Thursday, July 07, 2005

What You Use To Catch De-Fish With

A month ago, I had a farewell lunch to my beloved mentor and good friend. She had lost a husband earlier this year in a tragic accident. She dutifully turned up for my dinner invitation even though I knew her heart wasn't in it.

Some time during the dinner conversation, I asked her why she did not take part in competitive debating anymore. Her answer, "It's too destructive".

For a long time I couldn't think of a response.

Slowly, it dawned on me that she was right - and I had been feeling that way for years. I had tried out for competitive debating while I was in JC but I wasn't selected - leading to over 5 years of trying to "get into" the debate scene. I tried out for debates in University - and I succeeded in getting selected for a team.

It wasn't the joy I thought it would be.

I continued on to try out for mooting competitions (I failed at that too) and slowly, the passion I had when I was in JC faded away. I just...slowly distanced myself from it. The passion wasn't there.

It's now, after almost 12 years, that I realised it wasn't passion - it was envy. The truth is, I never had enthusiasm for being a debator. It was a means to an end - to get into law school, to get over my stutter. But never what I -wanted- to do. The sad thing is, for years, I had mistaken it for passion and pursued what was ultimately a dead end.

Now, at the beginning of a new beginning, I now see what had always held me back. I was not inclined to be destructive. I've never been. I eventually became good at it, sure. But as I grow older I realise that it is not complex seemless arguments, or the thread of argument that survives the attempts to tear it down that is ultimately true or wise. It is merely that which survives destruction.

It is simple truth.

Professor Steinman once asked the class to "prove water is wet". I go further and ask if any simple truth, by nature of being simple, will ever be proven.

I do not ask people to simply accept truths as being self-evident. Far from it. I ask people to remember that in the midst of seeking truth, one might forget that truth might simply settle on you when you're not looking.

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