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The Examined Life – Ideas of Philosophy from Someone Too Young to Have a Philosophy

11 Nov

This week when I met with a gentleman at the Max the Mutt Animation Studio in Toronto, I got a bit of an ego stroking. He told me, “Chantalle, I loved your essay so much I read it twice. I don’t often see so much philosophy in the entrance essay”. I was a little caught off guard. I hadn’t thought I had included much philosophy, but then I remember that I had written this little gem.

“Wanting something with everything that you are is the definitive act of being human. When we strive for our goals with tireless ambition, we often relate ourselves to Gods, when in actuality, we couldn’t be more as men.”

…and I suppose I can understand what he meant by philosophical. I’ve spent much of my young life hearing from people that I was “wise beyond my years”, and let somehow I never managed to believe that I was.

A good friend of mine gave me the reality check I needed when I sat down in the car, frustrated that despite my best efforts, the school would not accept me without seeing more of my art (which I didn’t have). She asked me: “Why do you rely on other people to tell you something about the way you are? Just believe it for yourself and you’ll never need anyone to stroke your ego”. She then promptly told me to get rid of my ego all together.

Well, that’s another topic all together, and a much larger pill to swallow, let me tell you.

Sometimes even I’m surprised with what comes out of my mouth. I once had someone tell my mother that I had an “old soul”, and regardless of my lac of spirituality, that nameless woman’s opinion of my (which was in my infancy, I might add), has followed me around my entire life.

Further on in my essay, there was the line…

“Art is something I’ve always loved. To me there’s something phenomenal about taking a physical, tangible object, and using it to make you express something completely intangible. Our eyes follow lines, assess colours, we reminisce, we become nostalgic, we appreciate, and this is how art captures us. Artists have a depth of being that they want to share with the rest of the world. Whether through music, or paintings, or any other medium, connecting with an audience on a deeper level is always the aim of any artist.”

I suppose that’s why I always wanted to be an artist. I believe that I see the world in a different way than most people. Maybe my ego has something to do with that opinion, but then again, maybe it doesn’t. We all see the world through a different set of eyes. Is there a sense of superiority in believing that the artist’s is worth sharing more than that of the average Joe? Possibly, but there’s a lot of shitty art out there now-a-days; just look at the Jonas Brothers.

Truth be told, I examine my life on a regular basis, and I think it’s important to know where you stand, and ultimately be able to describe the world you see through your eyes to others, so that they might share your perspective, or see things from a different angle.

Plato said that a life unexamined is not worth living. I’ll go a step further and say that an unshared examination of one’s own life is not lived. Sharing who we are, and how we perceive our world is the only way to really connect to other people, and in the end, the only thing that truly enriches our lives is how we connect with others.

… but then, as a master of short quotes, that may have been too much of a mouthful from Plato.

When I left high-school, I saluted by English teacher, quoting the Walt Whitman poem: “O Captain, my Captain!”, because he made me see the world from a different perspective and opened me up to books and stories that would further facilitate the broadening of my horizons. I hope one day to be able to do that for others as well, and I hope that I can do it through my attitude, through my writing, and through my art.