December 12th

These blog posts are thinning out to say the least, partly because I'm busy, and partly because I've already said a lot of things I wanted to. Which is better, repeating yourself endlessly, or staying silent once you've said your piece?

Quote of the Week

  • "This house has been far out at sea all night, |The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills, |Winds stampeding the fields under the window |Floundering black astride and blinding wet |Till day rose; then under an orange sky |The hills had new places, and wind wielded |Blade-light, luminous black and emerald, |Flexing like the lens of a mad eye." - Ted Hughes, Wind

Sunday, 20 January 2008

I’m starting to see what makes me me now.

Not that long ago I believed that people had the choice to be whatever they wanted to be. Though that is true to a point, I’m starting to believe that outside circumstances play a much bigger role than choice. I’m not saying there’s no such thing as free will, but merely that circumstance, destiny, or whatever you want to call it plays a much bigger role that I ever imagined.

I grew haughty, believing that people who made choices different from mine were not thinking through their decisions properly, and that my ideals were the only ones that people should be aiming towards.

Now, I see a long line of events, people, and places that have come together to make me, the me I am today. Everyone has one of these. Different events, different circumstances have shaped them into the persons that they are today, and how they will make their choices in the future. After all, how can someone who has never read the Mortorcycle Diaries or been to Bolivia see the exploitation of Latin America through Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara's eyes, or feel as Ishmael Beah did as his entire village was destroyed in the war-torn Sierra Leone, without having read his memoirs, or experienced it firsthand?

This seems rather obvious, but it finally explains what I was so frustrated about – that people wouldn’t see or do things the same way I did, that people wouldn’t stand for what I was convinced was the only choice to make. They are fundamentally different from me as I am from them, and to demand that they do the same things as I would be paramount to saying that they experienced everything that I did too.

Your path, your choices, your opinion of the way the world should be, are different from those of mine. I understand that now. Whose choices ultimately are the best, neither you, nor I, nor anyone else can decide – for we are limited by the experiences that have made us the people we are today.

But then, surely some choices are better than others, and not having experienced something makes a poor excuse for doing the wrong thing – try to justify killing someone in a road accident because you never experienced being drunk! Not being experienced will therefore not save anyone from having to make the tough calls in life. I thus choose to stand by the ideals that I hold dear, until someone or something comes along to prove me wrong. When the facts change, I will change my mind – but only then.

I can only conclude that God moulds you into what you are – to a point. What’s left is up to you. I hope that when the hard choice comes, you and I know the right decision to make. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to choose what you want to do with your life, and what you stand for and would be willing to die for – to go out there and seize every opportunity to learn, or to be caught without the experience to make that choice in the future.

The choice to learn, to grow, is yours, as is the direction you want to grow in. Remember something, though, about what you may consider not worth learning or knowing about: as Trotsky said, "You may not be interested in stategy, but strategy is interested in you".