Thursday, January 16, 2003

My Christmas Break Part IV

I think today I am going to try and wrap up the recounting of my Christmas break so then we can move back into the day to day regurgitations of my boring, college-based, mid-western life. It has really been hit home to me that life here is way too normal and comfortable. Talking with Nate and Theresa, who have both returned from studying abroad in China and Ireland respectively, I realize how much they experienced abroad in another country while I was here doing basically the same things I have done for the last three years. Sure, I enjoy my life here and it does bring me a lot of joy, but I just can’t help feel a little jealous after hearing about all the things that people who went abroad did. Anyhow, that doesn’t pertain to Christmas, so let’s get this boat back on course.

Since I had a lot of down time over break, I wanted to catch up on the backlog of movies I’ve had to watch and books I’ve had to read. I managed to watch a bunch of movies (most of which I have forgotten already because a lot were very forgettable). More interesting, however, might be the books I got around to reading……or maybe not because I’m sure most of you out there aren’t quite as nerdy as me. Reading is a nerdy activity? No, not in itself it isn’t, but the content of my reading list is very nerd-tastic. Just read on and see for yourself.

I started break by finishing reading up some sections of Nicomachaen Ethics by Aristotle that I didn’t get to finish in my ancient philosophy course last semester. I was intrigued by Aristotle’s justice concept and how he laid out vices, virtues, and their excesses. After I finished that up I started C.S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man. This isn’t really your classic Lewis book. This was 100 or so pages of him expounding upon a seeming learning method that eliminates universal natural virtues and instead replaces the natural virtues with a set of arbitrarily defined unnaturalistic virtues. It was quite complicated as opposed to most of his other works. I found his look at virtue very refreshing, although it took a little while to get to the payoff in the book. Starting to feel the nerdiness yet? No? Let’s keep going then.

Next on my list was Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts, one of his most famous plays. It deals a lot with facing past demons and the idea of living a lie for the benefit of others. Would you be willing to live a loveless life in order to bring your child up right? Would you hide a spouse’s infidelity to avoid public shame, even though it would cause you to live in misery? What if the hero of your life turned out to be a villain? How could you deal with the shattering of the image of everything that was positive in your life? These questions weighed heavily in this play and I could only imagine how great it would be to see it performed on stage. I loved it. You can feel the nerd quotient rising now, can't you?

After that I dove into Salome by Oscar Wilde, a play about King Herod and his court. It was not as good as I had hoped it would be as the narrative style was very repetitive. Lines and concepts were repeated often and gave the play a very slow progression and I only found about the last 1/4th of the play interesting as it dealt with Herod’s daughter tricking Herod into doing something he cared not to, in order that she get some revenge or retribution for the sexual way that her own father longingly looked at her. The end was interesting enough, but overall I just had a hard time liking the play as a whole...... nerdometer alert, reaching peak levels!

At the end of break, I started rereading Othello again. It’s been one of my favorite Shakespearean plays simply because of the way that the character of Iago is written. He, to me, has always been one of the best examples of a true villain, a person filled with malice and discontent, a man who seeks retribution through revenge…truly a great villain. I’m still in the process of finishing up reading it. Hopefully I’ll get around to finishing it soon before the reading load for college really starts to pile on.

Anyhow, now that you’ve seen how truly dorky I am, I think I’m going to leave you for the moment and go back to my reading of Albert Camus’s The Stranger for my morality course. Nerds unite!

No comments: