Circles rippling outward

Another reason to read, write, & walk: to expand the circles of our imaginative attachment to the world. “The eye is the first circle,” observed Emerson. “The horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary picture is repeated without end.” 

Emerson understands education as a process of enlargement, in which we move from the center of our being, off into progressively more expansive ways of life… such rippling outward happens every day, too, as when a child leaves her family and goes out into the painful, promising world of school. Then the child’s circle of knowing has to expand to meet the new circumstances, or she’ll suffer for it. Mark Edmundson

Spent most of the morning yesterday discussing the “rippling outward” Older Daughter will soon commence, as she and we go deeper into the college selection process. The good news, our counselor advised, is that there are so many good schools out there. Her “transition” promises to be an exciting growth opportunity, no matter who she chooses or who chooses her.

Same goes for the commencement of a brand-new school year for me. Convocation is on Friday, followed by the first departmental staff meeting. (The growth opportunity there, if anyone asks me, lies in shrinkage: less is more.)

And then, classes begin anew. We’ve again come full circle.

Round and round we go. Maybe this is the circuit when we’ll really know our place better at the end, which of course is always also the next beginning. Walk on.


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2 Responses to “Circles rippling outward”

  1. Joseph Henry Says:

    What about “rippling inward”?

    Terence McKenna on understanding and creativity. A long, but interesting watch.

  2. osopher Says:

    Hi Joe. I’m all for rippling in every direction. A couple of interesting McKenna quotes speak to that:

    “You have to take seriously the notion that understanding the universe is your responsibility, because the only understanding of the universe that will be useful to you is your own understanding.”

    “You are an explorer, and you represent our species, and the greatest good you can do is to bring back a new idea, because our world is endangered by the absence of good ideas. Our world is in crisis because of the absence of consciousness.”

    But here’s one I can’t agree with at all, at least not in the absence of clarifying context (still, like most of McKenna’s observations, it’s a good provocation):

    “The syntactical nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.”

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