“That our acts are essentially optimistic is a central quality of Marlboro College,” says art professor Tim Segar in his feature titled “Outsiders: The Art of Joseph Beuys.” In an excerpt from a talk he gave incoming students last fall, Tim describes the delicate balance between curiosity and skepticism that all inquiring students must navigate. He suggests that Beuys’ enigmatic art exemplifies the transformative possibilities of curiosity, but that skepticism plays a time-honored role in academics as well.
This issue of Potash Hill has many offerings along the spectrum from curiosity to skepticism. Peter Sullivan’s inquiry into the possibilities of recognizing nature’s independent subjectivity is balanced with Robert Cabin’s editorial on “scientizing” public debates. Elizaveta Mitrofanova curiously explores the health benefits of a mysterious mushroom, while President Ellen McCulloch-Lovell expresses skepticism about using college ratings for awarding federal financial aid. You’ll find something for every degree of incredulity in this issue, and hopefully we strike the right balance for your own transformative experience.
I welcome your comments, both curious and skeptical, in response to this issue of Potash Hill. You can read responses to the last issue on page 46.
—Philip Johansson, editor
Front cover: Fallen leaves strike a balanced pose in the frozen firepond. Photo by Noah Woods ’15