fear not to grasp what fortune sends

On Facebook, many of my fellow alumni have been posting links to articles similar to this one and expressing varying degrees of sadness. I understand their feelings, but at the end of the day, this is life and change is the only constant. I do feel a little melancholy myself, but I think that this is going to be a really exciting time for my alma mater as a new chapter in her history is going to be written!

And so I posted this quote on Facebook, something to keep in mind when my alma mater eventually makes the big move:

I remembered once, in Japan, having been to see the Gold Pavilion Temple in Kyoto and being mildly surprised at quite how well it had weathered the passage of time since it was first built in the fourteenth century. I was told it hadn’t weathered well at all, and had in fact been burnt to the ground twice in this century.

“So it isn’t the original building?” I had asked my Japanese guide.

“But yes, of course it is,” he insisted, rather surprised at my question.

“But it’s been burnt down?”

“Yes.”

“Twice?”

“Many times.”

“And rebuilt.”

“Of course. It is an important and historic building.”

“With completely new materials.”

“But of course. It was burnt down.”

“So how can it be the same building?”

“It is always the same building.”

I had to admit to myself that this was in fact a perfectly rational point of view, it merely started from an unexpected premise. The idea of the building, the intention of it, its design, are all immutable and are the essence of the building. The intention of the original builders is what survived. The wood of which the design is constructed decays and is replaced when necessary. To be overly concerned with the original materials, which are merely sentimental souvenirs of the past, is to fail to see the living building itself.

Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine, Last Chance to See

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