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The Assemblers

Essay By: Riuku
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An award-winning essay I wrote two years ago to get district champ in a UIL ready writing competition. Therefore it was written hastily within two hours (although I'm sure I probably took just one since I get nervous waiting around too long). I don't even agree with everything I wrote down, but most of it. Interesting how we change, no? It's about our ability to think.


Submitted:Jan 8, 2013    Reads: 25    Comments: 2    Likes: 1   


Descartes is immortal. His immortality results from a startling epiphany, an epiphany potentially able to save us. When Descartes said, "I think, therefore I am," he revealed that he was truly alive; furthermore, he made the rest of humanity question their existence and their ability to think--such an accomplishment is rare for humanity, especially when the majority prefers death over thought. But what then, is the burden of thought? Why is it such a cumbersome quality, so cumbersome in fact, that death is often preferred? Bestowed with the ability to think, humanity longs to know. Unfortunately, when answers do not come so easily, and the heavy questions arise exponentially, our ephemeral existence here on Earth becomes harder to maintain. It becomes more difficult to proceed, carrying a load of questions; eventually, the only option seems to be dropping them. But to be "saved," it is mandatory to acknowledge that something is because of its ability to think. One might argue that humanity is because it feels, but feelings are merely natural responses to external or internal stimulation. Though our particular brand of feeling may make us humane, it is thought that makes us alive. Another idea arises: animals are arable of thought, when they formulate an ambush or build a shelter. Therefore, while these animals are thinking, they rely on instinct, and thus, never truly live. We are capable of utilizing instinct as well, but there is more that sets us apart: the ability to think is the ability to process an idea and discover more; to analyze a story, painting, song, or nature itself and find beauty in it; to carry a tangential conversation yet retain all the information and piece it together like a puzzle; to reason, experience, memorize, learn, sense. But this all proves burdensome, because it all requires energy. Not utilizing that energy, is much like being dead. We waste away, cease to be.

Unfortunately, most people will choose to not utilize that energy. Like inert items on a conveyor belt, they merely wait until they are packaged in a box to be sent somewhere else. People tend to focus more so on what is front of them, what they are told to do, than what is all around them or what they want to do. At times, it is important to focus on what is immediate--according to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, the first step to self-actualization is basic needs, or survival. This is why it remains important to take care of seemingly menial tasks such as cleaning the house, managing financial matters, or visiting the doctor for the annual check-up: it is impossible to be when there are so many safety, financial, and health distractions in the way. Yet, perfunctorily dealing with the mundane and never even thinking about the tasks at hand--the reason why so many are like items on a conveyor belt.

Consequently, those who never acknowledge their lifestyles or even take the time to think (about anything), cannot get past Maslow's first step. They are not, because they merely move down the assembly line. Those who are become the assemblers. They continue to climb Maslow's pyramid: first, they think about security until they perform an action that makes them safe and comfortable, such as establishing friendships, and taking precautions to natural disasters; second, they think about love and use feelings to make them humane; third, they think about what is just and honorable and make certain they live their lives that way; finally, after utilizing thought to its full extent, to have climbed so high, they come into existence. It is only thought that can save humanity, and while the price of using thought will continue to be a hefty one; it is worth the opportunity to jump off the conveyor belt and discovering there is more outside the factory, more outside the town where the factory is located, more outside the country of that town, more and more. Why be packaged off somewhere in cardboard boxes, unable to see?

On the unwieldy nature of thought, it is important to recall that thought requires energy. It will be difficult to pursue life with an insurmountable amount of questions pestering us, but never impossible. The energy used will result in pain, loss, fear, and other feelings that make life so difficult. This is why many prefer to die, head down the conveyor belt, than to think. Choosing this path is harmless, but it has one consequence: after finishing, one is gone forever, never to know the love, honor, security, and other feelings that thought can bring about. But choosing to walk the hard road, carrying thought and all its questions along, one becomes. After all the burdensome situations, one can finally be. Descartes knew that birth is mandatory and death is mandatory, but that life is optional.





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