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Coming Home

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My father died on May 2nd, 2013.  He had been battling prostate cancer for several years.  His struggle had intensified pretty significantly in December of 2012.  My brother and I knew then that it was likely his last Christmas with us.  My former classmate and fellow alumna, Rebecca passed away almost seven years ago now. … Read more »

Rust Belt Chic

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Four months after my graduation from Marlboro College, life unexpectedly led me to Cleveland, Ohio, for a three-week stint.  I lived, for part of that time, with a fellow Marlboro graduate who works as an abstract painter in addition to managing a portrait gallery in Cleveland’s arts district, Tremont.  I made my own money washing… Read more »

Finding Inspiration

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Sometimes, obtaining inspiration is tough, and it can often work against us and make us uninspired. We may feel what the point of even trying is. Sometime if you JUST try, you will find inspiration will begin to flow. To attempt, to make, or to do is the first step towards the right direction. It… Read more »

Winning the [Compost] Lottery

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If we saved all of the disgusting food scraps we scraped off our plates in our whole lifetimes, and placed them in a slimy, gooey line, they would reach all the way to the moon and back 27 times. That’s a rough guess anyway, but what a better use of time and space it would… Read more »

A Haiku: Cancer

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So much material – I’ve no use for it. It’s not where I wish to dwell.   -Sunny Tappan College Receptionist and Information Hub Marlboro Class off ’77  

We Destroy to Understand

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We have all heard the phrase “good artists create, but great artists steal” at one point or another. In fact, we have heard it with probably just about every profession related to creation. Artist, musicians, writers, film directors, and philosophers: we say that the greatest of them steal what they create. But how? To simply… Read more »

Recycling Bin Inspiration

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I looked in my recycling bin for inspiration. I found crumpled up pieces of paper; drawings I had begun and abruptly finished a few days ago. They were sloppy, messy, and now crumpled. I flattened them out and again saw my point of frustration. I had circled in red pen all of the mistakes I… Read more »

Thanks, 2014 Symposium Participants! We Had a Great Time!

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Twenty-three high school students from across the country (and the world!) joined us in still-snowy Marlboro, Vermont April 2-5 for the second-annual Beautiful Minds Challenge Symposium. Highlights of the symposium, according to attendees, were the improv comedy workshop, dinner at faculty member William Edelglass’ house, attending college classes, seeing each others’ presentations and meeting an… Read more »

2013-14 Honorable Mention Entries

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The Life of an Observer by Grace John | St. Agnes Academy | Memphis, TN Link to video here: http://youtu.be/jIwmr_TZUKQ “To acquire knowledge, one must study; to acquire wisdom, one bust observe.” -Marilyn Vos Sevant The road of observation has always been my road less travelled. It has always been the road I have taken, it… Read more »

Check Out the 2013-14 Winning Submissions!

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All of the language and art are represented here as submitted by the entrant. First Place – Left and Right by Erica Schneider | Voyagers’ Community School | Brick, NJ Many would say there are two sides to a person. To me, this is true in the way of a past and present self, or… Read more »

Beauty is a Cycle — Second Place Winner

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Erica Siclari | Fiorello H. LaGuardia H.S. ’13 | Brooklyn, NY For the Beautiful Minds Challenge I decided to bring light to something I find very beautiful, cycles. I find cycles to be beautiful mainly because cycles are imperative for understanding our world, and with that understanding come discoveries that have and will continue to… Read more »

Breaking Free — Third Place Winner

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Emily Ross | Home School | Gray, ME Beauty cannot be defined in simple terms, as the meaning of beauty varies between each individual. However, most individuals circle back to a generalized meaning of beauty, settling on expressing the ‘true you’ behind the layers of society-driven examples: being yourself without any sort of filter or… Read more »

2012 Runner Up Submissions

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The following submissions — posted in alphabetical order by the entrants’ first name — each earned a invitation to the Beautiful Minds Symposium at Marlboro College, February 21-23, 2013. Enjoy the incredible thoughtfulness, creativity and diversity of ideas!   New Year’s Party in The Jolly Old Beast Alexander Peters | Tampa Preparatory School ’13 | Tampa, FL The 1850’s would… Read more »

Beauty is Community

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One of things I like best about Thanksgiving is that it is one of the few days a year people open their homes to friends, family and yes, near strangers. I’ve spent Thanksgiving in a lot of different places in the twelve years since I left home for college – at friends’ family gatherings in… Read more »

Beauty and the Divine?

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Some final questions from resident philosopher, William Edelglass, to help propel you to those brilliant submissions! My colleague and dear friend, Amer Latif, is a scholar of Sufi poetry, especially the work of Rumi.  In a Rumi poem Amer has translated, Rumi questions God, asking where the poet should seek the Divine.  And God answers,… Read more »

The Beauty in the Barrios

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“What is the Spanish word for snow?” my friend, Catie asked me. I came and sat next to her and the little girl next to her. “Nieve.” Catie smiled, and pointed at the picture of a house covered in feet of powdered snow in her hand. “Nieve, snow.” The girl’s face lit up with wonder,… Read more »

Beauty is Light

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Beauty is light. The warmth of the sun on your back, the patterns thrown on the ground through the leaves on the trees, the moon through a window in the middle of the night. A lava lamp, the lights on a Christmas tree, a single candle flickering against a wall. Beauty is a lantern and… Read more »

Do you remember?

