful decision, one I regret. It took me 45 years to get back to a language; but, I decided I wanted to challenge myself, see if my conclusion, defensively drawn in 1966, that I could not learn a language, was in fact true. It was not true.
Now I have a deeper regret, that I didn’t pursue German further and that I didn’t do Latin and Greek while in college, too. The classics and art history seem to be my natural intellectual terrain, but I never took a course in either one. Regrets are pointless, of course, the retrospective both wallowing in a past now gone and not retrievable, but I believe there is one good thing about them.
They can be a goad to action now, or future action. That is, we don’t have to repeat the actions we regret. We can change our life’s trajectory. So, I intend to spend the third phase of my life, as long as body and mind hold together, pursuing the classics and art history, doing as much writing about both as I can.