Friday, 21 March 2008

I Think, Therefore I Am; I Dream, Therefore I Become

In a heaven of people there's only some want to fly
Ain't that crazy
Oh babe Oh darlin'
In a world full of people there's only some want to fly
Isn't that crazy, crazy, crazy
But we're never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy

Time and again I am prompted to revisit these thoughts about having dreams and passions in life to work towards, about finding something greater than yourself so that you've got a sense of purpose, about having something that you aspire to do or be, not something that someone else tells you that you should or shouldn't do.

I'm not trying to romanticise the idea that we should all have a dream (or dreams), especially for the glamour factor. The media tries to sell us that idea so often that people can end up having impractical, naive "passions" just for the sake of it. But on the other hand, there are just so many things that greater institutions dictate such that many of us lose sight of what it really means to be alive. It would be truly magnificent to see a nation of people step back and out of the dark to see for themselves beyond what we are told to see.

I live in a country where almost everything is fabricated, regulated and policy-driven - our sense of nationhood, our economy, and our goals and dreams. Maybe it isn't all that a terrible thing; we've probably progressed much faster in terms of achieving stability and growth compared to many other countries, which is remarkable for a young nation.

But we've compromised a lot in terms of building a culture that we can personally identify with, in the sense of being ourselves. And we can tell by the way we're trying to establish something here now after all these years, as we frantically pump capital and resources into our sports and arts sectors amongst other overlooked things thus far. We're finally opening up. I've seen more bands performing live concerts here in the past 2 or 3 years than ever before, Zoolander became legalised, the IR's on its way, and we're going to have F1 racing and many other things. We're pushing to become an arts and cultural hub. It's not a bad thing at all, but because it might be a little late, the inertia will be there.

From the way I see it, from the moment we're born, our purpose is clear - to become the nuts and bolts of the clockwork that is Singapore Inc. Anyone who tries to rock the boat gets marginalised, ostracised or incarcerated some way or other, especially when expectations are socially constructed, woven into the fabric of our daily lives and constantly reproduced in cyclical fashion. In line with attempting to achieve the ideal life that we're expected to achieve, we're given narrow paths to take in life; our choices are very much dictated by a greater order and it is very often not our own. I see this so often in people and friends who tell me that they're feeling lost, that they're getting the grades just to please their folks, that they just can't pursue what they like cos they can't afford to fuck up in the preliminary heats that lead up to the rat race. So, because of these things, it's hard to spare room for so-called 'frivolous passions' and 'pipe dreams'.

Just think about it. You wanna be a soccer player. But a part of you, so strongly ingrained, says you have to ensure that you graduate with some qualifications so that you can at least have a decent job if your soccer aspirations fail. It's things like that. And as long as such a mentality of the fear of failure exists, it is hard to give our best in other things. And it is yet still true that such fears are not unwarranted. It is almost like it's part of our national character to have those fears.

But life can be so much more than just being a statistic. You'd exist as a forgotten cell in an entity, but to truly live, this resides in finding something that is bigger and more important than you are and dedicating yourself to it. And this isn't a force-fed process - this purpose in life can only be purposeful if it's true.

Only then can we break away from simply existing and transforming into something of value, not for anybody, but for ourselves especially. We really could do with holding our dreams and passions dear even if it isn't easy to leave our comfort zones and be socially unconforming, and it is a worthwhile journey even if we do not succeed at them. We can then shed so many other material things that weigh us down and yet still feel more spiritually fulfilled.

I cannot even fathom how much better it could be for our society if we could all embrace what is truly important to us; to have more people that I could talk to who speak with a burning conviction of knowing that something matters more to them than just making sure they can stand in line. It is truly a joy to converse with people who have found a true sense of calling - there's always that spark in their eyes.

And when you have that kinda bottomline that really means something, then life is so much simpler. Life is only as tough, complicated or as lost as chasing after stuff that don't mean anything to you.

We are all born with wings but we are told to burn them along the way. Screw that. Spread them and fly towards the light that defines your destiny.

The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going.

Audio Candy:
Ice Nine Kills - The Greatest Story Ever Told

No comments: