Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How To Think Like Shakespeare

Scott Newstok is a name I recognize. He was one of the very first contributors to Shakespeare Geek, dating all the way back to January 2008 when he sent me a copy of his book about Kenneth Burke.  This was at a time when I was still re-blogging links to Wikipedia pages and pretending that I knew anything at all about the subject :)

So when I saw everybody sharing How To Think Like Shakespeare by Scott Newstok I thought, "Hey, I know him!" Sure enough, by the time I got home from work there was an email from Scott waiting for me.

Scott's article, taken from a convocation address he delivered, is what I mean when I say, "Shakespeare makes life better." I've always seen our mission statement as having a great deal in common with "The unexamined life is not worth living." It's not about "How will memorizing passage X, Y and Z get me a job that pays 10% more than the other guy?" That's such small thinking, I've never understood what to do with that. It's about a picture so much bigger than that, and I love pointing to places where people smarter than I have said it better than I can.

Through Shakespeare, Scott reminds the class of 2020 that they have "an enviable chance to undertake a serious, sustained intellectual apprenticeship. You will prove your craft every time you choose to open a book; every time you choose to settle down to write without distraction; every time you choose to listen, to consider, and to contribute to a difficult yet open conversation."

"Do not cheat yourselves," he tells them. I tell that to everyone I meet, whenever the subject comes up. Oh, you never paid attention to Shakespeare in school? So what, what's stopping you now? There comes a time when you are in charge of your own education, and it never ever stops. Why would you ever miss an opportunity to make your life worth living?

Great job, Scott! Always happy to show off your stuff.

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