The Master’s Thesis
Norman Cousins once stated that“The eternal quest of the human being is to shatter his loneliness,” and Robert F. Kennedy said that “few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.” The search for purpose and the quest to make an impact… Insanity is the most common mental illness for those living alone. We are a social species; our brains require interactions with others. This tendency results in the creation of communities that revolve around the idea that us humans don’t want to be alone. However, being communicative wasn’t enough; we created this idea of love and making an impact. In 500 days of Summer, Tom’s first line is, “This is not a love story.” But why isn’t it?
Jorge Borges says that “To fall in love is to form a religion with a fallible God.” Gods give us purpose. The conventional gods told us why we are here, explained how our existence came to be, and gave us something to look forward to after death. But in this modern day and age, we no longer seem content with the older gods. We placed trust in a new god: Love. This god has the same power as the ones of old, like the ability to control its followers. It convinces our brains to follow our hearts, instead of listen to reason. Love catapults people into ecstasy and drags them down into insanity. So, did Tom find love?
Attempting to find love will bring a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences. Frances Shand Kydd explained that “you need bruises to know blessings, and I have known both,” and, you have to experience the lows before you can know what was high. The journey up the mountain to find love brings to the table exactly that. Tom followed his heart and fell for Summer. Searching for love in Summer gave him the best days of his life. But, following the sheer bliss were his darkest hours, mental breakdowns, and the lost of will to live. Therefore, how could that not be a love story? Well, it missed an important concept.
What is loved shouldn’t be replaceable. Tom realized that Summer was gone for good when he found out she was married, but he quickly rebounded with Autumn. Tom followed a trend that G.K. Chesterton noted: “The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.” Therefore that wasn’t love, but rather a failed attempt to find love.
Searching for love is like searching for Zeus. For some they might have climbed the wrong mountain, while for others Zeus is nothing more than myth. “God will not look you over for medals, degrees, or diplomas, but for scars,” Elbert Hubbard states. More accurately, He looks for struggles that people have experienced and can use to better themselves. The emotional scars that Summer left would not go to waste, because Tom’s experiences will only guide him closer what he is searching for: a truth.
For Tom, nothing is gained from quitting, even though one may think that a task is too much of a waste of time and not worth the effort. Similarly, the experiences go to waste if you don’t walk through hell to see if there’s a happy ending after all. Winston Churchill mentioned that “If you’re going through hell, keep going,” because perseverance in the face of seeming defeat just makes for a sweeter taste of victory when you reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
William Penn expressed that each individual should be our best selves for every day and every occasion because we may not get the chance to right our regrets later on.
I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.
We will never know if we are going up the right mountain until we reach the top, but what we do know is that the experiences we get will help guide us to the love we are searching for. But, it’s possible that what we are looking for is not for us.
For some, when they reach the top they will find nothing but disappointment. Therefore we all must be able to adapt in our pursuit of something to love; we must remain open minded. Like Socrates said, “Let him that would move the world first move himself.” If we are unable to change, than we may never be happy.
Being happy in life is a very important end goal for many people. Mason Cooley has suggested to “… not wait for a reason to be happy” in life. For example, Mew2King is a professional Super Smash Bros Melee player who found love in a video game. Now such a love is looked down upon by society, but his mother was supportive and allowed him to work in the basement. Now he’s ranked as number 5 in both Super Smash Bros Melee and Smash 4. He earned about $40,000 in prize money in 2015, which is lower middle class, but you can survive off that much money. The most important thing though is that he’s happy. He found love not in a person, but in Melee.
So as Mew2King showed, similar to what George Bernard Shaw believed, that “what man really wishes to do he will find a means of doing,” in the sense that you are capable of following your dreams. You need to work hard and accept any consequences that come with following your dreams. But will you accomplish your dreams because you have enough willpower, or because of destiny?
Life will throw at us unforeseen and unwanted circumstances. Like what W. Somerset Maugham has said, “You can do anything in this world if you are prepared to take the consequences.” We must learn to accept what life throws at us and work from there. On one hand, Beowulf accepts the idea he can’t run from the dragon, and that death is a possibility. But, on the other hand, his story alludes to the powers of fate as and says that it will decide the outcome of their battle, just like how in Macbeth, the witches predicted Macbeth’s fate. In Macbeth, the three witches foresaw Macbeth becoming king, but also his downfall.
Martin Luther King, Jr. has said that he
“… cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
Destiny is a common theme in multitudes of old religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, and is often as a way to explain why “bad things happened.” Each religion believes that it is the plan of their respected deity. But, are they right? We may be destined to a certain fate; after all, the amount of luck that it took to get us this far is astonishing if you think about it. So why couldn’t we be destined? Whoever’s in control picked and chose who got a good life and who got a bad one. Many religions believe in a “good” god, but it’s possible we could have a mischievous god. Just like how some of us acted as kids, our god could actually be building up and destroying worlds for no good reason. Therefore, one should never rule out the idea that one does have free will. To live as if we had no control over our lives has only lead to destruction of ourselves. We should live as if what we do matters, regardless of whether it actually does or doesn’t.
