Maybe I am out of line on this. But I think the relevance of old traditions in our society is mostly over, and many lead to more harm than good. I don’t really think all traditions in our culture are inherently bad. They give our lives structure, repetition and meaning. But I do think some are. And I think most of us know that they are, that they can do harm. But some people don’t see it. They don’t want to. They aggressively block any discussion or even thought on the matter, even if the world around them may burn. We see this almost everywhere in the world.
It’s human nature, I guess. We operate by seeing the world through filters. We can’t go about our lives without compartmentalising and filtering information and interpretation. We would be paralysed if we did. So that could be one reason why people don’t always want to see a different view, so that their lives won’t be destabilised all of a sudden .
Also, the things that people identify with make them who they are. And they are not necessarily willing to change that, or even consider it. Because if they do, then that might lead to the diminishing of their own sense of self respect, or, release the utter lack of it, or maybe see how they have failed in life. Self respect is a big deal for human beings, even if many, often even me, care not to admit it. And we would do anything, tell ourselves anything to protect it. This necessity becomes even more extreme when there is some sort of an uncertainty, like war or poverty, when our survival is somehow threatened. Often this is what leads to the reaction of radicalisation. I guess.
I don’t know what to make of all this. But I do think there is some truth to what I just said. Maybe we should to try and understand the other person better, try to see from their perspective even more. Maybe we should caution ourselves and keep this in mind before we go about attacking someone else’s culture or belief systems.
Some people seem to be more industrious and conscientious than others. They work to their goals relentlessly. While the others are left behind. Then there are the people in the other end. People who have no idea what want to do, what they should do, what they ought to do. Even if they knew, they wouldn’t move an inch. Drowning deep in disinterest, they do the one thing they can. Procrastinate.
Why are some people conscientious and others not? No one knows. They somehow have constant motivation and will power to do what they want. They have it easy. Or maybe they don’t. Maybe they are suffering, or even more, than anyone else. Maybe they can just handle the suffering better, and go on until they have reached where they want to, and reap the joys of accomplishment and fulfilment.
Maybe that’s the secret. Maybe if we suffer ‘better’ we can also do what they do. Maybe that all-glittering success isn’t as allusive as we thought. Or maybe I am being naive again.
I mostly associate wonder with childhood. It’s not that I don’t feel wonder in my life now. I do, well, not nearly as often as I’d like. But when I think about my childhood, I get this feeling. When in finding something new. Of limitless joy. Of freedom. It’s silly to think that we are less free than we where when we were young. But it’s true. There were no obligations, no responsibilities, no expectations. And all the time in the world. Everyday we found out something new about the world. And every night we went to sleep with wonder and mystery, and endless curiosity, to face the world anew the next day. Every turn, every path, every step struck us with awe. I was happy. We all were.
When I was younger, every year would feel like an eternity. Back then, there were so many new things, the world was new to us. Every new experience register a powerful memory. We have more of those memories of when we were younger. The new experiences in life came less and less frequent as the years went on. The last couple of years seemed like it went past too soon. As I get older, the years will go faster and faster.I guess what I am trying to say is, our childhood was filled with wonder because we encountered and experienced something new almost everyday.
We remember childhood as a special time because of this same reason. When we are older, if we want to remember the years we are living now as dearly as we remember our childhood, our only hope is to search out new things and live new experiences. And make awesome memories while we can.
via Daily Prompt: Wonder
I don’t have many friends now. I mean I do have friends, but I haven’t talked to them in a long time. I have been closing myself off from everyone else for almost a year now. I didn’t do it on purpose. I am not anti social or anything. I told myself that I didn’t really need them. That I was even better off without them. I didn’t want the ‘negativity’ to bring me down. Any further than I already was. The funny thing is I didn’t really realise that I had no friends until very recently.
It’s terrifying how well lies work. How powerful they are in closing ourselves up. To pain. To feeling. I thought I was doing alright the past year. The reality was that I was too afraid to look out. I didn’t want to face the world. I didn’t want to face their judgement. I pulled my walls high and called that dark space real. I poured all remaining oil and built a huge fire inside, and admired the dying flames. The walls inched closer into each other everyday. I tried not to see it. I tried to ignore my suffocation. I distracted myself with numbness. I could have reached out anytime. But I couldn’t.
