discovering a more complete truth

[This weekend was Convocation weekend at SSU, and our Convocation Address was given by Dr. Lois Mitchell, who is retiring and accepting the title of Professor Emerita of International Studies. In her address, she referred to the Don’t Call Me Resilient podcast of Vinita Srivastava, and in this passage below to a quote in that podcast from Rev. angel Kyodo williams]:

… But Rev. angel says that activists are not so much devoted to a cause, but to uncovering a “more complete truth.” Truth – as I’m sure you’ve discovered – is wonderfully, annoyingly, flirtatiously… elusive – we “see through a glass darkly.”

There’s lots of talk of activism these days and that excites me, as we encourage young people to become advocates and activists for social justice. But it also concerns me. Are we also equipping them to discover a more complete truth? I wonder if we sell activism short when we let it be about single issues or causes – racism, reconciliation, climate change, poverty, etc. etc. – or some subset of these larger issues, and not about a determination to get to the “wholeness” of a cause in all of its inherent and historical complexity. Do we tell them that it takes patience and determination to comprehend inherent and historical complexity?

  • Lois Mitchell, Professor Emerita of International Studies at SSU (You can read her whole Convocation Address here.)