There were some good things there. There was rightful honoring of the graduates’ hard work and their accomplishment. There was an emphasis on valuing and accepting all people and the need to continue to work hard and use one’s creativity to seek solutions to the many problems humans currently face on our planet. However, the speeches in particular felt perfunctory to me. Speakers said the kinds of things one expects at such an event, but it mostly felt rather empty and not inspiring in the least. Perhaps it is asking too much to hope for inspiration at a graduation ceremony, but I can’t help but hope for something that will at least engender more of a response than “whatever” in me on such an auspicious occasion.
Why should one care about saving the world? Why should one seek to be a “success”? Maybe the speakers just took the answer to the question as a given, assuming everyone knows. However, it seemed more likely to me that in the end they don’t really have an answer to the question. Why save the planet? Obviously because it’s the only world we have and we owe it to future generations. Yes, but why? So they can survive, of course. But why does that matter? And of course one should want to be a success because, well, we all want to succeed, right? Perhaps, but why does it matter?
Again I recognize my bias here, but it is apparent to me that they ran into the problem humans always have when they remove God from the equation. There is no answer to why. If all that exists, including us, is merely an accident then there is no why. There’s just what is. And ultimately there is no reason for noble self sacrifice, there is nothing that can finally inspire us to something far greater than ourselves. The whole enchilada ends up being hollow. As Shakespeare said it all becomes sound and fury signifying nothing.
The sum of my reaction to the ceremony now a few days removed is to first feel sad for so many intelligent, capable, hard-working people who in the end are caught up in what will inevitably be an empty endeavor. Second it is to be grateful for the fact that God has given his people a reason to live and cause for great inspiration.