Hearing Reality & Seeing Songs

A Meeting of the SEi Society (UVA)

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Erascible Sam & Folly Society (UVA)...explorations in Prudence

Our next meeting is on Saturday, February 20!


For our next few meetings we'll explore aspects of the virtue of prudence (check on quotes below--more will be added during the week). For the February 20th meeting we'll have some focus on the issues of covetousness, silence, and imagination. After an opening brief discussion of prudence, guided in part by quotes below, we'll take some unexpected forested paths: engaging a poem by Wendell Berry and then meandering into the wonder and meaning of a Russian folktale: "The Death of Koshchei the Deathless". (Copies of each will be provided).


Of course, lively conversation and other spontaneous things will fill out the evening. Bring a refreshment to share if you wish.



See you soon!


Anthony, Danny, Ryan, Jack, etc., etc.

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The world's one song is passing

in and out of deaths, as thrush notes

move in the shadows, nearer and nearer,

and then away, intent, in the hollows

of the woods. It does not attend

the dead, or what will die. It is light

though it goes in the dark. It goes

ahead, summoning. What hears follows.


~ from a poem by Wendell Berry


See link below to a collection of his poems--a book to have and keep!

Erascible Sam & Folly Society (UVA)...explorations in Prudence

Saturday, Feb. 20th, 9-11pm

304 Montebello Circle

Charlottesville, VA

House of Danny, Anthony, Jack & Co.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

A Plan

9:00 gather, refreshen up

  • 9:15 brief enquiry into prudence
  • 9:35 reading and discussion of poem and story


  • Cost:

    There are no fees for the event--donations are welcome

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    Hungry and faint he wandered on, walked farther and farther, and at last came to where stood the house of Baba Yaga. Round the house were set twelve poles in a circle, and on each of these poles was stuck a human head; the twelfth remained unoccupied.

    "Hail, granny!"

    "Hail, Prince Ivan! wherefore have you come? Is it of your own accord, or on compulsion?

    "I have come to earn from you a heroic steed."

    "So be it, Prince! You won't have to serve a year with me, but just three days. If you take good care of my mares, I'll give you an heroic steed. But if you don't--why, then you mustn't be annoyed at finding your head stuck on top of the last pole there."


    ~ from "The Death of Koshchei the Deathless" ( A Russian folk tale included in Andrew Lang's The Red Fairy Book)

    the world reveals itself to the silent listener and only to him; the more silently he listens, the more purely is he able to perceive reality ~ J. Pieper

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    Reconnoitering, John Singer Sargent

    ponderings in prudence...

    The stages of transformation (of true knowledge into prudent decision) are: deliberation, judgment, decision...


    To mention fortitude and prudence in the same breath seems in a measure to contradict modern man's notion of prudence and also of fortitude...The term "prudence" has come to mean rather the slyness which permits the cunning and "shrewd" tactician to evade any dangerous risk to his person, and thus escape injury and even the possibility of injury...To us prudence seems to be that false "discretion" and "cool consideration" conjured up by the coward to shirk the test. To prudence thus conceived, fortitude seems plainly unwise or stupid...


    ...these false prudences arise from covetousness and are by nature akin to it...how impossible just estimate and decision is without a youthful spirit of brave trust and, as it were, a reckless tossing away of anxious self-preservation, a relinquishment of all egoistic bias toward mere confirmation of the self...


    Covetousness here means more than the disorderly love of money and property…(it) here means immoderate straining for all possessions which man thinks are needed to assure his own importance and status…an anxious senility, desperate self-preservation, over-riding concern for confirmation and security…


    ~ ~ ~

    The man who does good follows the lines of an architectural plan that has not been devised for himself or even totally understood by himself in all its components. This plan is revealed to him moment by moment only through a narrow cleft and a tiny gap; in his transient condition, he never perceives the specific plan for himself in its global and definitive form. Concerning conscience, which to an extent is prudence itself, Paul Claudel says that it is the "forbearing lamp that characterizes for us not the future but the immediate".



    ~ Josef Pieper, from A Brief Reader on the Virtues of the Human Heart and The Four Cardinal Virtues (see links below)

    Samuel & Erasmus institute

    Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself. ~ Erasmus
    SEi is a federal 501 (c) (3) tax exempt public charity. Donations are tax deductible.
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