Coming to Our Senses: Blessing the Space Between Us
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Spring 2017 quarter
Bless thou to me mine eye
May mine eye bless all that it sees
I will bless my neighbor
May my neighbor bless me.
-a Celtic prayer trans. A Carmichael
Often we feel we are individuals and the space between us and other individuals is empty, barren. But sometimes we say others give off a “vibe,” or that we have a “hunch” or an “intuition” about someone. We sense … something, something between us. Often though, we don’t trust our sensibilities and dismiss them as unreasonable or fanciful. In this program we will try to become sensible again — sensible to trust our senses, including our common sense, and approach them as a kind of knowledge not to be shrugged off as "just a feeling." We’ll enlist some bright people to help us understand how our sensibilities transcend our bodies and apprehend the spaces between us: Aristotle on the senses and on true friendship, monastics on community, philosophers Martha Nussbaum and Harry Frankfurt on love, theologian Karen Armstrong who offers us a distinction between two kinds of knowing — logos (what we apprehend empirically) and mythos (what we perceive through our senses), anthropologists Kathryn Geurts and Rebecca Lester on the cultural origins of our sensibilities and the meaning we make of them, Irish poet John O’Donohue on anam ċara , a peculiarly Celtic form of friendship, Martin Buber on education and the change in sensibility that happens when we think not in terms of separate I and It but in terms of the unitary I-You. In what ways would we live our lives differently if we recognize and bless the space between us?
Location and Schedule
First class meeting: Tuesday, April 4 at 12pm (Library 1001)