Vivekanand Vimal PhD'17 Speaks at Commencement
May 21, 2017
Dear Mother Earth who has given us all, Life,
and My Beautiful Brandeis Family, Today,
we momentarily rest upon the moving tectonic plates of destiny,
where we can smell the freshly pressed and compressed perfume of nostalgia
and where glistening all around us is a constellation of celebration.
Some of us have journeyed for six years through failure and frustration, through defeat and endless devotion. We have waded through cesspools of stagnation where the fungal fingers of failure have ensnared our souls and we have watched our gluttonous self-doubt consume our self-worth. How many of you have tasted failure not once, not twice, but an ‘n’ number of times p>0.5, am I right? And how many of you have gone to a human party with human music and human connections where you have had to explain your thesis? And after stripping away all the jargon and nuance, a party person has always ended up saying, “Isn’t your thesis kind of obvious?” And the only thing you can say is, “I'm going home to eat some microwave dinner” and as you run and run and run holding your shattered heart, you ask, “Why did I ever even do this?”
We did it because we want to live
and we want to dream
and fall in love
with something beautiful.
We did it because we want to explore the vastness of the universe and give birth to an idea never before seen in the entire history of humanity.
And to reach it, we have spent years with recurrent devotion and a singular focus on an incrementally small thesis waiting for our truth, unto its inner most parts, to emerge from a primordial soup of knowledge. It is this training that opened our divine eye and allowed us to see within every infinitesimal drop, an infinite universe of beauty upon which we can build our palace of collaboration.
And to many others, this world may be boring and drenched in monotony, but not to us! We do not demonize bacteria, viruses and venom; we find beauty in them and make them our allies in the battle against diseases. And we know that within the piles of violence, hatred, aggression and everything that divides us, are the dormant seeds of beauty. Which if we can find, and study and hydrate, one day they will grow to be trees of peace and love.
This is our world and our destiny and our time. Our muscles are ready and it is time to lift this world out of despair.
The true destiny of humanity is not to hibernate in divided silos of seclusion but to rather resonate in harmony with a united humanity. But how can we unite a divided world? It seems impossible and yet we have already begun, because within this auditorium, this gymnatorium, we have people from nearly all nations sitting united together as a singular family bathed in a collective happiness. All that we need to do, is grasp and nurture these connections and never let go. And as we disseminate across the planet, our network of love will expand and span across all nations. And nothing will be able to stop us, especially if we actively bring people with opposing views into our families and through conversations navigate around the fangs of difference to find the fertile crescent of commonality. There will always be those that say don’t interact with the other side. But let those philosophical extremophiles, on both sides, live in their sulfuric underwater volcanoes of hatred. We, the creatures of ambivalence realize that there must exist both hot and cold for the winds of change to flow. And with persistent hardwork and collaboration and the consumption of our arrogance, both sides will scale across the vast chasm of differences and find a commonality that will change the topography of the world, eventually bringing together polar opposites.
To my beautiful United States of America: Diversity can divide, but only if you don’t moisturize with love. If America’s identity is innovation, then we are blessed with the tools of collaboration. We can walk into any cafeteria and find Americans that have roots meandering into every known nation. Only here can we assemble a small United Nations every time we go and party. Only here can we create a multinational business or NGO or collaboration that spans the entire planet. Our greatest asset is not Fracking oil but rather Friendshipping humans. If we can generalize these solutions, together we can solve some of humanity’s most unsurmountable problems. That is why, when I look across the beautiful landscape of America I do not see Rusted Tombstones but rather Resilient Towns waiting for the monsoons of collaboration, that we will bring, to form nourishing rivers that spread like capillaries across all the lands and I do not see American Carnage but rather American Collaboration that will bring together all the divided nations of this world.
And to all of us. We will create a beauty never seen before. We will devote our hearts and souls and walk through world’s hatred and sins to give birth to the next era of humanity, that of collaboration and unity. We will reconnect our severed umbilical cord with Mother Earth and never let her be disrespected again. And we will bring honor and pride to our loved ones that have passed away on our journeys, because some of us have lost our precious classmates, our friends and our families.
So goodbye Brandeis. Goodbye divine pond that reflects the passage of seasons. Goodbye turkeys, rabbits, squirrels and lab rats. Goodbye mountain upon which Brandeis is built, that has gave us all buns of steel. Goodbye weight room that has a womb-like warmth incubated by a mixture of both local and international body odors. Goodbye magical castle that will forever live in our hearts. And, most of all, goodbye my beautiful Brandeis family.