Tuesday, August 7, 2012
The Next Level
I want to be smarter.
I want to be able to not only do basic stock homework problems in multivariable calculus, but visualize the surfaces, the areas and volumes, the vectors and vector fields, and how they interact all at once. I want to understand and retain literature well enough to appreciate and behold the emotional and artistic history it represents. I want to be able to write and speak just the right word for exactly the feeling or thought or action or object I am thinking of. I want to be able to learn about the Mars lander, Curiosity, and truly wonder at its scientific and human potential. I want to be able to read Hugo and Flaubert in French, Chaucer in Middle English, Kafka in German, and ancient texts in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic. I want to understand brush strokes and color and perspective, and be able to make scenes and memory and thought come to life on canvas. I want to understand writings about the mathematical properties of classical music. I want to rise above the timid and limited and windowed understanding of every bit of knowledge I've ever been exposed to, and knit it all together in new and truly enlightened ways, and see the world the way the Masters view it, from their mountaintop. I want to really experience this world and this universe and this life.
This is what I wish. Were I to one day find my magic goldfish, I would not ask for money, power, property, influence, or lovers. These are all things anyone can have with enough hard work. I wouldn't ask for perfect, eternal health, or super powers, or special abilities. These are things nobody will ever have, and I believe there are good reasons that are placed beyond our comprehension on purpose. No--I would ask for understanding: time for and exposure to those endeavors that make humanity wonderful, the capacity to understand and retain the knowledge, and the mental dexterity to assimilate and apply it to something greater than myself. Were I to be bold on that day, I would also ask for some small measure of creativity, with which I would hope to make the world more livable for those around me. I would want to share this great gift in such a way as to bring hope and health to the diseased and disenfranchised.