Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Desire

Many faced and multifarious, all pervasive and ruling every thought and action in some form or the other, Condemned, envied, longed for, wished away, brushed under, denied, fulfilled, guilt-ridden, indulged, baseless and meaningful. Desire.

I've been thinking about desire a lot over the last few weeks. It's also been the most difficult thing to acknowledge, for it seems the most shameful, most condemnable. But why should it be? In this one life, why should we not be unabashed about our desires? Why should we not live fully and completely, reveling in the endless cycle of discovery and fulfillment?

Acknowledging its presence has brought both a certain degree of peace and acceptance.

Nose fight

Read this lovely post called Heartbeats yesterday. It reminded me of this nose fight that I once had. Lovely, cute, innocent, full of desire and anticipation and oh so mundane! It'll stay one of the cutest memories that I have for a long time to come.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

I

To say "I love you" you have to first know how to say the I.

The above has always been one of my favourite quotes. In fact, I even had it scribbled on the wall in my hostel room in MICA. Yesterday, I found the same concept explained really beautifully in an article that someone gave me to read.

There are, the piece said, 3 relationships that define each of us as human beings:
  1. Our relationship with ourself
  2. Our relationship with others
  3. Our relationship with spirituality/god
The first, one's relationship with oneself, is the fountainhead of all else. It is what defines how we see and react to the world. What you give yourself is what you can give to the rest of the world. Love yourself and you will love the world for what it is, hate yourself and you will only find fault with the world, accept yourself the way your are, with all your flaws, and you will find the capacity to accept others without finding fault with them. Love yourself and you will find the courage to make the choices that make you happy. Selfishness, in the deepest, innermost core of every human being is important to creating common good. Only when you want the good for yourself will you be able to want good for others too.

And while Rand maybe offensive to many (the quote is from The Fountainhead), I think the piece is above is what she truly meant when she advocated self interest above altruism. True good for others can spring only from wanting the good for yourself. And as I have discovered in the last few weeks, you cannot love another unless you love yourself. You can only admire, listen, compete, compare. But you can say I love you only when you say the I.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Truth

A friend posted a thought on telling the truth or rather questioning the necessity of telling the truth. And it is something I've been thinking about a fair bit over the last couple of weeks. I've tried making do with half truths and almost truths. Fact is beyond a point it just doesn't work. Not with the big things. Not when it affects so many people so deeply (yourself not the least). Deciding to tell the truth isn't easy either especially when it does not reflect to well on yourself (to put it mildly) and goes a long way in hurting a lot of people.

However, as those in advocacy of the truth would put it, there's no point whatsoever living with a Democles' sword hanging over one's head. It is the tougher choice to make at the moment. But only at the moment. It is by far the easier choice to make for life for when this time passes, one will be rid of it forever. One will be able to put behind and truly move on in life. There will come a time when we will all be happier for the things that are coming to pass now.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Manifestation

Two friends have now said the same thing to me: Your deepest desires manifest themselves even if you try really hard to push them under the carpet. You wish for something really badly and you send that energy out into the universe and it comes back to you. So be careful what you wish for.

I'd put it more optimistically: if you are sure of what you want, wish really hard for it. It'll find its way to your life. And then have the courage to recognise that it is what you wished for and don't turn it away just because it didn't come at the time or in the manner that you expected it to come in.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Ignorance is Bliss

Was having a conversation with my mom today on how all we "intellectual" and "thinking" people have done is to complicate our lives. She gave me the example of a second cousin of my dad's who just got married (she's just my age folks!) and was perfectly fine with whatever she had and without any fantastic notions of compatibility or romance or connect or whatever other hogwash that we come up with in the name of enlightenment, intellect, exposure blah blah blah...

Well, you see mommy, it is a double edged sword. You gave us books to read when we were little. We became the intelligent, broadminded little know-it-alls who were always the teacher's pet in school and got good grades. But along with that our imaginations also flew. We discovered thoughts and desires which we might not have chanced upon in our limited experience of the world. We learnt to look, question and re-examine everything. We learnt to want things and we learnt how we could get them. We got addicted to the joys of curiousity and the search for more.

Ignorance is bliss indeed but once you chose to think, you can't escape it. Neither can you escape the consequences of suspending or ignoring your thinking for a short period of time for it will always come back to you multiplied manifold.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Morals and Values

This post follows a little tweetcussion started by a dear friend on morals. Now that word usually puts me off a good deal. Let me try and explain why. Morals as I see them are injunctions imposed by society on those who are its members. They make a pronouncement on good vs. bad, acceptable vs. unacceptable and more yins and yangs on the same lines. Nothing really wrong with that on the face of it. Every society or group of people or community needs definitions of the acceptable and unacceptable. However, why morals to me have become problematic is that over the years, societies have forgotten why they have those morals in the first place. They have come to be blanket injunctions enforced by self appointed moral policemen (and women... no gender discrimination here). We have examples aplenty. Some of the more trivial ones have been contributed by politicians in our own country. They have enforced the morals of Indian society through vandalism, force and verbal harrangues. Ask any of them why Valentine's day is immoral and they don't have an answer.

