Liberal Arts Learning and Fellowship Fun

Laughter: the best medicine

It’s hard to believe that the first week of classes is over! Sometimes I’m absolutely bewildered when I think back on all that one can learn, enjoy, and do in just one short six-day span. I’m also happy to report that I’m loving my classes thus far and am excited about the subjects I’m studying. These include Literary Criticism, Spanish, Politics, and various other English classes—what fun! This morning, for example, I watched two of my favorite professors give a joint lecture in a class titled “Music and Politics”. An experimental interdisciplinary course, the class is predicated on the idea that all knowledge is interconnected and that, thus, there is much to be learned through study which brings together different disciplines rather than relegating them to separate, ironclad caskets in the treasure vault of understanding. Today we discussed the view held by various ancients—from Aristotle to St. Augustine—that music has an inherent moral dimension to it. It was quite fascinating to ponder the idea that different types of music, even apart from any lyrics, might in some way either help establish order or, conversely, destabilize a society. Might various musical styles carry inherent implications that make it difficult for one or the other to be used as a medium for a certain type of message? According to Plato, certain rhythms “are the expressions of a courageous and harmonious life”. Fascinating thought that.  I will, however, forgo taking Aristotle’s advice on one score—I in no way feel persuaded that I ought to inform my lovely flautist friends that, as aforementioned venerable Grecian declares, “the flute is not a moral instrument”. Ancient philosopher or not, we don’t have to agree on every point, eh? Another aspect of the week that has been incredibly fun has been the way in which rigorous study has been interspersed with wonderful conversations with fabulous people. I love the academic life (perhaps too much…I promise, parents, I shan’t be a starving scholar forever!), and combining that love with great community makes for an amazing blessing. Should one even be allowed to have so many delightful friends in one place? At any rate, I’m thankful that, though college life is certainly stressful at times, I’m able to learn and grow at a place like Erskine.