Katherine E. McBride, the Fourth President of Bryn Mawr College gave the commencement addresses when I received my Master of Arts Degree. Her remarks created a future furor in an era when feminism was still burgeoning. Bryn Mawr, an almost all female university was furiously dedicated to educating women and to their not utilizing their education to promote their husbands’ careers.
Recently an op-ed suggesting that college was the best place to find suitable husbands created a furor. Thus we note that this notion though not new remains highly sensitive. But McBride specifically said in her address, “Only our failures Marry.”
Years later the Alumnae Bulletin insisted that the quote was wrong and that the President had instead said, “Our failures only marry.” Not true.
Photo by: Shaligram
Is it a coincidence that in Hindu mythology the Avatars of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver, coincides with the life forms that Darwin attributes to evolution?
The word Avatar is often translated as incarnation or manifestation, but it means descent. Of the three aspects of God as understood by Hinduism, only the Preserver has descended to our planet. The Creative and Destructive aspects of the Divinity are not associated with earthly existence. But to preserve existence, Lord Vishnu descended nine times: as a fish, as a reptile, as a land animal, as a giant man lion – symbolizing human ascent from the animal kingdom-, as a dwarf, as Lord Rama, as Lord Krishna and as Lord Buddha, the Enlightened One.
Lord Vishnu’s anticipated final incarnation is as Kalki predicted to be a phenomenon who will deliver the world from evil and darkness.
1984 has come and gone and most of us don’t care for many reasons. Those of us who enjoy democracy have spilled ourselves open and are impervious to judgment, rather we demand acceptance and have opened our minds and hearts as to what is acceptable.
Technology, the desire to reveal ourselves, the lack of time that prods to develop virtual relationships rather than real ones and fear of terror have made us less sensitive to issues of privacy. Only those who fear government seem to worry about the data government has collected.
Many do not think that the secrets leaked from Edward Snowden were really secret? Are not the true secrets those that no one anticipates or discovers?
In the United States the notion of freedom of expression fiercely extends to language. There is no Academy of Language that maintains the purity or even the meaning of the words we use. We live in a state of descriptive linguistics rather than prescriptive linguistics. Our grammar books struggle to keep as things can be “very unique” and we do not know who killed “who.”
Words like unique don’t mean what they used to. Something can become very one of a kind and “sick” means wonderful. Our politicians “otherize” groups and people who do not bode well for their continuing success/re-election.
When television became dominant, Mc Luhan made the case that “The Medium is the Message.” His point is the messaging is greatly influenced by the medium presenting it. This concept has great importance with the exponential explosion of the multiple avenues for messaging.
Photo Credit: Huffington Post
Hats off to Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014. The New York native’s outer beauty displays her inner balance. While it is true that this beauty exists in just about all contestants who have already won their state titles, Nina’s particular balance is outstanding. It represents the New America. Her America has it transitioning from a melting pot to a salad bowl.
The first time I came across the salad bowl view of our diversity was in a Bryn Mawr College Alumnae Bulletin. It was at the time a novel perspective. But the truth about our early immigrants is that most of those who came voluntarily sought to blend into America. They willingly surrendered their languages, their accents and the burdens of the world they fled.
Like many Hindus, followers of an ancient religion, Nina added, she did not subtract. This has earned her criticism from old-minded Americans who are scared of the new social order in which their views, their beliefs and their looks no longer stand supreme. But old-mindedness will evolve or cease to matter.