On Having Passion

Let’s talk about education again, only now it’s about rationale and the way it teaches us to think about our future and role towards the society.

Right before I am writing this piece, I read an article by Sharon Bernstein from Reuters in response to the Chattanoga incident that happened a few days ago. Sharon attempted to outlay the effort of modern Muslim in the U.S. to combat radicalism and Islam extremism.

In one of the paragraph, she wrote:

“Yasir Qadhi, a professor at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and the AlMaghrib Institute educational organization, also emphasizes religious teachings to show that Islam condemns terrorism. But he goes step further, engaging his students in discussions of political issues facing Muslims in the United States and elsewhere, even though that can invite controversy.”


That paragraph got me into thinking about my role in the society, and about the time when I actually think about it seriously. I remember a phase where I really wanted to be an activist, where I read books about dictators and people who influence the world. I remember a time where I really think about my role as a catholic and how I can affect people by being a catholic and how I learned to hate people with other religion for not having the same way of thinking as I was. It got me into thinking deeper about our roles in the society and how important it is to us as a person, a countryman and more importantly, a biological being in the universe.

I remember just recently I saw the awesome Pluto photo and how excited I was towards the prospect of understanding humanity and the universe better, only to be disappointed by a statement by a news producer that the news is irrelevant with us and our community as Indonesians.

It really saddened me that we talk about how the society rarely benefits us as a human being, about how the country is treating us like peasants, and how the people on the streets are a bunch of barbarians who can’t read a traffic sign. We go even further by talking about how we should all try to contribute to the society by doing the things that we love, and yet, we are barely contributing anything.

Is it really how things are? Is this really as far as we can go in the world?

I always thought that education is one of the keys to our betterment in the society. Yet, I found a lot of PhD students and graduates who still thinks that the only way to bring the country forward is by being a part of the government or, by shouting in the street, or by making a post in change.org website (it is sad, by the way, that in a democratic country, our only way to mediate our concerns to the government that can be taken seriously is by using a third party website).

Coming back to the article, it made me remember that education, especially at an early level is very important. I also remember that the activist, religious and radical stages in my life came during my adolescent period. I remember that no one has ever invited me to consider about my role and what I offer to society. All that I was taught about is how to perform better in my academics score and to get a “good job”.

I guess, that rationale and system, of which our education is operating at, are the one to blame when most youngsters became confused when they have to choose their University course, let alone what they want to do with their life. The education never put any interest on our interest. We are separated by two specification, social or science (sometimes three with language). Yet, we are expected to contribute to the country and society, even though we do not really know what we want to do with our life at the first place.

I think it is very important to know what we really want to do with our life in the world, because from my experience even working in something that is really my passion with the people that does not really have the same interest can be hard. I can’t imagine being that person on the other side, who just do what they do just because they are stuck with the degree or knowledge that they got from choosing a degree, course, or subject when they were 18 and lost with their own life.

I know a lot of people who knows what interest them in their life, and it’s great. I’m pretty sure you can sort of tell between the people that are really interested and passionate about something and the people who run their day-to-day life not knowing what they want. People who know what their passion are, can sort of converse more. In a way.

I believe that this is not a given, or just a blessing. And I do not believe that it will just suddenly come if you do enough daydreaming and praying. I believe we have to be proactive and search for it. Be it by joining an organisation, a cult, or anything as long as we can meet people. And I think this is the part that is missing from our education and the way our society dictates the role of parents in the family. We are mostly told about what to do, instead of being invited to think and interact with our inner-self.

I think if we know what we are passionate about, and are guided towards reaching it, our society will have countless numbers of inspiring people in different fields instead of in just some fields. After all, there is a reason why a lot of Indonesian can remember every single word from Yuna’s song, yet when they are asked to recite the 4th line of Pancasila, they might not be able to.

Because we don’t know what our passion is, we stop paying attention, we start to not care, we take the wrong job, we misunderstood that job as a role, and we ended up being driven by money. We don’t want to have that now do we?

“I believe that education is all about being excited about something. Seeing passion and enthusiasm helps push an educational message.” – Steve Irwin


One thought on “On Having Passion

  1. I found one answer to this question by reading “The Unconscious Civilization” by John Ralston Saul. Might wanna give it a go 😉

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