Arts & Culture, Open Mic, Theology & Worldview

Open Mic: Intellectual Possibility by Hannah Verner

Traveling intrigues the heart, excites the senses, and enlightens the mind. Many who traverse the sloping mountains, diving valleys, and mysterious abscesses of the earth bask in the thrill of a profoundly encompassing territory. Colonizers and explorers do not hold weight to those who long to expand their horizons beyond their homes, as these adventurers acquire the explorative spirit themselves. As within the great works, the Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien, the protagonist, Frodo, drove his mind to potentially insurmountable and terrible odds of the trip, but once forcibly nudged into the journey, both body and mind adapted willingly. Thus, Shakespeare’s words stand true that the greatness of something, in this case a journey, oftentimes thrusts itself upon unsuspecting victims, or rather, fortunate individuals of fate in order to connect with that experience, both physically metaphorical and metaphysically essential, which books do not adequately commence to describe, define, or convey.

Upon climbing the steps of Oxford College, my breath escalated. Though the strenuous nature of the exertive activity caused such completeness and rapidity of inhalation and exhalation, the glorious view of this college’s boldly striking chapel spires, the grandeur of the lecture-hall bells, and the crystal-like image of the gracefully turning river certainly arrested my focus. From that moment onward, Oxford captivated my affections, both intellectually and sentimentally. Though slightly perturbed at the sudden necessity to control the weak physicality of my knees back down the steep, narrow steps, upon ably reaching a platform, the journey of experiencing Oxford College encapsulated my very being. Oxford became me, and I became it. This becoming, quickly noted by professors who admired my style of pondering the topography of academia, its own precipices and basins, ebbs and flows, curving and straightening as a beautiful dancer upon the dancing floor of history, defined my outlooks and perspectives for the rest of my life. Strolling along the lecture-halls, I gazed upon the stained glass windows, gleaming wood floors, brilliantly dyed carpets, pictures in arabesque, playful postures flirting for my glance, dazzling white chandeliers, curving wooden arches bending to please, lengthy yet welcoming tables, chairs one snoozes into easily, and books of infinitely tantalizing proportion, defying the laws of proportion, and people, of a mindful, thoughtful stalk, roam about this interior profundity. Mysteriously subdued, yet intellectually scintillating, Oxford College’s lecture-halls equilibrate the concepts of irresistible ambiguity and intriguing revelation. Their libraries scream of the magnificence and stunning prose that these edifices so tenderly protect. Chapels of gradually accrued wealth subtly echo the majesty of an Intelligent Designer. If humans constructed the vivid, bright, clear, radiating stained glass windows, the shining gold of the altar, the delicate, wooden cross, and the methodically crafted pews, gilded with care, then who created these individuals? For surely these artistic, ingenious molders and sculptors did not merely spring their presence upon this world by virtue of consequential happenstance. Some Intelligent Designer would have had to weave together the constructors of the chapel, lecture-halls, and libraries, among other such architecturally constructive pursuits of building Oxford.

However, architectural superiority did not entrance my senses entirely, but rather, the conversations within the halls which hearkened me. I reflect so distinctively, upon the sudden awakening of a ready, curious mind to the undulations literature generously unveils to readers, due to questions inquired of me, not by the professors, but from within, resulting from the professors’ Socratic teaching. One in particular whispers to me continually, and one answer continually makes itself apparent. The professors discoursed upon the merits of both Secularism and Cosmic Humanism and then challenged, “Therefore, which philosophical and logical reasonings bear weight with you, students?” in true Oxford fashion. My mind debated, “Secularists claim that matter does not matter, yet adherents uphold the physical significance of matter. Cosmic Humanists posit that matter does not matter but replace the significance of matter to its metaphysical existence. For an extension of this physical significance to the metaphysical means the inclusion of the physical significance of matter, not the exclusionary reaction to physical matter’s importance. Therefore, how does one conciliatorily reconcile these two philosophical ideas without implying fallacious, unfounded logic? Well, my mind thus continued to reason that Christianity supports both the significance of the physical and the metaphysical realms but prioritizes the significance and thus the saving of the metaphysical realm in both reasoning and conclusion. Therefore, while Christianity does not bring to equality the imperative protection of both the physical and metaphysical, it does, however, consistently promote one existence in both reasoning and conclusion. Thus, at least as demonstrated in both the cases of Secularism and Cosmic Humanism, the logically coherent upholding of one realm does not occur except within Christianity. Thus, attempts to champion both realms realistically bodes an impossible task in discussing these faiths. Though not shown defensible thus far with tangible evidence, it benefits all to state that I have yet to discover a faith profusely dedicated to the equal distribution of importance imparted to both realms of existence, because logically, when one elevates a belief, he/she necessarily downgrades another. Heretofore, because of questioning of Oxford professors and resulting questions posed to myself, I may not have founded myself upon my faith so strongly if not for the experience of Oxford College. Dancing, sparkling rivers, serene libraries, picturesque, breath-seizing chapels, and mind-bogglingly immense lecture halls all voice the utterance of a physical nature without reflecting the metaphysical nature within. Beauty, grandeur, and depth architecturally and adeptly mirrored the metaphysical beauty, grandeur, and depth embarked upon within classical literature cultivated in the curiosity of each student’s mind.

Oxford’s remote location serves the English as a sort of garden for authentic intellectualism. Crafting minds at a phenomenal par, Oxford not only instilled information into the minds of young scholars but constructed in these students potential to think not merely of a critical type but of a nuanced and insightful breed, sophisticated in its own right. Oxford continues to grant the people of interest to its hallowed halls, its spark of intellectual eagerness, of which cannot be taught in any school of academia. Oxford accomplishes the impossible. It simultaneously launches interest and catalyzes the cerebrum beyond its fortified limits. Perhaps, as with the study of mathematics, when the thinking of this “Oxfordian” brain does not satisfy or, by the book’s terms, reach the expectations of society’s accepted form of intellectualism, perchance that lack of grasping at this demand of society indicates the exceeding of the very limit so narrowly imposed. Oxford College not only exposed me to new knowledge but opened an entirely fresh world of intellectual possibility.


Meet the Author

Greetings! My name is Hannah Verner, and I am a linguistically intrigued and enchanted eighteen year old senior. This marks my fifth year enjoying the instruction of TPS professors and basking amidst the company of other TPS students. Though smitten from my first philosophical debate functioning as the derivatives of verbal discourse from my AP US History and AP English Language and Composition classes, I valued, cherished, and adored every interactive class period, challenging English AND Spanish oral exam, and scintillating reading material, among many other aspects. I hail from the topographically stunning state of California. As one undoubtedly suspects, the physical weather indulges all who abide within its geographic quarters, while the political weather within California “bites shrewdly,” making the Potter’s School an excellent refuge for the free exploration and colonization of ideas and theories, ranging from scientific discoveries to political philosophies, from the emergence of cultural fissures to altering economic patterns. If one inquired of me, “What is your favorite part of writing?” I dare not fathom where to begin. But to answer the question in brief, I intend to respond in two sentences, one a self-quote, and the other, a conclusion. ‘Desire is the vision of the soul.’ Writing, the expression of inward reasoning and sentiments, catapults the metaphysical vision of my soul toward the reality of the natural world. Therein reveals the reason I write.


  1. this is interesting!

  2. Hey Hannah, are you going to study at Oxford? (Just wondering since I’m hoping to apply there next year).