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Technology is the application of science.  Science is beautiful!  But in the application of science, its beauty is very often obscured or completely hidden. That can be necessary when the science is dangerous or fragile.   Power lines are kept out of reach and engines and computers alike are enclosed within metal and plastic. It’s not… Read more »

“Ugly” Pots

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When I was in graduate school we were asked to make the most ugly pots we could imagine.  I know this is a common assignment, designed to coerce students to reexamine what we value in our work. I worked counter to all my conventions; I made pots using only my left hand, slathering them in… Read more »

Beauty – Is it only in the EYE of the beholder?

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As a person who responds primarily to the visual, I see beauty everywhere. That’s easy. It’s the sunlight coming through the spores on a patch of moss. A painting by Diebenkorn, a photograph by Ansel Adams. A decaying piece of birch bark on the forest floor (I was going to talk about the beauty of… Read more »

Taking Stock

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Violets, trout lilies and spring beauties poke through the duff, trillium follow and pink lady slippers.   Now after warm rain the red efts emerge, with their soft bodies and tiny feet, navigating the open woodlands with delicate deliberation –   like young women studying their first garden party as they hesitate near the roses…. Read more »

Colorful Decay

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I can find beauty in just about anything.  This picture is of rust on an old door on the building across the street from the jail where I work and I find it beautiful. Beauty is more of a felt thing than a thought thing for me: there can be an element of surprise, a… Read more »

Help is Beautiful

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I think that helping people is beautiful. I know that sounds super cheesy and dumb, but it’s true. In my opinion, giving something selflessly to someone else is one of he most beautiful things a person can do. – Maggie Wood ’13  

Skeptics of Beauty

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More questions and musings from resident Philosophy Professor, William Edelglass: Some recent thinkers and artists have argued that beauty is not the support for ethics and justice that earlier thinkers had imagined.  Instead, they have argued, the valorization of beauty is an expression of privilege: only people who have all their basic needs met could… Read more »

I don’t believe in beauty.

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Or at least I try not to. What I mean is that beauty is so wrapped up in aesthetics, which are so subjective and yet socially inscribed, that I don’t believe anything is purely, ultimately, innately beautiful. I fear that we limit ourselves in our thoughts of what could possibly be beautiful – day to… Read more »

Beauty in Cultural Context

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Between individual feelings of pleasure in the beautiful and objective properties of the beautiful object, there is also the question of the cultural contexts in which we cultivate our tastes.  The first time I saw Tibetan opera it was culturally interesting but not particularly beautiful.  But after several years of living with Tibetans in northern… Read more »

Beauty is a Roommate

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My roommate and I this year are half best friends, half the same person. We finish one anothers sentences, like the same kind of music, and wear the same size shoes. Soulmates are not necessarily a romance thing. A soulmate is a person who understands you, and loves you, even the pieces that drive them… Read more »

The Problem of Naked Dead Things

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The mind isn’t always a beautiful place. Leontius, for example, couldn’t restrain himself from looking at the naked corpses lying at the executioner’s feet. At first, he covered his eyes, turning away from the grisly scene. Eventually, his prurient interest won out.  His eyes popped open and his legs propelled him forward for a closer… Read more »

Beauty is Where your Head Turns

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Beauty is where your head turns when it seems to be out of your control. We see and touch and taste things all day long, automatically doing what we’re doing. But on occasion a switch flips inside us and our senses connect to memories—places we’ve been or a voice we heard once—or to some animal… Read more »

Talking about Beauty

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Beauty lies in the ideas, hopes and passions of the people around me… Talking about Beauty (<– clicking opens an audio file) Assembled by: Fiifelo Aganga ’14

Structure is Beautiful

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As someone who spends her time studying science, I have come to truly value what the natural world has to offer.  Here at Marlboro, I have the luxury of spending my time looking at all different aspects of life on Earth.  For example, this past semester, I began taking Comparative Anatomy.  When I walked into… Read more »

Is Beauty REALLY in the Eye of the Beholder?

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Another set of thought provoking questions from Professor William Edelglass: Is beauty a property of things out in the world, or is it really “in the eye of the beholder”?  To experience something as beautiful is to be moved, to feel a certain pleasure.  And we can sometimes say why something is beautiful. We can… Read more »

Beauty is…

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a chocolate cake   a vintage dress   a place of one’s own   fresh flowers   tea   a sunlit porch   sharing it with someone you love.   -Desha Peacock, Director of Career Services & Style Blogger   Photo Credits: Desha Peacock and Elle James

Beauty is Having Super Powers

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On Saturday, I was leafing through the local weekend paper and came across a photo spread of the Paralympics. Across the page were photos of amazing athletes with what many of us would think to be impossible challenges. Many of the athletes were playing their sports from wheel chairs. Some were leaping or running with… Read more »

Beauty is Truth, Ye Know

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Let’s just forget for the moment that T.S. Eliot considered the last two lines of John Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn” to be a blight upon an otherwise lovely poem. Keats wrote: “‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” Okay, let’s also forget that… Read more »

Democracy is Beautiful

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Marlboro was founded in the wake of World War II with the explicit goal of redefining democracy in a world of uncertainty, a world where ideas such as fascism and communism were fresh, raw, and frightening. With the foundation of democracy in mind, Marlboro pushed its students to participate democratically through Town Meeting. As the… Read more »

Beauty’s Broad Range of Meaning

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In Plato’s Apology, an early dialogue about the trial of Socrates, Socrates famously claims that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” By this he means that a life lacking in self-understanding, a life without the kind of inquiry and exploration that for him was characteristic of philosophy, would be constricted, with limited meaning and… Read more »