The Juggle Struggle of Life

By Nur Afiqah Azizan. Nur Afiqah lives in Bandar Baru Bangi, Malaysia

“What is your ambition” they would ask.

“Well, I would want to be a true human being”, she would reply.

More often than not, the conversation would proceed with the other party expressing an ‘Are-you-for-real expression’ along with questions meant to ask if she is for real because it seems that having the aspiration to be a true human being is a joke.

Aristotle once said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”. The way I see it, the situation above brings us to the door of the journey in submerging deeper and unravelling the possible meanings to one of the many brilliant quotes by the renowned Greek philosopher and scientist. Well, hop on board!

Our first stop in the journey brings us to the clarification of the act ‘Educating the mind’. There are two types of education which are relevant to the context here. The first one would be formal education whereby good grades are what matters while degrees, Masters, PHDs are boldly significant recognitions to be achieved. The other one would be informal education which in my opinion is just as important as the formal one. Informal education is what you learn out of the academic scope. The parameter of your ability in the wide field of informal education simply differs. It is more flexible. Be it the process of learning how to solve Mathematical equations in a classroom of an academic institution with a teacher or how to make fishing rods from bamboos at home with your grandfather; they are education which the mind feeds on. Regardless of whether one goes through formal or informal learning, the knowledge and skills gained definitely expand the mind.

Educating the heart is a destination which, I feel is safe to say, not far away from our last stop. While knowledge and skills acquired are for the mind, values and lessons are what is for the heart. Kindness, honesty and tolerance are simply a few of the many values that also comes with personalized lessons for every individual who cares to look upon for them. Always, the tougher the lessons one obtains, the values which take place in the heart will have a more solid and stronger foundation too. Such occurrence nurtures the heart to grow bigger. The highest level in this aspect would have to be the abstract recognition of having a heart of gold.

Let’s head on to a place occupied mostly by the strictly mind-educated ones. Can you see all that major advancements in technology? The broad field of everyday life – from communication to transportation and even healthcare – is so much less complicated! Ah… The ease of life – all thanks to the inventions by the great minds. Look deeper, though. Can you see the cracks on the walls of humanity? The endless rat race gets the best out of mankind. Every man is for himself. The modern inventions are made to benefit only those of the higher ranks while at the same time, stepping and kicking away those who do not have the privilege to the better facilities. It gets so bad that a vast number of men forget to cater for the heart, thus causing the downfall of humanity.

Moving on, we are looking at a location inhabited mainly by those with big hearts. Life sure is not a walk in the park in terms of making ends meet for them. Coming up with advanced, convenient technologies is not their forte. However, there is a great sense of humanitarian ground here. They sincerely help one another. The understanding, respect and tolerance amongst each other are high despite differences in whatever area it may be. They are those who live by values they gain through life lessons. The possession of good values helps mankind to address issues ranging from petty ones like whose football team is better to more sensitive and serious matters like religious beliefs with more maturity. It does sound a bit like a fantasy, doesn’t it? Rationally speaking, such peaceful and calm environment is not getting the maximum benefit it could gain without the presence of educated minds. In fact, there is a very likely probability that as the stake to survive increases and brings out more difficult challenges, the good values possessed would fade away bit by bit. The main factor here would point-blank be due to the unfortunate case of ignorance.

Our next point in this journey brings us to the need to understand the fact that the mind and heart are made to complement one another. Each one of us, however, is our own master who determines how to work it out between the two elements. Having a mind rich with useful theories and practical expertise, but poor in vital humane ethics will not take you far in life. Ralph Waldo Emerson couldn’t have said it better when he said, “Without a rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar”. Having it vice versa instead of improving the insufficient element would still do no good. Go to Google and type ‘good-hearted but stupid’ and read the first result of that; yep, it says it all. A good heart is important, but it is not going to be enough to get through life today. It needs a good mind too for the best outcome. It is harsh, but it is what it is.

With that said, our final stop has arrived. Here, one should be aware that with great understanding and ability to position the mind and heart to cooperate well, great wonders await. This is what being a true human being is about. The more men are inclined towards this phase and continue to move forward, the better it would be for our civilisation. I must agree with Syed Naquib Al-Attas’ opinion, which is also supported by Richard Sullivan, whereby he views human civilisation as the fulfilment of high-level ethics and virtuous culture of a society.

Today’s development of the human civilisation lies on true human beings – not on Homo sapiens who roam on Earth with no slightest intention of contributing to achieve a better world at all. Whatever it is you aspire to be, it should all sums up to pushing you to become a true human being. True human beings are assets. We need more of them. Here I call upon myself and all those who care to listen to improve ourselves in what is lacking for the betterment of our world. With that said, our final stop has arrived. Before we dismiss, remember lads and lasses; Educated Mind + Educated Heart = True Human Beings

6 comments on “The Juggle Struggle of Life

  1. Damon Tham on

    I’ve said your articles are very well written before, and I certainly won’t change my mind now. It sort of gets me thinking of what kind of person I am actually inclined to be. Chasing wealth with no regard or consideration to anyone else but myself, or being kind-hearted, trying to make a difference in the world, yet struggling to make his own life better? It’s hard to talk about wanting to be both wealthy, yet generous. It’s even harder to become such a person.

    • Nur Afiqah Azizan on

      It sure is a struggle, Damon.

      Thank you for your kind comment and for your time reading the article! Very much appreciated!

  2. Alicia on

    Nice piece of writing, Afiqah! You’re a really talented writer with intriguing thoughts to share. 🙂 This article does make a person think. Keep on writing!


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