Blogpost # 916      RITES OF SPRING*

In our view, of all the noteworthy portals passed through by which one acquires an alternate status or amended perception of reality, graduation from an institute of higher learning, may be the most pivotal. Concededly, such milestone events as marriage, having children and becoming a grandparent are momentous and life-changing; nevertheless, we would resolutely, and, perhaps, radically, maintain that the individual’s transitional, milestone of (college) graduation is, ultimately, the most impactful and foundational. The reader might, generously, elect to reserve any, understandable, skepticism until a later point in this essay.

To be clear, our stated recognition of the great significance, or major dynamic impact, of the event of graduation, is relevant to the subject of university or graduate education. The “graduations” from schools of lower level education are not within the context, nor applicability, of this essay.

This is the perennial season of college graduation, and the joyous event is being universally, replicated in all its academic pomp and ceremony. According to our research, such formal and elaborate ceremonies, including the wearing of the traditionally, appropriate cap and hood, date back to the European 12th Century, and include a formal, academic procession, attired in Middle Ages style, robes and hoods.

The traditional event symbolizes and celebrates the publically, recognized accomplishment, or conclusion of hard work, during stressful years of study, and affords the deserved individual, the opportunity to celebrate the significant accomplishment, together with the others who have, jointly made the similar, successful voyage.

The classic setting of the college graduation, having been, described, sufficient for the thematic, purposes of this writing, it would now seem appropriate, to  express our promised views on the “paramount” significance, to the involved individual and his society, of this perennial “Rites of Spring.”  

To properly evaluate the merit of our views, regarding the singular, importance of college graduation, it would appear to be useful, to, very briefly, examine the landmark event, from each of its points of reference, personal, sociological and political.

For the graduating individual and his family, the event ushers in the beginnings of a gradual realization,  as too his acquisition of an independent, capability to reason maturely, and to maintain confidence in his observations. It marks the conclusion of his perceived, earlier role in life, evincing, dependence, (traditional or empirical) on parental or other sources, for needed guidance in judgmental decision-making. The ceremony of college graduation, universally, and realistically, termed a ”Commencement,” has publically, and ceremoniously, confirmed his newly acquired status as a recognizable adult citizen. From the point of view of development, the landmark ceremony is an affirmation and certification of the production of additional, responsible, members of the American community. From the graduate’s personal perception, his new status is a long-awaited moment of self-affirmation. His familial relatives can enjoy the successful accomplishment of an intended and responsible goal. The Nation and society,  benefits from the graduate’s signature accomplishment and his future value, as a useful citizen.

The prevailing turmoil and divisiveness, presently, roiling the Nation, to the terrifying, extent of rending vulnerable, the Democratic Republic, is empirically, the proximate result of its numerous hordes of inadequately, educated, poorly informed, and easily misled, citizens. To, once more, reprise the wise, and notably, prescient, admonition of Thomas Jefferson: “For a Democratic Republic to succeed, it requires well-educated and well-informed citizens.” As the Nation has traumatically, learned, the most profound and dangerous divide in the American Nation exists, between the educated and well-informed citizens, and those whose education and political-social awareness, are determinatively, lacking.

The satisfactory, productive yield of educated and useful Americans is of existential necessity to the continuance of our Democratic Republic, the sine qua non of its continued existence. The benefits of enlightenment to society, in general, are especially inclusive of, rational and just laws and policies.

The individual citizen’s vital capacity for reason, his accumulated knowledge and maturely, developed perception, are the quintessential requirements for the success of our democratic republic. The award of a college degree is a notable indication of the potential worthiness and usefulness of the citizen, willing to accrue the responsibility of enlightened citizenship.


* Thanks to Igor Stravinsky, for the use of the above title.



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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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