Dear readers, in this last column piece, I leave you with a challenge: The next time you’re in a shared space, one filled with joy and hope, appreciate it in its entirety. The mental snapshot you take of that moment in time will decrease in clarity as time passes, but the value you found in that space — and similar shared spaces — need not.
When I started this column several months ago, I asked you to run away into the stars with me. I hope you have marveled at what you found alongside me. I hope you have fallen in love with yourself through astrology’s external view of yourself. I hope you will continue to love and cherish yourself.
More than most places, college campuses typically teem with alcohol and other illicit substances. And Ivy Leagues like Harvard are not the exception. Clandestine behavior nestles its way into our dorms and campuses. Students looking for a social lubricant over the weekend or a mental intoxicant after a day’s stress can find it at Harvard. But, this does not change the fact that even under the influence of simpler substances, students with histories of family dependency or addiction must rationalize their reluctance towards substance use, especially in social settings.
We are left with memories and feelings of how a place made us feel, how a certain time in our lives made us ache or rejoice. The Houses at Harvard are so instilled within our memories of this place — this old, enduring institution — as they touch us so deeply and for a long time. It is in this way that you find the true Harvard experience: strangers becoming friends, experiences later becoming memories, memories becoming nostalgia.
Thomas Nagel, an American philosopher, has coined the idea of a “view from nowhere.” In short, the trouble with existential objectivity is that you can never get to an objective viewpoint. To do this, you would need to get to a view from nowhere, separate from your existence.
At the core of many of these altruistic advertisements is the same motive that has always been there: the desire to convince more buyers to buy more products so that the company can make more money, regardless of impact. So, while it’s encouraging to see big corporations setting new standards for everything from carbon reduction to reductions in packaging, I still can’t seem to find peace in my holiday gift shopping this year.
There’s a center of gravity between the extreme ends of the social interaction spectrum: outgoing, enthusiastic Jupiter, and aloof, skeptical Saturn. It’s different for everyone, but you’ll find it because it all comes from you, written in the stars from your birth. Take it easy. Friendships at Harvard are hard to navigate. But you have the map to the treasure right there, inside of you.
Together, Texas and Harvard football exemplify the two extremes of social change. Change requires a marriage of the two, for just listening to a person and refusing to act leads to stagnation, but just attacking a system without the grounding direction of those who are affected leads to performative activism.
The loss of a loved one is unfathomable. It has the capacity to psychologically, socially, academically, and physically alter an individual. On campus, Harvard students without this traumatic grief must understand the irregular moments of sadness, anger, and numbness that students who have complex grief face.
Something I have learned from many people who hire me as a photographer is that most people in modern times, respect photographers for knowing what is worth photographing. The role of a photographer is not simply to capture an image. Instead, one must notice the lighting, the background, the camera settings, the subject(s), and a milieu of other factors.