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Archive for the ‘Santa Clara University’ Category

Tonight I went to one of my favorite on-campus activities here, a philosophy discussion group called “Cafe Socrates”. Tonight we were discussing the division between “analytic” and “Continental” philosophers, and how the divide finds itself played out in many American universities. However, one of the more interesting things we discussed was the fact that English departments are often dedicated to Continental philosophy, of a particularly poorly-thought-out sort. One participant, who in fact is quite liberal himself, pointed out that he hears that many English majors undertake it in order to read great literature, thinking of such authors as Shakespeare and Austen, while in fact what they get is more of searching for “narratives of oppression” and trying to figure out if various authors were gay. I believe this is a severe problem in education: literature is really a pillar of a healthy society. We have begun to turn on our own literature, and rather than building up our character by reading great works, we build up our own opinions by tearing down great works. If we are unable to really focus on the great things that we have done as a people, we will be unable to do great things now: it is not surprising if many modern English departments produce more mediocre critics than great authors.

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As I was walking across campus today, I noticed that an old orange tree that used to stand behind a house (the house was moved to accomadate the construction of a new business school building) had been torn down.  The oranges were all in a pile where the tree had been, and the tree itself was broken up in the middle of the construction site.

Now, I knew that tree already.  It was usually full of oranges in the winter, and often my girlfriend and I had talked about the fact that the oranges were not used for anything.  They were simply allowed to stay on the tree.  I considered taking one, at least to see if they were any good, when the tree was still up.  However, I decided against it.  After all it wasn’t my tree, and I didn’t have the right to take the fruit, as I do not want to end up like St. Augustine in my old age, agonizing over it :-).  Anyway, assuming that the tree produced good fruit, it was a sad waste that the fruit from that tree was wasted while the cafeteria sold oranges brought in from elsewhere.

Anyway, the tree is now gone, a fact about which I am surprisingly sad.  It was a beautiful tree, and it had been behind a small house, in just the same way as most of the little houses in Santa Clara have orange trees.  Even if the fruit was bad, which I doubt, it is quite a sad loss of a beautiful piece of history.

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