To be crushed. What does this mean? To not have any room to maneuver. To be pressed into a corner. To not be able to breathe. In short, to not be able to do all that makes life worthwhile—Dance. Sports. Music.. And, along with it, to not be able to think.
It is not nice to be crushed. But school, especially Maths, is making me feel this way. It is less the subject, but the repetitiveness, the exam-focused style of teaching (but so is the times, and no fault of the Teacher’s but also due to us students), the lack of regard for the humanity within the subject (of all its intricacies and points of philosophical interest). From here stems a general sense of hatred, not vehement, but indifferent (which is much worse—the criminal who acts out of a sudden burst of passion is always better than the one who just doesn’t care). My soul is crying.
But what is a “soul”? If, for Aristotle, substance is “being qua being”, then the soul is “you qua you,” that which makes you more than a homo sapien. It is the form of the body, the intangible life-force that guides one through life, an impulse that calls who one really is out of oneself. It is also a certain spirit that pulsates throughout one’s personhood. The soul manifests itself in the End that I set myself to work towards, but also the ability to make the means towards an end an end-in-itself also. It is a joy, an excitement, a love, that embraces what I am doing right now. It is attention, what I cannot help but find fascinating and what calls myself towards it. It unites, but it is not substantial. Instead, as form, the soul is a specific openness towards the world with a unique receptivity. But it is difficult to find one’s soul. To let it surface for the first time. Therefore, perhaps it is a privilege to know that my soul is being crushed, for that means that I am in contact with my soul.
It is never always to find one’s soul. But to be in an environment in which that soul is crushed, squeezed into a point, unable to make a noise, whether in school, with helicopter parents, or, just on the wide-world of social media and games (for to be crushed need not always be oppressive in an open sense), is to make that already difficult journey impossible.
700,000 died from suicide last year. How many of them did it out of despair, of not being able to find their soul? And how many are still in despair, their soul being crushed, unable to surface?