OBITUARY


(Photo:   The Lion's Roar Yearbook, 19?? edition)

Richard B. Carter

18 June 1931 - 20 October 2013 [Havre de Grace, MD]

           Since there does not appear to be a formal obituary for Richard Carter, I have decided to accept Arthur Westing's suggestion and write a brief notice for former Windham College teachers and students.

           Richard's philosophic inquiries were motivated by his desire to understand human nature and its shaping by political society. He was a lifelong seeker. It is not surprising that in his Descartes' Medical Philosophy: The Organic Solution to the Mind-Body Problem (1983),he cites in an epigraph Descartes' remark that “There is nothing with which we can more fruitfully occupy ourselves than to try to know ourselves.” Among Richard's later books is Essays in Philosophical Zoology by Adolf Portmann: The Living Form and the Seeing Eye (1990), translations of some of the writings of the Swiss zoologist with whom he studied for some months in Basle. Later still came The Language of Zen: Heart Speaking to Heart (2010), the result of his life-changing immersion in Buddhism, including studying in Kyoto at the International Research Institute for Zen Buddhism at Hanazono University.

           His was not an easy life. His childhood was difficult, and he said that he might have gone seriously astray had it not been for some fortunate schooling and then the saving experience of his undergraduate years at St. John's College in Annapolis. The great books program there launched him on his life's work. Through the painful experiences of divorces, the loss of full-time teaching with the collapse of Windham, unsatisfactory employment, and years of straitened circumstances, he never lost the philosophic passion or ceased to study.

           For a number of students he was an inspiring teachers; some stayed in touch with him for decades. Although formally my colleague, he was in important respects my teacher.

           He was also my devoted friend for forty years. Friendship was for him among the finest human blessings, but it did not always proceed calmly. Although Zen tempered his spirit, disagreement could disturb his equanimity. This, however, was a small price to pay for the affection of his good heart and the insights of his good mind. And I should add that he had a sharp wit and a wicked sense of humor.

Charles Fish December 26, 2013


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