31 december 2006

‘Passion’ or ‘End of Year Thoughts’

Yesterday I was at a party called ‘GeniusSouls – Meeting the best minds of your generation’ organised by Generatie 7080. Several genius souls presented their thoughts on what they thought were the prominent characteristics of our generation. I listened to several of them and the one that jumped above the mowing field (haha) was Leiden’s own debutant writer Thomas Blondeau (one again sees, not all good is from Amsterdam!). Thomas talked about Passion being the prominent feature/virus of the past 30 years. Not the internet, not other new ways of communication, no, Passion. Everything we do these days, has to be because we like doing it. Every person we are with, we must be with because we have an intense Passion for them. Forget ‘useful’ or ‘contributing’, we can only do stuff because we feel it is written in the stars that we should do it. He could not answer whether pursuing our Passions was good or bad, he merely recognized Passion as one of the main motivating factors of our existence.

And now that I come to think of it, this past year has definitely been my year of Passion. Not the my-bed-has-not-been-empty-for-more-than-a-week kind of Passion. No, in that department of the concept of Passion, I have been in outright starvation. Maybe the three months I spent in Japan are a good excuse ;). But, as in matters of Passion you are the only judge in deciding whether you lived up to them, I can say that in all other departments of (my?) Passion I have performed pretty well.

It actually all started long before the beginning of 2006. One of Pete’s manifestations turned out to need an immediate shutdown due to heavy malfunctioning, upon which I decided that from then on Passion would be the leading guideline I was going to live my life by. And as one cannot turn all aspects of one’s life into a Passionate enterprise in a second, it took a while for things to materialize. Looking back on 2006, this year has been the best manifestation of my Passion up until now, definitely!

Study-wise this year brought me some of the best teachers I have ever had. Be it Sebastiaan van der Lubben, Paul Nieuwenburg or Henk Dekker in the Political Science department or my thesis supervisor Chris Goto-Jones in the Japanology department, very Passionate, inspiring people (why only men though?). I also found that realising that this is probably my last year in Academia, propels me into higher states of motivation than ever. Working Passionately on my Japanese language skills and knowledge of Japanese politics again while in Tokyo was incredible fun, too!

Extracurricular activities-wise things have been pretty good too. I managed to scale down on my activities in the field of talking university staff into changing their policies, which has been liberating! These tasks (sometimes they really did feel as ‘tasks’) have been supplanted by De Publieke Zaak and De Slinger, activities which I picked up after moving to Amsterdam. Thinking about and directly doing things contributing to Dutch society has proven to be a Passionate enterprise. I also enjoyed organizing the Faculty of Arts symposium “Cultuur Tegen de Muur” very much. It was so inspiring to listen to scholars’ talks about their Passions. And, although it absolutely does not feel as something extracurricular, our own little reading society LDLG has turned out to be extremely gratifying!

People-wise this year has been the most Passionate ever. The year began with making new friends during two weeks of UNISCA in January and going skiing with one of these friends in March. During the sudden three months in Tokyo that followed, I had so many wonderful moments with the Sakamoto’s and my Japanese and Dutch friends that I learned that having a small social circle and a loving family is really enough to make me happy. Determined to put this new knowledge into practice when back in the Netherlands, I have tried to strengthen the relationships with people that I feel Passionate about. This worked out very well in Spain with Jesus, Lydia and Okasan’s family, and later in Holland with Sakura. Family, old friends, new friends (this year has brought so many new friends!), I wish I could thank them all for the love, friendship and inspiring talks we shared.

Passion as a guiding principle? For me it turned out to be a good one for 2006 and I plan on continuing to use it in 2007. I guess it all depends on what your Passions are and what you direct them at to determine whether Passion is a good or a bad guiding principle. But since it is making me pretty happy, why not just stick to it?

01/01/07 3:53 edit: I had fun tonight, yeah! Happy New Year to you all, make the most of it!

1 opmerking:

Erik zei

Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!

Btw, ik heb de foto's helaas niet meer waar je om vroeg, mn harddisk is gecrashed kor. Mn eigen foto's had ik gelukkig allemaal in kopie op mn site, maar deze niet meer...
Erik