Liberal Arts Blog — Justice Demands Re-branding Orion — And Cicero Told Us Why (“Suum Quique”)
Liberal Arts Blog — Friday is the Joy of Art, Architecture, Design, Film, and All Things Visual Day
Today’s Topic: Justice Demands Re-branding Orion — And Cicero Told Us Why (“Suum Quique”)
I have Orion on my mind. It’s like a giant scorpion with its pincers sunk deep in my frontal cortex and it just will not let go. Let me remind you that the heart of Orion is a pattern of seven stars configured like this:
Orion, the most prominent constellation in the night sky, deserves a better story. Its pre-eminence warrants, in fact, the best story ever told. That would be the story of gratitude — which according to the aphorism attributed to the Roman sage, Cicero, is not only the first of the virtues but the parent of all the others. If justice is giving to each their due (as Cicero also said), justice demands it.
SO JUSTICE DEMANDS IT. SO WE NAME THE CONSTELLATION, “GRATITUDE” BUT WHAT ARE THE NAMES OF THE INDIVIDUAL STARS?
1. The central star should be gratitude itself. The traditional name of that central star is Alnilam. A name I did not learn until a few months ago. The central star deserves a better name. What better name than the name of the constellation itself. Again. Justice demands it.
2. To its right, is Joy. The best reason for gratitude is our potential for joy. The joy of sports, the joy of music, the joy of art, the joy of math, the joy of science, the joy of miscellaneous stuff like humor, food, and travel. Seven stars, seven joys. Remember: Orion is fractal.
3. To its left is Truth. The second best reason for gratitude is our potential for thought, particularly deep thought about what matters most — building together a better world for our children and their children and their children. Truth is short hand for “thinking citizenship” which is of course, also fractal. It’s got seven disciplines (ethics, economics, history, politics, law, rhetoric, statistics), seven goals (peace, freedom, justice, truth, prosperity, rights, and duties), and seven issues (foreign policy, economic policy, climate change, justice, education, health, and political process reform).
SO GRATITUDE, JOY, AND TRUTH ARE THE THREE STARS OF THE BELT, WHAT ABOUT THE TOP TWO STARS?
1. The four peripheral stars represent the Gratitude Tool Kit. To the upper right of Gratitude, is the Thematic, Illustrated, Quantitative, Shared Journal. Reading without writing is like eating without digesting. In fact, doing anything without writing about it is like eating without digesting. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth thinking about it. If it’s worth thinking about, it’s worth writing about. If it’s worth writing about, it’s worth searching for the best images to illustrate the most important points. If it’s worth writing about, it’s worth finding any important numbers related to it, because numbers, like pictures, are worth at least a thousand words — and that’s on average. Whatever the topic, it’s best to find the image that is at the end of the right tail of the distribution. The poster child of such an image is Lady Justice. But the best of all is Orion. Finally, if it’s worth writing about, it’s worth sharing with others. The math is simple. Two minds are better than one. And three is better than two and so on ad infinitum.
2. The star to the upper left of Gratitude is the Thematic Calendar. If it’s not on the schedule, it’s not going to happen. And time, as you know, has a tendency to fly and never come back. And thematic continuity is key to depth of thought. And Confucius nailed it with the first sentence of the Analects: “isn’t it a pleasure having learned something once to return to it with a regular periodicity?” So take your calendar and assign to each day of the week one of the seven things that bring you the most joy as well as one of those civic issues that you think are most important and devote a chunk of time each day to cultivating that joy and deepening your understanding of that issue and sharing your thoughts with others who share your joy and interest. If you haveonly fifteen minutes to spare each day, well make it fifteen minutes. But your time is yours. You decide how to use your most precious resource. Suum quique. To each his due. You are the master of your fate. You are the captain of your soul.
SO WHAT ABOUT THE BOTTOM TWO STARS? ART AND MUSIC
1. The star to the lower right of Gratitude is Art. Well, we’ve covered this before, the whole thing about the images at the far end of the bell curve and all that, but art is so important it deserves its own star. While we’re at it, think of the North Star. Think of the best illustrated book of all time — The Little Prince. Think of the sand dunes with the single star shining above it. Think of the economy of a drawing by Matisse. And a little redundancy is not bad. Repetition is the key to learning. The important stuff bears repeating. Remember the biochemistry of memory. Remember myelin. Remember the myelination of those axons. Remember the white matter. Remember that the number of neurons are constant. Its the white matter that triples the mass of the brain from birth to adulthood (from roughly 400 to 1200 grams).
2. The star to the lower left of Gratitude is music. If you want to remember something put it to music. Socrates said it. And he was a smart dude. And so did Confucius. And Nietzche nailed it — without music, life would be a mistake. Ok, maybe a slight exaggeration. But give the guy some slack.
1. For more details on my past attempts to reach a broader audience, check out my four existing websites dating back to 2015 to 2017.
2. Further down is a link to the last four years of posts organized thematically into fourteen book length pdfs.
3. I am now working on a book, entitled “The Gratitude Project,” which distills the essence of the 7000 plus pages in the hope of sparking a global up-swelling of gratitude and creative initiatives for spreading a deeper appreciation of its primacy and how best to honor it day to day, week to week, and year to year. Happy Holidays!
THE LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY ARE AVAILABLE HERE:
Please share the coolest thing you learned recently or ever related to art, sculpture, design, architecture, film, or anything visual.
This is your chance to make some one else’s day. And to cement in your own memory something cool or important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that is close to your heart.