Tag Archives: student

From Peanuts to Plato: It’s Troglodytes All the Way Down

charliebrown“Education tries to redirect the psyche appropriately” (Plato)

Charles Schulz (d. 2000) is famous for his daily comic strip Peanuts. This strip follows the melancholy adventures of Charlie Brown, a boy growing up in a small town with a dog and a band of friends. A small, but recurring, character in the comic is a teacher. The iconic voice of the teacher, burned into the neurons of more than one generation weaned on Peanuts television specials, is an unintelligible, garbled mess of “Wah, wah, wah wah.” Whatever one thinks about Charles Schulz and his comic, he got the auditory reception of students to teachers, and therefore professors, correct. What is professed is received as unintelligible, garbled nonsense.

Turning from Schulz to Plato provides some philosophical gravitas to Schulz’s playful observation. Whether Schulz knew it or not, he was channeling one of the most well-known sections of Platonic dialogue, The “Allegory of the Cave.” Continue reading From Peanuts to Plato: It’s Troglodytes All the Way Down

What Does It Mean to Be a Student?

This is the first post of a three-part essay on the vocation of a student.

What does it mean to be a student? Several responses can be given to this simple, yet complex, question. The place to begin with is the observation that to be a student—like to be a daughter or a son, brother or sister, friend or citizen—is to have a vocation. This is apparent in the fact that a university has accepted a person’s application for enrollment. In doing so the university calls the applicant, placing upon her the honorable and holy vocation of student.

It might sound strange to say that being a student is honorable and holy, but it is. It is much more than, as many people think, a path to a profession or financial well-being. Continue reading What Does It Mean to Be a Student?