I thought I’d add a new regular feature here at ladydusk thinking through the things that have come to the surface over the past week (or so). I’ve often enjoyed those amalgamation posts where small thoughts are gathered and smooshed. I almost called the feature ‘small thoughts,’ but decided to go with flotsam and jetsam – all the ideas floating about in my mind and banging into one another. We’ll see how it goes 🙂
Last week I finished The Aeneid by Virgil. I didn’t like it, so I asked the fine folk in the Literary Life Facebook Group how to like it. Someone recommended the Elizabeth Vandiver lectures. We enjoyed her Mythology lectures, so I decided to give it a try. The first few lectures were about the Aeneid and background, but then she starts explicating book-by-book. I listen to a lecture and then to the book and that is going so.much.better. In my challenge, I’ve been glad to have some background information for all of the Epics (except the Iliad, maybe I should find one).
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We had stunningly beautiful weather here this week. Kids enjoyed being outside some and I enjoyed opening the windows to air out the house some. I also enjoyed walking outside and listening a lot. The neighbor’s crocuses bloomed.
I had been on the Oliver Twist struggle bus. I really wanted to read it, but the beginning was so downtrodding that I was avoiding it instead of picking it up to read. The Audible version finally caught my attention and I think I listened to more than half of it on Thursday. I ran my bluetooth earbuds out of battery! It still feels like cheating, but I really loved it by the end. Switching format made a difference, but I don’t want that always to have to happen. I brought down Hard Times for my next 5×5 challenge Dickens book. We’ll see; the title doesn’t bring much hope.
I’ve been reading Charlotte Mason’s Volume 5 (Formation of Character); Dr Gamble’s The Great Tradition; and Calvin’s Institutes. Thinking about Will, Reason, and Understanding from all of those sources. It’s a little bumpy. From my post in Schole Sistership:
Plutarch says there are “two sovereign elements–understanding and reason.” He argues that understanding is over reason and reason serves understanding. I’m curious where will comes into play. Charlotte Mason has The Way of the Will as the gatekeeper to the Way of Reason which Plutarch makes the vassal of understanding. This week my kids and I read in Calvin’s Institutes Book 1 Ch 15.7 (ed McNeill, trans Battles, pg 195)
The philosophers, on the other hand, make this distinction: that sense inclines to pleasure, while understanding follows the good; thence it comes about that sensual appetite becomes inordinate desire and lust; the inclination of the understanding, will.
So do we have a jumble of Understanding, Reason, and Will? As I go on, I think I see a way clear: Understanding works in Will. Will is still the gatekeeper accepting or declining ideas for Reason to work out. Do we also need a Way of Understanding?