"St Augustine defines virtue as ordo amoris, the ordinate condition of the affections in which every object is accorded that kind of degree of love which is appropriate to it.11 Aristotle says that the aim of education is to make the pupil like and dislike what he ought.12 When the age for reflective thought comes, the pupil who has been thus trained in 'ordinate affections' or 'just sentiments' will easily find the first principles in Ethics; but to the corrupt man they will never be visible at all and he can make no progress in that science.13 Plato before him had said the same. The little human animal will not at first have the right responses. It must be trained to feel pleasure, liking, disgust, and hatred at those things which really are pleasant, likeable, disgusting and hateful."
CS Lewis The Abolition of Man
CS Lewis The Abolition of Man
Thursday, March 07, 2013
This book has been on my TBR list ever since I watched Susan Cain's TED talk.
When the audio file showed up at my library I quickly added my name to the list and was delighted to listen to it this week. I do not have a hard copy of the book and I had to finish listening in a short period of time. Due to those factors this review is not going to be full of quotes only full of impressions.
I am glad I finally read this book and I think it is an important book for introverts and even for extroverts to read. While the book discusses scientific studies, the author also uses many personal anecdotes. For the most part, I found those helpful. I was slightly put-off by the intensely "quiet" way Kathe Mazur read the book. It was distracting.
Yesterday, the book inspired me to retake the Myers-Briggs personality test where I once again came out INFJ. The book helped me to feel that some of the personality traits that disturb me the most in myself might not be bad. Now I am trying to decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I not only come out as an "I" but as 100% "I." The book especially gave me insight into 3 areas: church, homeschooling and marriage.
I had decided this year that I like my church even though it was taking a long time to get involved. If we stick around for the long haul then I will feel more connected in the natural sequence of things. I participate in extra things where I am able but I have stopped stressing over fitting in. The book made me feel that this is a good plan. In 10 years I will know more people and I really like the people I know already. Last Sunday our church added in the old "greet those around you" schtick. I felt like I was going to curl up into a ball. I almost have a rule about not going to churches that do this. I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to handle this in the future. The most appealing plan is to sit with my head between my legs until it is over. Plan 2 is to go to the bathroom before it happens but I need advance knowledge for that plan to work and last week took me by surprise. I know it should not be THAT big of deal but it is. I need 10 years to meet people not 2 minutes.
While Susan Cain does not ever mention homeschooling its absence is glaring when she addresses helping introverted children find a quiet learning environment. I was particularly encouraged by the chapter explaining how we, as humans, become proficient at something. It takes thousands and thousands of hours. This clearly gives homeschoolers an edge. We are the only people left in America with any hours to spare. The hours Andrew spends on the guitar and the hours Alex spends throwing the ball against the wall (with a deep gulley behind him lending urgency to skill) are the keys to building true ability. This is where I say AGAIN: guard your time! Guard your children's time. Not all children are introverts but all will benefit from time to develop proficiency in something. Something is not everything.
When my husband speaks, I often do not answer. This has been a problem. My family likes to call me "Jim" when I do this because my dad is the same way. When I was growing up I would ask my dad if I could do something and he would not answer and then 30 minutes later out of the blue he would say, "Yes." I even do this with email. I realized yesterday I was thinking about an email a friend sent me a few weeks ago. It was a very touching email about her family situation and I had thought about it much since then......but I had never answered her. Instead of answering I had thought. My husband, naturally, likes a response when he says something but I need time to process and think. I hope from our talks about this book he will learn to not take this personally and I will learn to answer more readily. I find this very, very difficult.
As an introvert, I treasure my extroverted friends. I admire their easy grace and ability to make small talk. I know that because of my introversion I am not always the best friend. This makes me sad but I am thankful for those of you who stick with our friendship anyway. I need you.