The range, the variety of work students produce from their academic programs at Evergreen is vast. Evergreen offers passion a free reign. And that’s important. In Soren Kierkegaard’s, The Present Age, he remarks: “what our age lacks is not reflection but passion.” Passion is in desperation and important because, he says, “the conclusions of passion are the only reliable ones.”
I can agree with this. My only worthwhile successes have only ever been yielded as a result of passion. As result of a fiery love for what I am doing. There is much to be said for ambition, discipline, cleverness, creativity, and responsibility. Even for honoring one’s obligations. But passion, may that be the place the heart and soul to forever remain.
The students at Evergreen, my peers, clearly are stoking the flames of their passion, I know this from our conversations. Because Evergreen demands so much self-motivation, students naturally turn to their passions. And passion yields voluminous results.
This last Spring I embarked on a bicycle trip from Olympia to San Francisco. It was for the class Writing American Cultures. I wrote a mammoth paper, 67 pages in length, titled Meaningful and Dignified Work. A hybrid of prose, research, philosophy and journal writing, I cannot be more proud. Here is an excerpt from the introduction:
As a menial landscaper, a proud lackey, I would not immediately assert my will to power as the guiding incentive for my work. If asked in person, in real time, without proper time to contemplate, I’d probably regurgitate a trite excuse: “builds character.” I despise my own sloth, I believe in discipline, there is honor in difficult work, there is unique reward in productive exertion, gratification is rich when it is not instant. Work is a chance to cultivate strength, it is perspiration for creation if designed well. The idea that work is a task to be endured or softened, a means toward eventual leisure, is to make effort a waste of time. To make effort into waste is to surrender breathing, seeing, and thinking to corpse-hood.
I traveled by bicycle camping along the way. I camped with fear and loneliness; dampness (from the rain) as well. I met people along the way and spoke with them. I read more about America’s labor history, and current sociological dystopics. I scribbled in my journal. I got some much needed sun in California. A huge journey and a daunting inquiry followed by a sky-scraping meditation that I typed up. For school.