I found Poetry and Ambition to be one of the most memorable essays I have ever read. I would do myself a great injustice not to revisit this work many times. Hall litters the pages with so many quotable one-liners you’d think he was writing poetry. Maybe that’s how good prose is supposed to be.
“If your goal in life is to remain content, no ambition is sensible.” Wow. Has ever a truer and more useful line been transcribed? I know too many peers who would read this sentence and assimilate it 180 degrees differently than I. I live in an area where the populace, if over 18, are mostly content to fall into the cycle of partying until parenthood, working until retirement, and retiring until death, the entire time harboring soul crushing debt, stress, and passionless relationships. They have no ambition. They are content. I gladly sacrifice my contentedness to chase my ambition. Even admitting that, “Ozymandias” rings in my mind as a warning. That poem is forever the mass, rope, and crew, saving me from capitalism’s siren song.
The piece of advice that infected me virally, and subsequently will always dwell within me, is that one should set an impossible goal. Shoot for the stars and land amongst the clouds. I have such a goal. Such a goal gives life a purpose. A purpose eliminates boredom. If one is ever bored, one has not discovered their goal. I have not been bored for almost 3 years now. However, alleviating boredom bares a new symptom, a kind of anxiety in rest. Since establishing an impossible goal, allowing for a purpose to be born, resting from pursuit of that goal brings guilt. I’m in a phase of my life where I’m trying to cope with this unpleasantness. My current hypothesis is falling in love.
I’d like to say that the selections in this class have exceeded my expectations. Now, I’m not sure if that says more about my ignorance than your teaching skills, but I mean it as a compliment, so I hope it is received as one. I am thoroughly enjoying this class.