Harrison Middleton University
The Raven
Gertrude Stein
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Rachel Carson

Category: Experience

We’re excited that you’ve joined the conversation! At HMU, we want to continue the great authors’ conversations in a contemporary context, and this blog will help us do that. We look back to Aristotle and the early philosophers who used reason and discourse to gain wisdom and now we endeavor to do the same every day.


December 15, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Apollonius of Rhodes fleshed out the story of Jason and Medea in The Voyage of the Argo. It describes a love story within a tale already full of adventure. More than a few things strike me as interesting about this work, such as the ship itself which creates a safe space for this rowdy band of heroes.

 » Read more about: The Voyage of the Argo  »

Friday, May 6, 2022

Thanks to David Kirichenko, a 2022 Fellow in Ideas recipient, for today’s post.

Understanding your place in the universe is difficult. It requires facing, and then transcending, your deepest concerns, with death as one of our core fears. One day you will die. Everyone you know and love will die. All of us began aging from the day we were born, and death does not wait at the end of life’s road – it is with us throughout life’s journey.

 » Read more about: The Art of Meditating on Mortality  »

March 11, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Last week marked the end of HMU’s Winter Film Series. I cannot express how much I love this series. If you were unable to join us, never fear, we will host another film series next winter. In the meantime, the following thoughts resulted from this wonderful discussion.

As usual, leader Gary Schoepfel opened discussion with some quotations focused on the idea of Truth.

 » Read more about: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Film Discussion  »

February 4, 2022

Thanks to Jaya Upadhyay, a 2021 Fellow in Ideas recipient, for today’s post.

What does a poet mean when he says, “I am not contained between my hat and boots,” but then adds, “If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles?” What does it mean to exist beyond the boundaries of one’s body while remaining retrievable from beneath one’s feet? What, more importantly, should a mind that has arrived at that knowledge pursue in his writings?

 » Read more about: Whitman’s Grass and the Ground of Consciousness  »

December 3, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Listen to “Misty Mountain Hop” by Led Zeppelin while reading today’s blog.

In The Meaning of Travel by Emily Thomas, she explains that mountains used to be feared, vile, despicable places. In literature, they were described with disdain and hatred. She quotes John Donne’s “Anatomy of the world” in which he calls mountains “warts and pock-holes” as one example (113).

 » Read more about: Summit: Mountain Travel  »

August 27, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

I picked up Intimations by Zadie Smith with no intention to write about it. I simply wanted to read another person’s experience of COVID and isolation. Though I have worked fairly hard to steel my mind against the static, restrictive nature of the pandemic, preferring stoicism, I now wanted to read of someone else’s experience. I read a Brainpickings article that mentioned Smith’s book.

 » Read more about: Zadie Smith, Intimations  »

April 2, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

As a reader, and a human, I am always drawn towards love’s many dimensions. Unlike Janus who faces in two directions only (forward and backward), love is indescribably complex. For that reason, it absolutely fascinates me. Although Louise Glück’s book Ararat from 1990 includes many moments of pain and loss, it also offers an amazing lament for the idea of love.

 » Read more about: Louise Glück, Ararat  »

March 5, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

The Great Books Foundation recently hosted a virtual Great Books Chicago (in place of the usual in-person Great Books Chicago). Beauty was the topic of discussion. I gained wonderful perspectives from the weekend and so, today’s blog attempts to address a number of comments. Obviously, I do not have time for the majority of comments and conversation, but here are a few thoughts that stick with me as I continue to dwell upon ideas of beauty.

 » Read more about: Defining Beauty  »

February 26, 2021

Thanks to Kyle Ryan Williams, an HMU 2021 Fellow in Ideas, for today’s post.

In this pandemic era, COVID-19 has turned everything on its head. We are forced to isolate ourselves away from others in hopes of minimizing the rate by which the virus is transmitted. The prevention and sickness and death from the virus itself are not the only variable at play. Hospitalization rates may be the most obvious,

 » Read more about: Meaningful Relationships  »

January 29, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

“It is not easy to realize the serene joy of all the earth, when she commences to shine unobstructedly, unless you have often been abroad alone in moonlight nights.” – Henry David Thoreau

Discussions this month focused on Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Night and Moonlight” combined with Aldo Leopold’s “Land Ethic.” Both pieces propose a journey into nature,

 » Read more about: Thoreau’s Walk and Leopold’s Ethic  »

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