I’m not a celebrity – not even close – but I can’t believe the attention I’ve gotten so far simply being on campus. Gone are the days where getting people to say hi or smile back required the energy invested in the Space Race. It’s certainly weird seeing people who don’t know me seem to feel left out while I’m chatting with a small group or greeting one person after another in very rapid succession.
I suspect there are several reasons for this, not all of them complimentary to me. I’ve been around forever, which is not exactly a good thing. The classes I’m friendly with (sophomores, juniors, some seniors) are more social, more open, naturally polite – there’s no virtue required on my part, it’s their grace that is privileging me. And yet: people do want to discuss Plato and poetry, and I’m not the one bringing this up. I’m the one being offered free coffee and drinks, the one being asked for extra help after class. This is very curious.
The dissertation as it stands now concerns the nobility of the philosopher. What is noble is not necessarily good; getting a car by whatever means, for example, is probably a good. But nobility depends on praise and we often give praise when we have nothing else to give. I wonder about this attention: can it be made a good for all?