The title of this post, was at first: “About being worthless”, but I changed it, for a few particular reasons, that I will elaborate on in the following paragraphs of the article. The inspiration for writing this, comes from the attitude of many people I have a chance to interact with lately in the context of my final exams (university entrance). It’s also connected to the series of essays that I’ve started a while ago (not in the blogosphere) about the pragmatism of the modern world.
I’m not good for anything
That’s what I hear more and more often from my friends and colleagues, when they try to choose what will be the next big step in their life. Since I’m a senior in high school, now is the time for people my age to choose a university, a major studying direction and what comes with it – our future profession. It’s this huge moment in life, where we start to analyze our whole personality, what we can and cannot do. What I’ve been noticing recently is that we stop choosing basing on what we want to do and put the society’s opinion about what we’re good for on the pedestal.
I’ve always had two major dreams: writing a book and becoming a successful lawyer. To be honest, I still don’t know if I’m “good” for any of those, if I take the society’s opinion under consideration. I don’t have any moving stories about writing since I was 5 years old and I don’t spend my free time reading constitutions nor the Napoleon’s code. I won’t apply for creative writing, and I don’t take Social Studies as my advanced exam subject. Am I “good” for anything?
What does it mean to be “good”?
This paragraph will be divided in parts, and will include two definitions: a pragmatic, modern society’s definition and my own.
We don’t care about how hard you work. We don’t care about your ideas, your ways, nor your life. We only care about how much you can achieve, how much you can earn or how big your house will be. We only care about your results. You don’t study to have knowledge and widen your viewpoints, you study to get high grades. Knowledge is not power, information is power. You care about Socrateic philosophy? We don’t. What is it good for? You like reading poetry? Pffft, seriously? Go, study for your finals. You don’t want to live like this anymore? Then, you don’t live at all. You fit in the system, or you’re invisible.
Nobody actually puts it into such words, but this is actually how I see the educational and working system right now. Every action of people who work for that system, shouts it out. What scares me more than the existence of such system is that people actually want to fit into it and they constantly do it. The only hope left for me, is that those people do it out of unconsciousness or fear of being rejected.
It’s a month of final university entrance exams here, where I live. Since I try to observe everything around me, I’ve noticed two tendencies towards it: panic and obsessive studying and the “pass and forget” attitude. We have 3 years of high school, that include the preparations for the exam. Three years to read the books, three years to get to know history. Yet I’ve seen girls reading them now, not because they, before, had no time, but because they only care for the final result. Why does the system make them read things they don’t give a crap about? There are people who actually WANT TO read them and they are who stay unappreciated. Why?
People who care do not fit in the system. You’re supposed to do and complete, not want and do. People with the final result of “She’s read the book” are more likely to be successful than people who were passionate talking about it. Since when is conventional put above the unconventional? Since when do we put forced knowledge above the natural one? I’m telling a big no to this attitude.
Straight to the point, the pragmatic definition of being “good” means – being able to get the highest result.
In my opinion, being “good” means saying more than needs to be said. Doing more than expected. Being “good” means being passionate. To me, a painter who earns enough to buy the most necessary things is “better” than a person who earns thousands on being schematic. A “good” person works hard to become meaningful, not make the society consider him/herself meaningful. A “good” person makes art. Art, making the reference I love the most – in a Seth Godin’s way. “The Icarus Deception” and “What to do when it’s your turn (and it’s always your turn)” are the biggest examples of the new conception of art I’ve ever seen.
I can’t listen to it anymore!
I can’t listen to my passionate friends saying they’re not good enough for their dreams anymore. One of my closest friends’ passion is psychology. She’d do anything to study it, yet she’s not sure if she’s going to make it to the university. She has her own psychological theories, she’s got ideas, but she misses out on the results sometimes. When I think, that a person who will study psychology just to make her/himself prestigious, and my passionate friend won’t – I get angry. I get angry at the system, because it’s the system to blame.
I can’t listen to people telling me, that my passion for knowledge, my need for knowledge, my unstoppable hunger of knowledge is not what I’m supposed to do as an 18-year-old. I can’t listen to people telling me I should do what other people my age do. I can’t listen to my conversation partners telling me wanting to spend my whole summer vacation on mulitple summer courses is a waste of time. I can’t listen to people telling me I can’t treat law as a tool of getting to know people and helping them, but a tool for making money.
Eventually, I’m going to become a law student and I am going to continue writing. I’m going to keep aiming for educating myself, not expecting others to educate me. I’m going to do something. And with this, I declare war on convention.