Graduation remarks

Hello everyone,

On the subject of writing, I have just come across some notes for a speech that Neil made to a graduation class, along with rough notes that I made for his perusal. The theme of communication has always interested me. Here is what Neil did with it.

Catharine McKenty

Graduation Remarks by Neil McKenty (rough notes)

In the last decades, we have learned to walk on the moon, and explore under the high artic ice, children in grade school have seen the first satellite circling the earth, we have developed the technological capacity to fulfill nearly every one of our material needs.

Yet WE HAVE SCARCELY BEGUN TO GLIMPSE THE WONDERS OF THE UNIVERSE WITHIN MAN HIMSELF. THE AVERAGE PERSON, PSYCHOLO­GISTS TELL US, LIVES OUT MOST OF HIS LIFE USING JUST ABOUT 5 PERCENT OF HIS EMOTIONAL, MENTAL, PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL CAPACITIES. What about the possibilities if we discover how to use even part of the other 95%.

And as we attempt to grapple with the ever-increasing CHANGES BROUGHT ABOUT BY THESE TECHNOLOGICAL WONDERS, WE ARE ALSO AWARE OF THE VERY REAL HUMAN PROBLEMS – AND INDEED CASUALTIES – CAUSED BY THESE CHANGES.

Due TO THE HARD WORK OF COUNTLESS INDIVIDUALS, THERE HAS BEEN A markED INCREASE IN THE MATERIAL PROSPERITY OF OUR PROVINCE. YET OBVIOUSLY THERE STILL EXIST SERIOUS BARRIERS THAT HINDER MANY PEOPLE – AND CERTAINLY MANY YOUNG PEOPLE – FROM THE FULL EXERCISE OF THEIR CAPABILITIES.

We are finding that bricks and mortar, and even COMPUTERS, CANNOT PROVIDE FOR EACH PERSON A FEELING OF SELF- FULFILLMENT, OF INDIVIDUAL IDENTITY, AND OF HUMAN DIGNITY,

WE MAY BUILD WIDER AND LONGER ROADS, BIGGER AND BETTER CITIES, TALLER AND MORE BEAUTIFUL BUILDINGS, BUT THE FINAL MEASURE OF OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS WILL BE IN THE STATURE OF OUR PEOPLE AS HUMAN BEINGS.

As ONE CONTEMPORARY AUTHOR SUGGESTS!

“What is at issue is the size of a man’s life —

IT IS NOT OF SUPREME IMPORTANCE THAT A HUMAN BEING SHOULD BE A GOOD SCIENTIST, A GOOD SCHOLAR, A GOOD ADMINISTRATOR, A GOOD EXPERT; IT IS NOT OF SUPREME IMPORTANCE THAT HE SHOULD BE RIGHT, RATIONAL, KNOWLEDGEABLE, OR EVEN CREATIVELY PRODUCTIVE OF BRILLIANTLY FINISHED OBJECTS AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE, Life IS NOT WHAT WE ARE IN OUR VARIOUS PROFESSIONAL CAPACITIES OR IN THE PRACTICE OF SOME SPECIAL SKILL, WHAT OF SUPREME IMPORTANCE IS THAT EACH OF US SHOULD BECOME A PERSON, A WHOLE AND INTEGRATED PERSON.”

The SAME AUTHOR THEN GOES ON TO SAY!

“The EXPANSION OF PERSONALITY IS NOTHING THAT IS ACHIEVED BY SPECIAL TRAINING, BUT BY A NAIVE OPENNESS TO EXPERIENCE. WHERE AND WHEN THE LIGHTENING WILL STRIKE THAT UNACCOUNTABLY SETS ONE’S LIFE ON FIRE WITH IMAGINATIVE ASPIRATIONS IS BEYOND PREDICTION.”

Surely, whatever our occupations, it is the development OF THIS KIND OF HUMAN FULFILLMENT FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF OUR PEOPLE – THAT WE ARE STRIVING FOR.

In THIS YOUNG COUNTRY OF OURS, DESPITE-THE HAZARDS AHEAD, DESPITE OUR VERY REAL STRUGGLE FOR CULTURAL AND PHYSICAL SURVIVAL, THERE ARE MAGNIFICANT POSSIBILITIES.

Whatever our age or experience, each of us has the CHANCE TO TAKE PART IN THE CREATION OF A SOCIETY UNLIKE ANYTHING WE HAVE SEEN BEFORE. WlTH OUR HIGH LEVEL OF INDUSTRIALIZATION, OUR VARIETY OF CULTURES AND LIFE-STYLES AND OUR VAST SPACES, WE HAVE OPPORTUNITIES UNIQUE IN THE MODERN WORLD.

We HAVE A CHANCE TO DEVELOP SYSTEMS OF ECONOMICS, EDUCATION AND INDIVIDUAL ENTERPRISE – PUBLIC HEALTH, ENVIRON­MENTAL CONTROL, POLITICAL ACTION, CITY PLANNING – TO MENTION ONLY A FEW – ALL THESE WITHOUT THE RESTRAINTS OF ANCIENT CUSTOMS EXPERIENCED BY MANY AN OLDER SOCIETY.

We CAN – IF WE WILL – CREATE A NEW PATTERN IN THE WORLD OF HOW PEOPLE CAN LIVE TOGETHER AND GROW TO FULFILLMENT.

ALL THESE THINGS SIMPLY UNDERLINE WHAT I CONSIDER TO BE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EFFORTS SUCH AS YOUR OWN IN OUR PRESENT SOCIETY.

Why SHOULD WE not begin to TACKLE MANY MORE of THE TASKS AHEAD OF US IN A WAY THAT ALLOWS ROOM FOR CREATIVE INITIATIVE AT THE COMMUNITY LEVEL, AND INVOLVES PEOPLE OF ALL AGES?

This is an important decade for Canada. Some of THE DECISIONS WE MUST MAKE NOW WILL AFFECT OUR COUNTRY’S FUTURE FOR MANY YEARS AHEAD.

One THING I BELIEVE IS CRYSTAL CLEAR – NO HANDFUL OF PEOPLE – HOWEVER EXPERT AND WELL-INTENTIONED – CAN POSSIBLY SUBSTITUTE FOR THE INTELLIGENT, INFORMED PARTICIPATION OF ALL THE CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY,

Nothing less than the total involvement, and commitment, of all Canadians can ensure that the wisest decisions for the FUTURE ARE MADE.

May I THEREFORE WISH YOU EVERY SUCCESS IN YOUR EFFORTS IN THIS COMMUNITY, AND EXPRESS MY VERY REAL HOPE THAT WE CAN CONTINUE TO WORK TOGETHER FOR THE WELFARE of this Province and our entire society.

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