In his essay about enlightenment, Immanuel Kant stated that “morality is not properly the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.” Dream to live a satisfying life; find what you love, and explore it. Don’t be restricted by morals; live the way you need to live to be happy. As long as you don’t hurt others, your life is your own to live out.
Henri Etienne has said that “if youth knew; if age could.” and Arthur Schopenhauer affirmed that “the first forty years of life give us the text; the last thirty supply the commentary.” Our younger years are the only times we get to “act up.” When we are old is when we are wise and can make better decisions, but we aren’t as physically capable as we use to be. Presently, we need to seize the day, but be wise in our decisions.
Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair—these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust. – Samuel Ullman
At the same time, we still shouldn’t be held back by age. If there is a will, there is most likely a way to do , we live in an age where technology can cover for many physical disabilities.
what we want. As James 1:19 states, “everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” Similarly, John Greenleaf Whittier has pointed out that“for all sad words of tongue and pen/The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’” Our actions can not be undone, but our thoughts and plans can be revised. Therefore, before we act, we should be clear minded and not hindered by emotions. The action’s reward should outweigh any and every foreseeable consequence, but we should remain open minded and not stubborn toward new and possibilities and better ideas. In the event we do open the wrong door, we can’t live in the past. Do what you can now to get to your desired outcome instead of thinking of what you could have done after it is all over.
Robert Heinlein expected humans to do much more than they deemed possible:
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
Our lives demand diversity. My dad graduated from UCSB as a computer science major, and went into college as a nuclear engineer. He’s worked at Edison for over 20 years, but has moved into many different departments since he started working there. While, starting off as a computer geek, he moved into buying and selling gas, and now buying and selling electricity from other countries like Canada. He’s just one example of how man can accomplish more than he sets out to do.
Chris Rock said that “a man is only as faithful as his options. My dad told me, “Whatever you graduate as, you’ll probably not be working as what you originally started out as in 15 years. Keep your options open and learn as many skills as you can whenever possible.” I do my best to keep that in mind. As for in today’s ever changing economy we don’t know if our job or major will still exist 5 years from now. We don’t even know if our friends will still be our friends in a year from now, therefore we must be willing to adapt to who and what we love.
“So now he is a legend, when he would have preferred to be a man,” Jackie Kennedy has said about JFK. Similarly, Siddhartha wanted change and found enlightenment in the process. He went from a future leader of a town to a man in love with a woman. Life changes and he was no longer satisfied; he became depressed and found comfort in alcohol. Then he pulled himself together and left that destructive life to find wisdom by the river. Instead of wisdom from teachers, he found wisdom on his own from an unconventional source. Therefore we should be ready to learn lessons from anyone and anything. As for, life altering wisdom may come from where you least expect it. And you may possibly find that you’ve been searching for love in the wrong places.
Worrying about the future will destroy one’s motivation to move on. Walt Whitman points out a fair ultimatum: “Either define the moment or the moment will define you.”The search for love will have small rewards along the way, and it’s our job to enjoy them when they are reached. Therefore it is necessary to live in the moment from time to time and enjoy the little things in life.
Marcel Proust has claimed that “until (he) saw Chardin’s painting, (he) never realized how much beauty lay around (him) in (his) parents’ house, in the half-cleared table, in the corner of a tablecloth left awry, in the knife beside the empty oyster shell.” Life will move on with it without you, but seeing the beauty that life has brought to that moment is something you do have control over.
“We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until we move from the passive voice to the active voice – that is, until we have stopped saying, ‘It got lost,’ and say, ‘I lost it,’” George Harris wisely asserted. Responsibility is difference between a child and an adult. Age is a number, if we are unable to take responsibility for the wrongs we did, than we are no better than a child. But, mistakes are the flaws that help make us human.
Albert Einstein has declared that one should “… not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the Great Mystery into which we are born.” This is the backbone of the definition of who humans are. From questions such as how to tame fire, to more complicated questions such as how to travel faster than life, curiosity drove uss humans to where we are now. It’s gotten us to the point where we are trying to scientifically understand love. We are trying to scientifically understand what we search for in life.
Jean Jacques Rosseau has shown that “Our will is always for our own good, but we do not always see what that is”. We naturally look after ourselves first, before we help others. But sometimes, what we see as our own good is skewed by emotions. Emotions stemmed from love, once again, hinders logic therefore we should search for the wisdom of others to see if what we wish for is in our best interest.
“My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become Pope. Instead I became a painter, and became Picasso.’” Pablo Picasso shared. And Robert Schaller questioned “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” Correspondingly, each and every human has the capabilities of becoming great. But, not everyone will become a pope or a general. Therefore, we should work to reach our potential in hopes to become great.
The gravestone of James Louis Petigru shows that
“Future times will hardly know how great a life
This simple stone commemorates –
The tradition of his Eloquence, his
Wisdom and his Wit may fade:
But he lived for ends more durable than fame.”
We can never forget that our time on this Earth will end. It’s the trademark of all things living: a beginning and an end. Best shown in the movie, UP, all good and bad things on this earth will come to an end. Therefore we should seek to live a life worth talking about years after we’ve died. We should create stories worth telling, make a legacy, and become a legend while we’re still here. To be human is to search for love, find happiness, and leave a mark on this Earth that shows you were something of value while you were alive.