Thursday, February 12, 2009

A 757-words Post

Painted faces, grown men's butts, and, of course, Sophie Marceau - that's how I remember Braveheart. It is not the kind of movie I would choose to watch on a lazy afternoon, and shroud my evening with a heavy mood.

Luckily, I chanced upon it on TV on a Saturday night, when I could go straight into bed with whatever emotion stirred up by the somber ending, and start the morning after with my heart refreshed. Once I was in, I was glued to the TV to the very end. However, this post is not about how good the movie is. Neither is it about my weekend.

Halfway through the movie, amid the battle cries, it suddenly dawned on me - while the rest of us, who have searched high and low for our elusive purpose in life, Mel Gibson's character had it easy in finding his. Convenient. Growing up in an oppressive environment, the people he met, the treatment he received, the suffering he went through from loses of loved ones, and other hardship in his early life didn't give him much luxury to ponder about where he would go with his life. He was thrown onto his path. Fate pushed him. Vengeance shoved him. Adversity did not allow him to look back. The harder he was pressed, the tighter he held to his sense of purpose - freedom of Scotland.

His conviction to his purpose was strong. It made him brave - going where no Scots had gone, and doing what no Scots had dared. Fate made him strong; either that or his suicidal desire to join his dead beloved wife did. And Sophie Marceau was to me what Michelle Pfeiffer was in Ladyhawke. There's a lot of Martin Riggs of Lethal Weapon in Mel Gibso's portrayal of William Wallace. Their butts were white. So were their legs. I'm being delirious.

While the accuracy of the story is contentious, in real life, I suspect there is truth in how we sense our purpose in life based on our experiences during our formative years.

Poverty during childhood yields desire for better livelihood. Broken family fosters yearning for a loving bond. Loses of loved one to sickness nurtures ambition to cure all diseases. Injustice felt cultivates aspiration to fight for justice, or join a secret society gang. As we strive towards fulfilling what was deprived during our younger years, we find satisfaction in achieving them. We feel happy in doing what we're doing. We rejoice in finding the purpose in our life. Yipee doo. But WAIT!

Fulfillment of some shortcomings during our younger years? Is that really the purpose in life? No doubt, it brings satisfaction as it fulfills a void left in yesteryears, but is that it? What if I had a perfect childhood? What then is my purpose in life if I had no desire for anything? Charity? Art? Fishing? Sports? Writing?

Although I don't have a perfect childhood, I do blame my parents for doing too good a job and not giving me a clearer sense of purpose in life. Perhaps the environment had made me so; perhaps I was brought up this way; perhaps I am just the way I am, I really have no strong desire for anything that I don't have. Perhaps I'm just plain lazy. Perhaps my parents should have taken away my allowances so that I have a stronger desire to work hard for money. Perhaps they should have forced me to walk to school instead of drive me to school, so that I would find satisfaction in driving, and maybe be a taxi driver. Perhaps they should have starved me more, so that I would have a better appreciation of food, and be a chef. Again, I'm being delirious.

If purpose in life is not something thrown at us by fate, are we then born with it? Do we seek from within us? Is there a difference between purpose IN life and purpose OF life? DO WE NEED A PURPOSE IN LIFE? Or maybe, like the movie, it matters not that we know death awaits us at the end of our lives, regardless of whether we find our purpose in it, we just have to make it interesting and enticing enough for us to see through it? Seize the day? Maybe, my purpose in life IS to find a purpose in life?

If you think we can find answers to a question with such depth and width in a 757-words post, you're probably more delirious than I am.



maRCus said...

WOW... what a refreshing read! I do agree with you wrote, as the environment we are in ultimately molds us into what we are today.

I also have had quite a comfortable childhood, and now i often look bak and wished that ive had more toughening up so i wud have more 'go getter' spirit in me..

I guess ill have to work twice as hard now to stay afloat compared to those who have been 'thrown' into it by fate.

Good post! XD

Johnny Ong said...

purpose of life - not easy to identify but once u know it, u'll be all out doing it till u are satisfied with the results and normally it involves impacting the life of many people along the way

Drofen said...

Interesting post. It vies at a concept I've long pondered--Hollywood movies bring us conflict and resolution (or not) neatly packaged in 90-150 minute packages. The potency of emotion is undeniable, and addicting like a drug.

Oh how I long for the clarity of circumstance that movie characters enjoy!

Unfortunately life drags inexorably forward, long past the cinema moments. There are no end credits for us to bask in.

I should hope someday I move past trying to replace what *I* lacked in my childhood, and spring forward into helping others enrich themselves as fully human.

Now where did I stash my copy of Braveheart...

Buzzing J said...


I guess it doesn't matter what kind of childhood we grew up in. As long as we have the mentality and awareness that we need to do something useful or work extra hard with our lives, we are already one step ahead of the others.

Work hard! And play hard too!!

Johnny Ong:

Well, it does seem that you'd already found yours! Happy for you.


Well said. My sentiment exactly.

But, perhaps the clarity of the circumstances is there. We just need to detach ourselves from the situation and observe as an outsider would.

I guess our end credits will be the writing on our tombstones?

Good luck with your mission, and vision.


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