I’ve spent the last few days at my parents’ house for the holiday. I came down on Tuesday, and we went to see A Man for All Seasons in New York on Wednesday. We had lunch together at the Oyster Bar (their clam stew is delicious), and then took a cab over to the theater.
The performance was excellent, but it made me sad to think that we haven’t really moved past the idea of thoughtcrime in 500 years. Thomas More maintained a very careful silence after his resignation as Chancellor of England about his opinions of Henry VIII’s divorce of Catherine of Aragon and marriage to Anne Boleyn. Yet it didn’t help him at all: King Henry’s ministers and secretaries gradually wove a net of difficulties around him, confiscating his properties and ultimately using perjured witnesses against him. A sad and lonely idealist at the end. Mom said that she thought More’s wife and daughter deserved to be sainted for putting up with him.
We had a lovely Thanksgiving with my parents’ friends and their children. After supper we had a lengthy conversation about the nature of school vs. learning, and I felt refreshed and justified in discovering that even among the adults, all of us in the room liked learning, but that only 50% of us liked school. That suggests there’s a real disconnect between learning and school, and it will be important to fix that now in the United States.