Month: September 2014

The Problem of the Classicist

For typical classicists, our function as language learners is to translate for others, not to speak. This is obvious, and I have no qualms with it.

Still, there are some problematic implications of this.

We are structured to learn, only in a way that is designed to reproduce. Thus we reproduce in our translations the classical world of the past that we are taught. Doubtlessly this history evolves and develops through the works of excellent classicists and archaeologists year after year, but somewhere in the mind of the student is the habitual habit of translation that they learned in class. This word = x. This idea = x.

What is the correct translation? What is the right (orthodox) history?

Is there more than one way to tell a story?

Don’t words have multiple valences?



I want to talk about those books that we always “meant” to read, but we never had “the time”. The books that just sit on the shelf, but we cant bring ourselves to give them up.

Why do I keep these books there, sitting on my shelf day after day like useless freeloaders. A book is only as useful as it is useful to me now. I must have felt the need of that use when I first obtained it, but if that need has passed, why hold on to it? If I’m counting on it’s use in the future, I’m banking on a need or possibility that may never come or that I could even do without.

So why not make use of it now?

Your options:
Read it.
Give it to a friend.
Sell it.
Get creative. (take bits and pieces of it with you.)

There is no perfect book out there. Only the one you’ve found.

How Do you Spend Your Mornings?

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

I make coffee, meditate, and then read.
My roommate would wake up and play guitar. I can remember Saturday mornings sitting in my chair with my coffee and a book, hearing that faint tickling of guitar strings.

Both of these habits show what each of us value.
I read. My roomate practices.
Whether youre a morning person or not (and whenever that time comes for you), I think that first thing you do in the morning can say a lot about a person. It’s the thing you fall on without thinking. It’s your natural disposition.
What does it say about you?
Maybe I should add: what’s the last thing you do before you go to sleep?