Without David Hume, no Thomas Jefferson. Without Jefferson, no Lincoln.
Early this morning a crow asked me his untranslatable question.
I think the crow is a fast learner and I’m a slow one.
Of slow learning vs. fast the disabled know much. I still remember with considerable pain the professor who told me that because I’m blind I shouldn’t be in his class. Why? Because I needed extra time to read. What is that?
“When it is asked, whether a quick or a slow apprehension be most valuable? Whether one, that, at first view, penetrates far into a subject, but can perform nothing upon study; or a contrary character, which must work out everything by dint of application? Whether a clear head or a copious invention? Whether a profound genius or a sure judgement? In short, what character, or peculiar turn of understanding, is more excellent than another? It is evident, that we can answer none of these questions, without considering which of those qualities capacitates a man best for the world, and carries him farthest in any undertaking.”
Excerpt From: “An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals.”
And that should be the question: “what will carry us the farthest?”
I know that’s what the crow was talking about.
Don’t you just love natural philosophy?
ABOUT: Stephen Kuusisto is the author of the memoirs Have Dog, Will Travel; Planet of the Blind (a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year”); and Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening and of the poetry collections Only Bread, Only Light and Letters to Borges. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a Fulbright Scholar, he has taught at the University of Iowa, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Ohio State University. He currently teaches at Syracuse University where he holds a University Professorship in Disability Studies. He is a frequent speaker in the US and abroad. His website is StephenKuusisto.com.
(Photo picturing the cover of Stephen Kuusisto’s new memoir “Have Dog, Will Travel” along with his former guide dogs Nira (top) and Corky, bottom.) Bottom photo by Marion Ettlinger