Sunday, January 26, 2014

Rufus Jones: A Luminious Life (movie review)

Lets get some keywords out of the way up front:  Haverford, AFSC, Transcendentalist, William James, Friend.

He taught philosophy at Haverford College his whole life (after going there).  He helped found the AFSC in 1917, the Nobel Peace Prize winning Quaker service agency (committee).

He was really taken with William James and thought academia should embrace the study of what makes us better, be that Chardin's Omega Point or whatever, the word "God" not out of bounds.

I learned a lot from this short video, which Robert Cooper had brought forward through the program committee.  I sat next to Nancy Irving, former General Secretary of FWCC.  We agreed some of the pictures had him looking like an oriental sage, which made the name of his origin, South China, Maine, all the more fitting.

He was a lot like Bucky in having a home base, rustic and natural, to retreat to in New England.  Bucky Fuller had Bear Island.  Rufus Jones had South China, with a cabin.  Good for writing.  Both were in the Transcendentalist tradition, Fuller inheriting some of his cred from his great aunt Margaret Fuller.

Before I forget, Glenn is all on his own reading up on post WW2 Japanese and American management innovations, which took it to the next level.  The company he'd joined in that ghost town in the southwest (a five year gig) had adopted a lot of those management methods, and was turning out world class mercury-sensing devices, important in mining.

Today we talked about one Sidney Harman, who expressed a lot of the new management thinking plus served as president of Friends World College for three years (a Quaker connection).

Quakers really made a name for themselves in business at one point, no reason they couldn't do that again. The world needs more compassionate business execs.

Rufus lost his first wife to tuberculosis and an adored son at age 10 to diphtheria.  He remained cheerful in his life yet suffered much sorrow.  His memory is treasured in Quaker circles.  He is seen as a healer of rifts among Friends.