HPU’s 2005 Spring Honors Brunch,
held April 3 at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki, witnessed the
induction of 221 students into 16 honor societies. After a
keynote address by Dr. John Kearns, associate dean for General
Education, and an abundance of fine food, each society conducted
an initiation ceremony welcoming new members and presenting
certificates and cords or medallions. (For photos of each society
group, see pages 4-5.)
Kearns presented an energetic talk about the
periphery—things that don’t seem central to our
lives, such as Lydian, an extinct Indo-European language, and
how knowing about it could save us someday.
Kearns began with an anecdote from a movie
about a failed Mars expedition, The Red Planet. Algebra, of
little interest to the
astronauts, who used calculus and other higher mathematical forms,
was the key to their survival on Mars.
Historically, items that are on the periphery
of our interests, often save lives, Kearns said. “King
Candaules [of Lydia] had the periphery come crashing down on
him in 678 BC,” Kearns
continued. “He was an excellent ruler; he expanded Lydia’s
power and influence, and he had a stunningly beautiful wife.
Which is what got him into trouble.”
Candaules valued validation, according to
Kearns; he wanted people to know just how beautiful his wife
was, so he forced
his servants, Gyges, to sneak into the queen’s bedchamber
and watch her changing clothes. She caught him, of course, and
offered him an ultimatum: kill the king and take his place or
be killed on the spot. Gyges killed the king, married the queen,
and assumed the throne.
“Candaules forgot to pay attention to the periphery,” Kearns
said. “If we compare him to a university student, Candaules
majored in kingship but forgot to take courses in important peripheral
For example, Kearns said, he could take Dr.
anthropology class, where he would learn about cultures where
nudity was perceived as shameful, and where a violent response
to breaking a taboo is normal. Or he might take Dr. Lierheimer’s
class, which examines sex, gender, and history. Then he’d
have an insight into women’s perspective, and he’d
understand that the queen was not a commodity to be objectified.
“Things Candaules thought were peripheral.” Kearns
him in the ‘okole, and his central life — the
qualities that made him a good king — couldn’t
“Where do you find the periphery?” Kearns concluded. “In
your general education courses, of course!”