The Marketplace and Ideas

by Matthew Koslowski on August 26, 2009
in Essays

This evening, on my ride home from a long day at work, I was listening to NPR, as I often do and as my first essays Limiting Literature and Sinking a “Lifeboat”… prove.

Although, right now, I work at a bank and get little bits of economic news all day, I occasionally enjoy listening to Marketplace and decided to tune in. Their presentation of economic and financial news is more even handed and thoughtful than other media who often seem like frustrated ad men rather than journalist.

Today, though, they had an interview that startled me.

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The Songs of Solitude of Rainer Maria Rilke

by Matthew Koslowski on August 19, 2009
in Essays

In This Essay

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke, Stephen Mitchell, trans.
The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke by Rainer Maria Rilke, Stephen Mitchell, ed. and trans.

One evening in May, I went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The galleries were not what I remembered. Due to construction of a new wing, pieces of art were removed and yet, even beyond that, the very air of musuem seemed disturbed. Nonetheless some much loved pieces were still there as well as new pieces to be discovered.

Walking among Monet’s Haystacks was walking with an old friend who hasn’t changed over the years, who has something new to reveal to you if you’ll only just listen.

Dante was my guide in three galleries. He found me by himself; I found him consulting with Virgil; and I stumbled upon him in glory beside Beatrice and turned away to give him privacy. And, then later, I was granted an audience with the divine Beatrice myself.

Discovering and standing before two paintings by Pieter Claesz was stumbling into a cathedral and listening to a wise, learned priest deliver a firey sermon about the vanity of the physical objects of this world.

My only disappointment was that the Greek and Roman galleries were closed. I had hoped to listen to the wisdom of stones and perhaps hear one state simply, “Du mußt dein Leben ändern.”

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Knowing and Understanding

by Matthew Koslowski on August 12, 2009
in Essays

“A hunter left his cabin and hiked two miles south, turned and hiked two miles west, shot a bear, and hiked two miles north back to his cabin. What color was the bear?”

If you answered, “White,” you gave the right answer. But how did you arrive at the answer?

Educators need to concern themselves as much with how their students arrived at the answer as they concern themselves whether the answer was correct.

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Praising Intellect, Praising Effort

by Matthew Koslowski on August 5, 2009
in Essays

When I was in middle and high school, perhaps even before starting with elementary school, I was a smart kid. Being smart was a major component in my identity.

Even now I can hear the voices of my mother and father praising me, “You’re so smart, Matthew.” My teachers too would tell me that I was “bright” or “smart”, one or two went so far as to say that I was “gifted.”

What if all those well meaning adults were doing me a disservice by offering me the praise that they did?

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