Message from the President:
Cooperation. The Oxford English Dictionary’s first definition of cooperation is “The action or process of working together to the same end.” I am quoting the Oxford Dictionary because I have just completed reading “The Meaning of Everything”, by Simon Winchester. It is the untold story of how this incredible English Dictionary was conceived and created.
If you were given the task of compiling every word in the English language, from its Anglo-Saxon ancestry to the latest technological words, how would you even begin? Surely this task is so large that no single person could ever achieve it. This 71 year project (yes… I said 71 years!), relied upon thousands of volunteers to comb through the literature, and provide the editor with a word, a date when it first appeared, a definition, and most importantly, a published or written quotation using the word in context. Literally millions and millions of slips of paper were submitted to the “Scriptorium” where they were collated, sorted, and verified. Eventually, the editor, sub-editors and sub-sub editors gleaned definitions for each word, their derivatives, origin, spellings, synonyms, and selected the relative quotations using each definition of the word in context.
The publishing of such an endeavor required it to be released in 125 parts called fascicles over its 71 year development, eventually filling over 13 volumes. By the time it was completed, it took another 5 years to publish a supplement that contained all the “new” words that appeared in the language since the original publishing began. The printing also required the cooperation of many, many volunteers to read, proof, re-read, re-proof and approve the many plates required for the printing. The publisher, Oxford Press, saw it as a losing financial investment and threatened to discontinue the project several times. The academic politics of the day did their best to meddle in its production and influence its creation. Without cooperation, this rock of the English Language would have never seen the light of day.
At first, we might think that we now live in a world where no one seems to cooperate towards a common good anymore, with every person or group only concerned about their own agenda. But what about the recent world cooperation we witnessed in the rescue of the boy’s soccer team from the flooded caves in Thailand? I, for one, have not given up on the human race. Our Unity Principles tell us that we are all connected. We must remember cooperation is key to connection, just as each person who contributed to the OED surely felt connected to the project and the people involved, as well as feeling the effect their publication has had on the world!
“We all do better when we work together. Our differences do matter, but our common humanity matters more.” – Bill Clinton
Speaking of cooperation, performing music is also a cooperative event. And speaking of music, our next 2 events in our concert series are just around the corner! On September 22, Jeannie and the Drivin’ Wheel will transform UBTS into a Honky Tonk music venue. And on November 10, the return of Alan Wasserman and Friends will delight you with classical and jazz offerings!
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