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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Listen to Moore talk about a university's soul

Ashley Dischinger describes Thomas Moore's presentation at Elon University on April 23, 2009, provides a link to a minute-long YouTube video, and shares this photograph of Moore, in her blog entry for today. Dischinger writes,
"Moore quoted the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclites in reference to the infinite possibilities that the soul has to offer.

“Heraclites says this: ‘You can never discover the limits of the soul,’” Moore quoted. "'No matter how many roads you are to take, so deep is its mystery.' So you can’t even define the soul."

Heraclites was one of the first people to discuss the soul in terms of death. Moore stresses the importance of thinking about the soul in these terms, though he admits it carries an "unfathomable depth." Still, he encourages the audience to reflect deeply about the state of their soul because "the closer you get to yourself, the closer you get to your soul."

Moore then applied this mentality to the idea of the university. He sees education as having the potential to offer more than just the obvious tools to students willing to learn.

"There is something of great depth in the soul of this place," he said. "We will never figure out what we are doing and who we are in this place. It will remain mysterious and that’s a good thing."

But rather than allow the mysteriousness give to frustration, Moore believes the university should strive to preserve its history. In this way, he says the university will maintain, rather than lose, its individuality and depth.

"This place is going to be like no other university," Moore said. "Don’t compare yourself to Harvard or the other places. Your soul can be lost. So it’s very important to maintain your individuality as a university."
According to Dischinger, Moore also "emphasized the importance of the university doing its best to prepare students beyond a shallow, intellectual education."

For another blogger's reaction to Moore's presentation, read "Telling Stories" by J. Ruth Kelly.

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