Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
It is said that an organization’s culture is like an iceberg, where what is not visible is much greater than what can be seen. Above the surface are behaviour and practices; below, down in the depths, are values and beliefs. “The way we do things around here” is the result of those hidden and powerful ideals and principles.
We have all heard that “beauty” is one of those values that lies at the foundation of the culture at TASIS. Mrs. Fleming spoke of it often, and former headmaster Lyle Rigg’s The Wit and Wisdom of Mary Crist Fleming contains a whole chapter of her quotes on the topic. As we consider the graceful architecture and lovely setting of the campus, the (generally) courteous conduct of the students along with the (mostly) warm relationships in our community, and the style and splendour of the major school-wide events like the commencement ceremony, we can see that beauty is not just a “nice-to-have” characteristic but a more essential and intrinsic quality of our culture.
Why is that? Why did Mrs. Fleming believe that beauty was so indispensable? I recently came across a statement that suggests a possible answer. I found this hint in Cosmos and Psyche, a work of intellectual history by Richard Tarnas. This book is a sequel to his equally magisterial and probably more accessible The Passion of the Western Mind, which is a textbook in university humanities classes throughout the USA and from which I have used selections in my Senior Humanities and Theory of Knowledge classes over the years.
After Tarnas says in the conclusion of Cosmos and Psyche that he believes “that our intellectual quest for truth can never be separated from the cultivation of our moral and aesthetic imagination,” which in itself is a mighty chunk of our cultural iceberg at TASIS, he says the following:
“A fundamental yet virtually unexamined issue in cosmology today is the question of whether all beauty in the universe is merely a random product of blind evolution and subjective circumstance or whether that beauty is in some sense significant and intentional, an expression of something more ensouled, more profound, intelligently relational, mysterious.”
The idea here is so grand and strange that it is hard to take in. It seems to be proposing that there is not only an intelligible order to things and a discernible purpose in events but also a boundless beauty at the hidden heart of reality. It seems to be saying that beauty matters in our surroundings and lives because it really matters. I admit that Mrs. Fleming never said anything quite like this, yet I think that only such a deep conviction explains the importance of beauty at TASIS.
G.K. Chesterton once wrote that behind all our experience and existence is “an abyss of light.” It seems that Mrs. Fleming was committed to an idea that probably appears just as outlandish to many people today. Yet it is ideas like this that distinguish TASIS from many other fine schools. There are a number of values and beliefs that go way down in the culture at TASIS, but at the bottom is Beauty.
– David Jepson, Director of Studies (TASIS Switzerland and TASIS England)
|Sunday, March 25–Sunday, April 8||Spring Break|
|Friday, April 13–Sunday, April 15||HS Spring Musical|
|Saturday, April 21||TPA Spring Gala: Building the Future|
|Wednesday, April 25||HS Parent Coffee • 8:30, Casa Fleming|
|Thursday, April 26–Sunday, May 18||IB Exams|
|Monday, May 7–Friday, May 18||AP Exams|
|Thursday, May 17–Sunday, May 20||Spring Arts Festival|
IB Visual Arts Final Exhibition Opens Today
All members of the TASIS community and the general public are cordially invited to join us in the Palestrina and Ferit Şahenk Fine Arts Center to celebrate the IB Visual Arts Final Exhibition beginning this afternoon at 16:00. Come and enjoy some refreshments while discovering what 17 of our senior artists and designers have been up to in the studio over the last two years.
The exhibition will also be open on Saturday from 12:30–18:30 and on Sunday from 10:30–18:30.
College Counseling News for Students in Grades 10, 11, 12, and PG
A representative from Newcastle University will visit on Monday, March 12, at 16:00 in the College Counseling Office. Interested students in grades 10, 11, 12, and PG should register via Naviance to attend the meeting.
Reserve Your Seats for the HS Spring Musical: Annie Get Your Gun
Annie Oakley is the best shot in Darke County, Ohio, and she manages to support her little brother and sisters by selling the game she hunts. When she's discovered at a shooting contest, Col. Buffalo Bill persuades her to join his Wild West Show (“There’s No Business Like Show Business”). It only takes one glance for her to fall head over heels for dashing Frank Butler, who headlines the show. She soon eclipses Butler as the main attraction, which, while good for business, is bad for romance (“Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better”). Butler hightails it to join a rival show, his bruised male ego leading the way, but is ultimately pitted against Annie in a final shoot-out. While highly fictionalized, the musical pays affectionate and humorous tribute to the real-life stars of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and the love match (as well as the shooting match!) of Annie Oakley and Frank Butler.
Annie Get Your Gun will premiere in the Palmer Center on Friday, April 13, at 19:30. Two additional shows will be performed on Saturday, April 14, at 19:30 and a matinee performance on Sunday, April 15, at 14:30.
To reserve seats or learn more about the show, visit tasis.ch/anniegetyourgun.