25 June 2009

The Last Lecture -- The Review

Like many people, I learned about Randy Pausch in 2007, when the video of his "last lecture" became an internet sensation. Pausch gave his lecture to students, family and friends at Carnegie-Mellon University when he only had a few months to live. (He died in July 2008.)

A book by the same name was released soon after the lecture as a complement to what he said in that hour. I just read it and found it to be profound, wise and emotional all at once. I recommend that you read it. The parts that stood out were his strong desire to leave a clear and strong "I love you and I will miss you" communication with his family. Although he struggled to deliver the message (it's hard to convince someone you love them when you are soon going to be dead), he was lucky to have the time to deliver his message. (My mother had time to communicate such things to me before she died of cancer.)

The other aspect that struck me was his teaching style. As an author, he is ``Randy Pausch, Professor,'' and you really learn what that means throughout the book: Trust your students, push them, set no upper bounds but be firm on your lower bounds, put them into teams and then make those teams the unit of measure, etc. This is a man who clearly loved teaching and building his students "to be all they could be." I am sure that he did sound like the SOB he said he was, but I am also sure that more than a few students owe their current success, happiness and fulfillment to him. That's what real professors do. I take these views seriously, and I hope to emulate them when I teach in the fall at Cal. Stay turned.

Bottom Line: The meaning of life (after reproduction) is accomplishing your dreams. Is your life meaningful? FIVE STARS.

4 comments:

Eric said...

Emulating Randy would be a very good thing. When I was a professor, I tried to do the things that Randy did. He was better at it.
All of his approaches work very well with students. I can give examples if you want.

As to, is my life meaningful? Yep. More so day by day.

Ram said...

What does this mean? if you don't accomplish your dreams, your life was meaningless and you are a loser? It ain't that complicated people - read the Bible Mark 12:39. "Love God and love your neighbor." Who is going to remember Randy or Bill Gates or Michael Jackson a few years from now? Ashes to Ashes and dust to dust.

Eric said...

@Ram,

Read Mark 12:30-31 in the original Greek, do the hermeneutics, do the exegesis, then tell me what it actually means. Thousands of people have been discussing the meaning for centuries.

I have found that we can all agree about the meaning of 'your.' The other words are harder. I would appreciate your detailed views on storge, eros, philia, agape, caritas, and chesed (all words in the Bible that translate as 'love' in English).

Mark 12:31 reads

καὶ δευτέρα ὁμοία, αὕτη Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν μείζων τούτων ἄλλη ἐντολὴ οὐκ ἔστιν

I would like your definition of what πλησίον meant. Scholars have been debating this word for centuries.

Mark 12:39 (your quoted text) reads

'And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:'

If you intend to try to beat the readers of this blog over the head with the Bible, it helps your case to get a few of the facts right. Those who do not read the Bible may listen more while those who do read it will not be immediately insulted.

Blessings.

Eric said...

@Ram,
I may have jumped on you too hard, but if you invoke the Bible or even manuals for Java, it is better if you know what you are talking about. The audience here is fairly knowledgeable.