Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. Everything has been figured out, except how to live. One always dies too soon or too late. And yet, life is there, finished. The line is drawn, and it must all be added up. You are nothing other than your life. There is only one day left, always starting over. It is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk. We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are, that is the fact. When you live alone you no longer know what it is to tell a story: the plausible disappears at the same time as the friends. You let events flow by too.Suddenly you see people appear who speak and then go away; you plunge into stories of which you can't make head or tail. You'd make a terrible witness. It is true that people who live in society have learned how to see themselves in mirrors as they appear to their friends. Luckily, I only have a few...

Dr Shaw is a lecturer in Further Education at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk. She also offers philosophy courses at the School of Continuing Education, Lifelong learning, at the University of Liverpool. In 2015, she has completed her Doctorate in philosophy with a focus on existentialism, the equilibrium doctrine and narrative. She has worked as a teacher of English and Comparative literature and Philosophy at The American University in Cairo, Egypt where she also obtained her BA (Hons). Dr Shaw has an MA in Philosophy and Literature from the University of East Anglia where she also taught on a number of humanities subjects. Whilst working in North Wales in Further education, she gained a PGCE aimed at teaching in FE and HE sectors. Dr Shaw moved to Liverpool in 2010 where she now resides.

Interests: Existentialism, Narrative, Comparative Literature, Feminist Thought, Public Speaking, Arab Existentialism, Philosophy of Education, Art, Music, Film and Theatre, Greek Mythology, Existential counsellor and psychotherapist.


Thursday, 8 May 2014

Arfon Rhys: A Teacher who will be very much missed

Arfon Rhys was my teacher...

He taught me in class and outside of class. Teaching and learning to him was a second nature. He taught me that life is full of good and not so good opportunities. What counts is the person and how he/she deals with what life offers. In class, Arfon was always eager to hear what I have to say. He'd listen attentively and after I finished he would smile. There was never a moment in his class where I found myself thinking of something other than what he was saying and what we were doing. This is how a teacher should be and this is what I inspire to be like...absorbing, admired and most of all, loved by all my students and all the staff.

It saddened me to receive a letter over Easter break from his partner informing me that he is no longer with us and that a meeting will be held at Canolfan Bro Llanwnda on Saturday May 3rd at 2:30. I made the journey from Liverpool to North Wales that day with a heavy heart not knowing what I will say or do. I did not know that Arfon was a Quaker (known as a religious society of Friends) who worship in silence and in search of the Divine. We never spoke about religion. It was to us I guess more of a label than the essence of faith. We shared a philosophical interest in literature, cultures and art. We would have great discussions and I was eager to share Arfon with the world that I wished I could take him with me to live in Liverpool. But of course, a patriotic he is, the love of Wales would not allow him to move to England. This is a recent article I found in  the daily post of Arfon: 

I did not know about this till someone mentioned it in the meeting I attended whilst sharing some experiences about knowing Arfon.

I thought to myself if I did not stand up and say something, I will not be able to let go. The memory is too dear for me to talk about but I had to do it. Here is what I had to say:

"I always considered Arfon to be like a master and I am disciple. I often joked to him and said that I will follow him like Plato followed Socrates in Ancient Greek times. This is how they used to learn. I would have been privileged and happy to do so. He would humbly smile. Last time I met with Arfon in Caernarfon he told me that we often think that when we grow old we will become wiser. It is not true. The body grows old, but the heart stays young. To me, his words were always full of wisdom and in me, these words will always live on."

God bless your soul and may you rest in peace, my dear friend.

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