Wednesday, April 25, 2012


It's been a long day -- and will be for about four more weeks. My schedule has become increasingly monastic, as I move from library to library, poring over books. (By the way, the best and most exciting way to experience the monastic life is not to actually become a monk, but to read Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose.) It's very hard to stop myself from singing psalms at the hour of Lauds, of course. (Eco assures me this is between 5 and 6 in the morning.) 

I bring up the monastic life because there is a certain discipline of mind and body required of the Finalist. One has to restrain the more wayward tendencies of the mind and body, to sustain a purity of thought and action throughout the period of study. This is why I complement study with going to the gym. (See my first post.) One has to keep calm, and purge the mind of absurd and unhelpful fears. One has to keep to a schedule, and resist the temptations. And if one wants to, one should pray, and pray often.

But monkish austerity will soon give way to the festival of carnival. 

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