The Other I

February 1, 2011

Breaking the rules

Filed under: Just Stuff,Uncategorized — theotheri @ 8:39 pm

I have just discovered that the term “Baroque” comes from a word used by Portuguese fishermen to mean “misshapen pearl.”

It began to be  used in the late 16th century to describe music and architecture that broke the rules.  Things are not perfectly aligned, they are not absolutely balanced, they do not reflect the world of perfect objects where Plato first argued perfection resided.

And yet they work.

In fact, to my ear and my eye, they represent freedom.  They break out of the repression of “the way things are supposed to be” to make space for what is unique.

When I was seven years old, I remember telling my second-grade teacher that I did not want to be Queen Elizabeth.  That I wanted to be myself.

And that’s what I like about Baroque.  You can break all the rules.  You can be unique.  And you can be absolutely beautiful.

All at the same time.



  1. i remember as a child when the Missionary Sisters would come to our school.They would show us slides of Africa and how they did God’s work. All the girls wanted to be just like them. I was the one that went home and prayed that God would never call me to be a missionary in Africa. That was just not my thing. I have a friend who spent 22 years as a missionary in Africa. I told her she was my worse nightmare, she laughed. She is a very unique, but so am I. 🙂
    I love having friends who have made different choices, its makes life interesting.


    Comment by djc1 — February 1, 2011 @ 10:16 pm | Reply

    • Yes! I think so too. It really is our differences that make life so interesting. And why we have such different things to share.

      I’d be interested to know what missionary order your friend belongs to. Where in Africa did she work? I did everything I knew to become a missionary sister working in Africa – including entering a missionary order – and couldn’t make it past Paterson, New Jersey. And there you were at just about the same time praying for just the opposite. (Actually, I think my prayers today would be more like yours. But I know my limitations better now than I did in those days when I thought I could single-handedly transform the world.)


      Comment by theotheri — February 2, 2011 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

  2. First we must discover the secret of our individual uniqueness by discarding religious and political indoctrination. Once the fog of deception disappears – the highway of life is clear to our preferred destination.


    Comment by lairdglencairn — February 2, 2011 @ 8:51 am | Reply

    • Well, I am a thousand per cent in favour of children teaching to think for themselves and to take responsibility for the direction of their own lives. But what criteria are you proposing to distinguish between “religious and political indoctrination” and “socialization”? In my experience, the difference is most often in the eye of the beholder. Whatever our background, most of us would agree that murder is wrong. We just won’t agree about what constitutes murder (abortion? capital punishment? self-defense? revenge? war? all war or just some war?, some medical procedures? etc.) What constitutes “Respect for others” gets even more entangled. Even “child abuse” is not something about which we are all agreed. There are members of my own family with whom I disagree so deeply that we can no longer even discuss the subject.

      Do you know what I’m asking?


      Comment by theotheri — February 2, 2011 @ 2:57 pm | Reply

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