The Newspaper of the University of Waterloo Engineering Society
Iron Warrior - Opinion - Friday, November 16, 2001 - Volume 22, Issue 16

Paper Dolls and Glass Minds:  Everyone has a Role to Play
Jonathan Ng
3B Computer

I look out the window and often wonder to myself, why am I here? What can I do? What "should" I do? Having experienced 6 out of the 8 required terms necessary to finish my Bachelor's degree in Engineering, I have pondered these questions so many times that I am repeating the same things tenfold.

I have been reading Terry Woo's "Banana Boys" a lot lately (it was featured two issues ago). That book deals a lot with identity issues, especially for people who may look different, but still call this place home. All the characters in the book struggle with purpose - purpose is always hard to judge when you're barely out of your teens. Some lucky people find their purpose midway, but the rest of us just drift on, doing the things we do, and trying to find some semblance of a purpose. For a lot of people, it's finding that significant other.

Finding significant others are very easy for some people, and nearly impossible for others. We are a visually oriented species, and so a lot of the time looks factor majorly into the decision-making process. But past that, the process has a lot to do with our relatively primitive communication methods, which often fail to convey concise information. Add that with our increasing ability to become segregated from the rest of society, and this makes relationships extremely hard to achieve. However, if one does find a significant other, it is worth the extra time and effort committed.

From another perspective, purpose can be an act, or a role. Some people have something that they are obsessed with, whether it be tinkering with cars, programming software, playing the guitar, or just being really funny. Eventually it consumes them and becomes a job for them. That's okay, since the only way to become really good at something is if you truly enjoy it. It's a good "happiness indicator", if nothing else.

Finding a "purpose" can be all well and good, however there can be many pitfalls in doing so. Some people become so obsessed with their role that they shun all other things necessary to maintain a healthy societal relationship. Jealousy and hatred can also come into play - people can feel that their role or "territory" is being invaded on by other people. But I believe that being purposeful can be the only way for a mostly lazy society to advance.

Most people spend their lives finding and eventually attaining their "place". I hope you find yours.

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