The Human Rights Warrior

Jennifer Prestholdt

Jennifer Prestholdt
Minneapolis, Minnesota,
February 25
Human rights lawyer, wife, and mother of three. (Not necessarily in that order.) I write about my experiences in fighting for human rights and how I am trying to bring those lessons home to my kids. Join our journey at, Humanrightswarrior on facebook and @JPrestholdt on Twitter. All material on this blog is © Jennifer Prestholdt, 2011, 2012


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NOVEMBER 5, 2012 11:50AM


Rate: 6 Flag

 And now for something completely different.


 Last week, I found the normal shapes and rhythms of my world disrupted. In the midst of a major storm in the East  and a bitter, divisive election, we buried my grandmother.  She was 98, so it shouldn't have been a surprise when she died, but it kind of was.

This week I have found myself almost longing for a bit of predictability, a return to normal patterns and rhythms.  A rational ordered life; a practical science made up of clear points, lines and planes.  I find myself searching for theorems that explain life and loss the way that geometric formulas allow you to compute volume, surface and area.

Of course, contemporary geometry goes well beyond Euclidean principles, taking us into contemplation of multiple dimensions and space.  This also fits with thoughts of life and death. Maybe I'll think on that later.  But in this week of turmoil and endings, I find comfort in what the  early Greekmathematicians Euclid and Archimedes called γεωμετρία.


I took the picture above on the Greek island of Hydra during a recent visit (here is a post on that visit with the normal human rightsy stuff).

When I look at this picture, I can't help feeling that the early Greek geometers were right: there is some order in the world and we can figure it out. No matter what happens tomorrow, life goes on. 

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What a gorgeous photo, a lovely view, with lots of geometry scattered through...
Numbers are the underpinning of the structure of the universe, numeric ratios its patterns of growth, sacred geometry the perfect proportions to please the eye and soothe the mind -- it's no wonder you're feeling/longing for its order. I turn to old architecture, or nature's patterns, or old paintings when chaos has erupted, myself.
I hope your world returns to normal -- meanwhile, you have that camera capturing the beauty you see....
I love this post and that photo. The focus of the photo points back to that bit of land and see in the distance. That is the natural order. The wilderness and the four elements of air, wind, earth and fire. There should be a study of Organic Geometry. Lots to think of here.
But the real world is fractal and sourced from chaos and the occasional Fibonacci sequence... I have a story about how I taught my stepson how to walk in the real world when we went camping for the first time... we'd unknowingly allowed him to become a prisoner of his illusion that the world was Euclidean.
there is a complete harmony from quasar to boson. some of us may even come to understand parts of it. they report enough in simple language so that religion is unnecessary.

but religion soothes us from the struggle of life, excuses us from the crimes we are determined to commit, energizes and binds society to care for the poor and destroy strangers whose land we want. so priests are in no immediate danger of obsolescence.

life is an accident, a hardy mold on the fabric of material.
What a lovely, thoughtful, deep set of comments! This is what I love about OS and miss when I am absent (as I have been in the recent past). Thanks to you all. As zanelle says, lots to think of here. And jmac, I hope we hear that story of your stepson and his Euclidean prison break! Thanks to all of you for your comments.
I'm sorry I'm late to comment - I haven't been able to read posts on OS for a while, due to busy stuff in real life. First of all, I'm so sorry about your grandmother. I feel like, no matter how much we might expect an elderly relative's time to come, that doesn't make it easy. Secondly, these profound thoughts and this beautiful image are striking, thank you.

My condolences to you and your family, and hoping you'll soon find the balance and harmony you seek.
Well, I would just like to express appreciation for the beautiful picture, which I do find inherently soothing somehow.