Harrison Middleton University
The Raven
Gertrude Stein
astronomical clock
Rachel Carson

Category: Great Ideas

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.

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March 29, 2024

Thanks to Jennifer-NeToi Claiborne, a 2024 HMU Fellow in Ideas, for today’s post. 

When the air is warm, the smell of rain and honeysuckles fill the breeze, I know that it is summer and it is time to return to Siddhartha. I first read this book in the summer of 2000, when I was in the midst of a great change in my life. It was the summer prior to entering my freshman year of college.

 » Read more about: For Each Summer, There Is Siddhartha  »

December 29, 2023

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

Charity takes center stage this time of year. In Bleak House also, charity becomes a sort of character. Even limited to the first six chapters, Dickens explores a variety of charities. The protagonist, Esther Summerson, is introduced as an orphan in the care of her godmother who is a deeply religious woman. Esther’s godmother sees nothing but sin in the young girl and therefore treats her austerely.

 » Read more about: Charity in Bleak House  »

December 22, 2023

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

Solely due to A Christmas Carol, every winter I begin to long for a bit of Dickens. This year, I decided to tackle that monument of a book: Bleak House. I won’t lie, it’s a daunting book. Not only is it dense, but the character list feels endless. However, as it is the beginning of our break,

 » Read more about: Book Club with Bleak House  »

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  »

November 24, 2023

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

Each fall, Great Books San Francisco hosts a Poetry Weekend. And if there’s one thing that I’m grateful for in this world, it’s poetry. I love to attend this event because of its hybrid nature. The first day is filled with reading and discussion. Groups of fifteen or so are separated into Zoom spaces where we read,

 » Read more about: Poetic Gratitude  »

November 17, 2023

Thanks to Chad Greene, a 2023 Fellowship in Ideas recipient, for today’s blog. 

            Of the classes I teach at my community college, the closest to a Great Books class is a course called “Masterpieces of World Literature” that the English department offers every fall. In this class I ask students to apply frameworks of shared inquiry that I have learned from taking Great Books classes for my professional development to our readings of classics such as the Epic of Gilgamesh of Sîn-lēqi-unninni,

 » Read more about: Classics and Comics: Ancient Content – and Advice – in a Modern Form  »

Wisdom

October 6, 2023

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

I recently attended a conference in which the speaker mentioned that, despite all of humanity’s vast resources, there has been no visible or recognizable increase in human wisdom. The speaker desired proof of some growth in wisdom which would demonstrate that, over time, humans learn from their mistakes. In the speaker’s estimation, current cultures should theoretically be much wiser than their predecessors after thousands of years with mythology,

 » Read more about: Path of Wisdom  »

May 27, 2022

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

In order to continue with my investigations of Artificial Intelligence (AI), I am looking into historical understandings of the mind. Mind is also one of the great ideas, so obviously there has been a lot of research, discussion, and theorizing about what it is, where it is located, and how it functions. For today’s blog, I simply focus on Lucretius.

 » Read more about: Lucretius Defines Mind  »

May 13, 2022

Thanks to 2022 Fellow in Ideas, David Yamada, for today’s post.

Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life by Zena Hitz

As the humanities and social sciences face core threats fueled by higher education budget cuts and political divisions, they are conventionally defended on vocational and practical grounds. The liberal arts, so the argument goes, provide a strong grounding for successful careers by teaching students how to read,

 » Read more about: BOOK REVIEW: Lost in Thought  »

April 29, 2022

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

Humans try to make sense of things. Is this a noble or foolhardy pursuit? In her book, In June the Labyrinth, poet Cynthia Hogue writes, “the labyrinth is not a maze but a singular way/ to strike ‘the profoundest chord’/ across aspire” (in “(‘to walk the labyrinth is amazing’)”). In other words, the journey of our lives is also,

 » Read more about: Labyrinth as Metaphor  »

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