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Change supposedly occurs at an ever increasing rate:
Name most any aspect of society, peer around the corner
Take a deep breath, and realize that what you see, read,
and experience today is invariably a transitional event.
Greeks, Romans, Brits, Americans : there is a common thread.
Peruse paintings, sculpture, music, the legends of mythology,
The tales of folklore and vacation guides.
Inclusively all have a fascination with the observation of, and
attempt at some mental level to understand the oceans and seas.
Today, in our so called “fast paced society”, where our limited attention
spans are derided and mocked, a ropeline with the past remains.
The god given mysteries of the oceans remain.
What is it?
The constant roar of incoming surf?
The reflections and inflections of sun, clouds?
The inexorable movement of water as it comes ashore?
The peering for wildlife and fish as they fleet before us?
Sound simplistic? Yes.
However, there is a fascination with bodies of water which
Spans centuries of time.
Is it our fascination with a connection to our ancestors
Knowing they too have pondered the same mysteries?
In these times of pausing while astride a beach chair do we
Discover something new about who we are and where we originate?
It is nature’s way of encouraging even the most hardened among us
To pause and consider how powerless we can be when compared
With the giants of creation?
Yes, the grey haired octogenarians sip margaritas while staring
Over the horizon to horizon expanse of the Atlantic Ocean .
They have spent many days over the years in lawn chairs, with a
favorite book or newspaper in hand, oblivious to the rigors of the
The ocean their protector and inspiration. Their connection with
generations passed from the long ago land of their ancestors.
The larger than life onyx colored statue of Rocky stands at the end of a small pathway
A striking presence near the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The elderly spacious museum houses Rubens, Monet, Moorish Art, the masters over time
Unpretentious, but somehow awe inspiring as one travels the cavernous exhibit halls.
Outside there is Rocky.
Men young and old: athletic and rotund clamber onto Rocky’s statue. They flex their
muscles for the cameras of friends and relatives: Mugging for the cameras, hugging Rocky
as if he was a long lost friend, or national hero.
Watching these giggling self indulged macho types there is a sense of incongruity. Once the
pictures are taken these cerebral types wander off down the parkway. The Museum was treated
as just another building on a hillside in Philadelphia while the celluloid hero gathers their adulation.
Centuries of man’s artistic and imaginative best is a secondary concern to this non appreciative public.
Ben Franklin, the architect of this vibrant city must wonder what has he wrought?
Oh yes, there is a place for diversity of opinion and interest creating venues.
And there is no negative judgment being posited on those Rocky worshipers .
Eric Weiner in “ The Geography of Bliss”, describes Qatar as a country without culture “ They have no
cuisine, no literature, and no arts” . The exhibits at the Museum are described as pathetic… “ a glass
case that houses a collection of what looks like camel toenail clippings”. The point is the absence of
cultural /historical/artistic renderings. Are we headed in the same direction?
As we lead our children, literally and figuratively away from “ Rocky” to another photo op,,
or a McDonald’s, or an immediate gratification pleasure event, do we thoughtfully consider
the importance of culture in the foundation and continuation of Western Civilization? If our children
know about Rocky,but not Rubens, Chagall, Kahil Gibran, then what is their legacy going forward?
Great thinkers and leaders make decisions based on their knowledge of the world and the consequences
of actions taken by others gone before. Culture is a stimulus, a reflection of how people at a certain
point in time saw their world. Art in all its forms, provides a platform for reflection, intellectual
curiosity, and civic development.
Let’s preserve our past and encourage future generations to appreciate the values of their ancestors.