The Purpose of Colloquia

The richness of a genuine community can be discerned by examining the diversity of ideas its members possess a knowledge of and share a passion for. Since it is unlikely that any one member will have read everything worth reading, listened to every piece of music worth hearing, seen every piece of art worth seeing; indeed, contemplated everything worth contemplating, or had every conceivable experience, it is worth considering what we can learn from one another.

It is a shame that, in many ways, diversity has come to mean the celebration of our comparatively shallow differences when mankind, taken collectively or individually, is likelier to grow and advance by a serious engagement with one another and an appreciation of all the ideas we ourselves have neither given time nor interest to fully explore or consider. Nevertheless, if we belong to a thoughtful community, we are very likely to find ourselves in the company of men and women willing to be our unpaid, and perhaps even unintentional, teachers.

This is what Ridgeview proposes to do through its colloquia—to speak together, conference, and converse about a new topic or idea each week. We might talk about an artist one week, a famous battle the next, or astronomy in the week that follows. In the course of doing so, we are modelling for our students and children those ideas we hope to encourage them in; namely, the realization that not every great book has been assigned and that the paucity of our time together in a school means that not everything worth considering will be given formal attention in the classroom. It is a part of the life of the mind and of intelligent leisure to comprehend that no one can mandate or coerce us into being interesting people. We are not made interesting by being schooled. If we are interesting, it is because we choose to know, and we so choose because we are thinking creatures with a curiosity about the world and all that lies within and beyond it. We are driven to do what we are not compelled to do because we have an inherent interest in our fellows and the ends to which they have directed their own lives.

This thought, not dissimilar from the one animating the parent reading groups, is that we can promote our own growth by learning from one another. As a result of this growth, we can be better proponents of that kind of life that is marked by curiosity and intelligence and that we hope our children will aspire to emulate.

If you do something interesting for a living, if you have traveled somewhere extraordinary, if you have given a significant portion of your life to an endeavor or to perfecting some art or craft, or if you have nursed along some academic interest as a hobby, we would all benefit from hearing about your experiences. We invite you to consider presenting a colloquium.

This year, a third of the colloquia will be presented by the faculty, a third by the students, and a third by our community. These will occur in R2 every Monday from 12:00-1:00, and everyone in the community is invited to attend. Announcements about upcoming speakers and topics will be included in the Nuntius and posted on the digital monitors throughout the building.

Please consider lending us your minds. Our community is stronger if we know and appreciate one another. Ridgeview is a stronger school if our students appreciate the intellectual and experiential diversity that is on offer beyond its curriculum. Please come and help us increase the abundance of worthwhile conversations in which we can partake together.

D. Anderson