I remember announcing my interest to go for a physic talk on the Standard Atom and Higgs Boson, and possibly even glimpsing the particle accelerator, The Large Hadron Collider with excitement. (Even though I honestly doubt that it is the real Large Hadron Collider, I mean there is no way they can actually import it from CERN right? Probably a miniature…or a non-functional model.)
I also remembered the shock and incredulous face of the one who was listening to me.
“Are you crazy?” she asked, “You don’t even take physics. Besides, at such a time, isn’t focusing on your work more important?”
Yes, yes I am crazy.
And yes again, I don’t even take physics. I wonder why.
While I don’t regret taking Biology so much unless it is the day before exams and you realize you have to cram about 5 topics in half a day, I sometimes do wish that I had taken physics instead. It just appeals to me more, and I enjoyed learning it so much more.
One of the best choices in my life was my insistence on NEVER taking economics, because heck all those people who draw glowing appreciation of how useful economics is in allowing one to understand…(well yeah) economics, and how it can be a stepping stone to becoming a business man/woman.
I don’t even aspire to become a business(wo)man in that sense, so I wan’t about to torture myself over charts and diagram that resembled pig Latin to me for two whole years and really ended up learning nothing. In my opinion, Literature (for me) is way more enlightening, relaxing and mind-opening in so many ways. It is like this one lesson that you look forward to in a day that helps to offset all the other monotones that I have no choice but to face. And thankfully, I love GP too, so that makes it frequently two pleasant things in one day of bore.
Practicality can be a terrifying thing. I was persuaded, encouraged and warned against taking literature because of a multitudinous reasons such as, “it is hard to secure a definite good score”, “your school’s economics notes are way better and more helpful” and also because “what will lit do for you in the future?”
Yep, literature probably isn’t going to be helping my job in the future.
But isn’t it the same for those who take BCME or PCME, where they probably don’t plan to be a biologist, chemist or engineer while being a business man in a pressed suit?
Why can’t we study something (or go for a talk on something) simply because we are interested in it? Is that so “practically” reprehensive?
Indeed, now doesn’t seem like the good time to be partaking in something that is outside of curriculum because of the looming prospect of the Great Terror of A-levels, as any man of practical reasoning propagates. We have to think practically, and do what is important first, they say.
This is exactly why practicality is so terrifying.
Practicality encourages one to always choose the more logical, the more sensible, the less reckless thing to do. It tells us to finish tasks with closer deadline, handle things that are “more important” and engage in activities that will ultimately benefit us, in a measurable and recognizable way.
In essence, it attempts to compel us to do whatever that is due and therefore supposedly more important, instead of having the chance to venture into something we might actually enjoy doing.
I am surrounded by voices of reason almost all the time, my own included. These voices of reason guide me to do the “right” things, the “good” things and usually the boring things. Whenever my personal voice of reason go for a holiday, external ones are quick to replace it, and they are fast in evolving into nagging, nerve-pricking voices of over-pragmatism and bore.
Sometimes I portend my future to be dismally boring and dull because of these voices of reason. Sure, I may get a good job with a good salary. Yes, I may have a good family with good (and hopefully not overly-practical) kids that will make me happy most of the time. But I was just thinking, even so I may never be happy. Being practical, I would have abandon a dream job for a dry one because of its higher pay, and I would be practical enough to marry a practical man and then have practical children.
So there will be this whole viscous cycle of practicality.
Worse thing is, if your practicality and hence misfortune is the corollary of always heeding the practical advice of others, you have no one to blame, except yourself.
You listen to the teachers at school who tell you to do certain things. You listen to your mom who has been telling you things and influencing you almost your whole life (or whole life up till you decided to develop an opinion of your own). You are the good, sensible child who knows how to prioritize (and prioritize seems to be increasingly more of “completing what is urgent” rather than “completing what is important”) and never worry your parents. A good wife/husband and a good employee.
But it may always feel like you are lacking something. A vibe. A life.
I am not proposing that we should close our ears and stop paying heed to all the grown-up’s advice, because undeniably they with their grey hairs have experienced more and (probably) understand more. Listen to them, but listen actively and not passively. What is true for them may not be the same for us, for you. What works for them, what makes them happy may not work for you. Listen to them and access their advice before choosing to heed it or simply take it with a pinch of salt.
If they live their life in a blissful bore, do you plan to do the same?
My plan is that I would balance my overwhelming sense of practicality with occasional recklessness, idealism and iconoclastic behavior. I know at certain points that practicality will still reign, but then at least I am sure, that practicality has stemmed from me, and is not infused into me.
Physics talk for a biology-literature student? Hell yes.
But at another time perhaps, when it does not coincide with the school day where I have both Literature and GP lessons.