Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Is there any connection between graduation and gradual? To graduate means to complete, to end. The Latin root is gradus, step or stage, suggesting that graduation represents a process of incremental, step by step learning and growth. While growth happens in spurts-witness rapid physical and hormonal growth among pre-teens, or experiences of sudden insight or flashes of awareness, yet to consolidate change and progress toward betterment, many prior moments of learning and awareness, experiments and testing, are necessary.
Progress is essentially painstaking. Human knowledge is one percent revelation and ninety-nine percent perspiration.
I am grateful for the graduation of my son from a master’s program in Philosophy. I am grateful for his accumulated success symbolized by an academic title; more importantly, I am grateful for the myriad steps he took and completed along the journey of acquiring greater human wisdom. Each lecture attended, each paper successfully written, each argument cogently made, each idea more fully understood, each book and essay read and grasped, are all reasons for grateful celebration.
As a major in philosophy, his livelihood is in question. At the same time, the wisdom acquired leaves me confident that his life will be guided by the certainty of intellectual importance and spiritual significance. Beyond my worry for his livelihood is my pride and gratitude for his on-going love of and commitment to the pursuit of wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
Jewish tradition emphasizes that the “best merchandise is Torah !” While one’s physical possessions are subject to theft, no one can rob a human being of one’s thoughts and ideas.
May my son succeed in earning a respectable livelihood. May he never lose sight of the rewards of the mind, heart and soul.