ni Joan Arceo
See, last night I was planning to compose a list of New Year's resolutions, having these guilt-trips and the occasional hormonal mood swings. It progressed to about 5 intermediate pads in length, but then it got pointless. If I really actually attempted to think about writing down everything that needed to be changed about myself, the whole volume of Britannica encyclopedia would pale in comparison to its length.
Right, I threw the list to the bin.
But then I remembered that my last year's resolution was to “create a list the following year”... and this happened to be "the following year". Before I decided to make the same mistake again this year, I realized something needed to be changed here.
So I posed this question to myself : Why is the self difficult to discipline?
The spontaneous enlightenment thus begun.
The question suddenly retold me the myth about Prometheus, who gave Fire to the world. Fire is something that is uncontrollable, dangerous, and if not handled properly could yield to mass destruction. And yet, Fire has remarked the beginning of an unspoken civilization, a passage for the dark years of the barbarian to find warmth, food, and enlightenment. Fire has long been the main icon in symbols like the torch for wisdom, or the Olympics connoting the first Athenian marathon. And yet, fire has been closely related to the deep fiery pits of hell, defining eternal tormentation and punishment.
Suggestively, I liken the self to Fire.
With something so great waiting to be unlocked and let loose full potential, the Fire of self becomes an entity of its own. It has been unknowingly there inside all of us, trying to find a master for a direction to follow. Having been unnoticed and unnourished for a long time, it grows stubborn and uncontrollable --- and often refuses to gain restriction and confinement. This makes it hard for us to grasp it, much more to lead it; and often times we wouldn’t even notice that we are burning ourselves out with wild fire. The self, with its worldly nature, may be paralleled with the dangerous nature of fire. It could easily spread and cause harm if it is just left lying around with no one putting it on the tip of a torch.
The “self” doesn’t work alone; it needs something to brace itself from doing harm and growing uncontrollably. This is where the wisdom of Character and Principles comes in to play. Just like how early races emerged into a new civilization using a tiny spark of fire, human wisdom has the ability to make something great out of our ordinary abilities by using a strong fist of character and principles to work it up. It takes a large dose of discipline and mastery of the self to be able to control such huge entity and to what purpose one would yield it to. Often times, character and principle are not enough to make the most out of the fire that we contain. It also takes a right Heart to be able to multiply it; by aiming it towards other people, and in effect giving them the benefits of the warmth and light of one’s Fire. These three, I think, are the sole foundations of the strong civilizations that emerged with Prometheus’ gift to the world.
But of course, these are only idealistic notions of modern day living, and the “virginity” of the Fire isn’t that free from other strings anymore. Like how the wind can hasten the spreading of fire into a frenzy, outward forces could also sway the self from its directed goal. Acting on its worldly nature, it is easy for distractions and procrastination to win over the control of the “self”... and it is often so convenient for us that we even make up excuses to give into it. It is no longer enough to rely on ourselves for guidance, and we are definitely not to chastise ourselves with wire braces.
This is where the help from other people --- who in one way or another has managed to touch the fire of our lives because of genuine concern --- come in to play. We rely to them in trying times; when we need harnessing and are too blinded by the mess made by our mistakes. It takes the help of people who shares the same character, principle and heart with you to help you direct your path, and thus the need to surround yourself with such. A strong helping hand could compensate for the weak resistance to distractions.
Just like how the fire could yield to something useful or harmful, the self has the capability to make something good or bad out of its God-given sparks. But whatever comes out of it nevertheless affects its surrounding environment and how it extends to the community, and its direction is literally in our hands.
Si Joan Arceo (3 BS Mgt) rin ang nagsulat ng sanaysay na pinamagatang "Gravity" tungkol sa estado ng edukasyon at ang pag-asa kasabay nito.