“Are you trying to be as human as you can be?” -Tuesdays with Morrie

In the Quest of Finding Your True Self
Do you still remember the story of Donna? The girl who got the assignment to search for the essence of herself? Weeks ago, we told a story about Donna, the girl given the assignment to search for her identity, the essence of what made her, her.

This time, we want to tell you another story about Donna.

A little recap for you: Donna was assigned to write down about who she really is. Instead, she wrote down this list:

Who is Donna?
A human. (A girl, to be more specific)
A cat lover.
5’5 feet.
110 lb.
A sushi lover.
A fashion enthusiast.
A good debater.

…and remember when her teacher, Mr Danny, said, “This is how you are, but not who you are” along with
“You need to see the unseen, Donna. Search within your heart. What is the essence of Donna?”
Donna got very confused. She couldn’t get what Mr Danny meant by “search within your heart.” So, the next morning at school, she went to school earlier than before to talk to Mr Danny. She explained everything she thought about the assignment, how the assignment seemed to be beyond her grasp.

How can one possibly see his/her own essence when it’s not even visible?

Responding to his student’s fretfulness, Mr Danny said, “Well, Donna, in order to see the unseen, people have to be true to who they are and live life to the very best they can be. Build a bond full of love, trust, and sincerity so they can live a life with dignity and integrity. That’s how you find the essence, something that makes us a human being.”

“Even though I don’t understand what you said, I’m intrigued by how we are different as a human being.”

“You see, Donna. There was this one guy. Suddendorf. Thomas Suddendorf.”

“Can I call him Thomas guy?”

“Yes, you can call Mr Suddendorf that way. See, he wrote this one article about what makes us human.”

“Thomas guy wrote about how to be a guy?
“, joked Donna.

“To be a human, not just a guy. Anyway, being a human is having the capabilities, and option thereafter, to think about own’s alternative futures and make deliberate choices accordingly. Creatures without such a capacity cannot be bound into a social contract and take moral responsibility. Once we become aware of what we cause we feel morally obliged to change our ways.”

“Well, Sir, you seemed to be too absorbed with this Thomas guy.”

“Think about it, Donna. The moment you question your existence is the moment you think about the options you have. Options you could have. Or options you could have had.”


“Questions like “What if I am smarter?”

“Are you mocking me?”

“I’m joking, alright. But you get it. We have options because we can ponder. We can choose options that, according to our most basic sense, beneficial not for only ourselves, but for the others. Well, things that are good for most are rarely good only for certain individuals. Things like selflessness. Imagine if everyone chooses to care for others. We will all be rounding across the globe, watching people’s back to each other.” 

“I think it’s time to ask you to speak English, Sir.”

“Donna, it is by loving others, devoting ourselves to the community around us, and creating something that awakens your purpose and meaning you can find how to affect others. That said, I believe you must be aware of what can happen shall you do the opposite: harm. Only you who know yourself can choose which path you take, although knowing you I know you will take the path as I suggested. That’s how you know what and how you cause others.

“I think I’m going to rest for a while…”

“Donna, you will find your way if you strive enough for it. I have met resistant people, blocking options of a better tomorrow coming to their ways. Not all rocks contain gold, not all seeds grow in the land. It’s about being open to options, Donna. It’s about understanding your nature, shaping up your character. It’s about being a human, a part of mankind. When you think of this, you would want to do good things”

Donna nodded. She realizes she might need a lot of time to understand all of this. She might not even understand all of it. Or even not any part of it. She nodded because she is sleepy. The only thing she understands, she is not finished with her assignment. And not giving up sometimes is all it takes to change, yet when things don’t work, don’t resist to let it go. Only after you give up everything, can you begin to find ways to make you happy. Which works? You decide.
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