Photo by Evan Cornog
Untainted by association with Larry Summers, this Galapagos tortoise has emerged as an 11th-hour contender to be the next president of Harvard.
His (her?) vegetarian diet is a plus, as is the shell; but the lack of any Harvard degree may be a roadblock.
The Crimson has two reporters staking out the tortoise’s usual water holes, and there are unconfirmed reports that members of the Harvard Corporation wore turtleneck sweaters to their meeting this past weekend. Some Cambridge insiders see this as a possible tipoff to their final choice.
No tortoise has ever been president of Harvard.
Arguably that’s taking diversity way too far, but that shell will sure come in handy!
The Turtle and the Deer Race – Cherokee storyThe Turtle and the Deer wanted to have a race. The turtle said, “I am going to wear a white corn-shuck on my head.” So the Turtle gathered his friends and told them that they were to station themselves at the top of each hill over which the race was to be run. So at each hilltop sat a Turtle exactly like the others. When the Turtle and the Deer started the race, they went downhill and uphill, and at the top sat the Turtle. When they went down in the valley again, then up the hill, there sat the Turtle who had arrived there already. Then the Deer went down and up the third time, there sat the Turtle already. The Turtle won the race, they say. He used his friends with corn-shucks just like he had and placed them at intervals. That’s all.
I hear two reminders in this story:
Don’t forget to always, always bring your friends along.Creativity moves us beyond boundaries and lines and boxes.May this little turtle remind us of each other, and also remind us much more broadly of the seeking for peace across the whole earth.
A great deal of mythology exists in regard to the turtle. In the Far East, the shell was a symbol of heaven, and the square underside was a symbol of earth. The turtle was an animal whose magic united heaven and earth. The turtle is a creation of nature that carries its round shell over the ground, like heaven, and has a flat bottom, like earth. With a profile resembling a mountain and the turning motion of its toes, it seemed to be a depiction of heaven and earth changing constantly through the seasons.
In the West, early Christians didn’t like turtles, and they viewed them as symbolizing evil forces during war. In Greece, turtles were once believed to be citizens of hell. But like the Chinese, Indians have a legend that “the world is supported by four elephants standing on a giant turtle.” (As in the great Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.) After hearing a Western scientist clearly give a scientific explanation for the formation of the world, one old Indian woman said that he was wholly mistaken, that the world was being supported by a giant turtle. When the scientist asked what was under the turtle, she said, “Of course there is an endless pile of turtles, one on top of another.”
Turtles seem to possess an enviable and god-like resistance to aging, and so they came to symbolize longevity. Their link to heaven and earth made them a natural for use in divination. Turtles are also symbols of immortality and are considered temporary dwelling places for souls making their way through a series of lives on the path to Nirvana. The turtle is considered to be the second incarnation of the powerful god Vishnu in the Hindu religion. After a great flood, which occurs every four billion years and dissolves the earth, Vishnu transforms himself into a great turtle. On his back, he carries a vessel in which the gods and demons mix the elements necessary to re-create the globe. After a thousand years, when the earth has been reborn, the turtle remains in place, and on his back stands a large elephant, which support the planet.
According to some Native American tales, the Earth Diver turtle swam to the bottom of the water that stretched across the world. He surfaced with the mud which the creator used to make the earth. The turtle is a shore creature, using the land and the water. All shore areas are associated with doorways to the Faerie Realm. The turtle is sometimes known as the keeper of the doors. They were often seen as signs of fairy contact and the promise of fairy rewards.
A Japanese Fairy Tale about Urashima tells of a man who protects a turtle from some boys who were bothering it. As a reward, the turtle takes the man to meet the King of the Ocean. As a reward for his good deed, Urashima marries the King’s beautiful water sprite daughter. In Nigeria, the turtle was a symbol of the female sex organs and sexuality. To the Native Americans, it was associated with the lunar cycle, menstruation, and the power of the female energies.
The markings and sections on some turtles total thirteen. In the lunar calendar, there are either thirteen full moons or thirteen new moons alternating each year. Many believe this is where the association with the female energies originated. The turtle symbolizes the primal mother and Mother Earth.
To the modern Chinese, turtles are viewed in many different ways. It is regarded as one of the four divine animals, along with the dragon, phoenix and chimera. They are worshipped in temples. Flour turtles used to be used as offerings at temple festivals or big family events. However, the term turtle is also used as a curse word, and the Taiwanese expression for gamblers “losing your shirt” translates as “knocking turtles”. Apart from gamblers’ fears that eating a flour turtle will turn their luck sour, turtles have many other bad connotations in modern Chinese society. In fact, when people curse each other these days, the first thing to come out is often “turtle egg” or ” grandson of a turtle”.
