Humans are Human
From my early days in visiting Aspen in the summer while still in high school in the 60's, it was apparent that the sky was bluer and the air was sweeter and harmony was visible and intense.
So, was it just the Rocky Mountain affect?
Or was something else going on?
After going to a number of free music concerts sponsored by the Aspen Institute showcasing some of the world’s best teenage musician from around the country that were selected for their excellence, dedication and promise and who were housed in local people’s homes for the summer for free and immersed into the community and going to free physics lectures also at the Aspen Institute where world famous scientists gathered to share, argue and act out their passion for understanding the laws of nature and also attending free lectures and talks where famous authors, poets, politicians, and other deep thinkers who shared with “whoever showed up” their thoughts, passions and joys and heartbreaks, I woke up one day to the realization that summer was over and it was back to Kansas where I lived.
The adjustment to the change in altitude, attitude, and openness left me with a deep desire to return and return I did as soon as college was behind me.
It was now the 70's and Viet Nam was winding down and the threat of dying for a country that I had lost all faith and trust in was behind me because I had been lucky in a lottery where ping pong balls with numbers on them rolled out of a cage and were read by a monotone humanoid to the horror of those that got a number of 200 0r lower and the guilty joy of getting the number 305 which meant I was not going unless I volunteered — I headed for Aspen as soon as the grass turned green and the birds began singing.
Aspen was still Aspen and I was now an artist and made my living repairing and creating stained glass.
The Aspen I got to know in high school was my home and I immersed myself in the arts, science and nature of my new home and the freedom that came with it.
To my surprise, I discovered that the Aspen Institute was planned, started and funded by a man, Walter Paapke who had been raised in Chicago and educated in a much broader regimen than the one I had endured and it was based on the philosophies of Goethe which simply said in my mind and my words:
“Man cannot live without music, poetry, art; science and nature.”
Thus the Aspen Institute, the Aspen Music Festival, the Aspen Physics Institute and the dedicated preservation of open space, parks, free running streams, and not just access, but encouragement from the community to disappear into the mountains and immerse oneself in nature.
Without art, music, science and nature — nothing else makes sense.