Alfred Korzybski, a little known scientist, claimed, “the map is not the territory.” He was and is right. We, the Mitchells, bonded over our aversion to self-identifying as “Mitchells.” Not because we were not proud; we were and are. Mostly because of the baggage that accompanies the generalization of an idea. In our case, we feel like a bunch of kids–well, they tell me I’m an old man–on a con with a wide, deep gulf filling the discrepancy between what people believe a Mitchell symbolizes and Us…The Map of the Mitchell and the Territory of its Scholars.
There’s something reassuring about our collective uncertainty. Despite the photographic evidence below, we don’t fancy ourselves philosopher kings and queens. And that suggests humility permeates throughout our cohort, and we presume throughout the ever-growing family of Mitchells.
A common error mistakes playfulness as immaturity or paints jest as irreverence. I love this group because they don’t fall prey to pretense: they take the honor bestowed upon them seriously without taking themselves seriously.
As the “old man,” it took me a while to understand, embrace, and live that truth: to live out the realization that love should be a part of all we do, and if it is not, we should go in search of it. It’s here. It’s been here this entire year. Even if Chris’s face says otherwise:
We are selected from an applicant pool. This very process makes a value judgment on us and everyone not selected. Of course, we all know that every opportunity is not right for every person. Moreover, our being picked provides us with no more worthiness in life than anyone else. We, this group of Mitchells, gladly acknowledge the lion’s share of arbitrariness that fell in our favor, that brought us here, together. We know caprice may not be so “kind” in the future. Until then, we will lean-in to our fortunate happenstance.