Out of the storm of life I have borne away only a few ideas — and not one feeling. For a long time now I have been living, not with my heart, but with my head. I weigh, analyze my own passions and actions with severe curiosity, but without sympathy.
—Pechorin, A Hero of Our Time
When I was younger, I decided that I wanted to cast all my emotion aside, because at the time I knew nothing but pain. I set this as my goal, and started to work towards a sterile, cerebral mindset. I wanted to feel nothing, and this idea followed me through to university.
At this time, I never believed that I was completely successful; I still felt too much. However, as my situation changed, as I met new people with good hearts and minds, I experienced what happiness was like. I was never satisfied though, never happy enough, and always wanted more but could never achieve it. Suddenly, it felt as if my cerebral goal was too successful, and I was stuck, I was numb.
I’ve gone from one extreme to the other, from wanting nothing to wanting everything. In both cases I was a failure, but it’s only now that I realize that success would have assuredly meant no turning back. I believe that when a certain extent is reached, one becomes ignorant to anything that could possibly change oneself. Now I understand the balance, the dichotomy that absolutely must exist in order to have a healthy mind.
And things are much better this way.