Language, and thought like the wind
and the feelings that make the town;
[man] has taught himself, and shelter against the cold
refuge from the rain. He can always help himself,
He faces no future helpless.
The arc of events that have shaped my intellectual passions, all of which Sophocles describes: language, thought, feelings, community, change, human advancement, and a promising future—still remain obscure to me, perhaps easier to describe than understand. I remain as confused as my students when we argue the age-old dispute between those who think history is determined by events—that we are all, a la Tolstoy, “slaves of history”—or those who favor Carlyle and believe that ...