Regarding Scholé: A Blog About the Blog




On my regular visits to Santa Fe, NM, where we lived back in the day, I always find myself wandering in the little book store that serves St. John’s College. I was enrolled in their graduate program studying literature before beginning the MDiv program at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary in New York in the Fall of 2000. On my last visit I picked up James Carrey’s Graduate Institute Commencement Address from August 2008 titled , Freedom, Letters and Leisure – West and East. In his address he recommends a fantastic book written by Joseph Pieper a German thinker and specialist in Medieval Scholasticism who fell asleep in the Lord in 1997. Pieper’s book, Leisure: The Basis of Culture is the impetus for this blog.

Here is the small excerpt from James Carrey’s address that got me all keyed up:

“Joseph Pieper shows that the contemporary tendency to identify leisure with idleness, or sloth, is a perversion of an earlier way of looking at things. Leisure is the free time, literally the free time, in which we are not enslaved by practical concerns that keep us from cultivating our higher powers of discernment. Leisure is the condition under which intellectual virtues can be acquired. Sloth, on the other hand, is a vice. It is the vice that abuses leisure by filling up the precious free time we have with entertainments and trivialities that make time fly and keep us from reflecting in any kind of sustained fashion on the really important questions human beings can raise. Sloth distracts from the passage of time by making it pass more quickly. Sloth forestalls wonder, which the ancients thought was the beginning of philosophy, and in place of wonder it substitutes curiosity, two more concepts that should be carefully distinguished, but in our times are typically used as synonyms. Wonder and curiosity are similar in that both are states of mind characterized by interest and inquisitiveness. But  they differ regarding the character of their objects.”

What do you think Carrey means when he says that wonder and curiosity differ regarding the character of their objects? Let the conversation begin!



Filed under A Good Life, Regarding the Present Moment

5 responses to “Regarding Scholé: A Blog About the Blog

  1. Mark D'Ercole

    In reply, I am reminded of a quote by Archbishop John Shahovskoy in his book, The Orthodox Pastor: “The soul is saved when the will of God meets the will of man and captivates it.” This is what I understand as “wonder”…something that grabs hold of us and permeates our spiritual being allowing us to see the condition of our own essence in relation to the divinely-created universe – from the speck of dust at our side to the most distant and complex galaxy – such that we cannot, will not, look away because we recognize that the connection is cleansing, purifying, kathartic – an opportunity to return, if only for a moment, to our true nature and embrace it, hold onto it as long as possible. I believe this to be, in part, the aim and purpose of our celebration of the Divine Liturgy. So, in the case of “wonder” the objects are the eternal human soul, will, essence, being – concepts that we strive to but cannot fully understand nor adequately interpret. In the case of “curiosity” the objects are things of passing interest which typically squander time better spent in pursuit of the other. Things that do not captive us but, rather, we choose to hold onto – whose tangible reality have nothing to offer us in terms of understanding who and why we are, what we want and need, what we can provide to others, from where we came and where we are headed. And, finally, I am reminded of the prayer of St Ephraim.

  2. Sophia

    Hummn….In short…My thoughts about Mr. Joesph Pieper comments on Slothfulness, wonder, natural curiousity. Here is a quick thought…i will poder on this to see if God shows me some others ideas.
    Perhaps one must seize the moment or it will seize you. We must take time to consider what God’s perspective would be on many things we think or do. We need to be curious for God’s will, not our own will. Our minds are not hearing God’s voice, with all the distractions of sloth’s occupation taking up our affection. I am reminded of that saying “I need to get around to it”.
    Take time to do that! What’s occupying your frontal?
    Discipline is our sacrifice for our freedom in Jesus.

  3. Bob Emeson

    Alright and Hallelujah!
    I am on the same page as you are when it comes to a hectic life, maybe a chapter behind you in some areas and one ahead of you in others. I am excited to read your thoughts as we enter into fall. My wife and I are catecumens now, spent 12 years in Pentecostalism, 12 in Lutheranism, and now exploring the faith once and for all delivered to the saints or the fullness thereof. This move into Orthodoxy has caused me some very bad days of depression, especially when I read the am and pm prayers of being unworthy, doing not a good thing in life etc. I hope to get some rays of sunshine and encouragement from you, not to place a heavy burden on you, just looking forward to your thoughts.

    The Lord Be With You!

    • Fr. James Coles

      Thank you Bob for the comment and for moving it from Facebook to the blog. May God continue to bless your journey. I like that you are doing the 12 year shuffle from Pentecostalism, to Lutheranism to Orthodoxy. Just a note to say that I don’t think that our unworthiness should be overemphasized. Recognized but not overemphasized.
      Peace, Fr. James

      • Bob Emeson

        Thank you Fr. for the word of encouragement. I do tend to overemphasize my unworthiness because I’ve accumulated a lot of dreadful sins over my pilgrimage, not the little white ones, but the big ugly black ones. I will take your advice and not let them be a dark cloud constantly over my head.
        It looks like I posted my original welcome back to you into an old blog. I am sorry, I really am in the diaper stage when it comes to the internet.
        Keep up the good work and I am looking forward to following God’s direction in your life.
        The Lord Be With You,

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