Millions of Americans keep bedside books of prayer and meditative reflection--collections of daily passages to stimulate spiritual thought and advancement. The Intellectual Devotional is a secular version of the same--a collection of 365 short lessons that will inspire and invigorate the reader every day of the year. . . . Impress your friends by explaining Plato's Cave Allegory, pepper your cocktail party conversation with opera terms, and unlock the mystery of how batteries work. . . . Offering an escape from the daily grind to contemplate higher things, The Intellectual Devotional is a great way to awaken in the morning or to revitalize one's mind before retiring in the evening.Subtitle:
Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Roam Confidently with the Cultured Class.If there's such a thing as "the cultured class," you and I, dudes, surely belong to it. But whether there's a large number of people who believe that they do not belong, but who wish to (or even just want roam alongside us occasionally), I'm in more doubt.
Now, I went to the kind of college where people said--often laughingly, but in all essential seriousness--that a good reason to take Art History 101 was that it would allow you to make cocktail-party conversation someday. The exact set of circumstances whereby I might find myself at a party where suddenly everyone was talking about chiaroscuro were no more clear to me than why I would stay if they did--but, like my peers, I took the possibility seriously. In high school or college I might even have bought this book or given it as a gift to a friend.
But if anyone searching for the book's website has landed on this post by mistake, lemme tell ya: no one cares if you've read Ulysses, or know exactly what an aria or nuclear fission is--and trotting out your two-paragraph factoids on those subjects among actual Joyce scholars or opera singers or nuclear scientists isn't going to impress anyone. What do you do when you start "roam[ing] with the cultured class"? Uh, you hold intelligent conversation. You show that you have an interest in something, and are as eager to share your interests with others as to lean about theirs.
So pursue the things that actually interest you. Go to the exhibitions that come to your local art museum, or befriend a master woodworker, or take a series of pastry-making classes. Whatever. And if this book inspires you to learn more about some of the subjects it treats, awesome. But the only people with a fetishistic list of Things Everyone Should Know are those with screaming class and/or cultural anxieties themselves.
Trust me. The academy's full of 'em.