Until, somehow the walls broke down, by a lightning. A miracle. The light poured in and I saw myself for the first time in a long time. I saw ash all around, and grey about to creep into me. I knew I was lucky. Anytime later and that would’ve been it. I knew I had to get out. Dust myself off and start afresh. Open myself up to feeling, to pain, to joy. To life. I know I have to build that fire up again. But this time in the vastness of the world.
Most of all, probably all of us, want something in life. An ambition, an aspiration. Money, wealth, success. We want to be better than who we where yesterday. We want to be better than others we know. We want to be respected. We want to be relevant. All of us want a higher status. Even if we say otherwise, even when we say we don’t want to be part of the race, even if we tell ourselves constantly that all of this doesn’t really matter, deep in hearts we still want it.
I used to think it was all social construct. That social status was a system that man created primarily to survive. Human are very incompetent, when compared to other animals, in surviving individually. But as a group, we become the better species. I used to think that the notion of the social hierarchy was created by man for us to be better social beings, for us to work together. Because without it there would be chaos. And if the group couldn’t work together when under threat, we would perish.
So that’s what I thought. That the idea of social hierarchy and status was a powerful tool for survival. But that it had no place in the modern world. Social status is an evil that makes the world unfair and unjust. And that we as a species should move past it, break down systems and traditions that uphold and promote the hierarchical structures. To build a fair and better tomorrow.
But that is not necessarily true. Humans did not create social hierarchy. The social hierarchy or the dominance hierarchy is an evolutionary tool that has existed for more than 200 million years. It has existed, apparently, even before trees or flowers existed. We see it in all kinds of animals. For example, in lobsters, we observe that a lobster higher in the hierarchical structure produces more serotonin than a lobster lower down the ladder.
We see a similar process in humans too. Our brains continuously track our status and where we are in the social ladder. When we move up, it releases more serotonin and reduces neuroticism. That means the more successful you are the happier you will be in life.
I don’t really know what to make of all this. Does this mean there will always be inequality in this world, and that our efforts to eliminate it will be wasteful? Will the rich and the powerful always have a better life than everyone else? Are we forever doomed to be in an unfair and unjust world? I don’t know.
We often never give the relationships in our lives the importance they deserve. We take it for granted. I took it for granted. My family is often overwhelming to bear. Since the past couple of years I have slowly tried to move away from them. I always told myself that it was them. They were the problem. If only they were better. If only they could understand privacy and personal space. If only they could respect me as an equal and not see me as a little child. If only they were less conservative and be more understanding of how the ‘new’ world works. If only they would let me be with my own meanderings.
I am glad they didn’t. Because if they had done all that, they would have left me a long time ago. Think about it, what obligation do they have to stay, if not for who they are, and what they believe in.
We often take it for granted. We often curse our plight in having a nagging family. At times we just want them to disappear. We think relationships are overrated. That you can be all alone and still be happy. Maybe you can. I thought I could too. I really did. But I was never happy. And I had no hope either. Not really. Just delusions of grandeur. And a pool full of lies to drown myself in, temporarily.
When I think about getting a job, I feel as if life is draining from me. I don’t quite know why. For some reason, it feels like a dreadful prospect. I can’t get myself to go through with it. I don’t think I’ll even get a job. And even if I get it, my life will be horrible. That’s what I feel like when I think about it.
Why is this so? Am I delusional? Am I just making excuses to not get myself up to do it? Why do I feel so horrible when I think about getting a job?Do I feel like I am not good enough, that I’ll never be good enough?
I feel like once I get into it, once I get the job, that will be it. My life will be the same for the rest of my life. I will feel horrible everyday about going to work, I will feel horrible being there, doing something utterly pointless, I will feel horrible coming back to an empty apartment, tired, lost, and alone. For the rest of my life.
That’s what I feel like will happen to me if I get a job. That’s what my life will be like. A hopeless existence. And I don’t want to face it.
