Introduction: When Personal Interests Conflict the Demands of the Society
Finding a vocation is one of the tasks that seem simple only on the surface; when getting down to its core, the problem reveals a number of implications. It seems that there is after all some rhyme and reason for so many synonyms for the word “vocation” to exist: job, profession, business, engagement, destiny, fate, to name a few. Vocation is extremely hard to find, yet when one does, the choice between what the given person wants and what the society wants from this person is quite complicated. While disregarding the society’s demand, one can possibly end up as an outcast, picking the track that one does not like just because the society forced him/her to will finally lead to a conflict within. Hence, no matter what one’s decision will be, the choice between the two comes at a price.
We will write a custom Essay on The “Selfish” Nature of Vocation vs. the Community Imperatives specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Without a Grain of Rejection: Continuous Harmony of the Social and the Personal
On a second thought, it is not the egotistic element that comes as a negative aspect of choosing one’s path on one’s own. It goes without saying that the desire to find one’s identity and, therefore, shake off the everyday image, trying another identity and spending a considerable amount of time in search for the one. However, it seems that at certain points, the idea of deviating from the charted track and becoming a completely different person is not as much selfish as it is immature and half-baked. For instance, Pham’s character confesses in the following:
“Where are you from? Originally.”
I have always hated this question and resent him for asking. I hide my distaste because it is un-American. Perhaps I will lie. I often do when someone corners me. Sometimes, my prepared invention slips out before I realize it: I’m Japanese–Korean–Chinese–mixed–race–Asian. (Pham 6)
The given passage might be considered as a strong statement of one’s identity being changed once and for all. However, if taking a closer look, one will see the insecurity concealed in these words. Avoiding explanations concerning the identity issue, Pham’s character shuts the vis-à-vis out, thus, making it obvious that the given issue is rather painful. For the one who is determined to stand his/her ground concerning the identity issue, a less reclusive attitude can be expected. Pham’s character is a clear-cut example of the person whose ambitions do not match his abilities: he “was hoping something miraculous would happen” (Pham 98) instead of blazing his trail into his own Promised Land. Thus, it can be considered that sometimes, one can reach a reasonable compromise between the social demands and the personal vocation. Likewise, Liu’s character is also discontent with his identity and needs to change it: “The problem is, I disagree with it often” (Liu 58). However, he approaches the problem in a much more mature way, realizing that there will always be a part of him that has some of the Asian American element: “There is always a part of me that believes I will find deliverance if I merge with this identity” (Liu 58).
Vocation as a Result of a Social Impact: There Is Some Chemistry Between These Elements
Choosing one’s personal track of life is what literally rules the lives of teenagers and, in some cases, even older people. At certain point, the idea of going against the prescriptions of society might seem the manifestation of utter egotism. However, there is more to the issue than meets the eye.
It must be admitted that the deterministic idea of one’s path as something destined and planned long before one was even born is supported by a range of sufficient reasons as well. For example, the idea that one’s life track has already been predetermined by someone or something fits the key Christian principles – or religious principles for that matter. Analyzing a passage from Lee’s book, one can see distinctly that fatalistic mood results from one’s deep religious convictions: “In cannot possibly express in words fully and adequately what the experience of growing up in South Central L.A. means to me. I can only testify that it was through the grace and providence of God that it happened” (Lee 2). Hence, one can observe the impact of the social opinion about what the lead character should be, namely, the citizen of L. A. – and he is, fully content with it.
Conclusion: Looking for the Compromise
Therefore, it is obvious that a reasonable compromise between what one was destined to become ad what the society has chosen one to be. Although the very first intent that may appear in response to the social pressure when it comes to the above-mentioned conflict is to rebel, claiming one’s freedom of choice and the right to become what one feels (s)he was destined to be seems the obvious choice. On a second thought, however, taking a closer look at what the society suggests would be a good idea, since the social background provides a specific growing foil which will further on shape one’s skills, mindset and set of morals. Despite the fact that the three authors make it obvious that the call of the heart is the only possible option, there can be alternatives which will allow to live in peace with the society and stay quite content.
Lee, Warren W. A Dream for South Central. The Autobiography of an Afro-American Korean Christian Minister. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1993. Print.
Liu, Eric. “The Accidental Asian. Variations on a Theme.” The Accidental Asian. Ed.
Eric Liu. New York, NY: Vintage, 1998. 57-84. Print.
Pham, Alex. Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000. Print.