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UNC - Chapel Hill Supplement Essay: Message in a Bottle

JMitchell159 2 / 2  
Jan 9, 2013   #1
The Paradox of Living

The dividends of life can be placed into many kinds of categories. Nature has created partnerships for most things. The feeling of the asphalt beneath your feet can be hot or cold, the energy that flows between atoms can be positive or negative, and the soul within a man can be good or evil. Life as we know it is achieved by the balance and bonds of things that are opposites. Things either exist or they don't and one is either alive or dead. These are unquestionable truths that pertain to our world.

I beg to disagree. Pertaining to life, or the state of being alive, most would consider one to be living if one has a pulse and if the neurons in one's brain are firing messages to each other. Most would say, yes, that person is indeed alive. I disagree. Unless we, as intelligent beings, have created another category, a subset, within life, I do not think that being simply "alive" means one is actually living. One can have a pulse, move, grow, and reproduce, but that does not necessarily mean one is living. And I think there are fewer and fewer people alive who know and appreciate what living really means.

But how can one be alive, yet not living? It's a paradox that holds true especially to this day an age. Far too many live in paralysis where everything is according to the plan. They wake up at the same time, go to the same desk job (that they abhor), go home, watch the same reality TV show before dozing off where they dream of the same thing: what their life really could be...which is forgotten minutes after awakening and they do it all over again. Every day is the same. They are stuck in an endless, banal routine. It is so calculated, so mechanical.

So what does this have to do with writing a message in a bottle? Well, it is the answer to the aforementioned question. Like I said, there are few that actually understand and appreciate what living means and those who know what it means usually go through some sort of life-threatening moment that brings them to the epiphany. Iconic characters like Robinson Crusoe, Pi Patel, and Ralph from Lord of the Flies never find the zest of their lives until after they are put into a life-threatening situation, until they are forced to write a message in a bottle. Now, don't get discouraged. It is not like you have to be a castaway on an island for weeks to figure out what living really means. Or, maybe you do. The funny thing is, I don't really know what living means either. However, I feel as though I am capable of giving advice on how to live, but I more than likely am a victim of the actions I am criticizing. In my opinion, living is about finding the magic in the world that makes your soul sore and it is about breaking away from the binds of routine and making things happen.

So, what would I write if I were forced to put a message in a bottle?

"To those who read this, live."

Kitsumi 4 / 97 16  
Jan 9, 2013   #2
This is a beautifully written essay. I just have a couple comments.
1. Do not use "you". This is a formal essay (even if it's personal), so don't use "you". You already used "one", so why not continue on using "one"? Or re-phrasing the sentence.

2. Do not use contractions. So, no don't, can't, I've, etc.

living is about finding the magic in the world that makes your soul sore and it is about breaking away from the binds of routine and making things happen

Maybe break it up into two sentences, or finding some other way of connecting the second idea? This doesn't flow right currently.

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