Archive for December, 2022

Lesson 640 Christmas Reflections

Christmas for me has always been a time for reflection.

This Christmas, I have been reflecting on college teaching as a profession… and my experiences over the years.

It was a fascinating realization that I was a student all my life and never considered becoming a teacher… until graduate school.

It was there that I discovered Marshall McLuhan’s book, Understanding Media… and my subject-matter quickly became “media revolutions, and how they were changing everything.”

As a teacher’s assistant, I quickly found that the best teachers were those living and growing with their subject-matter.

I also found that teaching this way would mean I would never teach the same class in the same way twice.

My 2022 Christmas reflections made me very happy. I chose to become a college teacher living my subject-matter… and this is why “living your subject-matter (or your passion)” could become your pathway to happiness in 2023


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Lesson 639 Media, Politics & Context

The education of journalists and opinion writers should include a good measure of historical and philosophical context.

For example, Machiavelli sometimes is believed to have been an autocrat. But other philosophers pointed out that he was a fairly balanced political thinker. He no doubt believed in very strong leadership, but was probably not advocating autocracy.

Francis Bacon followed his father into politics, where corruption at the time was everywhere. Charged with corruption his political career ended when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Even so, he is still remembered for his belief that “knowledge is power.”

Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were interested in politics but they chose to focus more on teaching politicians about philosophy.

Thomas Hobbes and John Locke believed that rational thinking came only from direct experience. Our mind is a complete “blank slate” when we are born.

Karl Marx believed in socialism and wanted to bring about rapid social and political change. He was not a communist, as many believe.

Existentialists simply believe that each individual develops his or her own philosophy, which usually includes elements of both religion and philosophy.

Some of our founding fathers actually read classical philosophy. You can find it right there in the Declaration of Independence.

Maybe the world really does need more “philosopher kings!”

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