"[In Lost in Thought] Ms. Hitz is asking the right questions. . . . The question at its heart is disarmingly simple and deeply engaging: What should we do with ourselves." ―Jonathan Marks
In an overloaded, superficial, technological world, in which almost everything and everybody is judged by its usefulness, where can we turn for escape, lasting pleasure, contemplation, or connection to others? While many forms of leisure meet these needs, Zena Hitz writes, few experiences are so fulfilling as the inner life, whether that of a bookworm, an amateur astronomer, a birdwatcher, or someone who takes a deep interest in one of the countless other subjects. Drawing on inspiring examples, from Socrates and Augustine to Malcolm X and Elena Ferrante, and from films to Hitz's own experiences as someone who walked away from elite university life in search of greater fulfillment, Lost in Thought is a passionate and timely reminder that a rich life is a life rich in thought.
Today, when even the humanities are often defended only for their economic or political usefulness, Hitz says our intellectual lives are valuable not despite but because of their practical uselessness. And while anyone can have an intellectual life, she encourages academics, in particular, to get back in touch with the desire to learn for its own sake, and calls on universities to return to the person-to-person transmission of the habits of mind and heart that bring out the best in us.
Reminding us of who we once were and who we might become, Lost in Thought, is a moving account of why renewing our inner lives is fundamental to preserving our humanity.
" An inspirational attestation of the ability of intellectual activity to dignify oppressed lives. . . . Much of this book is beautiful. "
―Sophie Duncan, Literary Review
Zena Hitz is a Tutor in the great books program at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, where she also lives. She has a Ph.D. in ancient philosophy from Princeton University and studies and teaches across the liberal arts. Website: zenahitz.net Twitter @zenahitz