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At Home In Scrutopia

Roger Scruton's rural English idyll

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F_a7VblvoM&w=525&h=300]

Reader Dave sends this idyllic 45-minute Belgian TV documentary in which a journalist visits Roger Scruton at his English country farm. The reader says:

At age 72, Scruton reflects on the sacred nature of his land and its inhabitants, and the fragility of its ecosystem, also discussing man’s inherent aestheticism – that arranging and rearranging of things we do to find the inner purpose and beauty of said things. With his own mortality in view, Scruton, whether feeding the fish in his pond or playing the organ in the small local church, exudes a meditative relationship to his surroundings, one expressed in quietude and with a profound thankfulness.

Dave is right. This documentary is meditative. I didn’t want it to end. You may not have the opportunity to watch it during the workday, but do make a point of seeing it tonight, if you can. Roger Scruton has created my idea of paradise, or as close as we can get to it in this world.

And by the way, if you don’t have summer plans, please do consider this:

Scrutopia Summer School 30 July – 8 August

The study group would provide a ten day immersion experience in the philosophy and outlook of Sir Roger Scruton, the British writer and philosopher who has inspired many searching people to believe in Western civilisation and its legacy. Sir Roger will lead the course of study, which will take place in and around his house near historic Malmesbury in the Cotswolds.

Residents would be housed in the Royal Agricultural University in nearby Cirencester, a charming Victorian Gothic college that provides comfortable accommodation and excellent food. Provisional accommodation has been secured from Sunday 30th July through until Tuesday 8th August.

There will be visits to nearby historical sites, including the Avebury Stone Circle, the Bath Museums and the Chedworth Roman Villa, which will provide an experience of the historical depth of this unique part of England.

The aim is to assemble a group of not more than 20 committed people, with a shared interest in culture and in all that is involved in passing it on. Each day will begin with a talk from Sir Roger followed by a discussion. Reading and discussion in the afternoon will lead to a formal presentation, either by Sir Roger or a distinguished visiting speaker, and the evenings will involve concerts, readings, or further discussion over wine. Aspiring writers, composers and artists will be invited to submit samples of their work for criticism, and discussions will be organised around a curriculum of readings chosen to illustrate some of the major intellectual issues of our day.

Provisional topics include the nature of philosophy, why beauty matters, the art of writing, figurative painting, the Western inheritance, the meaning of conservatism, musical order, real environmentalism, understanding wine and the life of friendship. We will also provide a piano trio for an evening of Schubert and Brahms.

Some appreciation of the environment can be gleaned from the film presented by Alicja Gecinska for Belgian television, a short clip from which can be viewed on YouTube. Opportunities to walk, ride and ponder in the beautiful local countryside will be many, and events will take place at the Scruton residence as well as at Cirencester.

The fee for the course will be in the region of £2,500 or $3,000 to cover board and lodging and all other costs, apart from travel to and from the event, which will be the responsibility of each participant. We will close the list of participants when we have twenty firm commitments, who have paid the deposit of £250 necessary to secure a place on the course.

If I didn’t already have travel plans for the summer, I would book this in a heartbeat. I cannot imagine a more pleasurable way to spend a week in the summertime. May it please God to preserve Roger for another year, so I can attend the 2018 session.