Reflections on a Vocational Happenstance
"The essence of the beautiful is unity in variety."- Moses Mendelssohn, Briefe über die Empfindungen (1755)
Often I sit down to write about one thing and wind up writing about something else altogether. Usually it is the hunting down of an appropriate quotation that knocks me out of kilter. And so it was this morning.
I intended to write about Ravelry, an invaluable resource for knitters and crocheters. It's a website, but much more than that. It is a vibrant community of creative individuals sharing their experiences, their love of craft, their ingenuity. I meant to talk about the value of community support to any enterprise.
But when I found the words, "The essence of the beautiful is unity in variety," I stopped short. I felt my thoughts moving from specific communities such as Ravelry, to larger communities such as the United States. "unity in variety" seems closely related to "E Pluribus Unum".
I was just warming to the more complicated topic when I was sent further afield while trying to attribute the quotation. The Internet is a marvelous resource, but one to be used with great care, since it is nothing more than our collective consciousness and we are quite often collectively mistaken.
Both Felix Mendelssohn and Somerset Maughm were given credit, so I went to Wikiquote for help. Perhaps both men employed it, but the attribution belongs to another, Felix's grandfather. Somehow that investigative experience led me back again to considering "unity in variety", "e pluribus unum" and the United States as a community.
I have lots of thoughts and feelings running 'round in me this morning, the morning after Super Tuesday. I haven't sorted them all out, and perhaps I never will. But I wish I could assign each of the remaining candidates an extemporaneous essay, and I wish that essay would determine the outcome of the election.
In 100 words or fewer, I would like them each to describe what makes our nation beautiful.
Moses Mendelssohn did it in 9.