Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
LECTURE ONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d__In2PQS60
LECTURE TWO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al7O2puvdDA

ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ONE THROUGH TEN ON IDEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE



Total Pageviews

Friday, April 24, 2015

LEAVES OF GOLD


For as long as I can remember [which is to say, as far back as September, 1950, when I began my undergraduate career], The COOP -- the Harvard Cooperative Society -- has dominated Harvard Square.  I never actually spent much money at the COOP even when I was in residence in Cambridge, Mass, but each year I pay the three dollars [it used to be one] for a little black date book -- my COOP book -- in which I keep track of classes, dinners, doctors' appointments and the like.  Each page covers seven days, and when I turn the page for a new Sunday, I carefully fold down the upper right corner, so that the book always opens to the current week.

Because the COOP is a college store, the COOP book starts with late August, which is roughly the beginning of the academic year, and ends somewhat more than twelve months later so that one has a little overlap.  I never throw old COOP books away, and I have a total of forty-three including the one that is now in operation. 

This is something of a family tradition.  Among the thousands of papers I inherited when my father died, including letters between my grandparents, letters between my parents, and every letter my sister and I ever wrote home, were several dozen of these little date books in my father's or mother's hand [not COOP books, of course.]  They were invaluable when I wrote books about my grandparents and my parents, just as my COOP books were a resource for me as I composed my Autobiography. 

Taking several books at random from the box in which I keep them, I find that on Tuesday, January 17, 1978 there was a Northampton Cub Scout pack meeting at which the boys would race their little homemade cars down a long track.  I was the Cub Master, and hence the Master of Ceremonies.  On Friday, May 24, 1997, I was in Durban, South Africa, where I had gone for my semi-annual visit to the students my little scholarship organization was funding.  From 1-2 p.m. in the Music Building there were auditions, and it was then that I first hear the booming bass-baritone voice of a young man from a Black township, Thamsanqa Zungu.  Thami sang "The Trumpet Shall Sound" from  the Messiah, and I almost fell off my chair when I heard him.  Although he lacked the academic credentials [a "matric," as it is called in South Africa] to enroll at the University of Durban-Westville, I was able to fund his studies as a special student until he won a scholarship at Juilliard.  He is now on the faculty of a South African university.

Turning the little pages of each book, one by one, I am reminded of how long I have lived, and how many people I have known.  Sam Bowles, Milton Cantor, Ann Ferguson, Bob Ackerman, my sons, my first wife, Susie -- there they all are, their lives intersecting with mine.

If you are young and are not completely in thrall to electronic devices, I recommend that you keep your daily planners.  I guarantee that a time will come when you are glad you did.

No comments: