To begin the story at the beginning, read "Part 1: Post 1: Beginning Again," published in January, 2013. To consult a description of the campus, read "Part 1: Post 14: The Greening of Campus," published in March, 2013.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Part 3: Post 8: Einstein and Earth

A new semester begins, with new classes.

I'm taking "Einstein and Atom," "Personal Safety and Fitness," "Earth Science Literacy," and "Introduction to Anthropology."  The fitness class is the only one that isn't required, but Charlie talked me into taking it. "Einstein and Atom" is another introductory physics class--the one last semester focused on everyday phenomena, while this one focuses on quantum mechanics and bending space and so forth. "Earth Science Literacy" is basically a geology class, and "Into to Anthropology" sounds pretty self-explanatory,  except that Kit is the professor, and that should be interesting.

So far, the physics class is the only one I've actually attended, and it's interesting. It's taught by the same ally who taught physics last semester. He pointed out that a lot of occult writers use some of the ideas of quantum mechanics to justify their writings on magic, but they usually misunderstand quantum mechanics in order to do it.

"If you want to use science to make magic, shouldn't you understand the science?" he said.

 As I said, that's the only class I've had so far,but I've been reading through my geology books, and I think I'm really going to like that class. It's part of the academic area called "Earth Science and Quantitative Literacy" that seems a bit of a mash-up, and I think there's a reason for it. From what I've heard, originally the academic areas they covered here were anthropology, ecology, history, physics, psychology, and geology. The logic, I suppose, was that you can't have Earth-centered spirituality without studying the earth. But as global warming has become more of an issue they've started adding in a climatology component, and so now it's a bit mixed. But this first class is still basically geology.

I've read about some of this stuff before--I knew that the Earth has a crust and a mantle and a core, and that the continents move--but I've never actually taken a class in it before. One thing I've been really struck by, reading the textbook, is how connected geology is to other disciplines. For example, the idea of evolution is based in geology; a basic tenant of geology is that the deeper a rock is, the older it is (with some exceptions, such as volcanic intrusions). And the older you get in the rock
layers, the stranger the fossils get. If fossils are the remains of life-forms, and the basic tenants of geology are correct, then over time life has gradually become more modern until arriving at the present. I personally don't care much whether other people believe in evolution or not, but it's interesting to think that if someone really wanted to refute evolution, they'd have to refute geology. And I've never heard of anyone thinking to do that.

Speaking of changes, it's Summer here, now. I thought celebrating the beginning of summer at Beltane was a bit strange, but then we went away to the Island and when we came back the season had changed. It's summer now. The trees are all leafed out, most days are pretty hot...we have new clothes and a new way of using the Mansion. We already had both winter-weight and summer-weight uniforms, but now we've gotten summer uniforms, too. They're optional, just in case the weather gets really hot, and they're a bit strange--the new uniform tops are sleeveless knee-length tunics. We're allowed to wear them over uniform pants or alone; if worn with shorts, the tunic has to cover the shorts. On women, they look like dresses. On men, they also look like dresses. I haven't decided whether I'm going to wear mine or not. I suppose it depends on how hot it gets. For so long, everything around here was organized around staying warm, but now everything is about staying cool. There's no air conditioning, of course, and very few electric fans, so when it gets hotter we're going to have to open the windows at night and keep them closed, with the curtains drawn, during the day, to conserve the coolness.

The only thing that hasn't really changed with the season is the dining hall. I guess it'll be another month or so until we start getting any kind of harvest, except from the greenhouses.  I'm getting kind of tired of salads.

[Next Post: Friday, May 31st: Physical Education ]

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