I feel joy. Overwhelming, exhilarating joy that bangs against my chest, urging to be spilled out on others, so they can experience this same heavenly feeling. No, I did not just win the lottery, or land a job, or have exploding sex. Truth of the matter is, I have just headed out from my Political Science class.

Those of you who know me well have probably heard me ramble on about a certain Matthew Nelson, professor of PolSci at Bates, so young, so smart n so hot, whose lectures I attended religiously. Well, two years ago he moved to London for a new teaching position at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and we, his converts, forever mourn this loss. Matt's lectures are the kind that drops students' jaws, smashes our heads into fresh ways to look at the world, and burns our hearts with the desire to be responsible citizens. Very few professors can do such transformation.

One particular conversation I recalled was a very impromptu talk we had on the staircase. Khoa and I were on the way to dinner, and bumped into Matt walking to his office. It was about 6pm, a chilly Maine winter night. Somehow, we started talking about power n responsibility on hungry stomachs, n very soon it launched into a full-scale conversation. Matt, bright-eyed n amused, looked at us squarely n concluded, "You are young n educated, therefore you are the intellectual 'elites' of the world. In that elitist status, you have power, n with that power comes responsibility."

I will never forget that one simple sentence which sent me joy, quiver, n the realization of my self-bought burdens. Those like Matt are the reason I go to college. I was hungry, n he dined n wined me with knowledge n hope for a higher, more sophisticated life.

Today, walking out from International Politics class, I experienced again the thrilling joy that twinkled my eyes n shivered my knees. Her name is Olga, another very young prof who knew how to hypnotize students with talks. Talks of something so far-reached like international order but so relevant to one's life. That is the trick.

"What is the state but a lion and a fox? The lion has to be there, but sud b sleepin. The fox, on the other hand, has to be always awake. The state cannot sleep. The lion must be always ready to kill, while the fox must know that most of the time it's not in his interest to kill."

"The state is a man in chain. As an individual, you hav the choice to die in the name of whatever, freedom, justice etc. But the state is a man in chain, the state simply cannot have the choice to sacrifice itself, because to die is to betray people who trust it. Think about yourself, you are 20, you are free spirits, free to live recklessly. But once you have a child, u simply can't entertain that life anymore because now someone depends on you. You have different reasons to live. So the state must live on, even if the preservance of its existence means committing evils. Politics, then, is never the choice between good and evil, thinking so is too idealistic. Politics is, in fact, the choice between committing 2 evils. "

"Love n betrayal are entertwined concepts. N that is just as a problem for democracy as for our lives. You'll find from historical evidences that it is a lot easier for us to betray our values in the name of love. Let's say that I am dying of hunger, n your piece of bread is there. Many people out there would rather die than eat that piece of bread. But if my child is sitting next to me dying of hunger, it is so much easier for me to betray my values in the name of saving my child. You'll see that in many instances, democracy is committing the same betrayal in the name of love - love for freedom."

"A man who is nothing but a political man would be a beast. Realists realize that each generation will probably produce a Hitler. But more so, there is a Hitler in each of us, our 2% of beast, and THAT is what matters in politics."

And that is how Bates feeds me.