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.
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.