Hearing Reality & Seeing Songs

A SEi Salon...explorations in prudence

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A February Salon (Houston)

Our next Salon is on Saturday, February 27! (The March Salon follows quickly and is on March 5--adjusting for Spring Breaks and Easter Risings, etc.)

For our next few meetings we'll explore aspects of the virtue of prudence (see quotes below). For the February meeting we'll have some focus on the issues of foresight, memory, 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!


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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!

Hearing Reality & Seeing Songs: a February Salon

Saturday, Feb. 27th, 7-10pm

1707 Milford Street

Houston, TX

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

A Plan

7:00 gather, refreshen up

  • 7:30 brief enquiry into prudence
  • 8:00 reading and discussion of poem and story
  • 9:00 music, stories, more conversation...whatnot

  • Cost:

    to join as an official SEi "friend" and supporter please go to the SEi website link below

    $40 per person (non member)

    $30 per person (member)

    $70 per couple (non members)

    $50 per couple (members)

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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)

    further ponderings in prudence...

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

    "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-circuiting resort to "faith"--let alone by the "philosophical" point of view which confines itself to seeing the general rather than the particular...

    ..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...

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    ...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 Prudence

    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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    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