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Maintaining the Classroom Habit

I listened to another question about moving from a university career to Trego.  I didn’t really answer – because the question wasn’t grounded in my reality.  I’ve met bright people in the universities – and I’ve met bright people in Trego.  I think it’s safe to say that some of the really challenged folks at the U held a Ph.D.  In Trego, I run across fewer dummies with doctorates. 

I did enjoy the pleasure of a conversation with some of the highly trained bright people I ran across daily – but I remember that I’ve had the Dialectic explained by an old logger who never attended high school, yet did as good a job as a very good prof who specialized in Marxist social thought.  Intelligence and knowledge are not limited to people with formal education.  Despite a career in the academy, I never met a person whose thinking was as disciplined as Earl Meier.  I suspect growing to adulthood here prepared me to appreciate people who were smart . . . and to tolerate folks who thought they were.

Still, I have lost the access to textbook review copies – the books sent out to faculty members in hopes that they will be required for a class.  And copies that were passed on by faculty in different departments made informal learning every bit as available at the university as in Trego.  I have a hunch that is my biggest ‘intellectual loss’ in moving to Trego.

This December, I found a catalog from The Great Courses in the mail – offering a host of college courses (without grades or credits) at $30 each, if I wanted the DVD or $20 for just downloading the information.  I ordered The Origin and Evolution of Earth (it’s about 40 years since I took a geology course, and I’m sure the science has moved ahead).  I never have taken Western Civilization, so I ordered the Foundations of Western Civilization – I don’t think it covers anything different than the class I didn’t have time for at 17.  Finally, I added in the History of Ancient Rome – a topic where I have really began to notice my ignorance since I encountered Tainter’s theories on the collapse of complex societies.

Now, once I get my DVD cleaning disc from Amazon, I can start going through the classes this winter in my living room.  Real estate may be location, location, location – but education isn’t.

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