Episode 54 | Cultivating a Life of Learning with Zena Hitz

Cultivating a Life of Learning with Zena Hitz 

How can we cultivate the habits and discipline required for a life of learning, especially in an age of distraction? And is such a life really worth it?

Zena Hitz is a humanities scholar and author of Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life, and she joins our podcast to argue that few experiences are as formative and fulfilling as the cultivation of a rich inner life of learning and contemplation:

“Virtually any intellectual activity, any piece of thinking or contemplation involves others. Even just sitting reading a book, there’s an author that wrote that book and there are characters within the book that the author is sharing with you. And a lot of what I think we do and in a great books education is you encounter the minds of these authors and…even if they’re long dead you see something about who they were and what they saw. So there’s a human connection at the bottom of it.”

Learning in Community, and the need for Perseverance

Zena argues that learning is worth doing for its own sake, as something intrinsically valuable, reflective of, and fortifying to our dignity as human beings and a vital part of the good life. And when we find our energy flagging or our motives for learning to be mixed, community and perseverance are the necessary prescription for deepening and sustaining our intellectual lives.

Our podcast is an edited version of an Online Conversation with Zena from September, 2022. You can access the full conversation with transcript here.

Learn more about Zena Hitz.

Authors and books mentioned in the conversation:

Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of the Intellectual Life, by Zena Hitz
Jonathan Haidt
David Hume
Jessica Hooten Wilson

Related Trinity Forum Readings:

On Happiness, by Thomas Aquinas
On Friendship, by Cicero
Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl
Augustine’s Confessions
The Long Loneliness, by Dorothy Day
Wrestling with God, by Simone Weil

Related Conversations:

Strength in the Second Half with Arthur Brooks
Cultivating a Life of Learning with Zena Hitz
Being, Living, and Dying Well with Lydia Dugdale
Hope, Heartbreak, and Meaning with Kate Bowler
The Burden of Living and the and the Goodness of God with Alan Noble
All the Lonely People with Ryan Streeter and Francie Broghammer

To listen to this or any of our episodes in full, visit ttf.org/podcast and to join the Trinity Forum Society and help make content like this possible, join the Trinity Forum Society

Special thanks to Ned Bustard for our podcast artwork.