ours and not only ours
Like so many other records of the Thomas More that was (the beautiful newsletters, the now unavailable audio recordings of Senior Thesis presentations), the film, “The Beautiful Changes,” is no longer actively published by the school’s administration.
The film is in itself beautifully conceived and composed; but it is still more beautiful for the vision and activity of the institution that it portrays. That institution deserves to be remembered and looked to by all people of good will as an exemplar of what liberal education can be. By right, that institution ought to be remembered by those both at Thomas More and the Erasmus Institute who are committed to the present work of education and to envisioning its future.
Liberal education represents a genuine service and a genuine need because only through actively recalling the memories of our spiritual and cultural history can we hope to be true stewards of our destiny, free from the unexamined reign of contemporary sentiment and opinion (or opinionlessness, as the case may be). This more recent history of ours, that of a particular educational institution in crisis, though it is certainly more contemporary, is not on that account less weighty, nor its memories less deeply compelling. Indeed, by their very nearness to our own contingency, the memories of this history have a fragility that calls in particular way for our care. We are to hold such memories in a way that combines protection with offering, in a way that says they are not only ours.
The Beautiful Changes
One wading a Fall meadow finds on all sides
The Queen Anne’s Lace lying like lilies
On water, it glides
So from the walker, it turns
Dry grass to a lake, as the slightest shade of you
Valleys my mind in fabulous blue Lucernes.
The beautiful changes as a forest is changed
By a chameleon’s tuning his skin to it,
As a mantis, arranged
On a green leaf, grows
Into it, makes the leaf leafier, and proves
Any greenness is deeper than anyone knows.
Your hands hold roses always in a way that says
They are not only yours; the beautiful changes
In such kind ways,
Wishing ever to sunder
Things and things’ selves for a second finding, to lose
For a moment all that it touches back to wonder.
The film was recently posted on YouTube: