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Pure Futility

Essay By: J A T
Memoir



Although I am privileged enough to attend an all boys, Catholic high school, I loathe severely its environment; being one of sickening uniformity and comprised almost entirely of my antithesis – straight, one-dimensional, academically inclined, athletically enthusiastic and homophobic (the kind derived from a male’s fear of its affront to their masculinity. At the end of my Theology course my teacher asked us to reflect on a recent presentation as well as the courses legitimacy in the context of their high school’s educational intent. My response, as well as allusions to my misery, is what follows.


Submitted:May 30, 2008    Reads: 163    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


Father Martinez prefaced his intriguing presentation with a question regarding the reasons why students take Theology III. After brief formalities, students shared answers that provided valid reasons regarding the legitimacy of such a course - in addition to its broader application to life. Self-development and ones reaction in the Catholic theatre to daily realities comprised many of the arguments made in support of such legitimacy.
A study in theology certainly provides an important window and avenue towards self-development and exploration; aspects critical to ones definition as a human being. Academia facilitates this greater broadening of the mind by means of discussion and second-hand exposure to new ideas, controversies and subjects of debate - those entailing impassioned arguments. Certainly this remains a life long process and being exposed to such a metaphysical, open evaluation of that which constitutes and precipitates societal derision and personal angst is essential to ones vibrancy and lust for life. I assume this institution's intent in asserting this process is to establish such a life long process and, knowing personally many alumni, I see their intent reality.
Having spent the short duration of my life in Academia, ascending and stumbling amidst its hierarchy, manipulating and conceding to its bureaucracies, I find high school's employment of this system stifling - condoning the singularity of the individual and extolling only the greatness of "Leonardo men." The inherent lack of personally derived direction inhibits, for me, the degree of success epitomized in this image of being "worldly." The bureaucracies and hierarchy of high school dictate and expect clearly of me to move throughout their ranks; success being often narrowly defined - its portrait bluntly bulleted, never interpreted. It remains a grave disappointment that the entirety of this bureaucratic system operates under the assumption that their clients - the student body - enters upon its system to begin at zero; meaning the derivation of direction motivation and definition be nonexistent. I hope my generalizations and opinion be not offensive to one so immersed and invested in the spirit of academic pursuit. Kindly mistake not my dislike of the system a reflection of its dysfunction; for academia proves a critical and wonderful provocateur of this exact derivation of direction. And yet for some it exists already; prior to the "experience" so kindly granted in high school. But I assume my truth the minority.
How then does my expose of personal truth relate to this assignment, this course? Any day would I herald the benefits of academic study of Theology. Any day would I do the same for English. For Mathematics. For Science. For Art. But when comes the day when, direction being found, futility replaces the gild of heraldry? Although Theology remains, perhaps, the most worldly and applicable of academic betterments, there remains a point at which betterment proves contrived - its pursuit and goal derived begrudgingly from obligation. How then to succeed? I share this with you in hopes of articulating not my inflated personal opinions nor to put myself above the true legitimacy and importance of academic courses, but to allay perceptions of incompetence, arrogance or a lack of concern as to what may be perceived as my indifference to Theology as an academic subject. On the contrary do I find myself often evangelizing the word and intent of God through music in church and sometimes preaching myself as part of my church's rite of confirmation or lay Sundays. Value do I deeply and earnestly the validity of such a metaphysical pursuit.
I have been informed often of my lack of experience and breadth of knowledge, limited understanding and emotional capacity; a perception succumbing to the belief in congruous personal development with the others of ones age. Were I to tell one figure of bureaucracy the certainty of my direction I fear, and have received, demeaning smiles - of course not intended - condoning the naivety of my supposed close-mindedness; the certainty of my direction. To flourish and thrive in sync with the system stifles and discourages the truths of my constitution to endure; often faltering when contrived efforts yield not the prerequisites of "success." Though I know my years limited and the shortcomings of my insight plentiful, may it not be assumed my insight inadequate nor my direction undefined. And though it seems my words irrelevant I think it necessary to share with someone, amidst all the bravado and glory of this system, that some students will never be products of this system, having never met the prerequisites to begin with - its rigidity, its congruity, its bulleted composition.
Excuse the bitterness of my forte but frustrates me does it the futility of academic prowess so unrelated to personal direction. Often the blip of my high school years seem to ring incessantly; as do the cacophonic drones of a host of other misconceptions and images which I have, for now, been accidentally dedicated to maintain - however oppressive. Nonetheless, theological exploration proves a worthwhile pursuit and perhaps even a refuge. I share this with you in earnest - you yourself being shaped both professionally and emotionally by the experiences it puts forth. Quite honestly, I found your course truly interesting and informative but remained unaltered. Stringent close-mindedness perhaps? No. Simply in pursuit of direction precipitated by personal truth.




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