Does Orlando Bloom have better abs than Achilles? The first Lit Hum lecture has the answer
Hahn Chang, CC ’15, was at yesterday’s first Lit Hum lecture of the year. His reflection is below.
Over 1100 students, spanning 49 states (except poor old…whichever state isn’t represented) entered carrying 1099 copies of Robert Fitzgerald’s translation of The Iliad. Being the one person who had put all his notes in the incorrect version of The Iliad (Robert Fagles’ version), I felt a tad embarrassed as I sat alongside my fellow 2015 CC’ers. Professor Christia Mercer, chair of Lit Hum, introduced us to our Lit Hum journey—the paradoxes we would untangle, and the questions we would answer in our search for wisdom in an examined life. After reviewing the sexual innuendo in the theatrical poster for Troy and setting up the five big questions for our year of Lit Hum, Professor Mercer divided us into groups to answer some of these questions based on Iliad excerpts we (were supposed to have) read this summer.
The discussions ranged from the definition of excellence to the constant tension of social and personal welfare. After groups conversed for 15 minutes, a discussion began as groups shared their perspectives on Achilles and Hector, excellence and honor, and the purpose of a good life. CC’ers from LA to Long Island shared their perspectives.
Some snippets from today’s conversations:
“The definition of excellence we hold today would not make Achillies or Agemenenon heroes; however, they are heroes of the story nonetheless.”
“Achillies’ view of honor was based on his desire to get a girl and not about the war itself, therefore it was not true honor.”
“From the Iliad’s view of excellence and honor, if you can’t be honorable if no one remembers you, can some living solitarily be excellent then?”
“We were asked for what is an excellent life good for. What should be added is for whom?”
Let our Columbia journey begin with Lit Hum and hopefully all of us (even I who brought the wrong book) will come a little closer to wisdom in May 2012 after finishing our odyssey in Masterpieces of Western Literature and Philosophy. Until then, let us review some comical/enjoyable/random sightings from today’s lecture.
1) Prepared students taking notes on notebooks, laptops, and Macbooks
2) Some students (i.e. myself) who took notes on the back of the NSOP schedule
3) Seeing people update Facebook statuses on their laptops and Macbooks
4) Watching people go straight to the Lit Hum website after Professor Mercer mentioned it
5) People turning their heads to listen as some of our classmates addressed all 1100+ of us as they articulated their group’s points
6) Watching Iliad copies be frantically written upon
7) Orlando Bloom’s abs (your answer to the above)
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