28 April 2009

At Last

I can't believe the semester is over, or that I will never take a class at Hillsdale again. I'm trying not to think about the immensity of Life After College, and instead, am thanking God for how much I have learned during the past four years here.

These are the last things written in my notes for each class this semester.

Western Heritage Revisited
Discussion of "Letter to my Children" by Whittaker Chambers
"Western culture now lacks a moral will. Either it lacks a purpose and will altogether, or its purpose is a depraved one. We have lost a conviction to do good; we have no morally acceptable purpose. What does Communism do? It gives us a will, a purpose . . . To reject it, therefore, we need more than reason, which only supports it. Our soul must revolt if we are to stand against Communism. The soul of humanity must be resurrected if we are to oppose the new rational system. We can't oppose it with its own weapons. Conviction of soul is necessary to reject ideology. Capitalism is just another materialist ideology; we need Christ."

Utopian Fiction
Discussion of "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert Heinlein
"Humans have a spirit: this is what humanizes our intellect and body, unites them and rescues us from what Walker Percy calls 'angelism-bestialism.' Men need chests, to quote C.S. Lewis. Men need a soul to combine our angelic intellect to our animal bodies . . . Where do we get our human personhood, then? If not from biology alone, if not from social conditioning alone, where does our free will come from?"

Oral & Written Spanish
Discussion of "Dos palabras" by Isabel Allende
"Usos buenos de las palabras: ensenar, hacer alegre, dar esperanza, expresar belleza o amor, comunicar la verdad. Palabras pueden herir o ayudar. Son poderosas y necesitamos usar este poder con cuidado, en una manera positiva. La noche, la oscuridad, es como la vida del coronel antes de que llegue Belisa. Ella trae luz consigo, en sus palabras y el amor."

[Good uses of words: to teach, to make people happy, to give hope, to express beauty or love, to communicate the truth. Words can wound or help. They are powerful and we must use this power carefully, in a positive manner. Before Belisa arrives, the colonel's life is like night and dark obscurity. She brings light with her, in her words and in love.]

History of England (Quote 1)
Discussion of Britain's House of Lords
"Pretending that tradition never changes is a sure way to destroy that tradition. It will get overrun by time, which does change whether you like it or not. So you must be flexible with form if you intend to preserve the essence."

History of England (Quote 2)
Discussion of the Prime Minister's Role
"Personality is a package for ideas . . . you can't win if you wrap ideas in newspaper. To be prime minister, you had better be a good speaker and a charismatic leader. If you're boring, you drag down the entire party, for which you are supposed to be the representative. It's not your reputation alone that is on the line, but the whole party, because as its leader, you are its embodiment."

Western Heritage Since 1600
Discussion of "A World Split Apart" by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
"Modernity has run away from the old norms. Yet it is always an option to live life well. Often this means living an ordinary and 'small' life. Why is this so much harder than grandeur? As young idealists, we often fail to see how much of life is taken up by mundane things. The great challenge, then, is to live the mundane life well. To live it all well. To seek God's glory everywhere-- to be a vessel of His grace in all life's details, whether high or low."

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