Another night’s showing of “Take Me Out” was underway while I was busy watching “Men of Honor” in the MXI. Today was a busy one, but absolutely fun. After working at the Athletic Center, I listened to Dr. Nelson give his chapel talk entitled “Unlearning and the Artichoke.”
It was probably one of the best talks I have listened to, with his comprehensive discussion of what it means to “unlearn.” He compares to geniuses, J. Robert Oppenheimer to Chris Langen. Oppenheimer grew up in the top tier of life and was the notable theoretical physicist who spearheaded the Manhattan Project. Langen had has an IQ higher than the scale can measure, who dropped out of school due to his distaste for the education system that dealt him an unfair hand.
The point of this comparison was not necessarily the relative genius of the two men, but rather, their response to adversity. Paths can form a rut, and it is a matter of not allowing bad habits to guide our lives, or as Dr. Nelson put it, “unlearning” them. When explaining why artichoke became a part of the title of his work, Dr. Nelson discussed his experience while attending a dinner with a Wabash professor. At the dinner he was surprised to discover how much he enjoyed artichoke. The experience was a revelation and warning to him against closing oneself off to fine things in life because of ingrained biases or bad habits.
What made the talk so special to me was the delightful sprinkling of humor throughout the entire story that made the talk insightful and entertaining. And how can I forget that the Sphinx Club held a Harlem Shake in Chadwick after the talk, and if you don’t know what that is, it will be posted soon to YouTube.