Virtual Event: Zena HitzLost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life

Join the Milwaukee chapter of the Society of Philosophers in America (SOPHIA) as they host author Zena Hitz to talk about her new book, Lost in Thought.

SOPHIA is “made up of people from within and beyond the academy, people who are interested in deep, meaningful dialogue,” and it is with this in mind that they’re hosting Dr.Hitz to discuss her new book, a book that calls for a full renewal of the intellectual life.

The dialogue won’t focus exclusively on her book, but it will have the following excerpt in mind, one that echoes part of SOPHIA’s own aspirations—the grassroots engagement with the intellectual life:

Learning and intellectual life are not the exclusive province of professional academics, but academics are their official guardians; and so a good place to begin renewal from. But I also hope that this book will fall into the hands of nonprofessionals with intellectual interests, and that they will recognize themselves in it. Perhaps we will even be better off if intellectual life is renewed from the grassroots.

They’ll send out a pre-reading and discussion handout prior to Tuesday evening. But for those who would appreciate further meditation on this topic before the event, this essay on attention will provide an excellent intro to the depths and joy that Zena Hitz hopes others find.

Use the code LIT30-FG at checkout to receive a 30% discount and free shipping on Lost in Thought through 7/17/20.

About the Book

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 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.

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 PhD in ancient philosophy from Princeton University and studies and teaches across the liberal arts. Website: Twitter @zenahitz