Words Crush Wednesday – Thales

Published January 20, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

Before class, I thought I wasn’t going to do a Words Crush Wednesday post today.  But now I have one.  Witness the quote that is all that survives of the wisdom of the very first Greek philosopher, Thales:

Everything is water.

Yup.  That’s what we’ve got.

Of course, my professor explained that this was an amazing thing back when Thales said it, because everyone thought that all matter was composed of the four elements (which are earth, water, fire, and air, for those of you who neither play RPGs nor watched the Avatar: The Last Airbender TV show), and he broke past all that, seeing that only an element as malleable and changeable as water could produce the diverse number of things in the world.

It was cooler the way the professor said it, of course.  Actually, if he hadn’t given us that Thales quote, I was thinking of quoting him for today’s post.  In explaining why the course is mainly lecture (+ a massive reading list) at a level of academia where the seminar format is more standard, he said

There’s no substitute for me cramming knowledge down your throats.

He also compared Socrates to “the Dude.”  (Okay, someone needs to make a T-shirt that reads “Socrates abides.”)

This professor is so awesome.  I mean, I already knew he was awesome — I loved the earlier class I took with him — but I’d forgotten just how awesome.  His lectures are completely fun, and he has an entertaining way of looking at virtually everything.  He’s the kind of guy who would be a big hit as a guest on The Daily Show if he was brought on to promote a new book or something.  (I don’t think he’s had more than one book, but…)

In fact, towards the end of class, I was wishing I could record his class and post it online so everyone else could share in the entertainment that doubles as a learning experience.

And then at the end of the class, he said that lately he’s been seeing a lot of absenteeism among his students.  I couldn’t believe it.  Who would skip his classes?  I can’t understand it.



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