After much deliberation and a deluge of requests, I’ve decided to post my favorite of the three essays I wrote for my Stanford application! (Yay.)
Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development. (100 to 250 words)
I’ve always seen myself as a rational human being. Sure, my occasional frenetic squealing over the newest episode of Sherlock may somewhat take away from that statement, but when it really boils down to important decisions, I never fail to consult my best friend, Reason.
One evening, however, I stumbled across a quote by Immanuel Kant: “Emotions are entirely distinct from reason and rationality. They do not yield knowledge.”
Really? Is that so? Surprised at my own agitation, I realized I had been neglecting the importance of another friend – the perennial underdog Emotion.
Emotion is that friend. The one I never particularly want around. (Come on, stop crying about that silly Chinese soap opera!) But emotion understands me through and through, and knows exactly what satisfies my personal needs and beliefs. Emotion is the source of my moral motivations.
Reason, on the other hand, reminds me to view things with clarity. Reason never fails to offer her opinion; her spectrum of logic-based theories can apply to every situation I find myself in. (Would buying another Cornetto, or durian puff give me greater happiness??) But in this sense, the greatest appeal of Reason – her objectivity – is also her weakness. My decisions cannot be value-free, and so I have to rely on Emotion to help me judge each case that Reason puts forth.
Neither friend can do without the other, and I cannot do without either of them. So we’ve become best of friends – the inseparable Three Musketeers – Reason, Emotion, and I.