Julius Caesar

Deciding and Executing

In my opinion, there are two critical events that must occur when making something happen.

The first is you have to choose to decide to do it. This may seem intuitively obvious and perhaps even easy, but I think it’s actually the hardest. Decide comes from the Latin dēcīdō…from (“down from”) + caedō (“cut”). Decide literally means to “cut off” other options. And when you truly decide something, there is no going back…alea iacta est, “the die has been cast.”1

That’s not an easy thing, and sometimes we don’t even have complete control over all the factors. Never the less, we choose to jump both feet first into that unknown.

The second critical event is executing on what you decided to do. Often times I’m honestly not sure how something is going to happen. There are all sorts of paradigms along the lines of “time, money, quality: pick two.” But speaking as an engineer, I think figuring out the “how” — the appropriate balance of whatever paradigm you choose that brings about a solution — is often half the fun, and is likely easier than truly committing and deciding to do whatever it is that you’re doing.

NB: This an excerpt of an email I wrote to a good friend. I’ve talked about the etymology of “decide” with several people before, but surprisingly never here. Glad we rectified that.

  1. Caesar used the phrase as a metaphor to express the fact that he had crossed the river, and there was no going back. See also: The End is Nigh…at least the End of the Beginning is Nigh 

Iain Torrance

Iain Torrance, chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen and president of Princeton Theological Seminary, gave the sermon at UPC today and it was simply marvelous. What a great speaker. He’s also hip too! He recounted how on his way to Rome last week, he listened to Julius Caesar on his iPod, which he purchased from iTunes.


The End is Nigh…at least the End of the Beginning is Nigh

  • SAAS

Just about four hours to go until we start our Graduation Festivities. I call them festivities because a SAAS graduation is really nothing like your fathers graduation…or anyone else’s graduation for that matter. First off, this year we are graduating some 73 students. I believe one student will not be walking, but that was on his/her own accord, not for disciplinary reasons. You might be thinking, “Cool, this should, like, what, hour? Hour and half, tops??” He he he. Not so fast. Our graduation lasts an astounding 4.5 hours. Yes folks, you won’t get out of my graduation until tomorrow. The event starts at 7pm sharp (or so they say). The first half is really a presentation by various students and faculty, myself included (more on that later). Then we have a 15 minute intermission before the actual graduating begins. For that, each student comes up individually and seats in the “hot seat” for ~100 seconds while Jean Orvis, Head of School, “roasts” them. But it is truly going to be a blast. I already have pictures a few video clips from yesterdays and todays rehearsal. Pr acting for our graduation really gets one to thinking something along the lines of F**k! I’m graduating…F**k, F**k, F**k, F**k, F**k. Oh F**k. Sorry for the explicits, but this really is a worrisome time. We leave and go off, not knowing what’s going to happen next. I really hate that. I do. F**k. So back to what I’m doing. As a cautionary warning, the following information contains spoilers for the actual graduation and should not be read if you are actually attending graduation…which you are…right?? So after quite a bit of mum, I will finally tell you what I’m doing. I’m giving a speech. It’s a great speech if I do say so myself and I put quite a lot of time, thought, and hard work into it…to make it just right. The speech literally seems to say, I am Andrew, Hear me talk! Anyways, here’s my speech if you want to read it. The “//” mean short pause. Underlines indicates that I should punch the word. Italics indicates quotes. Everything else are just notes to myself that would take too long to explain.

Friends, Romans, countrymen,

// lend me your ears; // famous words uttered by Antony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. I came to Seattle Academy not knowing any Shakespeare save // “To be or not to be, that is the question.” Over the past four years, I have indulged myself in English Romanticism, American History and Government, various forms of art, including (film, clay,) (musical theater,) and (vocal classes.) I have gained an immense amount of knowledge in (chemistry, biology,) (calculus, physics,) and, of course, (life lessons.)

For the past several months, I have been pondering what my last act as a senior at Seattle Academy would be. Originally I had considered singing a reprise from Vocal Revue II, Frank Sinatra’s My Kind Of Town. I also considered creating a film or perhaps just crafting a piece of artwork for the lobby display. But I had already done these things. // I wanted this final moment to reflect a core attribute that Seattle Academy has given me. (pause)

Seattle Academy is place for experimentation; a place to try things that one might not otherwise venture to try. I have never given a speech before, nor have I talked in front of this many people. // This is one of the hardest things I have ever done.

This speech is my finial assignment. There are no requirements, there is no grade. It is just me and you. (pause)

When I came to Seattle Academy four years ago, I had no history. Before coming here I had never attended the same school for more than two years. Between 1st and 8th grade I attended seven different schools. This may sound like an astonishing number, and it is, // but the simple fact of the mater is that all those schools did not have the flexibility, care, and initiative that Seattle Academy has.

Because of my varied past, I rarely had the chance to actually make long term friendships. Four years is certainly a long time, and I now have many life long friends.

However, calling you all “friends” does not do justice to the love and understanding you have given me. (pause) Over the past years, you have not been just my friends, peers, or teachers: you have been my family. And there really is no way to say goodbye to family.

The best I can do is share with you a key philosophy that I have learned over the years:

It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions. *We are explorers.* We explore our lives, day by day. And we explore the galaxy, trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge. And that is why I am here. Not to conquer you with weapons or ideas, but to co-exist and learn.

My friends, my colleaguesmy family; when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, leaving his homeland and invading Italy, he declared: alea jacta est. The die is cast.

Caesar used the phrase as a metaphor to express the fact that he had crossed the river, and there was no going back. In many ways, our futures are the same. However, it is also important to note that This is not the end. // It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

I have been, and always shall be, your friend. Live long and prosper.