This I Believe

Bonnie - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on April 3, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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My Passion for Ideas

When I visited the library of El Escorial in Spain two summers ago, I could feel ideas surging from the artwork into my very being. Personifications of different fields of study, as lifelike as Michelango’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel, glanced down at me from the ceiling in expectancy.

Music, sitting on a cloud, summoned angels with a harp. Science, searching the seashore, mapped the seas with a quadrant. Theology and Philosophy, enthroned on opposite wings of the library, nodded to each other in recognition.

As I gazed up at that marble ceiling, the books of antiquity surrounding me, I realized that the companionship I have sought has always been within my reach. While friends come and go, Henry David Thoreau will always sit by my side, confiding that he believes in my ability to simplify my life. James Madison will always declare upon a pedestal man’s right to free speech, a free press, and a fair trial. These sages are my everlasting companions.

I believe that education proves the interconnectedness of mankind over time and space and how much we owe to one another. It is that interconnectedness which inspires me. When I read classics such as The Divine Comedy and The Aeneid, I never cease to be amazed by how the human experience is so unified. Throughout the millennia, we have resisted against barriers both internal and external to achieve spiritual fulfillment.

When I study history, I can hear the voices of the past tapping into my thoughts and instilling within me their passions and ideals. It is in this way that I wish to hear Emerson, Plato, Buddha, Zarathustra, and all the other philosophers rave. I long to unite with them in their immortal form—their words and ideas. As the spirits of the past materialize within my own soul, I feel empowered to lead a productive and meaningful life.

So, as I think about college next year, I remember the excitement that lit up inside of me at the library of El Escorial. By quenching my thirst to know the great thinkers, I hope to carry on their memory and make their ideas reality. Then, perhaps I will become at least a speck in the majestic ceiling of great ideas.