Monday, March 09, 2015

Great Works and Great Minds: Great Discourses

Thoughts of a Student 

As a longtime student in the Basic Program of Liberal Education and a frequent participant in Great Books discussions I was both interested and excited at the news of a new approach to discussing and analyzing the works of great minds.  It is with this in my mind that I welcome the Great Discourses as an on-line approach to providing a venue for the discussion of seminal works of the mind. 

My personal experience as a student of the Great Books has provided benefits beyond my original expectations with both practical and theoretical applications in my life;  more importantly, it allowed me to explore and examine what it means to be a human being and a citizen.  The examined life experienced through discussions of these works is enhanced by the contributions of diverse experiences and the unique perceptions of other participants in discussions.  

Further, the discussions are enlivened through the direction and encouragement of discussion leaders such as those offered by the Great Discourses.  I share this opinion based on personal experience with several of those involved with whom I have had the good fortune to participate as a student in Great Books discussions.  The contributions of these and other students inquiring and sharing observations on the readings have enriched my own life. 

How else could you describe the enjoyment of discourse with fellow students inquiring into the thoughts from great works of the ages as anything but fun?  I would consider it a form of happiness--one that may not be obtained anywhere else.  For all of the above and for the expectation of further growth through sharing in thoughts from the Great Books, I heartily recommend the Great Discourses to all interested in participating in life-long learning on-line.


Apropos of this I share these thoughts of Socrates from Plato's Meno:

"I do not insist that my argument is right in all other respects, but I would contend at all costs both in word and deed as far as I could that we will be better humans, braver and less idle, if we believe that one must search for the things one does not know, rather than if we believe that it is not possible to find out what we do not know and that we must not look for it."


3 comments:

Brian Joseph said...

Wow, this looks super james. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. This something that I am seriously considering doing.

My only obstacle would be time.

Parrish Lantern said...

This sounds like a wonderful resource.

James said...

Brian and Gary,

Thanks for your comments. This on-line resource is a great way to participate in the discussion of many classics. The instructors provide useful direction and focus for the discussions.