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September University: Summoning Passion for an Unfinished Life based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
This book is intended for those in the second half of their lives who are not ready to die just yet. September University is not an actual school, but more of a frame of mind or philosophy. It radically changes the idea of retirement from doing very little while waiting for the Grim reaper, to helping to create a better world for future generations. Within the next 20 years, the baby boomer generation will reach retirement age. They have plenty of demographic power to change American society for the better. Why not start using it? Among the major obstacles to getting more out of life are a fear of death, and a lack of curiosity. The book shows how to turn those around. In this extremely media-centric world, it is more important than ever to be able to filter through the media noise and get to the important stuff. In attempting to get past the "us versus them" way of thinking, the author looks at the human belief in the "group," those who look or think like us, and the automatic bias against those who are not part of the group. Imagine the possibilities when new technologies are used to quench a thirst for knowledge. How does one reconcile a new-found desire for a just society with the system presently in place? The author gives alternatives. What can the average person do to help create such a society? Pick a subject or issue that you really care about, and find organizations working to build such a future. Seek out chances to engage in civil dialogue. Join or visit groups whose values are different from yours. Read the books that you have never had a chance to read. Create an e-mail list of legislators to contact, and don't be afraid to use it. Learn about the Internet world of teenagers. Visit a senior center or an orphanage. Connect with younger generations. Write frequent letters to the editor of your local newspaper. Write your own epitaph. Just because you are getting on in years, don't think for a second that you can't still contribute to society. This is a wonderful book full of inspiration for those who have the desire to better society, but don't know what to do with that energy. This gets two strong thumbs-up.
To sum up your entire approach in an equation takes guts, and that is exactly what Charles D. Hayes has plenty of. September University is an aspirational work, based on the author's assumption that "age + curiosity × attitude = a greater quality of life and hope for humanity". Whether you agree with Hayes' Democratic standpoint or not, September University is bound to arouse the desire of any reader who is thoughtful about their future, and about that of the world around them, to embark on a lively discussion of pertinent topics. His work is wide-ranging in scope, encompassing the fields of culture, economics, education, politics and philosophy. No matter what the issue, he probes it in provocative depth, supporting his arguments by drawing on acknowledged experts in the field. His arguments are based on a pragmatic understanding of the world in which he lives, rather than a manifestation of indulgence in rhetoric for its own sake. Hayes disputes the value of securing a higher education, when all that emerges from the over-priced traditional system is credentialed individuals who are immediately submerged in a consumer-driven society. In contrast, he urges his readers to consider and be aware of their environs, as well as the hype to which they are made subject on a daily basis. He argues in favor of an existential education, expressing his hope that "this book provides a good start not only in helping you make insightful progress in existential matters, but also in helping you embody the kind of living example that inspires others to do so as well". Despite the work being largely geared towards a consideration of the developed world, Hayes' consideration of such issues as democracy and culture has a great deal of relevance to those in the developing world as well. Though he inveighs against terrorists, such as those responsible for the 9/11 disaster, he lays the blame for not being alert to the warning signs of such an onslaught on the neglect of issues of national interest in favor of over-commercialization in the media. His assertiveness of approach propels the reader into taking a stance in relation to his clearly stated arguments. In labeling terrorists as criminals, for example, he exposes himself fearlessly to criticism - in fact, it is Hayes' very fearlessness that sets him free to pinpoint the major failings of contemporary society. September University is logically arranged, and effectively signposted with incisive headings, clearly indicating the major topics discussed throughout the work. The extensive sixteen-page long bibliography directs the reader towards other leading works in the field of personal and public awareness. The reader should also be aware that September University is the latest in a phalanx of other worthwhile and thought-provoking texts that Hayes has produced in the past, including The Rapture of Maturity: A Legacy of Lifelong Learning and Beyond the American Dream: Lifelong Learning and the Search for Meaning in a Postmodern World. The twelve-page index to September University is both comprehensive and insightful, as well as appropriately cross-referenced. Though his work is geared towards the older generation, all who are involved with 50+ baby boomers stand to benefit from the perspective that is granted by such a mature outlook on life. Hayes argues in favor of courtesy and mutual respect between all those in a society, no matter their background.