Even so, the image of the turtle as a spiritual beast has become deeply implanted in people’s minds. One ancient text warns its readers not to act rashly when catching turtles and always to carry out the proper ceremony to worship them first. There are also many legends about how those who killed turtles eventually met with misfortune. Common Buddhist restraints against the killing of animals evolved into the Buddhist ceremony of releasing turtles.
Turtles remind us that the way to heaven is through the earth. In Mother Earth is all that we need. She will care for us, protect us, and nurture us, as long as we do the same for her. For that to happen, we must slow down and heighten our sensibilities. We must see the connection to all things. Just as the turtle cannot separate itself from its shell, neither can we separate ourselves from what we do to the earth.
the turtle symbolizes womenâs wisdom and strength…
The Drew Era has begun.
The turtle and her persistence and determination and the symbols for which she stands is a good contrast to the hyperactivity and superficiality of the recent past…
Some psychological theories see in the turtle a connection with the self; the unity of the personality as a whole. In Eastern religions, the turtle is thought to be the balance of opposing principles, such as heaven and earth. Find out what Turtle can teach us today:The turtle represents security, solid grounding, and support. It is seen as slow, steady, strong, wise with age, protective, and unshakeable.
Slow-moving, steady, and armored as it is–seemingly impervious to attack–the turtle appears a very model of settled, universal order. The Chinese traditionally see the tortoise as a supporter of the world, its four feet being the four corners of the earth. Turtle-shells were used in divination and the animal itself was thought to have oracular powers. Called the Black Warrior, the tortoise is a symbol of strength, endurance, and longevity. In Mongolian myths, the central mountain of the universe is carried on the back of a golden turtle.
Like most animals that produce large numbers of offspring, the turtle is associated with fertility and sacred to the goddess Aphrodite. To many Africans, the tortoise is generally a symbol of wisdom, skill, and power, often depicted as a trickster figure.
Because it is literally so self-contained, the turtle has often been seen as a symbol of focus and meditation. In Hindu tradition, the world rests on the back of an elephant, a male solar symbol, which in turn stands upon a tortoise, in this case a feminine lunar symbol. The two together represent the creative principle.
The Iroquois of North America believe that they are descended from a turtle that rid itself of its shell, and that the earth sits on the back of the Great Turtle. Other Native American tribes see the turtle as a symbol of endurance and persistence. Many tribes have turtle clans.
If you need more grounding, focus, endurance, or deep power, calling in Turtle for help is a time-honored way of wisdom.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are a quasi-fictional — but in fact, very real — team of four anthropomorphic turtle mutants, who are trained by their sensei, Master Splinter, to become skilled ninja warriors. From their home in the sewers of Manhattan, they battle petty criminals, evil megalomaniacs, and alien invaders, all while remaining isolated from society at large. The picture depicts Leonardo, leader of the TMNT (obviously in disguise as an “regular” turtle).
Are there sewers in Cambridge (other than the English Dept, that is)? If not, where will he live?
I had a turtle once. It died. Are you bigshot intellectuals sure its soul was immortal?
Your turtle is very similar to the Eastern Painted Turtle in Cape Cod. I am a fan of turtles and have a nice collection of photos of the Eastern Painted Turtle.
I also think that Turtles mythology is a powerful reminder of how much about our behavior is genetically programmed and unalterable through teaching.
The defficiencies of LHS could have been predicted from his past behavior and anyone understanding modern science about human nature could have known that he could not be changed.
Let’s hope the Corporation does not repeat the mistake of getting a President in the hopes that they will change her. –Yes I’m pretty sure it could only be Drew or Kagan, personally I think Kagan will be too much of an extension of LHS reign.
Hey Turtle Fan. Your old friends still remember your photo collection.
Don’t let the heights of William James get to your head. Any luck with big closed fund managers lately? We all learned from that wacko, didn’t we? Who would have predicted his bizarre interests. Was that programmed in his genes too?
I hear it’s beginning to chill in Cambridge. I assume this won’t deter you from your jogging.
You should try jogging in Davos these days. It was snowing quite a bit last week.
I do continue to be surprised at human nature. What a difference a year makes. Not as many kiss up to me now. But I am a happy man. And I assure you I will be back.
Hey Davos Dude! You can be back all you want but you have no power. So there.
I may not have the power to fire you running man, but my threads reach all the way to the inner sanctum.
If you were the next big wig, where you you keep me? in their kitchen cabinet or waging war? and what if I had appointed you?
If I were the next big wig I would appoint an investigative committee to look into your past actions and give you the option of facing a disciplinary committee or resigning on your own.
Those who can, do, those who can’t, teach. (And bitch.)
Great post! Just wanted to let you know you have a new subscriber- me!
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