A man once told his son that he should “never trust a man who doesn’t drink because he’s probably a self-righteous sort, a man who thinks he knows right from wrong all the time. Some of them are good men, but in the name of goodness, they cause most of the suffering in the world. They’re the judges, the meddlers.” He told his son to “never trust a man who drinks but refuses to get drunk. They’re usually afraid of something deep down inside, either that they’re a coward or a fool or mean and violent. You can’t trust a man who’s afraid of himself.” He concluded, “but sometimes, son, you can trust a man who occasionally kneels before a toilet. The chances are that he is learning something about humility and his natural human foolishness, about how to survive himself.”
Isn’t it beautiful to contemplate the extent of our frailties? I am a fallible human being; I don’t know everything and I don’t have an opinion between every cultural dictate differentiating”right” and “wrong.” I don’t ever want to be that proselytizing individual, the person who has the answer to every ethical/spiritual/moral dilemma. We are the arbiters of the status of our existences. I simply refuse to attribute my fortune to the outcome of a series of idealogical conquests. In this age, there is no reason for me to logically defend my beliefs, especially when a sea of knowledge-that has never been so easily accessible by any other generation-is at my disposal. In the words of Montaigne, that which we are unfamiliar with simply amounts to barbarianism.
During the process of maturation, we have two different kinds of people; “on one side, people [that] have used their 20s to learn and grow, to find … themselves and their dreams, people who know what works and what doesn’t, who have pushed through to become real live adults.” Sadly, we also have individuals that hang on to what they are familiar with, those that have settled for that which does not correlate with their self worth. In essence, they are afraid.
We are all subjected to the treachery of time. Days months and years pass magnifying failure and success, loneliness or joy, and the deliberate nature of change. Time is our enemy. It is an efficient means by which to communicate, to coordinate, and to consolidate, but not by which to examine the course of our lives. Life is to be lived with vigor and courage and confidence and deliberation-elements, elements of our lives that are intangible. Elements of our lives that cannot be measured with calendars or watches.
I recently had a conversation with a good friend, and we discussed the changes we’ve examined in ourselves since high school. In truth? Not much. Our world views are still as open as ever; we’re still welcoming of new ideas. We’ve grown in that we’ve been exposed to a wider array of abstract concepts and our philosophies are more articulate, substantiated by the ideas of Rousseau and Montaigne and elevated by an awareness of contemporary dilemmas in international relations shaped by the developments from East Asia to the Middle East. We’re more versed in the fundamental elements of various religious and political ideologies and have more concern with the trends occupying our peers. A constant is that he and I and probably everyone I’m close to is trying to make sense of it all and by it I’m talking about now. We’ve tied ourselves with preoccupations ranging from religious missions to photography, work and school, and the common growing up. We’re told that lifes not fair and I think that what binds us together-as brothers-is that we won’t let that fact take away our dreams. As different as we are, we’re content to succeed with whatever we choose to pursue.
I know that no matter where my life takes me, may it be the most fulfilling intellectual utopia to the epitome of an eye opening slum, I’ll always be able to fall back on those who I cherish whole-heartedly. My family has always supported me and my friends give me immeasurable amounts of strength. Whatever I may pursue, I know that they believe in me. Through the most challenging of adversities, I know that I’ll have their support. To 2012, 2013, to wherever life takes us, may we engage in passion and sincerity. Lifes a short one. Lets make the best of it.