Outside the Turmoil of Men by Thomas S. Buchanan

Outside the Turmoil of Men

“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are noble, whatsoever things are right, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are admirable, whatsoever things are excellent and worthy of praise, set your mind on these things.”
—Philippians 4:8

Philippians 4:8 is the motto of the university where I teach. Unfortunately, the only sign of this is its inclusion on the back page of the school catalog—like a vestigial appendix from an evolutionary species further down the phylogenetic tree. There was a time when biblical verses were commonly used for university mottoes, but now, apart from Christian colleges, those days are past.

I thought often of this verse as I recently attended a meeting in Amsterdam. The Dutch pride themselves on their culture, the beauty of their cities, their heritage, and their civil liberties. On all of these points they may be ahead of most countries, but, in the last case, I am not convinced that this is a good thing. From the “coffee shops” where drugs are legally sold to the infamous red-light district, it is clear that this is a land that glorifies licentiousness.

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Thomas S. Buchanan is the George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. He has studied at UCSD, Northwestern University, and MIT, and has held visiting professorships at the University of Western Australia and the University of Aix-Marseille. He has served as department chairman, deputy dean, and institute director, president of the American Society of Biomechanics, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Biomechanics. He is on the Board of Trustees of Saint Katherine College, the editorial board of Touchstone, and the board of The Fellowship of St. James.

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