Celeste Hadassah, make that Dr. Celeste Hadassah, is a professor of philosophy. At 33 years old she is one of the youngest in her field. Such a handicap has made it difficult for her to gain a tenured position at any of the respectable universities near her home in Boston. The most recent affront to her dignity came in the spring, there was an opening in the department. Both Celeste and another Fellow were fully qualified for the tenured position, Celeste more so (at least in her understanding of the situation). When she was passed over for the promotion the reasoning the Dean of the Philosophy department gave was that she was ‘too young and brash, once you mature and settle down you’ll have a better shot at a tenured position’. Unfortunately positions like that don’t just open up every day. Her career depended upon getting her works published and working the underground social connections until her name was widely known enough that universities would come begging for her to teach in their school. And to do that she needed a tenured position, even if it was at a lessor school it was better than teaching intro classes to a room full of bored 19 year-olds, most of whom didn’t want to be there any way.
Celeste’s study of philosophy had lead her to more than just the standard Western pantheon of Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, Plantinga, etc. She was more willing than her colleagues to consider Eastern philosophy. In her studies she learned that the East brought the mind and body into greater interaction with each other, instead of the dualism that pervaded Western minds. Such a discovery had encouraged her to take up martial arts (Kung-fu) as well as fencing (and other types of sword play) as hobbies during free time. These athletic pursuits kept her lithe and strong, a complete contrast to the pale, wisps that usually made up the philosophy faculty.
We find Celeste, as a warrior of both mind and body, looking to move up through the world of academics.