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Shirley, Goodness and Mercy


A book that I’m currently reading—Dark Ages America by Morris Berman—has mentioned several titles that should also be in my library. One of them is Albert Borgmann’s Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life. I found a cheap used copy that’s on its way right now. Borgmann’s assessment of “the Good Life” brings ideas together from both the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian traditions, which I think must have been guiding principles at the foundation and in the early years of Agincourt. Berman summarizes them:

  • be a world citizen—cosmopolitan—someone who knows a fair amount about the world, especially science and history;
  • seek both “physical valor and intellectual refinement”, a healthy mind in a healthy body;
  • be accomplished in music and versed in the arts; and
  • be charitable, that is, understand that real strength lies not in material force, “but in the power to give, forgive, help and heal.”

Is it too late for me to achieve each of these?

Abraham Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs was standard fare for beginning students in architecture (and landscape architecture, I presume) but I wonder if these also ought to be part of the mix. Planning a spring semester seminar that will be based on Agincourt, and I think Albert Borgmann has offered its basis.

The life of the mind, that’s what Dr Bob suggests should give me satisfaction at this age and stage of life. And, once again, he’s right.


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