Ask not for whom the bell tolls…(reposting)

Rob Jackson
Director, Institute for Classical Education

As we continue our lives in quarantine for the foreseeable future, it seems worthwhile to reflect on how to remain productive while in relative isolation.

To start with, this WSJ article provides some tips for telecommuting that might be helpful in structuring our stay-at-home workdays.

Then, if you need some inspiration, there are those previous quarantines that provided extraordinarily talented people with the “headspace” to produce some of the greatest works of all time. Shakespeare, Newton, Munch, Nashe, and Boccacio–now that’s some serious company!

But, for those of us who lack the genius to produce a classic while confined to quarters, we might just spend some time with a classic. One of my favorites, John Donne, who survived London’s plague of 1665-66, has some words worth remembering, in the midst of this pandemic: “Ask not for whom the bell tolls…

Surely this pandemic reminds us that we are not, and dare not act like islands, even if we must sequester ourselves for the common good. For, in the end, we are called to be “involved in mankind.”

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