Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Yukon Blind Dream

I had many excellent teachers at UWRF, often taking the listed professor into greater account than the course description when signing up for classes. It's with no lack of respect for any of them that I single out Dr. Imtiaz Moosa as one of my absolute favorites. I may be a programmer by degree and vocation, but it's his philosophy classes I remember most vividly.

When I was in his classrooms, Dr. Moosa's eyesight was pretty lousy by most standards, but he could see. More importantly, he opened up students' metaphorical eyes by the roomful. This guy will make you think, hard, to the point of discomfort. And to me, that's a necessary and welcome element of growth.

Today, my dear old professor can no longer see, but he's as strong and bombastic (to use one of his favorite words) as ever. I recently got back in touch with him over email, and learned of a pretty extraordinary adventure he took this summer:


There's a lot of reading there, but it's well worth the time. He and a friend chronicled their Yukon journey, along with some hints of the fascinating discussions they had. I feel like I knew Dr. Moosa pretty well, for a student anyway, but reading his co-adventurer's account showed me some new sides and surprises along with the classic, familiar moments:
He insists on walking without being connected to me, and is quite happy walking into the odd bush / tree for that freedom. I describe the terrain and scenery, and he just responds with: "I just love this".
That's him, all right. It's even a good metaphor for those of us who loved his classes - we may not have had all the faculties to fully appreciate what he presented to us, but there's nothing we'd have traded for the journey.

Dr. Moosa and I talked a fair amount outside of class, with topics covering a full spectrum, but as I read the second-hand story of his vision permanently failing, I recalled a conversation we had that at the time seemed pretty insignificant. He and I both had pretty good-sized bald spots (though his was much more age-appropriate) and he was telling me how it was a source of embarrassment. My view was, and remains, "Well, it's only hair; I could be losing something useful". I remember him being impressed with my attitude, and maybe even a bit comforted. And now of course, he has lost something useful, and it feels like a pretty stupid thing to have said.

But it wasn't his hair or his eyesight that made him my favorite professor. If today we were to get into a good old-fashioned debate, and he were to bring my old words back to me, then I think I could argue my way around them. ...And that's as much his fault as mine. :^)


t.m. said...

Wow. Just wow.

Anonymous said...

I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

noon said...

He too was one of my favorite professors. I only had him for one class, but he was a lot of fun and had an incredible ability to hold one's attention.