Philosophical and spiritual texts from India, like the Bhagavad Gita, often present a choice — or even a conflict — between three lives, or three different ways that we humans might organize and structure our lives. We see the life of action, focused on “getting stuff done,” particularly in the political, economic, or domestic realms. We find the life of knowledge, centered on wisdom and understanding. And we encounter the life of devotion, based in love.
While Indian traditions present the tension between these lives in a way that’s especially sharp, we can find a very similar story playing out in Greek and Roman philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, and Seneca. And we can see these three lives in the choices made by our family members, friends, and our wider society… and maybe even ourselves.
We’ll use a few short selections from important philosophical texts, East and West, as a springboard for understanding each life, both on its own terms, and in conflict or dialogue with the others. These excerpts can be downloaded here in advance should you want to read and ponder them before the workshop. Printed copies will be available at the door on the night of the event. Reading ahead is strongly encouraged, but not required.
The evening will be somewhat like one of our philosophy walks: three distinct stops, each with its own theme and ample opportunity for discussion—just without all the walking, and with the help of these short written texts to keep ourselves “all on the same page.”
w/ Philosopher David Nowakowski
When & Where
This workshop led by philosopher David Nowakowski will take place in the Conference Center in Reeder’s Alley on the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 17th. No prior background in philosophy is required to participate.
RSVP: Scroll to bottom of page… Cost: Free (Donations Welcome) Other: Hot tea & snacks provided
David Nowakowski is as a philosopher and educator in the Helena area whose professional work is dedicated to helping people of all ages and backgrounds access, understand, and apply the traditions of ancient philosophy to their own lives. David began studying ancient philosophies and classical languages in 2001, and has continued ever since. A scholar of the philosophical traditions of the ancient Mediterranean (Greece, Rome, and North Africa) and of the Indian subcontinent, reading Sanskrit, Latin, and classical Greek, he earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University in 2014. His work has appeared in a variety of scholarly journals, including Philosophy East & West, Asian Philosophy, and the Journal of Indian Philosophy, as well as in presentations to academic audiences at Harvard, Columbia University, the University of Toronto, Yale-NUS College in Singapore, and elsewhere.
After half a decade teaching at liberal arts colleges in the northeast, David chose to leave the academy in order to focus his energies on the transformative value of these ancient philosophical and spiritual traditions in his own life and practice, and on building new systems of education and community learning that will make this rich heritage alive and available to others.
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