Editor’s Note: The Daily Reporter will regularly feature our “neighbors,” whether it’s someone with an interesting hobby or profession, or a nonprofit group that’s making a difference in our community. Here, Luke Muckerheide of Greenfield shares his recent trip to Greece. Muckerheide, 20, graduated from Greenfield-Central High School in 2021 and is a student at Purdue University majoring in mechanical engineering. He went to Greece for eight days through Tragos Quest to Greece, a program for brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon and funded by the SigEp Education Foundation. If you know of a person or group you’d like to see featured in Neighbors, send an email (email protected).
Daily Reporter: What did you study in Greece?
Luke Muckerheide: We traveled with a professor and studied various topics related to Greek history, culture and philosophy. We did daily readings for several weeks before the trip and spent an hour each morning discussing topics relevant to the sites we would visit that day.
DR: Tell us about some of the places you’ve visited.
LM: We first visited the temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, then Eleusis, seat of one of the Greek mystery cults. Next comes Corinth, the richest city in ancient Greece, then Mycenae, home of Agamemnon from the Trojan War. After that, we visited the modern city of Nafplio and the ancient sanctuary of Asclepius in Epidaurus, a famous healing site and home to an incredible theater. We then crossed the Corinth Bay to visit Delphi, home of a famous oracle whose enigmatic advice was sought by Alexander the Great, Nero, Cicero and the philosophers Zeno of Citium and Socrates, among others. After Delphi, we visited a monastery and then traveled to Athens to visit the famous Parthenon and associated museums.
DR: Share an experience that had an impact on your life.
LM: The Quest sent me home with an immense appreciation for ancient Greek wisdom and its modern relevance to existential questions like how to live with happiness and virtue. My interest in this philosophy led me to the school of Stoicism, which I have since adopted. It was life changing. I had many goals to achieve, habits I wanted to make or break, and mental health issues to overcome. Stoic philosophy has been the tool I never dreamed of. When I was at my lowest, I clung to the hope that one day I would hear the right words that would make everything better. I found it, in the words of Zeno of Citium, Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, the great Stoic philosophers. The Stoics practiced the cardinal virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance and justice. They believe in embracing destiny (Amor fati) to go through the ups and downs of life without despair, remembering that one is going to die (Memento mori) and thus making the most of each moment, practicing the dichotomy of control so as not to stress. on matters beyond our control, and to perfect what you can control: your state of mind and your body. Stoicism is an incredibly powerful philosophy that even forms the basis of modern cognitive behavioral therapy. Stoicism changed my life and I hope it can change yours too, whether you read the original books or just listen to summaries on YouTube.
DR: What do you plan to do after you graduate from college?
LM: I plan to work as an engineer before becoming a manager, perhaps at a company like Zipline, which makes drones for urban deliveries and for urgent deliveries to poor countries with limited infrastructure. I am also interested in other areas such as manufacturing, locks, watches and automation.