The Man Who Told His University Professor To Go To Hell

I saw this on Paulo Coelho’s blog today. It’s something I have been contemplating for quite some time. This is an excerpt of what Joseph Campbell wrote about following your dreams.

When you attend college, you don’t do what you desire, but you only seek to learn what is necessary to get the diploma. And this is not always the best option.

‘In my case, I was granted a scholarship and went to the University of Paris. As I arrived in Europe, I discovered James Joyce, Picasso, Mondrian – all that modern art group. Then, I went to Germany and started to study Sanskrit and got involved with Hinduism. Right after that came Jung; everything was opening up, from all sides.

‘I returned to the University and said: “Look, I don’t want to spend my life trying to learn only what you want to teach me.”

‘I had taken all the necessary classes for the title; I just had to write the damned thesis. If I didn’t write it, they wouldn’t let me study further and so it was time to say: go to hell.

‘I moved to the countryside and spent five years reading. I never got my doctor title. I learned to live with the minimum possible, that gave me freedom and a wonderful time.

‘Courage is necessary to do what we desire, once others always have a plan for us. Being aware of that, I decided to follow my dream: I didn’t know how I spent these five years, but I knew I would survive another five, if it was necessary.

‘I recall an occasion in which I had a one-dollar bill in a dresser’s drawer and I knew that as long as it was there, I could still count on my resources. It was great. My only responsibility was toward my own life and toward my choices.

‘In truth, there was a moment in which I thought: “Gee, I would like someone to tell me what to do.”

‘Being free implies choosing your path, and each step can change our destiny – what’s very frightening sometimes. But today, looking back, I see that my days were perfect: whatever I needed came exactly when I needed it. At the time, all I needed was to read for five years. I did it and that was essential for me.

‘As Schopenhauer says, when you see what you have overcome, you have the impression that you have followed a plot that had already been written. However, at the moment of action, you seem to be lost in a storm: surprise after surprise, and many times with no time to breathe, having to take decisions all the time. Only later will you understand that each surprise, each decision, made sense.’

What are your thoughts? Have you lived in a similar fashion that Joseph Campbell has? If so, share your story with me at the end of this post, I would love to hear from you.

To Campbell,

Chiao Kee

0saves
If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>