Thursday, February 6, 2014

telos of jeanzzandacutetop

If young love is just a game, then I must have missed the kick-off.
--Blink 182

Professors, friends, are highly exotic creatures.
They stand in front of us and get to say what they think. 
It's a pretty honorable position into which we voluntarily elect so many human beings.
Because there are so many professors whose words have been written down into hundreds of thousands of composition notebooks.

They are able to get you to fall in love with books, with reading the thoughts of people whose voices have been dead for many years, but who somehow still speak to us. They are the catalysts for these authors whose unmoving words move your heart. 

Sometimes professors do bold things.
You can tell they go off-script, and they either tell you what they think friendship is, unprompted by any other intuition than their own thought-process.
Sometimes, they rant about the unparalleled greed of the modern corporate university, or they bemoan the utter lack of self-awareness or critical thinking of most human beings nowadays. 
They implant in their students' minds the idea that maybe there is a different standard of living than the sort of drowsy, aimless pleasure-seeking that our world offers, or the aggressively self-made, self-seeking, self-serving self-actualization that it proposes.
Sometimes, they are humble enough to admit that they were once a young person like you, and when they were like you, they bought into several lies they wish they hadn't and hope with all their being that you won't.
And, in between quoting the Iliad and Blink 182, they seem to remember what it was like to be twenty-two, and to be a human whose opinion was sometimes discounted.
And they enjoin you to seek silence, to discover deeper desires than winning the next level of Candy Crush, to remember that you are not a beast, living under the whims of your instincts, they call you to a higher standard. They tell you that your appetites are not your masters, that you can have mastery over them.
The journey to master your heart is not an easy one, and you will probably be discouraged along the way, but they remind you not to give up. 
Because the great minds and the great hearts who have walked that road, and the jury is definitely still out on whether or not a human being in the post-modern world can reach perfection, or journey beyond the reach of all temptations. 
But the daring, they say, is not in the winning, but in the doing. 

Professors, so often, are exotic, because they, like cenobites, are signs of the eschaton.
They point towards a life that is lived differently.
They show that one who has hope, who has knowledge, and the will to wield it, lives differently.
They see our youthful energy and they remember when they were filled with that unsounded energy, and they remind us that to be young means that a great responsibility is upon us: to point that youthful energy towards the greatest telos we can muster.

What do you desire? They ask us,
and watch as word fail us, 
when we discover, in our dismay,
we  have no desire 
worthy of answering that question.

No comments:

Post a Comment