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Sacramento Freethinkers Atheists & Nonbelievers (FAN) Message Board › I love scholarship!

I love scholarship! Here is an example that made me tingle and feel what this means to me every time!

Anyse J.
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 62
I was reading Religion Dispatches and there is a great article there, "Everything you know about the Dark Ages is Wrong." This is an interview with the author of the book of the same name, a scientist who was interested in a pope called, by historians, "The Scientist Pope." He describes going to a library in France with high security where he could view ancient scrolls and he gets to see the first known reference in Latin that uses Arabic numerals 0-9. I got goosebumps from reading about his and, of course, I will read this book.

When I was in Chicago in 1984 with Bob Gibson for a week (he introduced the song Abilene as well as popularized the song "Micheal Row the Boat Ashore), I went to the Chigago Art Institute. I did not see a print of Edvard Munch's "Geshrei" ("The Scream") after spending 2 days there viewing the public collection. On my third visit, I asked where it was. I was told that it is in the archiives, located in the basement and is usually not seen by the public, except by permission. I explained that, when I was in Basil, Switzerland, I had seen a huge retrospective ot the work of Edvard Munch and had seen most all of his works, but not this one and it would help to fill my viewing history. Well, they sent me to the basement. I met with an archivist, told my story and then was told to fill out a request and that I could come back next week. Well, I was leaving the next day, which I explained. Well, she asked me to wait a bit. After 20 minutes, she returned and guided me to a small, closed room with huge windows, a table and 2 chairs. She asked me to wait there. Anoher half hour passed. She brought me the print! It was marvelous and she also allowed me to handle it as well, explaining that there was no sense that I would harm the work (of course my educational credentials were also given). I sat there for over an hour, examining evey line and ruminating on Munch's process, thoughts, feelings and the symbolism of the work as a sudden break of the psyche in the form of a nervous breakdown. I learned from this viewing a lot about myself, how to view and to deal with others with mental problems (I am rather empathetic and caring and make no judgements), and felt the artwork as if I were a part of it and even its subject. I will never forget this experience and the total awe I had in that process. I have had this feeling many times when I come upon things extraordinary and communicative in the arts, whether visual, written, oral, or musical . . . This, to me, is addictive and, as a result, I am always reading, listening or watching things that deal with my own interests in mythology, religion (as myth, symbolism and metaphor), psychology and more.

I hope that there are others who have had such experiences. Holding a first-edition copy of Principia Mathematica in my own hands by Newton, seeing a Roualt on the wall in the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany, that led an old docent to guide me through the museum and showing me the real "treasures" that most people overlook (he was asounded that I know who Roualt was at all and that I was so excited and, as a result of knowing my enthusiasm for learning as well as appreciation of culture and art, he took me under his wing for half of the day), a German woman who loved my hearfelt joy and excitement to see the windows done by Chagall in a cathedral at the top of a hill overlooking Mainz and saying to me, "Haben sie eine gutte reise" ("have a good journey/trip" and pecking me on the cheek), seeing the grave to Goltzius, a chiarascuro printer whom I studied and wrote about for the Crocker Museum during an internship setting up a printmaking exhibition in which I was called upon to write a description of this process as well as the process of lithography for a large exhibition I helped to put together there) and so many more everywhere I have gone to infuse myself into the things that I love and enjoy.

Take care and keep life "alive"!

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