The invitational round of the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad is being written at present. Regrettably, I will not be partaking in it – the sheer quantity of snow present has resulted in all Toronto District School Board schools being closed, and our site is thus inaccessible.
Due to the fact that my writing is rather dry, it may seem as though this is just another disappointment that I may dismiss in the blink of an eye. In truth, I had wanted to write this contest for some time – computational linguistics thoroughly intrigues me, and I will finish rather lamely by saying that this would have been a good opportunity.
Despite my mood, I’ve resolved to cease whining and do something moderately productive; noting that there is no better way to get over missing a linguistics challenge than to take part in another one, I’ve decided to speak to one of Shakespeare’s sonnets.
I’ll begin simply: I’ve thrived upon Shakespeare for as long as I remember. Some of his words constituted my first intriguing introduction to the English language; as such, I’ve always felt deeply touched by his work. His syntax and diction have greatly influenced my view of good writing and its ability to express both abstract and concrete examples of beauty.
It’s always seemed peculiar to me that many have trouble establishing a connection with his writings. I think that must be by dint of the presence of Middle English structures and metaphors, as his concepts are both universal and profoundly heartfelt. I urge you to see past what may seem like convoluted text and examine his meaning – I assure you that the effort is worth the yield.
With that said, the below is the original text of my favorite of his sonnets – Sonnet 23, to speak precisely. I actually shouldn’t term it the original text, as I’ve inserted apostrophes where they would be logical today to foster readability.
As an unperfect actor on the stage,
Who with his fear is put besides his part,
Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,
Whose strength’s abondance weakens his owne heart;
So I for fear of trust, forget to say,
The perfect ceremony of love’s rite,
And in mine owne love’s strength seem to decay,
Ore-charg’d with burthen of mine owne love’s might:
O let my books be then the eloquence,
And domb presagers of my speaking brest,
Who pleade for love, and look for recompence,
More then that tonge that more hath more exprest.
O learn to read what silent love hath writ,
To hear wit eyes belongs to love’s fine wiht.
My earlier writing might have heralded the coming of a “hard” analysis, but I am in a sentimental, self-centered, instructive mood, so I would advise that you either run or expect a profound degree of “softness”.
The Aforementioned Softness
- Life brims with roles – in each of your interactions with people, you play one, as subtle as it may be. You do not drive yourself to insincerity in any way, but you coax certain emotions forward, certain stances, certain aspects of you – you tailor your conversations to the interests of the other party – your appearance, perhaps, to the liking of that individual. You empathize adequately with the person in question to successfully cater to his or her demands; in doing so, you spark a connection, multiple instances of which converge, igniting a social existence. In order to culture a thriving social life, you must be capable of projecting a given persona on subtle request. To integrate a third metaphor, I have always felt that I am an unperfect actor. I am capable of presenting my emotions, thoughts, and likings only in that manner which is natural to me – when I do brave environments or interactions that I would not normally explore, I fumble with my lines. Panic ensues, and, while laughing nervously, I attempt to retrieve crumpled pieces of social capability from the depths of my coat pocket. If they may effectively be produced, then they are either coated in the decaying remains of some forgotten bio joke (haha), or their secrets are smudged beyond legibility.
- Most irritatingly, I feel that I could have assumed my role in life nearly as naturally as any other actor, but that some well-cultivated fear puts me beside it. This no longer saddens me, as I’ve the good fortune of having found people who accept me as I am, but I am curious. What is this fear, and whence did it stem? I’ve thus far ventured to think that it is a fear of people – of their holistic inability to understand my existence. It was confirmed early in my life in a variety of ways that most people do not comprehend my manner of thinking and feeling. This, of course, is my fault entirely – as was mentioned previously, I am incapable of empathizing with people on a superficial scale. This leads the majority of them to be wary of my immediately upon meeting me; this deprives me of their friendship; this further confuses and frustrates me, leading to decreased social performance. I initiate the infinite loop within which I am trapped.
- When I do gain another’s sympathy, I plunge forth into the friendship far too strongly. In doing so, I am attempting to ensure that I have burst out of the above-described cycle.
- For fear of losing trust, for fear of not knowing how to build trust, I reveal myself wholly: my idiosyncrasies, my hopes, my insecurities. This, my unmasked existence, is enough to render many people uncomfortable. I forget to participate in the exchanges that many find necessary to building friendships, interactions that are my loves’ right to have with me. In once again ignoring interpersonal protocol, I experience another cycle of loss, this time with people who are dearer to me; this, of course, weakens my heart. I then decay in my inability to let these people go, which is heavy with the burden of my liking for them.
- I will always let my work and my passion for science express my capacity to love – within science, I find myself as human as any other. Those who understand me most profoundly have seen how I treat my work – in my interactions with it lies the tenderness that I should be exhibiting with people. I know that I am incapable of morphing to normality, and for this reason, I place all of my energy into expressing myself through scientific exploration and the written word. This is my method of reaching out, pleading for love, and looking for recompense more intricately than I ever could in person.
Of course, I feel like my academic endeavors are dumb compared to the depths of my emotional mind. I hope that the capacity to hear with eyes and heart will belong to my future love’s fine wit, and I thank every person in my life who presently musters up the patience to either soothe a wounded actor, or read my lines for me.
I will update this with a significantly harder breed of thought on Friday. At present, I must run, as I am to join the remainder of my grade at a winter camp. The best of luck to all those writing the N.A.C.L.O. tomorrow!