As an international studies student specializing in globalization, a typical class for me involves discussion of a thirty to fifty page article on human suffering. Now, suffering comes in countless forms, and usually we throw in a chat about rhetoric, but suffering is standard. Every day, suffering.

That being said, I am sitting in a classroom while this discussion is happening, and all of my suffering can be contained to the short term. I am not in prison for life on phony political charges, I am not stuck in a system of unhealthy, manual labor, and I am not married and living in fear. I am studying in higher education, I am living in a house with heat and food and water and electricity, and I have people who love me. My worst suffering is other people’s suffering. True, there are issues that I face that are both characteristic of my society and my own life, but I have learned from my studies that I am fortunate, and it’s difficult to complain. I am an extremely optimistic person, ironically.

Late in 2013, just as we crossed over into that frigid early 2014, that troublesome optimism led to Von Verity. Systematic, individual suffering was the kicker for me. I could do as you do and become desensitized to mass murders, kidnapping, slavery, and the like, let them become facts and numbers tied to geography and debates. That’s a common defense when you’re busy flitting around the world in your learning and trying to compare different places or times.

What I couldn’t seem to do was shake the pain of systematic suffering, tracing how large scale forces will cause these and other types of individual suffering long into the future. Great economic or political drivers that, while interacting with different gears, set issues into contradictory headlocks in which there is no right answer, no situation in which people aren’t hurt.

So, I needed an outlet, and you’re looking at it. I needed hope for the past, present, and future, to see that there was, is, and will be goodness and joy. I don’t like fluffy logic, though, so I also needed truth to support my optimism. Fortunately, I love to learn, so curiosity pushed me toward a way to meld the two ideas: I typically find von verity in the unexpected overlaps between ideas. In other words, interdisciplinary thinking.

Von verity as a common noun are tangible signs of everyday optimism. They can be as simple as a smile between strangers, an artist and a scientist collaborating, or even a new astronomical discovery. Usually, they are unassuming, so subtle you have to think optimistically to uncover them, but there is beauty in their creativity.

Stories of firemen saving kittens and Good Samaritans donating organs are lovely to hear about, but for me, they weren’t enough. They grab my attention the same way a fiery crash does, or a declaration of war. Opposites in feeling, but identical in flair. I needed everyday von verity. To me, I find it in learning about ideas and in adjusting my outlook.

The secret is that it’s a person’s own responsibility to find von verity. We all have different everyday things that give us hope and are backed up by truth. It’s personal, I’ve just happened to plop my ideas onto the web.

I haven’t publicized too much because of that factor. Who am I to assume that everyone ought to be interested in my ideas? Why does a mathematician have to hold a secret love of classical music? Why force a scientist to see art in their microscope?

At the moment, I have written this, and you have read it, and so I thank you. Von Verity is my way of finding beauty, and of counteracting the systematic suffering mess in my mind. If you share my thinking or have a similar burning curiosity about anything and everything in this world of ours, feel free to stick around.

Always love,


“Melancholia,” by Tadeusz Pruszkowski, 1924, via Wikimedia Commons