Near the end of a typical Harvard commencement ceremony, the University President confers degrees on the candidates from the various schools. Doctoral candidates belonging to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are welcomed “to the ancient and universal company of scholars,” a traditional phrase that accurately describes the life of an academic researcher. The University President admits the seniors of the undergraduate class to “the fellowship of educated men and women.” The ceremony concludes with bells ringing from church towers across Cambridge, with at least fourteen churches participating.
The Harvard Commencement ceremony recognizes that good scholarship happens in a community. The research of today links with the work of the brilliant minds of the past. This process connects with Christian thinking expressed in the Bible in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” The community of scholars refines and corrects the thinking of any one researcher.
By asking questions of other scholars and learning from each other, researchers advance knowledge. Perhaps the scientific community offers a good model for those embarking on a journey of faith, seeking answers to the questions that science does not answer.
We do better in life when we join together with others. We make better scientific progress working together than we ever could accomplish alone. I believe that we also experience enhanced personal growth when we connect with others to find meaning in life and to seek ways to make a positive impact on our world.
My hope is that this blog community will become a place where we can find answers together, accomplishing more than we ever would on our own.