I don’t know the solution to this. But I guess life will always have problems and situations when you don’t have the solution or the answers. I have heard that life often oscillates between order and chaos. Too much of any one is a problem. The best way is the path in between. But that path is filled with obstacles. And trying to go around them will lead you to too much of either order or chaos. To find balance in life you have to overcome the obstacles. Confront them face on, and each time you overcome an obstacle, your life will be better because of it. I guess.
I will try my best to get through this. Maybe it won’t be so bad. It’ll be alright, I guess. Maybe I will even enjoy it. I don’t know. We’ll see.
The idea of a ‘fair’ world is really tempting. We all agree that our world isn’t fair, has never been fair, and won’t become fair, at least in the near future. The world has always had inequalities of all sorts. It had in the past, it does now. But what does the future hold for us? What kind of a world will our future generations have ? What world do we envision for them ?
The myth of the fair world. A utopia where is everything is good, everyone is perfect, and nothing bad happens. That is the world we want, right? The goal of the ‘modern’ world is to have a ‘fair’ world. Where there is no suffering, no pain. Where no harm will ever come to you. Where no one will ever offend you.
I do think it is important and our purpose to strive for a moral world. A just world. But fairness? Will that ever be a reality? A world where we are all treated the same. A world where no one judges anyone. A world where no one is ever offended by anyone or anything. Will a world like that ever exist? Do we want a world like that to exist? Are we being ignorant and naive about ourselves to imagine a reality like that? I don’t know. I don’t know if anyone does.
But the point is, in the pursuit of wanting to create a fairyland for ourselves and our senses, aren’t we bringing ourselves closer to dystopia? I mean look around you, is this the world you want to live in? Would you want to live in the world we are headed?
Is lying a bad thing? Is it a ‘sin’? Not really. I think it depends on what you define as bad. People say lying can hurt others. That’s true. But truth does too. I have witnessed many situations in which the truth had hurt them so much more than a lie would have. You could argue that in many cases lying is so much better than telling the truth. So should you lie more often than not ?
I don’t know. I feel like I have got myself into a knot here. Maybe lying isn’t bad. Maybe nothing bad can come out of lying. I don’t know. In India, we say it’s bad karma if you lie. There is a story in Mahabharata, during the last war, I think. Yudhishtira, the eldest pandava, and his allies are fighting an incredibly powerful foe. Krishna, I think, devises a plan to stop him, but that would require Yudhishtira to tell a lie. Yudhishtra is said to have been the noblest man on Earth. He had never uttered a lie in his life. But he did, that once. It is said that Yudhishtira was so noble a person that his chariot would float inches off the Earth when he stepped into it. After he lied, it came down and touched the ground.
I don’t really know what I was trying to say through that story. I don’t know if lying is good or bad. What I have found for myself is that telling the truth is easier. At least in the long run. Yes, lying can get you out of trouble easier. But it doesn’t go away. The lie stays with you. At least in your mind. You will probably tell more lies after that. Eventually you’ll start lying to yourself. Because it’s easier than facing the truth. The worst part is that you won’t notice, that so much of your life is a lie, until it’s too late.
I know it seems like a exaggeration, when I say that you’ll live a lie eventually. But I don’t think it is far from the truth. I think most of us are living a lie in some way or the other. And most of us know it, we know there is something wrong. But we don’t know for sure. We don’t want to know. Because it’s too difficult to not lie anymore. It’s too painful to face the truth.
I have nothing. No ideas. I have been thinking for a while about what to write. I’ve come up empty. Maybe I am too distracted. By what though. Not sure.
Writers block is quite interesting when you think about it. It’s a state where you can’t seem to find anything to write. But not really, if you think about it. It’s not like your mind has shut down and there are no ideas. It’s often the opposite. The mind has too many ideas that it’s difficult to pick one. Nothing seems good enough. You want something else. Something ‘different’. Something better. And you often never find it. That is writer’s block.
Why can’t we choose some idea, and go with it? Why is it difficult to do that? Why do we torment ourselves for sometimes weeks and months for the ‘right’ idea? The reason that we are waiting for another idea, I think, is because we are not motivated enough to go with the current one. We feel like we are not excited enough to work on it. We are hoping that some other idea will excite us enough to make us want to put the effort.
I don’t know. I don’t have any good ideas anyway. So long.