Hearing & Seeing Things Again!
A SEi Educators Meeting (DC)...explorations in prudence
A SEi Meeting of Educators: Washington, D.C.
We'll continue exploration of the virtue of prudence--see new quotes below. We'll have some focus on the issues of foresight, memory, and imagination. The primary elements of the meeting will be a reading and discussion of a poem (or two) by Wendell Berry and a Russian folktale: "The Death of Koshchei the Deathless".
the whine of a mosquito in his ear,
grow thirsty, tired, despair perhaps
of ever finding them, walk along way.
He must give himself over to chance,
for they live beyond prediction.
He must give himself over to patience,
for they live beyond will. He must be lead...
~ from a poem by Wendell Berry
See link below to a collection of his poems--a book to have and keep!
Hearing & Seeing Things Again! A SEi Educators Meeting (D.C.)
Thursday, Feb. 4th, 7-10pm
Old Angler's Inn, 10801 MacArthur Blvd, Potomac, MD 20854
RSVPs are enabled for this event.
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, 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)
further ponderings in prudence...
The special nature of prudence is its concern with the realm of "ways and means" and down-to-earth realities...
The stages of transformation (of true knowledge into prudent decision) are: deliberation, judgment, decision...
The attitude of "silent" contemplation of reality: this is the key prerequisite for the perfection of prudence as cognition...
"Prudence as cognition"(deliberation, judgment)...of the concrete situation of concrete action, includes above all the ability to be still in order to attain the objective perception of reality. There is in addition the patient effort of experience...which cannot be evaded or replaced by any arbitrary, short-circuitingresort to "faith"--let alone by the "philosophical" point of view which confines itself to seeing the general rather than the particular...
The prudent man who...makes resolutions and decisions...fixes his attention precisely upon what has "not yet" been realized...the first prerequisite for the perfection of "prudence as imperative" (decision) is, therefore...foresight. By this is meant the capacity to estimate, with a sure instinct for the future, whether a particular action will lead to the realization of the goal...there cannot be that certainty which is possible in a theoretical conclusion...The prudent man does not expect certainty where it cannot exist, nor on the other hand does he deceive himself by false certainties...
..truth of real things...is contained in the true-to-being memory...it "contains" in itself real things and events as they really are and were. The falsification of recollection by the assent or negation of the will is memory's worst foe...The peril is the greater for its being so imperceptible...There is no more insidious way for error to establish itself than by this falsification of the memory through slight retouches, displacements, discolorations, omissions, shifts of accent...memory can be ensured only by a rectitude of the whole human being which purifies the most hidden roots of volition...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Prudence...is the cautious and decisive faculty of our spirit for shaping things, which transforms the knowledge of reality into the accomplishment of the good. It encompasses the humility of silent, i.e., unbiased understanding, memory's faithfulness to being, the art of letting things speak for themselves, the alert composure before the unexpected. Prudence means the hesitant seriousness and, so to speak, the filter of reflection and yet also the daring courage for definitive resolution. It means cleanness, uprightness, openness, and impartiality of the being, elevated above all difficulties and expediencies of the merely "tactical".
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 Prudence