In order to be an honors major in political science you had to take a Methods seminar and it was in what was then called Mather House, which is now where the Admissions Office is, I think. It was up in the second floor in a little room, and there were about 10 of us sitting around a table. And I had kind of slid through my first year and a half of Williams, as I did four years in high school, with my gentleman Bs and B-minuses. Going to school to me wasn’t about learning, it was about getting grades, passing the test, writing good papers. And I remember several things about that class. We read a lot of political philosophy, including Plato. And I remember finding it very thick, very hard to read, and I remember walking up the stairs into that little room and my palms starting to sweat because it was so anxiety provoking to be in there. I used to try to sit as far away from Gaudino as possible, which was at the other end of the table. You sit at one table. It’s kind of an oblong table. And I can remember him leaning across the table with those round intense eyes open as wide as possible after I would answer some question, and him saying, “But why, Mr. Linsky?” And that was the first set of questions. And the second set of questions, which is even worse than that, he would say, “But what does this have to do with you, Mr. Linsky?” And the idea of reading Plato or Ortega y Gasset, or anybody, had anything to do with my own values, my own life, was just a completely new idea to me. The first time, you know, anything below my neck had any been involved in an academic experience.

I think I went into that course assuming that there was no difference between knowledge and wisdom. There was this idea from Plato: to do the good is to know the good; to know the good is to do the good. That is, it’s not the knowing, it’s the doing. There’s another idea that came out of that that, which is that the right questions are much more important than the right answers.

Marty Linsky '61