Disinterest and procrastination

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.

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Social status.

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.

 

Family and relationships

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.

Confronting obstacles

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.

A ‘fair’ world

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?

 

Why you shouldn’t lie.

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.

The dearth of ideas

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.

Disappointment

I feel like nothing is going my way. I don’t know. I don’t feel good, that’s all. I feel like my goals will never come true. I feel like there is no point in trying even. I will fail anyway. So many negative emotions I guess.

I feel like this from time to time, more often than I would like to admit. At times, I find myself aimless, clueless, in utter confusion. I ask myself, what am I doing. And the answer is always, nothing that actually matters. I think about it. I don’t leave it at that. I think hard about it, but the more I think the more desperate I become. The more I wonder if it’s true, if anything matters, the more confused and clueless I become.

Is this common in people, or is it just me ? I don’t know how to get out of it. But I eventually do. And then I’ll have a couple of days of high motivation. Then it dies down. Then there is the couple of days of disappointment. Then that fades. Repeat.

I recently heard someone say something about the meaning of life. He said, “The only thing that most people can find meaning in their lives is in taking responsibility”. I wonder what it means. I wonder if it’s true.

In denial of the premonitions of doom

The modern world is in crisis, and it is nearing it’s doom. This is a prominent narrative globally, believed albeit by a vast minority. This is obviously more of a first world problem, because at least in India, most people are concerned more about surviving their present, than they are imagining whether the future of humanity will be in a utopia or a dystopia. But still this discussion is important because the future affects us all.

I think the world is in serious trouble if it doesn’t change. Climate change and global warming, increasing natural disasters, increasing massacres, mass killings and shooting, rise of political distrust globally, recurring bubbles and market crashes, rise in unemployment, rise in refugees and immigration, rise in intolerance, rise in protectionism, rise in frustration and confusion among people especially and on and on. You can make a serious case for the claim that the end is near. Personally, I don’t believe that, but I do believe that if the modern way of life, society and economy continue the same, we may be heading into catastrophe.

A vast minority believes in the premonitions of doom, because the majority are in denial. I must confess that I don’t quite belong in this minority. I am naively optimistic about the future. I do think there are problems in the world, that could cripple us if not addressed. But I believe that people will rise up to change. I believe that a global society with incredible diversity and rich morality will be the utopia of tomorrow. At least, I hope it will be. And I don’t really want to see to the alternative, that darkness will engulf us, with unprecedented chaos and ruin, and death. I guess I am in denial of the premonitions of doom.

 

In response to the prompt
Premonition

Freedom of speech in India

Freedom of speech and expression. I am guessing it is a fundamental right in most democracies in the world, if not all. In India, it’s written into our constitution. It’s a fundamental right of ours. In reality though, it isn’t necessarily the case.

We have heard about numerous times since independence, and several in recent times, when freedom of speech was brutally attacked. We know of the Aamir Khan incident, the Padmaavati incident, the PK controversy before that, the death of the dalit student and the subsequent prosecution and expulsion of other students in JNU, the girls from Kerala trolled and cyber bullied for dancing with their hijabs on. Several. If you have to list them all it would probably be a nearly endless list. But why?

Why is it that if we say the ‘wrong’ words, if we make the ‘wrong’ movie, if we protest against the oppression, if we express a bit flamboyantly, mobs erupt, figuratively and often literally, to put us down.

And why is it OK? Why did Aamir Khan have to apologise, why did those movies come close to being banned, why were the protesters shut up and no one did anything about it, why did everyone look the other way when the muslim girls were left humiliated.

Freedom of speech and expression is not a reality in India. Why? I don’t know. What do we do then? How do we say what truly bothers us, without being afraid of getting mobbed or harassed? How can we be free to make our choice, to express how our hearts want, without being shamed and humiliated?

How do we not close ourselves into our bubbles and take up arms against anyone and everyone who threatens to widen our narrow view of the world? How do we become less intolerant to criticism, and more open to self reflection?