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There Must Be Something In The Water

Because the Sun has started to publish the thoughts of coherent, well-read opinion columnists these days:

The inference often made from this argument is that people who desire to make money possess cold and hollow souls. This position is not only self-gratifying but also just plain false. I know plenty of pre-professionals more atune than their liberal arts counterparts to the true pleasures of life; they just happen to take an intensely pragmatic view of things. “I want to live comfortably and well,” their line of thinking goes, “and I need money to do that.” This outlook, though in opposition to my own, is still respectable.

Here, though, is where we get into the real crux of things. At this point, my ambitions are mostly of an existential sort. I’m interested foremost in a life rich in love and experience and meaning. The realization of this life, in my mind, requires travel, a job I enjoy, an openness to others and a willingness to change things dramatically if routine ever lulls me into complacency.

The truth is, however, that there are very few of us who can maintain this kind of ambition. As Eliot reminds us, “There is no creature whose inward being is so strong that it is not greatly determined by that which lies outside of it.”

Last year, I remember reading in this paper column after column written by seniors, all of which evinced the same apprehensiveness toward graduating, entering the job market and navigating the world outside of an academic context. These columns, gloomy in tone, self-pitying in message, self-absorbed in content, became an awful burden to read. I swore to myself then that if I ever wrote a column of my own I would refrain from penning this kind of piece. Which is why I feel a slight pang of guilt now, realizing that I have done precisely that.

My own will, alas, may not be as strong as I would like to believe.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on September 22, 2009 (#)

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