Well, here I am back at college in the US. Quite a change! First off, everything seems so ridiculously nearby. I can get to class in such a jiffy, I love it! It's also been awesome being in an apartment, because I can continue some of the cooking action I got into in Oxford. Also, SO great to be rooming with a fellow Oxfordian, because when I get home from class, I know there will be someone who will listen with empathy about how much I miss Oxford.
Things I have discovered thus far about the differences between Oxford academics and the academics here, based on my J-term class:
There is not as much expectation placed on the student, at least in my History of Philosophy class. I've been a bit annoyed at how patronizing the professor seems to be, even though I am pretty sure he doesn't mean to be. He comes across as assuming that we've never thought deeply before in our lives, and his job is to fix that, or that even if we might be able to dialogue a bit, we won't have anything particularly insightful to contribute. We're just wee little bairns with nary an idea in us. So today I missed Dr. Thorpe and Dr. Plaskitt, who expected much of me, and so I gave them a lot. It also could do a lot with the discipline, English isn't necessarily logic and rational-thinking based, and Philosophy is, so maybe I really am a wee bairn, at least when it comes to Philosophy.
In fact, I know that I'm a wee bairn when it comes to Philosophy, because here are a few of the thoughts that have stuck with me thus far:
After reading about Pythagoreans, I don't remember tons of stuff about them, but what sticks in my mind is that fact that in top of other dietary restrictions based on their belief about the transmigration of souls (don't eat a cow because it might be uncle bob, that sort of thing) the Pythagoreans also were prohibited from eating beans. No one knows why, it is a mystery. I immediately thought of Blazing Saddles and the campfire scene. So Philosophical.
We also talked about quarks, and how scientist believe that they are made up of vibrating strings of energy, and I immediately thought of The Enchanted Forest Chronicles and the strings of magic everywhere that are strings of energy. Yep, real scientific there.
Needless to say, it's been different coming back, but it's still going to be good. I am determined to learn how to think differently through this class, and be ok with hard facts and waterproof rationality. I guess I tend to like things knit a little looser, a little more metaphorical, a little more mythical, a little more poetical, but I really do like some of the stuff we're talking about in the class. Now, if one could find a poetic Philosopher, THAT would be "grate stawf."