College Essay by EA, 2011

I was born a philosopher, born an individual with a deep passion to think. I am driven by this passion, sometimes even plagued by my desire to think, to reflect, and to understand, because most aspects of our human reality are not so simply understood, some are even impossible, or at least seem impossible to understand—but nonetheless, I embrace every moment. I spend my afternoons pondering why I am E__, how I came to be, who I am, and what that means. I wonder what about humanity, the human condition, the collective, whatever you may call it; I wonder what it is about who we are that makes me and every other individual so unique. And I wonder whether an answer even exists.

My natural love for philosophy led to my enrollment in a literature course with a focus on the Human Condition, which in turn introduced me to the works and thought of Søren Kierkegaard, specifically his understanding of ‘truth’ and ‘untruth.’ Simply stated, and using his terminology, Kierkegaard believes that ‘the individual’ represents ‘truth,’ and ‘the crowd’ represents ‘untruth.’ Although this may sound abstract, it is not. I do not mean to say it is simple, for I struggled with this notion for many weeks and became increasingly frustrated as time passed; but in the end I discovered it was actually quite concrete. After many failed attempts on many seemingly timeless evenings, my thoughts took a turn for the better and began to expand and to multiply, and as they did my mind opened wider and wider, and suddenly, in a mere moment that felt so eternal, I figured it out! This complicated thesis could be boiled down to one coherent thought: truth, or ‘the answer,’ lies within the singular being, within the subjective; and untruth, or ‘the answerless,’ stems from the views of the collective, or the objective.

One evening, while pondering my newly discovered philosophy in the comfortable atmosphere of my favorite cafe, the Hungarian Pastry Shop, I had an epiphany. There exists no single human condition. Blending Kierkegaard’s beliefs with my own, I concluded: if the ‘human condition’ is the combination of all aspects and all limitations of every individual (humanity), then it is the qualification of ‘the crowd’ and it is then, by default, an ‘untruth.’ It is only ‘the individual’ that is the ‘truth,’ or the answer, and individuality is subjective, and subjectivity cannot be collectively qualified because it is personal, it is individual, it is and will forever be different for every person.

Now, due to my uncontrollable and almost illogical desire to understand everything, one can understand how unsettling I find my conclusions. For I have demonstrated to myself that there exists an anomaly that cannot be entirely understood, ever. For me, this is life rocking. So, what now? Should I, should all we philosophers continue to probe the depths of humanity, to search for reasons and understandings of our being, or should we stop and accept that a precise and final answer is not tangible, not even available? I am sure Carl Jung, another of my favorite thinkers, would advise me to accept this truth, and by accepting it I will discover more answers and more questions—and so I have. I no longer hunt for a definitive answer to humanity in hopes of defining myself. Instead, I simply and gladly explore the possibilities.

This attempt to qualify humanity has become a horizon in my life, one that I refuse to stop walking toward—after all, it is my subjective nature to try and understand. The truth of this qualification, the answer, has become my own personal sun, one that I greet in the morning when I enter the conscious world, and one I follow until evening when it reaches the horizon, a place where my body and mind cannot exist. Then night comes, and dreams take over my conscious mind and I slip into my unconscious where thoughts of conditions no longer exist. When I wake, I again greet my sun with a smile, and I continue my search without reluctance, but with enthusiasm. I am grateful for my nature, for my need to continue this search, and as frustrating as ‘unanswerabilities’ may be, I crave them. After all, without these horizons, without something to strive toward, to follow day in and day out, I would cease to think, and without thought, I would be nothing.


Class of 2011

College Essay by E.A.

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