Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Power of Myth: Final Exam Preparation

"Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings." - Salvador Dali

I feel entirely connected with this aphorism personally. Since I am regarded by my classmates as one of the most intelligent students in the 9th grade, I feel as if this quote was meant for me. My classmates ask:
"Jack, why are you so smart?"
I answer:
"I am not that smart, but I do try my best and work hard to achieve my ambitions."
After that, they are just like, "stop kidding me" and "are you joking?"

In reality, I do not believe I am the most intelligent student in my grade, but I am one of the most hardworking and committed students. I believe that is what Dali meant: intelligence is driven by desire as a bird's flight is driven by its wings.
Although I possibly have 9th grade's highest GPA, I know at least ten students who are smarter than me, and more than 20 if you believe in Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences.
Another example I can think of is Math Olympics. Since Math Olympics is mandatory (at least the first round) for PreAP Math students, many do not take it seriously, but it is an opportunity to ambition; an opportunity to become more intelligent.

Ambition is a trait that does not belong to a child. Ambition cannot be possessed during childhood or infancy. In a way, it is possible to conclude that ambition kills childhood. This is what Campbell talks about: a death and resurrection (2:37). When a child decides to grasp ambition as a trait of its own, (s)he is dying, and then resurrecting as a psychologically "self-dependent" individual. Moving form psychological dependency to psychological self-dependency is the basic motif of the hero journey. In my own personal experience, it was ambition the one that helped me move on to my psychologically independent form of myself.

"I feel as if I were a piece in a game of chess, when my opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved." - Soren Kierkegaard

I recently won a chess tournament (actually today, Thursday, May 16) which is why I chose this quote. Soren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic, and religious author who happened to play chess. Although he lived in the XIX century, I can closely connect to his quote due to the fact that I love chess. Hence, I can suppose that Kierkegaard is saying that he hates it when his chess piece is pinned and his opponent reminds him of it. I interpret this as people not knowing what to do to be able to please everybody, and when they are about to make their move they realize they are unable to do so. 
Even more devastating is when people are reminding you that you cannot act that way, but you keep thinking of doing that, which makes it even more stressful. 

In my life, the only example I can think of right now is a situation in which a friend is bullying, passive-aggressively, another friend. I do not know how to act. Another friend tells me I should report it to the counselor and the HS Office, but I don't know if they will know about my 'betrayal' (since they will see it this way) and not accept me back into their friendship. This is how I feel, like a chess piece that is not allowed to move, and it is what will probably happen; I will not move.

Campbell mentions a turn from psycological dependency to psychologically independency (2:32). In this situation, where one of my friends bullies another passive-aggressively, I am still acting as if I were psychologically dependent. I am not saying I am completely independent, but, yes, my psychological dependency has been diminishing at a constant rate throughout the previous years. By letting other factors, such as friendship and fear (of being socially excluded), get involved in my decision, I am definitely not being psychologically independent. Campbell and Kierkegaard do have something in common in this aspect, since Kierkegaard would then do something about he being unable to move that piece. He would do something about it; move another piece that would let him move THAT piece in his next turn.

No comments:

Post a Comment