From the perplexing alteration of school anthem “Fair Harvard” to The Crimson Editorial Board’s latest HCFA hysteria to whatever is happening on the Korean peninsula, there’s no shortage of small and large controversies that I could have waded into, to leave a lingering last word. As many of my peers and friends would unfortunately be able to tell you (bless their hearts for putting up with all of it), I have no shortage of opinions on these controversies either.
I absolutely believe that Harvard offers something of an extraordinary education, but I am not convinced that all is as well as it seems in our classroom education. I firmly believe education is far more holistic than classroom and book knowledge, and that our educational experience is influenced by far more than studying. Yet I cannot help but wonder if we have become so enamored with “experiences” outside the classroom that we have neglected the very foundations of the liberal arts education for which we supposedly came to Harvard.
Yet, when I am handed a map, compass, and protractor and am expected to plot and then actually go find five grid coordinates in the woods during an Army land navigation training? My brain starts flashing the blue screen of death that my old Windows XP desktop machine would flash on the daily. (Fun aside: The Department of Defense seems to still largely rely on ancient Windows operating systems. You should definitely be concerned.)
Something is different about Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Something is different about the vehement and vociferous student-led political activism that came out of this tragedy. Something is different about the vitriol directed against those who might be so saddened and overwhelmed by such evil that they might fall on their knees to pray, to think, to turn their hearts to a suffering community before defaulting to political activism.
For people of many traditions, faith is not simply another interest or activity. It is not a competing viewpoint, worldview, or lens, but the very compass that orients us to ourselves, to others, and to the divine. As C.S. Lewis once wrote of his Christian faith, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”