Friday, April 29, 2016

Whitman sings the body electric

A long-lost guide to "manly health" by Walt Whitman has been discovered.
...Whitman’s words, part of a nearly 47,000-word journalistic series called “Manly Health and Training,” were lost for more than 150 years, buried in an obscure newspaper that survived only in a handful of libraries. The series was uncovered last summer by a graduate student, who came across a fleeting reference to it in a digitized newspaper database and then tracked down the full text on microfilm.
But the most striking thing, Mr. Reynolds said, is its emphasis on moderation, and a holistic vision of the relationship between mental and physical health, in contrast to the radical temperance advocates, water-cure partisans and dietary reformers who sprang up across mid-19th-century America.
Whitman, who lived to a ripe 72, is really advocating “getting up early, having a walk, getting the benefit of fresh air and lots of moderate exercise,” Mr. Reynolds said. “One could do worse than follow his advice.” nyt

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Summer course at MTSU: "A Stroll Through Western Civilization"

My Master of Liberal Arts course, scheduled to begin soon after the Spring semester ends in May:
MALA 6030 - Topics in Culture and Ideas: A Stroll Through Western Civilization Focused on interpreting the western philosophical tradition as an ongoing response to Plato (to whom British philosopher A.N. Whitehead famously said all of western philosophy is a series of footnotes) and Aristotle (whose students were known as Peripatetics, from the Greek word meaning "to walk up and down" while learning.

  • Arthur Herman, The Cave and the Light: Plato versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization
  • Frederic Gros,  A Philosophy of Walking
Inline image 2“...Socrates describes the world around us as a darkened cavern, across the back of which a puppet show is flashed with the figures of men, animals, and objects cast as shadows. For a modern audience, the description has an eerily familiar ring. It’s the world of television and the media at its most flimsy and superficial."
Image result for television as cave
Inline image 3"Walking is a matter not just of truth, but of reality. To walk is to experience the real. Not reality as pure physical exteriority... but reality as what holds good: the principle of solidity, of resistance. When you walk you prove it with every step: the earth holds good."
"To stimulate thinking, to move reflection forward, to deepen inventiveness, the mind needs the help of an active body. 'My thoughts sleep if I sit still," wrote Montaigne. "My fancy does not go so well by itself as when my legs move it.'" Accelerating Intelligence News