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Recurring rhythms 

2004: Looking for veritas

Updated: Dec 13, 2018

My college application essay


My ambition is to conquer the world. Neglecting those mocking faces of people who take it as another cliché, I have stuck to it doggedly. But then, how? I have thought of two methods that worked in the past, at least for some measure of time, force and ideology. However, both suffered from a fundamental flaw: ignorance of people’s fundamental needs.

Many have tried force. Genghis Kahn’s empire and Alexander’s empire that ruled over Middle Asia are some of the most salient examples. But the force-achieved invasion, whatever form it had taken, always had its declining stage at the end. At first, the balance of the system was attained by exerted force. As the system developed, it failed because of the presence of corrupted culture, derived from the evil side of human tendencies called “greed.”

Many ideologies have attempted to manipulate the thoughts and lives of people within a society; Confucianism confined East Asians’ private and public lives to its own moral principles. However, preserving the “purist” form of ideology made it difficult to be responsive to change. Communism attained fanatical support from the people at first, but waned as those same people began to adhere too rigidly to ideology, failing to accommodate capitalism and free competition. In sum, ideology doesn’t take into consideration dynamic changes in people’s fundamental needs.

The failings of these methods point to a more compelling method: that of culture. By definition, culture is people’s learned responses to their basic needs. Culture defines a template, or a shaping model, to regulate responses to change. Without making its presence obvious, culture can penetrate through the minds of people, evolve with time, and create dependencies to ultimately change the world.

Ancient Mayans, for instance, responded to their constant impulse to chew by chewing gum-like substances. Chewing became everyone’s part of life when Wrigley Jr. packaged a stick of gum wrapped in a silver foil. His template- Unwrap it, Chew it, Spit it- survived the continuous change of people’s tastes with new flavors, images, and ideas. Wrigley indeed conquered the world by sneaking into the everyday habits of people.

Although it may contradict the notion that culture is a conscious response, I believe people sometimes respond to their needs unconsciously. Culture can also touch the common needs of people without affectation. Imagine! Himalayan horse-riding nomads with own rhythms of herding cattle. Oriental farmers raking heaps of manure by swaying their bodies to certain rhythms. Musicians and artists using their cultural rhythms to reaffirm their national spirit. They all, without realizing it, have been responding to their need to work efficiently, ease labor, and evoke artistic inspiration with rhythms passed down in their heritage from time immemorial.

Rhythm! This may just be the means to conquer the world. I am going to collect all the latent rhythms hidden in human society. The more basic the rhythm, the more applicable to people around the world. Assorted rhythms will not be packaged in wrappers like a stick of gum; I don’t want affected behaviors stopping people from tapping into their original being. People around the world who lack unconscious culture will enjoy my packaged rhythms. The template of using my product will be Feel, Enjoy and Live with it. No spitting required.

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