Telling Past Lives, Tracing Cultural Effects

In 2016, when Boston magazine ranked the “100 Best Bostonians of All Time,” Isabella Stewart Gardner came in fourth — just behind John F. Kennedy and right before Malcolm X. The wealthy, influential Gardner (1840–1924), whose eponymous art museum is a Boston must-see, transformed the city’s cultural landscape more than a century ago by being, … Continue reading “Telling Past Lives, Tracing Cultural Effects”

Spera 2020
Cultural Currents

One Musician’s Global Mixology

Almost any instrument has the capacity to express a variety of musical genres: classical, jazz, folk, blues, Latin, pop. It’s a musician’s choices of style and repertoire that let the variation out. For instance, take the violin — or should we say fiddle? To differentiate them, don’t look; just give a good listen. At the … Continue reading “One Musician’s Global Mixology”

Spera 2020
Custom Blends

East and West, Body and Mind, T’ai Chi and Philosophy

When Dr. Andrew Dell’Olio was a senior at Rutgers University, a professor there taught t’ai chi ch’uan in the campus square. Though Dell’Olio didn’t join in, he recalls observing the meditative martial art; he found it quite beautiful. Within a year, the budding philosophy professor, by then a graduate student at Columbia, had enrolled in … Continue reading “East and West, Body and Mind, T’ai Chi and Philosophy”

Spera 2020
Custom Blends

Translating Classical Latin, Decoding Gender and Power

Converting one language into another isn’t just a utilitarian task; a good translator conveys the voice and linguistic nuances of the person whose words are being translated. But what if you are a 21st-century man translating the writings of a 17th-century woman? What challenges does a modern man encounter when decoding the thoughts and words … Continue reading “Translating Classical Latin, Decoding Gender and Power”

Spera 2020
Code / Decode

Finding a Brain Cell Fix

About 2 percent of a person’s body weight is mostly responsible for the way the other 98 percent of it functions. The complex human brain, which usually weighs in at about three pounds, is the ultimate multi-tasker of human organs — processor of senses, memory and knowledge; coordinator of heartbeats, breaths and motor skills; releaser … Continue reading “Finding a Brain Cell Fix”

Spera 2019
Damage Control

Finding Meaning in the Storms

“Why did this have to happen to me?Where is God?How could God let this occur?What am I going to do?Who am I going to be?” Those massive life questions — uneasy, uncomfortable, overwhelming — are smack dab at the heart of Dr. Daryl Van Tongeren’s prolific research and writing. The scholar of experimental social psychology … Continue reading “Finding Meaning in the Storms”

Spera 2019
The Inner Life

For All of God’s Good Earth

According to a recent Yale University survey, only 18 percent of American evangelical and born-again Christians believe that caring for the earth is part of their faith. When environmental theologian Dr. Steve Bouma-Prediger hears a statistic like that, he matter-of-factly responds, “I have a lot more work to do.” That work, which he has undertaken … Continue reading “For All of God’s Good Earth”

Spera 2019
Compass Points