Some of you might disagree: since thousands of years ago, the most difficult quest of human being is to solve the never-ending riddle of our own complex sets of brain cells.
It is hard, my dear friends, because there is no such thing as a finish line which we can visualize in the end of the road–ergo, it would take perpetual endeavours to do so. Let’s admit it once and for all: our mind evolves. What used to be a ‘truth’ is now a ‘lie’ (Remember when church was the only omnipotent institution?) and, to add an external problem which makes the game even more intriguing, the shape of our world is constantly altering.
Having known that the possibility of discovering a completely satisfactory answer to the mystery of human’s elusive mind is near zero, most of the people fleed to the study of secondary questions: natural science. These people try to explain how atoms react to each other, how numbers have a certain pattern that amaze us all, as well as how carbons are processed in our body. Natural scientists are blessed to experience a temporary happiness of being able to produce knowledge and mastery through experiments–but deep inside, I believe that we all keep that drop of curiosity to find out how mankind produce thoughts.
Social scientists are therefore, brave intellectuals who dare themselves to shed some light on the primary inquiry: how does a person think? What can be the raison d’etre behind one’s action? Why not the other way around?
Some of them are labeled as psychologist, communication expert, theologist, anthropologist, sociologist, and–top of all–philosophers. One tries to explain what comprises fondness, another elucidates the idea behind one community’s political preference, while the rest analyzes our society’s consumptive behavior. If they’re stubborn enough, they might as well go to the extend of explaining why human needs a God–and religion.
Within the past fortnight of not posting here, my brain has been producing quite a list of points to discuss about. Most of them involve human’s idealistic notion of romance, but I also spare enough space for daily observations:
1. In a ladder of fondness, admiration stays at the bottom.
Fahmi and I once debated on whether admiration comprises tinier particles of love or is it admiration that contributes to the bigger building of love. He confidently suggested that love is just 1% of admiration (I’m pretty sure he had Real Madrid in mind when he said ‘admiration’!), while I contended elseways. Unlike admiration which focuses you on one’s fine traits, love helps you see perfection in their flaws.
So, here goes my proposal.
There are at least 3 distinct verbs to express different levels of fondness: admire, like, and love. Of course, English is generous enough to leave us quite a collection of alternatives: adore, care, appreciate, adulate, worship, and the list goes on–but for now, we’ll just stick with the trio.
At the lowest floor of the pyramid, is when you admire a person because you find them attractive. The popular word for it might be–to have a crush? You just seem to notice a certain trait, degree of cleverness, or physical appearance that interest you–thus captivate your attention at some level or another.
The next step is when you like them, triggered by further interaction with this individual. It is, however, a bit tricky, because there comes the two-prone possibility of either losing the interest completely because he/she doesn’t meet your expectations, or falling even deeper into their charm. To ‘like’ does not, however, provide the quintessential tolerance for weaknesses. You simply live in your nice imagination of him being the perfect prince–or her being the most beautiful lady.
The bad news? They’re not. They are, as a matter of fact, just human beings with flaws. There goes the key to get to the next, final level: acceptance.
Have you managed to take these imperfections–be it false tunes, covered wound, or stained habits–as an inseparable aspect of your beloved, you are ready to love them. Indeed, the wind blows tighter up there: every event just seems to reveal itself as a potential threat for your feelings. You will, by then, get familiar with anger and jealousy which are, surprisingly, the validating properties of your fondness.
2. A true leader climbs their ladder.
After a long, midnight discussion with Jessica (while recalling lessons from my Management Principles course a year ago), I realized that a leader is just a person who is foolish enough to admit that he/she is.
You see, being a leader is just a role that human chooses to take from time to time. Some of us needs it to achieve a vision, some of us wants it for money, but it doesn’t matter, really, as long as we understand that being trusted as the leader is never a means to prove that we’re better than anyone else in the team.
It rather means that the rest of the people in the team are better than you in preparing the events, in fundraising, and in doing the publication–but in the end, you get some of the credits because it’s you who decides to stay there, stick them together, stand up and motivate when everybody’s down, and take the blame when a decent coordination does not take place.
We further agreed that a true leader climbs their ladder in order to have a first-hand experience of being a follower. This idea has also been approved theoretically, where leaders are ought to be a staff at their first years so that they can understand the grassroot situation before getting to lead anyone else.
3. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
…including uncertainty. My English teacher once said that in order to survive, human needed a fair, balanced amount of certaintly and uncertainty. A man, for example, needs to be assured that he can eat in the next morning, but at the same time life would be too boring for him if he knows exactly what food he’ll be eating everyday. This has been a very interesting concept to me, and I’ve been trying to find other examples ever since. I take ‘job’ as certainty and ‘projects’ as uncertainty–or ‘marriage’ as certainty and ‘love’ as uncertainty. In this regards, surprises at birthdays still make sense despite the fact that they are very predictable, because the time and place will always remain as uncertainty.
4. Books are sentient beings. Period.
A friend shared me a link to Mortimer J. Adler’s prose on How to Mark a Book. To quote his exact words:
I contend, quite bluntly, that marking up a book is not an act of mutilation but love.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait in there, Mr Adler, did you just say that smearing books with symbols all over its pages is an act of love? I think I have to stand against that idea. He did
make a valid point when he says that:
…But the soul of a book can be separated from its body. A book is more like the score of a piece of music than it is like a painting. No great musician confuses a symphony with the printed sheets of music. Arturo Toscanini reveres Brahms, but Toscanini’s score of the C-minor Symphony is so thoroughly marked up that no one but the maestro himself can read it.
Then again, music scores are nothing like idea-condensed books. (When I said ‘books’, you understand that I refer to thoughtful ones, not some market-based sets of words, right?) No matter how much you love–or hate–a book, it is a sentient being who deserves to be treated well for it is a physical manifestation of thoughts. Great conductors do not make notations on lines of magnificent sentences–they compse new symphony through marking scores.
I say, if you fail to appreciate the body, you can hardly understand the soul. Although in the end, people might express love through different ways,
5. God must be hiding a happy-ending scenario behind the existence of these conflict-triggering religions.
As much as I have this tendency to invent confusing questions about–and for–God, I apparently am still the very conservative girl back then who has an auto-pilot that drives herself into possitive assumptions about Him.
Rumor has it, God closes certain people’s heart from receiving the light for particular religions. My brain has it, it would be a too shallow, and poor, description for Him.
You see, I possess this preposterous habit of watching people walking down the street from the window of my room. One day, it just came up to my mind that each of them–destined for a different story and religion–must play their unique role in God’s master plan. As quoted from Cin(T)a:
Why would God create us different, if He only wants to be worshiped in a single way?
I once said to a friend over coffee that I would feel awfully betrayed if God does not own any happy-ending scenario behind this diversity of religions He has created on Earth. At the status quo, I can say that I still am very much disappointed to the existing conflicts it triggered.
My most favorite story line would be Dwinta’s concept of ‘destination’, while the second-best alternative would be this: God’s actually playing a trick by designing us with a limited container for faith but endless curiosity for truth so that we would ask one another, share ideas, and basically, interact. Because otherwise we’ll just stay at our safe houses of unitary religion.
6. Movie is not a character-killing product.
Instead, it’s a character-producing one.
I wholeheartedly believe that there are many of us who have been let down by novel-based movies, and I’m not proud to say that I used to be one of those furious audience. Harry Potter, Sense and Sensibility, One Day–you name it–true readers don’t really fancy movies.
Of course, I truly understand that movies are intended to please our audio-visual and not mere imagination, and thus are challenged to be eye-and-ear-catching, which are still very tolerable, until I met (the movie) Sherlock Holmes (last year) and Professor Moriarty (yesterday).
Here is all I need to say: my handsomely smart English man has turned into a laughing stock while the brilliant antagonist does not have the fierce expression I expected. So no, people, I won’t take it anymore. I decided to reach out for acceptance through seeing Sherlock (the movie) and Sherlock (Doyle’s) as two different persons.
And with that, ladies and gentlemen, I rest my last case in 2011. I don’t even know what point I was trying to make back there, but always remember that getting lost in a bookstore might still be the best bliss that we can get so far.
Oh and for 2012, let’s keep my friend’s idea in mind: dreams are not genetic and self-driven, thus–before it’s too late–let’s revisit our old dreams and see if we can make them come true (like having http://afutami.foreignpolicy.com–HAHA). Happy new year!