Oct 16, 2005

Who am I?: Life and Experience

Life – a very simple word yet, it is really hard to define. We cannot expect meanings to be handed to us on a plate, and even if they were, what use would they be to us? God may have His purposes in creating me, but why should I adopt them? First, I must be convinced that they are good purposes, and if they are, why should I not adopt them anyway, without bothering whether they are God’s?
Gabriel Marcel, a French philosopher, in his 1935 essay entitled “Being and Having”, draws a distinction between one’s being and one’s life. ‘I am’ is existentially prior to ‘I live’ which means that being is a necessary condition for living but not vice-versa. Marcel takes this as a ground for believing that my life was ‘given to me’, a fact which is sufficiently impressive to suggest the existence of God.
In his writings on the meaning of life, Ronald William Hepburn urges a practical realism, which avoids both exaggerated optimism and groundless despair. In his article “wonder”, Hepburn argues that the arts do not instruct us about objective reality but are ways of ‘mediating truth’. They may vividly present perspective on the world and the human ‘life-world’, that is, as we live day by day; we slowly discover the truth behind our existence.
Soren Aabye Kierkegaard, on the other hand, believed on his jargon “Existentialism” which means the irreducibility of subjective, personal dimension of human life. Therefore, human existence relies upon a phenomenological approach that emphasizes the analysis of critical borderline situations in man’s life especially of such intensely subjective phenomena as anxiety, suffering, and feelings of guilt in order to show the need for making decisive choices through utilization of man’s freedom in an uncertain and apparently purposeless world. This means that my life has more to experience, which could help me make the right choices and answer my questions about life.
My existence is my life. Without life, nothing would exist. I was born here in this imperfect world innocent and unaware of everything around me. I can’t even remember what happened that day. My parents just told me that I was named ‘Chrisma” for it was Christmas season. I’m really thankful to my parents for giving me the chance to live and experience life. As we all know, it is a fact that we really value the existence of human life. For me, I firmly believe that life is essential for myself and for others: myself because it is everything to me, others because I’m one of the population that can help and serve especially to my family.
Reality – the state of being actual. Michael Bakunin emphasized in his essay “Science and Life” that there are three fundamental principles that constitutes the essential conditions for all human development. They are human animality, thought, and rebellion. The first corresponds with my individual and socialized relationships; the second, with my awareness of science; and the third, with my liberty. I became connected with the real world through these principles. Reality has hit me and suddenly, I realized my existence. Taking in my existence, I also recognized my responsibilities. First, as a student, I need to accomplish each subject requirements and do my best in my studies. This is because I accept as true that my education would lead me to my success in the future. But honestly, I don’t really understand why I chose to take up Computer Science. My sister says I can easily find a job with this course. What I really like is Fine Arts but I guess I’ll come to that later. My next obligation is to build a wonderful relationship with my family. I want to be the daughter and the sister my parents, sisters, and brother wanted me to be. I may be halfway to their expectations. Being a true friend to my companions is also one of my duties. I must be trustworthy and loyal to my friends. In this way, they will also become true friends to me. From these responsibilities, I encountered success and failures. Sydney Shoemaker implied that if I face experience, I should identify the presented experience as oneself. There was this one time when I won an academic contest and I was very happy. It was a success to me because all my efforts to win that contest were paid off. But you can never escape from challenges in life. As of now, my greatest shortcoming would be the reality that I did not pass the scholarship I want for college. I was disappointed with myself but then I realized that God has better plans fro me. At least I passed UP and maybe God wanted me there to discover some things on my own.
To summarize my point, it is my experiences and choices that will really show who truly I am. My existence is not yet done. I have to continue this journey called life. I have my own plans and goals in life, which I believe, would satisfy me. I want to become successful in everything, that is, from studies and work to my family. I want to become professional to my chosen fields: arts and computers. I want my family to be contented and happy. If all these happen, I would be contented too but maybe there are more things that would complete me, which I must find out. God has given me my life for a purpose. I may not know that purpose right now but definitely, I’ll come across with it someday. The question of who really am I will soon be unveiled. Some of the answers may have turn up already but these are incomplete. Therefore, I must complete it.


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