Introductory Reflective Essay

There is nothing quite as sad as a man that has lost faith in his fellow man. A man without faith in man has no faith at all. It’s painful really, the way it drags. The way apathy tears at your skin. The way it pulls at your feet. The way it closes your eyes, shuts your mind, and buries your soul. It’s painful. The idea that there is a light at the end of the tunnel does not apply to these men, so they will not walk. They will not endure the pain of the journey. They will not follow the darkness in order to find that single ray of light. They will not follow it until it becomes a beacon. They will never see this beacon widen into an astounding array of beauty filled with color, and life, and hope. Instead, they stand still. They stay, look into the clouds, watch as the tears of god stream down their face, and the rain washes the world away. They stand and wonder, “Why must the world be so wet?” This was the topic with which I chose to explore over the course of my three essays. These views are not wholly unfounded, but they are fundamentally wrong. I wanted to explore why that is, what leads to this, why its so wrong, and what the future truly holds for mankind.

When a man loses faith in his fellow man, he is unwittingly losing faith in himself as well. This is the natural progression of those whose hopes for the world are higher than could be reasonably expected to be achieved. It is only these people who could fall so far. When you look into the eyes of your peers and see the flaws that make up a human, it can be saddening. When you see the world as a collection of humans, a mass of flawed individuals, it can be terrifying. My first essay explores a man such as this. Ennis Del Mar is truly living in a flawed world. In the story of Brokeback Mountain, the one thing that Ennis truly desires from this world, the promise of love, is so cruelly taken from him, over and over again. The world was a kind place when he was young, but then he found love. He was forced to bottle it up and stand the beating that the world pounded into him. It’s almost comedic in its level of tragedy. Ennis was given the opportunity to live a truly happy life, and he watched from afar as that was washed away.

The ability to see flaws in the system is not strictly relegated to anyone who suffers. There are people who directly benefit from the world around them, prosper in it, but still see flaws in the process that elevated them. Mr. Bo Burnham has three hour-long comedy specials dedicated to critiquing hour-long comedy specials. Completely and utterly laced with an ironic parody of everything wrong with the comedy and performance industries, Mr. Burnham’s shows offer uniquely cynical, brilliantly depressing, and sharply introspective looks into Bo’s views on ‘the system.’ As the comic himself once said, “I had a privileged life and I got lucky and I’m unhappy.”

Regardless of how cynical or defeatist one’s personal views might be, the world continues to march forward, relentless in its pursuit of progress. For every person who has accepted triumph over hope, there are ten people who see ways to fix the problems which plague our world. Every second of every day, millions of people dedicate the entirety of their lives into building the foundation that tomorrow rests upon. Every single moment, someone, somewhere finds some new line of thought, makes a breathtaking breakthrough, manages to reinvent the wheel, or does something to make the world a kinder, easier place. Time and time again, humanity has found the rhythm to march forward. Faith in that process in not required for it to function, so it will continue to function for as long as we need it to.

Yes, the cynics might be right some of the time. The legendary Billy Joel was not wrong when he said the world was burning, but it is easy see the fire when you only look into the inferno. By doing this, you blind yourself to the beauty of the world around you. You cannot see the efforts to learn from the ash, to improve upon ourselves. Even then, that is ignoring the fire that is lit in order to cook our food, warm our homes, and ignite our hearts. That is the essence of this portfolio, and it is where I chose to dedicate myself. I wanted to investigate why it is that some people will see an uncontrollable conflagration of human desire and lust, while others will see the flames as an opportunity to better the world around them.

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