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Passion

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Submitted By zaidzaihirain
Words 2120
Pages 9
Zaid Zaihirain
Justin Ericksen
English 101
Great Models: Past or Present?a The door slams loudly and everybody in the house flinched. Jamie, a nine year boy was very mad because he was scolded by his parents for skipping school. It was a terrible day for him. His parents was very upset with him because before this he was an excellent boy. It all started after he met a teenage boy who was very nice to him. Jamie became attracted to this boy because he had brought him to many fun places including the arcade. Jamie was not able to realize that skipping school was a bad thing because he was still young and could easily be influenced by others. That is why Jamie had been skipping school recently. With many bad influence from people and media, incidents like these tend to occur very often. For instance, how people get bad influence from the Internet. Nowadays, with modern technologies, we can communicate with other people effortlessly even to the people who are strangers to us. This is a very powerful threat to families with young children because they are very vulnerable to these kind of things. Young children tend to blindly follow whatever they think is right to them and this will increase the number of child delinquency. That’s why people mainly young children need good role models to provide them with a good example. For instance, David Foster Wallace mentioned in his 2005 Kenyon Commencement Speech, “That is freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think” (59). From this statement, I believe that the real value of education is to learn how to think, and this can be done by choosing the right role model. According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, role model is defined as a person that you admire and try to copy. It does not mention about whether the person being alive or not, so this means that we can either choose role models from the past or people from our time. Many people tend to choose role models from great people in history because of their great achievements that are quite known to mankind, and there are many biographies have been written for them. For me, my role model is Leonardo da Vinci which is quite known for his famous works which are Mona Lisa, The Last Supper and Vitruvian Man. Like many other great people, there are many books that tell about da Vinci. For example, I once read a book by Sean Patrick entitled Awakening You Inner Genius that tells about how da Vinci thinks when approaching something. Just like me, other people would want to copy the people that they adore or in other words their role models. Before copying or choosing someone as our role model, we need to be aware of their actions first. Davis Foster Wallace said in his 2005 Kenyon Commencement Speech, “It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness: awareness of what is so real and essential” (59). What Wallace seems to be saying here is that in living our lives, we need to pay attention to our surrounding and take notice of every details that is important. In relation to my topic, we need to pay enough attention to the people that we want to choose as our role model so that we would not miss the significant details, good or bad. This is because every person have a bad side, so in order to be successful, we must learn to not copy everything that our role models did and try to learn from their mistakes. As a student who is currently studying in college and a person who is very passionate about learning new things, the issue of how we choose our role models is very important to me. Many of us prefer to choose great people in history as our role models because of what they did in improving other people’s lives. My big question is to what extent do we need to pay attention on how great people in history think before choosing them as our role model? In order to understand how great people think, we first need to take the initiative to do some research about them by reading books or articles. However, many people don’t have the time to do their research because of their busy lives. Chuck Klosterman said in the article “My Zombie, Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead”, “The principal downside to any zombie attack is that the zombies will never stop coming; the principal downside to life is that you will be never be finished with whatever it is you do” (29). According to Klosterman, we will always be busy in attending all the things in our lives, it is the fact of being a human. There is always a long list of what we need to do and the list will keep expanding. It is very convenient to do things that is easy like blindly following a person way of living because we will not be burdened in doing time consuming research about the person who we choose to be our role model. However, no human is perfect and that’s why we need to be aware of their actions just like Wallace encouraged us to do before choosing someone as our role model. Let’s assume that someone chose Leonardo da Vinci as his role model. Sean Patrick said in his book Awakening Your Inner Genius, “Sir Kenneth Clark, one of the most accomplished art historians of the twentieth century, called da Vinci “the most relentlessly curious man in history.” Da Vinci’s life and greatness is best summarized by his own statement that “the noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” He did what he did because he loved peeling back the skin of the universe to catch a glimpse of its vast inner workings”(15). According to Patrick, da Vinci was a person filled with multiple questions about the world or he was curious. For example, back in the early 1400, anatomy texts back in his day featured long-winded, confusing description of the human body. Da Vinci knew that those puzzling texts could be replaced by mere handful of accurate drawings. He knew that there was only one way to produce the drawing that he envisioned: dissecting rotting corpse of criminals. Many people thought of this act as inhumane because it was. From this story, we can deduce that great curiosity can motivate a person to do whatever they could in order to achieve what they want. It is great that a person could follow da Vinci’s curiosity of the world, but he should raise some questions first about da Vinci’s method in approaching his problems. From the story about da Vinci, we know that he achieved big things because of his curiosity, and that also drove him to do things that normal people wouldn’t do. He couldn’t control his curiosity until he became ignorant about the value of humanity. Wangari Maathai said in her article “The Cracked Mirror”, “Too often, when we talk about conservation, we don’t think about culture”(34). According to Maathai, when we are focusing on something that we are currently working on, we tend to forget other things that are also important in our lives. For example, da Vinci wanted to improve the anatomy texts during his time, but in doing so, he had ignored the value of humanity that every human needs. That’s why we need to first understand the way that people think before we choose them as our role model In his book, Patrick also mentions about the great Nikola Tesla who used his imaginations to discover the most used type of energy in the modern world which is the alternating current. He said, “Before you can connect dots, you need to have dots to connect. The more material you’re exposed to in the world, the more grist you’ll have for your imagination mill” (55). Patrick believes that in producing fresh ideas, we need to have an ample amount of knowledge in our minds. Just like Tesla, who had studied electrical engineering for a few years before he could design the modern alternating current electricity supply system. However, without his imaginations and creativity he would not be able to achieve what he had achieved. Tesla has the credibility to be a role model to people because of his creativity in solving problems in his day which was the inefficiency of direct current electricity supply system. However, like da Vinci, Tesla also has flaws. There was once a time when Tesla was desperate in looking for a job and he would do anything to get money. Fortunately for him, a band of wealthy investors heard of his works and wanted him to develop an improved system of arc lighting. Without thinking much about it, Tesla agreed to work with them. Once the company became profitable, Tesla realized that he had been swindled. The vast majority of the earnings were going to the investors, and when he tried to consult them in financing his alternating current motor, they not only rejected his ideas but also ejected him from the company. He had no0n “2005 Kenyon Commencement Speech”, “awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over: “This is water” (59). Wallace believes that sometimes we tend to lose sight of the obvious things in life. For instance, Tesla was too consumed in his search for money that he hadn’t noticed the real intention of the investors. Maathai also mentioned in her essay that people without culture feel insecure and are obsessed with the acquisition of material things. We can relate this to Tesla who was too desperate until he had forgotten about his culture which made him vulnerable to other threats. Despite all of the great people in history, why there are still people who chose a bad role model? It is because of the many bad influenced especially the media. Nowadays, there are many movies portraying about a man who is rich and have many women to accompany him. From watching this, people especially children can think that by copying that man, they can be much cooler. There are about 67% of children in the United States have television sets in their bedrooms. That’s why there are still a big number of people who want to follow bad role models. People may also question on why did I only emphasized on dead people and not talk about current scholars. This is because we can find many sources talking about all of the great thinkers in history compared to current scholars. This can make it a lot easier for us to do some research on them. Also, why great people in history is known until now even though they are dead? This is because of their great contributions to the world in their respective fields that have laid a large impact on the world. This is the reason they are still remembered by people until this day which make it more interesting to choose them as our role models. Like Maathai says, “participants have looked through someone else’s mirror - the mirror of the missionaries or their teachers or the colonial authorities who have told them who they are and who write or speak about them - at their own cracked reflections” (35). When I read this statement, I understand that some people had always tried to be like what others want them to be. They are trying to become like the image that was shaped by others and this would make feel like they are looking at a cracked mirror. This is the opposite of what I am trying to say here. A role model is not someone who we want to be, but they are the person who we can follow in order to achieve our own goals. They are the one who can guide us towards the right path and enlighten us on the many possibilities of life.
Source cited
Klosterman, Chuck. “My Zombie Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 04 Dec. 2010. Web. 27 Nov. 2014.
Maathai, Wangari. “The Cracked Mirror.” Resurgence Magazine, vol. 227. Nov/Dec 2004.
Oxford Dictionary. Web. 23 Jan. 2015.
Patrick, Sean. Awakening Your Inner Genius. Clearwater: Oculus, 2013. Ebook.
Wallace, David Foster. (2005) “Kenyon Commencement Speech 2005.” The Best American Nonrequired Reading 20006. Ed. Dave Eggers. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Print.…...

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