Thursday, July 17, 2014

Highbrow Heroes

When asked, "Who are your highbrow heroes?  Xenophon?  Peacock?  Anscombe?" I will nod and say, "Yes, but of course!" Then catching myself, I will tilt my head to the side and add, "Truth be told, however, Highbrows are actually men (and women) of action.  Indeed, it is a little known fact that in order to enter the Highbrow Commonwealth, you must first get out in the world and hone your thinking abilities (or highbrow-ness) by doing something BIG.  And it doesn't matter if you succeed or fail--the true measure of your highbrow-ness is the degree to which you observe how your thinking responded to and integrated with the situation you were in.  William Wordsworth has something like this in mind when he reflects that the proper subject matter of poetry should be "strong emotions recollected in tranquility."  Therefore, in addition to Xenophon, Thomas Love Peacock and Elizabeth Anscombe, I'd like to add the names Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, Jr. to the list of heroes that I consider worthy of recommending to the highbrow community, and to posterity:

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