Much of human history is peppered with a notion that when we don’t understand the unknown, we become defensive, fearful and hesitant. Granted the opposite is also true; we can become bold, curious and willing to take a chance. There’s a dichotomy between assumptions and reactions. The sentiments in the plaque attest to these notions. Just where you straddle this dichotomous line depends on how you define yourself.
A commencement address given a few years ago might shed some light on my post. It was delivered by Tim Minchin, an alum of the University of Western Australia. His career path is one created by an awareness for all things sentient. Minchin reminds me of my own college journey in liberal arts; I found such great value in what and how you feel in terms of art, music, literature, philosophy and all those disciplines of study that pre-dated this notion that mindfulness and empathy and emotional intelligence are somehow new constructs of our modern, western world.
In his comments, his last 3 points made in impression of sorts:
#7) define yourself with what you love, not what you hate; #9) respect people with less power than you, and #9) don’t rush…
Are you leaning more to one side or the other of that dichotomous line…?
Yes, all rivers have a right and left bank. Some of the most famous of river banks can be found in Paris: the Seine.
The banks of the Connecticut River doesn’t have the inimitable splendor of its cousin in France. However, both waterways are remarkable for a myriad of reasons, some similar; but I suspect the majority of those things remarkable are marked by differences in history and appeal.
Vive la différence!
In my life, only 2 museums have profoundly impacted my psyche: The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC and most recently the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. As instruments for education, they are a means to an end.
The prison in Philadelphia was built to help those find and practice penitence for whatever crime they committed. Human nature can be flexible and adaptable across time, however, incarceration and solitary confinement has a way of bringing ruin to flexibility and adaptation.
With that ruin, even the strongest of men—and women—lose their hearts, emotions, everything, to spiritual atrophy.
If marketing is the means to help us remember a brand and its benefits, then the marketing of such museums is to reinforce the unimaginable cruelty were capable of, and to keep alive the most powerful and universal of virtues that are love and hope.