I have walked 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more

They say it takes an almost genius to find what you truly love in your heart and then turn it into something that you’ll do for the rest of your life, while at the same time taking profits from it so you can, well, continue living.

It must be nice to find your passion and then losing yourself in it while not really losing your head.

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It’s always a point of confusion whenever you have to choose between passion and practicality. I, in fact, have found myself peeking through that crack of confusion every once in a while, wondering what would happen if I choose the other, and abandon the other, and vice versa.

But as my head go through attempts of visualizing what could possibly happen and what my decisions should be, I see my sense of logic continually and rhythmically battling against the beats of my heart. Each with equal power, each with equal forceful stance. Sometimes the left wins, sometimes it’s the right who rise up as the victor. It’s a continuous process for me.

What I learned from my readings on Immanuel Kant before are still engraved clearly in my head, about duty, inclination, and metaphysics of morals. And it influences my way of thinking for quite a lot of decisions I have to make.

Kant says that all the things that we do, in order for them to have its moral worth, should be done out of duty. The opposite of doing things out of duty, is doing things out of inclination, which makes anything you do lack any moral worth.

In short, when you do things only because you just wanted to, those things don’t have any moral value in it. It’s just nothing. It’s only something you did to feel good. Empty, selfish acts, if I may say.

And maybe that is one of the reasons why I am still here where I am.

There are things I really wanted to do, you see. There’s actually something particular in my head that I wish I was doing every hour everyday and I wish I am very good at it that I can make money out of it, so I could just choose to do this and live happily ever after.

But then I was given a different duty. And this duty has its moral worth in every angle you see. No matter how powerful my inclination to do the other thing is, I would still have to choose the duty I was given.

It is infuriating sometimes, even depressing. Especially when you see others live the life you’ve been dreaming about, see them create the things you’ve been dreaming of creating, see them show everyone how good they are in something that you too could be as excellent at it as they are, only if you had the time and the privilege. But you’re just helpless as you can’t really dive into your passion as deep as you would have wanted to because your reason and your duty doesn’t allow you to.

Imagine a child standing with his two bare feet on the shores of the beach, staring at that vast beautiful seascape before him, craving to have that feeling of submerging deep into the sea, wanting to discover all there is to see under the water. But the child cannot swim. And so he’s left with just the option of standing there at the shore, waiting for the waves to come up rushing to tingle his feet.

Like the child, I was only waiting to have extra time for my passions. But with all the duties I have in my hands, I couldn’t dive into that ocean I’ve been yearning for. Because if I do, I wouldn’t know if I can still come up the surface without losing my sanity.

Immanuel Kant wasn’t the only one whose thoughts and influence constantly guide me in decision making.

Kahlil Gibran too.

And here is an essay from him about Reason and Passion that I was fortunate to read in my literature class.

On Reason and Passion
 Kahlil Gibran

Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.
Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.
But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.
For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.
Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing;
And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.
Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.

Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows — then let your heart say in silence, “God rests in reason.”
And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky — then let your heart say in awe, “God moves in passion.”
And since you are a breath in God’s sphere, and a leaf in God’s forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.


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