On The Ambition to Fail
Updated: Mar 28
Have you, or do you have, a life goal that, regardless of your efforts, will never succeed? It sounds irrational to strive for something you will never get, because then it will be a waste of time and/or resources. Why strive for something you can't achieve?
Let's say you want to live a life free of fear. If fear will exist nonetheless, or at least have its potential, then why have that ambition if all you can do is minimize said fear in your life? Why strive for an ultimate goal that is doomed to fail when you can simply declare your true intent -- to live a life with as little fear as possible?
This comes from a poem by my mother that I happened to read, called "Fear". It tells about the fearful childhood she had in a broken home. From this, she concluded that she strives to live a life free of fear. When I so happened to ask her if there would always be fear in life, she answered positively.
It sounds strange to write about something you desire but cannot have and use it to inspire others. Take note: I have nothing against her, I just don't see the reason to strive to achieve the unachievable and then market yourself as someone who is indeed capable of doing so.
Because I'm only in my mid-twenties, people older than me like to act superior to me without admitting it, claiming that they have more experience than me while discarding the fact that I have experience and expertise of my own. As the saying goes, I wasn't born yesterday. However, when I say that I'm a philosopher, some people won't hesitate to doubt my expertise.
Which is ironic because the fact that you're young doesn't mean you have a good amount of experience of your own. Anyways, she used that claim to tell me that she knows better than me, even though I specialize in philosophizing and she does not, regardless of her age. It is one of the more difficult things to cope with when you have disabilities keeping you back from having academic professionalism, but I digress.
People very much admire her, for some reason, and I don't really understand why, if she pretends to achieve something she knows for sure that she can't, such as living a fearless life. By leaving the metropolis, I aspired to become serene. That was an ambition that I believed was possible. However, when I realized my deep desire for writing, I came to the realization that having peace of mind is too difficult when you are capable of writing so much almost every day.
Therefore, as I mentioned in an earlier poem, I kind of gave up on this ambition. This is, you see, where me and my mother are different: she won't be ready to make her poems more logical, all because "poetry is built in a specific way", even though there are many structures and rhythms to poetry that can be utilized.
It isn't in my position to tell other people, especially my own mother, how to do their jobs, but it kind of sounds like false marketing if you declare that you strive for something you'll ultimately fail at in a way that makes it appear that you believe that you will. Do you see my point? She doesn't read my articles; English is too hard for her to read. At least I will use such anecdotes for those who do read said material, but I digress once more.
My point stands: why aspire for an ideal you would probably not get when you can be not only realistic but more sincere and accurate with your intentions? Why can't you just say in the poem that you wish to minimize fear instead of completely erasing it from your life?
If you will always fear things, why aspire to eradicate them (assuming, of course, that this is true)? It's not necessarily about changing the poem; it's about being more honest with yourself and with your audience so you won't mislead them with your poetry (and other content in general).
Because of her lack of sincerity, which I at least detect in her, I find it hard to be her fan. Sure, she is my mother, but misleading an entire audience just because "poetry is not a philosophical article," as she said, is something that is against my morality as a philosopher. Even with articles such as this, their creator can always come back and change the words to make them more truthful; that is, unless you publish a physical set of copies, which is then too late.
I might be wrong, but I think that people in general don't understand the value of practicing philosophy as a tool to dig further into the truth. Since it isn't as accurate as science and does not require a degree to be good at it, people see it as "just someone's perspective" or an "opinion".
However, this isn't necessarily the case, because when you philosophize, you don't just give your opinions; you use your mind to try and find the truth by being more logical and detecting fallacies that hinder said truth.
When I told my mother that you have an ambition that is doomed to fail, it wasn't just my opinion; it was based on her own reply that "you can't live a fearless life". It is thus only natural to conclude that if fear will always be present, then that ambition is worthless because it will never succeed.
Why then, aspire to fail? Just to live with as least fear in life? Why fail and market yourself as successful in your goals, when you can be sincere? There's nothing stopping her from admitting her true intention -- to live life with courage! She said so herself, that living life with courage might also entail fear. Why then, is fearlessness a relevant feature, when such feature is non-existent?
In this article I wish to express a specific hope: that we philosophers will be treated as more than just holders of perception. It isn't an entitlement; it's my job!
The job is to come as close to the truth as possible, using the rational mind! I am through with being treated as an unemployed adult, when I constantly publish articles and share them with the world! So what if I don't earn much? It doesn't mean that I'm not working.
I don't pretend to be a representative of the truth who knows everything. I am merely a seeker of logical truths, that is all, and the fact that you or someone else is older than me, doesn't mean my profession is worth nothing!
People at large seem to have respect for philosophers, but that respect is shallow when they fail to understand that philosophizing isn't just to express one's thoughts, but to better understand reality using logic. It's not that hard to understand, and there's nothing pompous about philosophizing when you can't hold a steady job or have a degree due to disabilities that are in the way and risk your health!