It Never Gets Old…

Crime Scene at Mockingbird Bistro
At Mockingbird Bistro on Welch in The Montrose

Motorcycling takes you places you wouldn’t believe…tonight a journey through the past to meet old friends at Mockingbird Bistro. We celebrated, lionized, and told inappropriate tales about a hugely transformational figure in our lives. Ross Lence was transformational because he changed the way we thought—forever.

Many like to say Ross Lence never answered a single question put to him by his students to their everlasting consternation. In truth Lence answered every single question…with another question and with elán. That is the Tao of the Master Teacher. The path to knowledge is blocked by a hairball of questions and the sooner the student learns how to untangle them, the better. In the presence of a Master Teacher you come to understand—if you’re really lucky—the depth and scale of your bogus insights on matters of life, love, friendship, and virtue…in other words the most extraordinary and powerful experiences a person can have. In the presence of a Master Teacher you discover that the Tao of learning is teaching yourself.

Lence’s mojo was difficult to nail down…a difficulty no doubt common to all Master Teachers. The classroom became electric when Lence arrived. And then he started to talk. And then he began to ask questions. When it came to our precious preconceived notions, Ross Lence was a one-man wrecking crew on steroids. Our reactions were at once intellectual and visceral…a deadly combination. Deadly because one or the other by themselves would never be enough to effect a permanent change of thought patterns…but when you are shocked intellectually and experience a visceral reaction the two things together change the way you think forever. In very interesting ways, you are never the same again. Ross Lence was a shock to our systems.

On the ride home through the noire of The Montrose I couldn’t help thinking back to those days of shock and awe. It’s been exactly 10 years since Ross went on his journey to the Divine Beyond. This is not the first time we celebrated his life and our good fortune. It won’t be the last. It never gets old.

Ross Lence was professor of Political Theory at the University of Houston from 1971 ’til his death in 2006

Lence was quite literally a Master Teacher with a program in his name (The Ross Lence Master Teacher Program) alive and well to this day at The Honors College at UoH

Between Fall ’76 and Fall ’81, I took seven courses from Ross Lence…it was not nearly enough