Do you ever miss that feeling of first knowledge? You know, where your mental eyes open to a concept or where something you heard on Jeopardy finally makes sense? The older I get, the more my education progresses, the less I get that transcendent feeling. It is an absence of wonder, of surprise, a difficult quench to the thirsting for something intellectually stimulating.
I felt it in high school in an AP Biology class, in each and every philosophy lesson from Mr. Meyers in my last block class senior year, from Professor Pope in American Heritage lectures, and I miss it desperately. It seems a bit tragic that in my few years of schooling there have been few classes, fewer moments that have inspired and fed me intellectually and philosophically. Moments that have brought me closer to the "good".
I have had glimpses of it this year, seen it through the windows of the passing semester, and mostly it has come from chemistry and philosophy classes. I have been reading Socrates the past week:
Euthyfro: You understand what I said perfectly.
Socrates: That's because I am eager for your wisdom, and give my mind to it, so that nothing falls to the ground.
I think that's what makes the great writers the great writers: They open our eyes to the 'good'. They show us something real, and we become a little bit more in touch with reality because of their unique perspective.
So what do I get when I read Socrates? I get a meal. He devoted his life to wisdom and the obtaining of it (though he wouldn't say he obtained any). He doesn't ever really create a theory and then press it on others, he asks questions and discusses with others until a new idea is born out of reason.
"And now we go, I to die and you to live. Which of us goes to the better lot is known to no one but the god."