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Anything I can do, I can do better…

by on January 10, 2010

My greatest dilemma is that I can do anything. I mean that all opportunities lie open to me. I can also set my mind to anything; some things, of course, are more difficult than others. And I do not mean to complain; there are many people willing to give a great deal for a decent meal, much less the opportunity or ability to do anything.
But what do I mean? I amend my statement. I can do anything in an academic sense. My chosen course is Political Science. I can, if I chose a different life, master Shakespeare; master the great histories of Greece, Rome, France, or China; calculate factorials; or count the stars and search through billions of years of history. I can do any of this, but not all of this.
It is the great curse of those of us who pursue education in the institutional sense. It is why many find choosing a major so hard. We come hither, and we come being able to do more than one thing. Do you think excessively? Why, so dost thou. Can you understand people? Can you learn also the theories of designing an effective (or affective) government? How about physics? Is statistical analysis something you can master? Most likely, the answer is yes to more than one thing.
When I attempt sleep, my brain continues to be so occupied that sleep is not easy. I debate with myself the pros and cons of Higgs-Boson theory, necessary measures of statistical analysis of demographics, foreign policy, average the time on my clock (or try to figure out its square root, or prime factors), or any number of other cross-disciplinary subjects. I try to figure out what I’m doing, in a grand sense, measure my own abilities, think on the abilities and futures of acquaintances, and constantly quest for the meaning of things.
I can do anything. How scary that is. It means I must make a choice as to what to do. I am not compelled to do as my father did. I can choose any path; the beauty of our American system, but also its curse. For it means I must choose. In order to choose something correctly we must follow the great Socratic command: “know thyself.” I can do anything, but will I do what I am meant to do? There are so many people who don’t….

From → On the Dole

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