The Elegant Formalities of Things…

Today, just some brief comments about four notable/tragic/amazing/fascinating things: the Cho Seung-Hui shootings; a superbly elegant performance in dressage by a Danish mare with a joyous esthetic sensibility and verve; a sobering videotape from Soulforce about Patrick Henry University (whose grads go into posts in the current administration); and finally a fascinating woman in science writing, Margaret Wertheim, who’s been leading a group in crocheting a coral reef.

1) I was getting my weblog up and running when the Virginia Tech shootings occurred. I had two powerful responses all that week and would like to state them now. First, yet again we see the consequences to society of the helpless rage that possesses those victimized persons who were sexually abused as little boys. No greater crime against a child can be perpetrated and yet its effects are everywhere around us. Secondly, speaking of victims, we have heard about the traumatic effects of this violence on students, staff, and even on children not directly related to the killings, and how these effects will go on for years. So how do we expect young men and women to go into war and have worse things happening to and around them and think they won’t (all) come home scarred for life? We may make all the distinctions we wish to about killing in warfare and murder, but the violence is identical and all violence murders significant parts of our souls.

2) This videotape of the Danish-bred mare “Matine” and her exquisitely joyous performance reminds me of something a woman who works with animals said in marvelous book about animals and their participation in human communication (I’m trying to track this book down again). She had encountered a problem mare, but the creature was balking, she realized, because she was being asked to do “merely pretty” things. This animal knew she had been born to do the beautiful. So watch this…

3) Now go over to and watch the sobering videotape of what happened when Soulforce attempted to visit the campus of Patrick Henry University.

4) Finally, here’s an interview with Margaret Wertheim, notable for her maverick efforts to integrate her love of science with other areas of human life, including spirituality and crocheting. Author of Pythagorus’ Trousers.

For the “elegant formalities of things,” please read the newest installments of my course-sessions at right, especially: Session One, part 7 — “The Peculiar Subject Matter of Theory and Greek Poiesis.

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