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31 December 2013

"I Welcome the New Year with Ignorance" (2013 Year End Message)

Details of Jacques-Louis David's
"The Death of Socrates" 
Image part of public domain
What if there were no year? What if the first of January happened only once, about two thousand years ago? What if instead of a thirty-day month, we had a hundred-day month, and we witnessed one month passed one after the other, giving different names every time? We would never repeat a month.  How would that affect us all? How would we feel knowing that time would just thread on continually?  Time would be more indifferent to us more than now.  There would not be an artificial end to anticipate, and there would not be any promise of hope for the coming New Year. We would not celebrate our birthdays annually but we count the number of days we had lived on this earth. When we looked back, how would we remember a month that we know would never return? Would it be more liberating if we see only one end, and there is no possibility of return? Would all of us be braver?

“Carpe Diem!” Seize the day. I first heard this magical aphorism spoken in “Dead Poets Society,” one of the movies that have influenced my literary and personal life.  Fast forward to the last hours of 2013, and another year unfolds.  Have we seized the day? If we all look back, have we lived at all? Was the year filled with mundane activities, such as gossiping about colleagues, whining about petty things, buying material items, taking countless selfies, spending irreplaceable moments watching programs that entertain us but does not make us better human beings? However, is it really worth improving ourselves when every day we see more proof that living dishonestly has more rewards?

What about our faith? Have we blindly followed our church leaders? Have we really examined our relationship with God, or is God just a false safety net? If we do not believe in God, is our faith on the innate goodness of humanity enough? Can we alone fill the “spirituality” in us? Spirituality, not in a sense given by a divine entity, but spirituality meaning an abstraction larger than our corporal bodies.

What if we live knowing hope is more implausible than we foolishly assume? Perhaps, people first measured time because we needed to physically see that time might end, but it could begin again.  Perhaps, ending and beginning is a cycle that we both despise and desire. With every cycle of time, we can actually experience living.

As the year ends, I realized that I am more ignorant of many things compared the previous year, and that actually brings me hope.  To paraphrase Socrates, none of us knows anything great and good, but some people are boastful of what they know although, in reality, they do not know anything. Whereas, some people do not claim wisdom, and they do not pretend to be wise. Acknowledging our ignorance is the start of learning. I suppose.

We have to learn something new every year, a fresh insight, I guess; otherwise, another year will be spent in vain, and so on and so forth.
Happy New Year


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