Aspen can still have big ideas |

Aspen can still have big ideas

Thanks to Scott Condon for The Aspen Times front-page article about some of my “reflections” in regard to six generations of Coopers in Aspen (“Buzz Cooper reflects on family’s past, present and future in Aspen,” June 20, The Aspen Times). He did an admirable job of writing — as usual. However, I would like to add some words and ideas about a topic he omitted: philosophy.

I have spent many bits and pieces of my nearly-90 years of life pondering the meaning of life, the beauty of the surroundings in Aspen and the opportunities to make changes in our society and the world. Above all, I have been fascinated by the big ideas which surrounded the Aspen Institute (“Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies,” as it once was called).

Big ideas attracted big minds (Mortimer Adler and Matthew Barzun), plus numerous fine thinkers among the participants. Leaders at the Institute included people like Alvin Eurich, a fellow who helped me create two symposiums at the Institute. We were interested in people in power in education — superintendents of schools. We were aiming at changes based on philosophic principles.

From my high school years, on through college and Stanford university, I took classes in philosophy. I believed that meaningful changes in schools and in the world’s societies would come through in-depth thinking and practices. I wrote two books (hardly best sellers!) that expanded my thoughts and encouraged new ideas and new ways of looking at schools.

I even included thoughts on “How to decrease the chances of war.”

I have only a few months or years left, but I would like to set up a foundation or a tax-free group to put philosophy in a more central position in our nation and world. A dream, not likely to come true, but maybe …

Maybe the new generations of Coopers will help keep ideas a central focus in a very special town: Aspen.

Stirling “Buzz” Cooper


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