The States of America in 2020–Good

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A live online lecture and group discussion hosted by PRS President Greg Salyer

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I am larger, better than I thought;
I did not know I held so much goodness.
All seems beautiful to me.
I can repeat over to men and women
You have done such good to me I would do the same to you,
I will recruit for myself and you as I go,
I will scatter myself among men and women as I go,
I will toss a new gladness and roughness among them,
Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me;
Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and shall bless me.
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

​This passage from “Song of the Open Road” has stayed with me through many journeys and years, and it resonates with me now in 2020. Whitman was a master at merging the interior landscapes of his soul with the exterior landscapes of America and its collective soul. That he did so while serving as a nurse in the Civil War and seeing some of the darkest times in American history makes his vision all the more compelling. As it was then, so it is now that as Americans and as a country, we do not know how much goodness we hold.

About the speaker: Greg Salyer, Ph.D. is the President of the Philosophical Research Society. For twenty-five years, he has been an administrator and scholar in higher education institutions, but his highest calling has always been that of teacher. Trained in interdisciplinary studies, Dr. Salyer moves through the disciplines of literature, philosophy, and religious studies looking for and helping his students find practical and profound wisdom in the stories, texts, and ideas created all over the world and throughout history.

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