Morals have also become, over the years, a convenient way to avoid making a difficult choice or taking responsibility. "I have better morals than that. I don't want to upset people" or "What will people think of me if I say or do such and such". And so in the name of morality, we keep quiet, do nothing, or do things that we do not want to do.

But then doesnt society need some standards? Aren't there things that are acceptable or unaccpetable? Doesn't society need to pronounce judgment to keep order? True, society does need to keep order. That, and convenience, is the whole point of society. Else we might as well be living solitary lives. But what society should be talking about is values and not morals.

To my mind the difference is essentially this: values are things that prompt us to think, help make choices and answer to that eternal larger "purpose of life" question. Morals tend to be action points: do this, don't do that. And there in arises the problem. Action points are always relative. They don't work for everyone and they are not always good or right or acceptable. Values, on the other hand, stand for things define attitudes that are beneficial to society and to individuals. For example, learning or knowledge would be a value. And it is a value that is applicable across societies and cultures and individuals. However, how one chooses to learn is entirely upto each individual. You cannot pass a moral injunction claiming the study of say medicine as the only true path to knowledge (sorry... nothing against the profession of medicine per se). Peace is a value. The moral injunction of not killing proceeds from that. But if I were to pass a blanket injunction saying "Do not kill" it would serve no purpose (for there are times when wars are justified. Hitler could hardly be allowed to go on a rampage in the name of a moral that says "Do not kill").

Values in that sense are more objective and it is from value that actions arise. I'll end with a lovely definition of good and evil that I came across when reading Shantaram. I am going to take the liberty of paraphrasing: anything that helps the universe move towards greater complexity and order is good. Anything that hinders that is evil. For the exact quote refer here. I think that's a great starting point to get thinking on how to define that ultimate set of yins and yangs centering around good and evil (such loaded words both!).

PS: this post is dedicated to all those people who have used more question marks than full stops in their conversations with me. You know who you all are. Love all of you. keep the questions coming... they make me feel very vibrantly alive.
Special mention: Cynduja for starting the tweetcussion and this post. :)


PPS: I don't know how articulate I've been above. Would welcome comments and a debate. If all of you agreed with me it would be boring. ;)

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Points of view

Was discussing this with a friend yesterday and ended up quoting what another friend had told me when I was complaining about no one getting my point of view: "It is your point of view. Why should anyone else get it?" (forgive me if I am not quoting exactly). But yes, I'd have to agree. Points of view are unique and while we may agree with each other, no two people will see the same situation in exactly the same way. Makes for infinite and interesting perspectives.

Also reinforces one thing: one must ultimately and always reach one's own point of view on anything. And that however similar two people maybe, we have to agree to disagree and go our own ways where required.

And I'll finish off with another quote (from Anthem, a book I am rather wont to quote from): "In the temple of his heart, each man is alone, as he must be."

PS: this train of thought also reminds me of something Milan Kundera had written in Ignorance about memories and shared experiences. That post is here

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Dear Heart

Dear Heart, lie a little still for yet awhile. I know I haven’t let you speak much in the years passed but I hear you loud and clear now and I know I will find the courage to walk down the path you want me to. I don’t promise that it won’t hurt but I promise I won’t give up without a fight.

Understand, dear Heart, that I must clear up the mess of my mind before I can begin to give you the things you want. And yes, two years of my shutting you up have made you as impatient as ever (you were never particularly wont to waiting it out you know) but just a little while more and you can have your way with me.

I promise not to be the other seagulls of the flock and protect you with the convenience of food. I understand Jonathan now and that the pain in making that swooping dive will be well worth the ecstasy that it will bring someday.

Keep your voice up dear Heart, for in its impatience, despair and hope I shall find both myself and my courage. They say the mind is superior to the heart but I realise now that it is only so once it has accepted what the heart has to say and not by silencing it into submission. This dear Heart, I shall remember the next time I make a choice.

Courage

This and the post below this were written on the same day as "Sacrifice" but I chose not to publish them then. Am publishing them today because I know clearly why I wrote them.

Find me the courage to make a choice; to find contentment and happiness in that choice.

Find me the courage to hurt, to share, to discover, to explore.

Find me the courage to break the bonds that I try so hard to keep.

Find me the courage to face my demons and yet be optimistic for a happy ending.

Find me the courage to say that I have made a mistake or that I am about to make a bigger one.

Find me the courage to say that it is not too late.

Wishes


Every night descends like a cloud

Bringing thoughts that lay long forgotten

Strange memories, unspoken desires

And a tear rolling gently down my cheek.

The day passes in conversations

As I search for hidden meanings

Signs perhaps that will tell me

What lies behind the clouds.

In this bright sunny land,

I wish for the warmth of winter.

I wish for my heart to lie still

To let me hear the voice of my mind.

Or maybe I wish for the courage

To walk alone on a cluttered path.

What I wish for most,

Is to know what I wish for

 

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