Amanda Patchin is an instructor at The Ambrose School, where she teaches Medieval History, Literature, and Philosophy to high school juniors. She reads a bit more than average and loves nothing more than conversation about a good book. Her love of the written word occasionally produces a poem or an article and her love of food often produces dinner.
One cannot really have a book about conversation alone. Conversation is so much a fruit of individual persons and their relationship to one another, that a book about that fruit must be one about how to become a deeper, better, more complex and interesting person.
Attunement, attachment, engagement, and identification are all absolutely necessary for properly considering artworks of all kinds. However, I struggle to identify the application of Felski's argument. Perhaps it is because, as a high school teacher in a classical school, I feel free to assert, identify, and argue without invoking a French theorist to support me.
If such substitution and exchange were genuinely possible, would we agree with Lewis that no gift was more gladly given? Would we too readily assume we could bear another’s burden and so sink ourselves under more than we could carry? Or, would our burdens be lightened by such sharing?
Simard concludes that all of the natural world is interconnected and her conclusion is particularly poignant as she points out that the hard-won insight of her decades of research is nothing more than a “scientific” stamp of approval on the wisdom of both ancient indigenous practices and 19th and early 20th century logging and harvesting practices.
The enduring value of adding Jane Austen to my disciplines was not beholden to my expectation of enjoyment from a happy wedding nor was it dependent on my recognition that vice and virtue are at war in me and in the world. She won me by shaping a vision of joy built on virtue and a corresponding vision—gently elided in her prose—of the despair of vice.
If human beings flourish from their inner core rather than in the realm of impact and results, then the inner work of learning is fundamental to human happiness, as far from pointless wheel spinning as are the forms of tenderness we owe our children or grandchildren.
If I can value the inner lives and the outer well-being of animals and plants and rocks and stars, because I can see the inherent beauty and goodness that something simply is, then I can be trusted with believing myself of higher status than animals.