Showing posts with label Philosophy. Show all posts
|Flickr image by sayan51|
This, I am sure, is a common debate in many households in India and even elsewhere; the conclusion of course is very typical of the rightist philosophy bordering on, though not absolutely, vigilante approach.
I agree and disagree. Yes, freedom is a double edged sword, but absolute freedom does not have an alternative irrespective of its blemishes. In fact the word 'absolute freedom' is a misnomer, if its not absolute, it's not freedom! But why is freedom important? Is it just because it feels good to be free? Is it just because some of today's influential societies and their laws make it a 'fundamental right'?
I believe the answer is more fundamental than that (pun intended!). What determines whether a thought, an idea or a philosophy is right or wrong - time; only the test time can tell if an idea is right or wrong. An idea - Iridium - the global satellite phone network - hailed to be a stupendous success at the time of its launch, was a magnificent failure. So was the Segway, the human transporter. Moving away from science - the Socialist model of Communism hailed as a breakthrough for welfare of mankind at the time of its inception turned out to be a fallacy years later when it failed to deliver.
So, if time can only tell what works and what will not, the only way for mankind to progress is to allow as many possibilities in every walk of life to be seeded today, so that the best out of these become trees for mankind to grow. Most of them will fail, but some will succeed - and freedom is the most important element for these 'will be successful in future' ideas to sprout today. Cliched, but true, that freedom allows us to experiment and hence is the most 'fundamental' precondition for innovation to prosper and flourish.
And so, even if you hate what youngsters or outcasts today are doing - you should still not put any barriers on them - you never know where the next innovation might sprout out of. You may feel that polygamy and promiscuity is wrong or the gay movement is against the 'laws of nature' - but how do we know - the future of mankind may be saved by the promiscuous and gays. You may feel that children glued to mobile screens will hinder their physical development, but for all you know, the future may need a faster brain than body. You may feel that the gentleman wasting his time playing Candy Crush is going down the drain - but could the future of mankind lie is our abilities to play games better?
I know a lot of the above sounds absurd - so did the idea of democracy or Computers sound when it was seeded - The whole knowledge economy and computing revolution which has transformed our lives was born as a fringe movement of the outcast Hippy culture of the 70s. And while one may argue that it wasn't the drug smoking hippies who invented the personal computer, one cannot miss the fact that one of the leading icons of computing - Steve Jobs - was a hippie in his sophomore years. The freedom which allowed him to become a hippie also allowed him to experiment and create the personal computer - and you cannot classify freedom; it is the same freedom which results into both.
The point being made is simple - we need to allow these multiplicities of life exist; co-exist and intermingle to give a chance to mankind to survive. Freedom is the bedrock of such co-existence and intermingling; and hence it is the most important 'Fundamental Right'!
Increasingly we see more arrogance than humility - whether its the traffic queue or the mall or in a workplace. Many people today thrive on being arrogant (often termed as 'dynamic and demanding' in the workplace).
And the emergence of Narendra Modi is also a part of the same culture we are promoting. While from the same political party - the biggest chasm that separates Atalji from Modi was his humility.
And Sachin, the maestro belonged to Atalji's category. His strength and wisdom, apart from his cricket genius is in his humility. Many of last decades' titans - from ICICI's Kamath to Infosys's Murthy are known for their humility as much as they are for their business acumen.
It is, hence, worth pondering if - as a nation, as colleages, as companies, as a society, and mostly as individuals - we want to promote arrogance as a way of working or as a bevahiour which is encouraged.
As luck would have it, we reached the monastery just when it started getting dark (after which usually the doors are closed to visitors), but chanced to get entry into the main gate. However, to my disappointment, the doors of the main temple were closed by the time we climbed up. We were about to turn back when my brother spotted a young lama, in his teens, looking down from his room in the premises of the monastery towards us. My brother quickly ran up to him and asked him if the temple could be opened.
I had started tying up my shoe laces again, expecting a nigh in reply - but to my surprise the young lama agreed, and came to open the temple door. We went inside, prayed and then when we were about to leave, the lama called up to come up to their rooms. The rooms were built exactly like the Mumbai Chawls - smallish and side by side; each room meant for one student lama. The small size also possibly helped to keep them warmer in the extreme cold weather of Ladakh.
When we went up, it was getting dark and as is usual in Ladakh, the temperature was dropping a degree every few minutes. The young lama called us in, and then started heating some tea for us - we were pleasantly surprised! We also saw another boy, with Caucasian features, sitting in the same room. On talking to him we discovered he was an Italian student and had come to Ladakh as a tourist. But he had become good friends with our host and had been living with him since past few months.
The young lama was a Ladakh resident, he studied Buddhism as it is preached in Ladakh - he was studying to become a priest and looking at the thickness of the books in his room, it looked like a uphill task requiring extreme discipline of mind and the soul - the physical hardships of living an ascetic's life being apart! I wondered if this young boy even knew about the world outside of Ladakh and more importantly the "joys of life" outside the monastery. If he knew what it meant to live in a city, what night life was, how much and what all he could learn if he logged on the internet, what was the fun in watching movies etc. Probably, for him ignorance was bliss - but I also wondered if he was lucky not to be exposed to all these distractions of the worldly life and to be without being exposed to them, pushed comfortably into an ascetic life; or was it unfortunate that he would become an ascetic without ever discovering what he was missing (or what he was not missing or what troubles he was escaping), by becoming an ascetic.
Philosophy aside, today when I reminisce back on that evening of a few hours, I figured that I learnt many things that day:
- Life gives you chances only if you dare to take them. We could have walked back that day without even entering the temple, leave alone have a unique experience of seeing a lama's little alcove from inside and having tea with him and his Italian friend - but for the chance that my brother took of running upto him for permission.
- When you ask, you often get more than what you ask for! We simply wanted to enter the temple and pray to Maitreya Buddha - the deity of Thiksey Gompa. But the lord blessed us with a bonus experience which none of us would forget for life.
- Life is all about odd experiences! Had we just gone to the Monastery once or during day time, we would have clicked a snap there, remembered the place as a beautiful building and forgotten. But with the unique experience we had - we will never forget the place and the unique hospitality.
- Rules are not always universal. Yes there was a rule that one doesn't enter the monastery after dark, yes there's a rule that the lamas do not usually interact with tourists - but both were broken that day. And it didn't feel unholy in any way. The world is composed of two kinds of rules - the ones made by nature - which if broken lead to disaster, but the second set of rules (which are far larger in number and pervade our lives more multifariously) are made by humans, and these rules can be broken. In fact, such rules also need to be broken once in a while to set into motion a new order of the world - that thought of course is worth a full blog post sometime else.
- Its not about how much money you have or who you are, its always about being in the right place at the right time. Here I let out a secret - part of the reason the lama was generous to us was because my brother was posted in Ladakh then, and he hence could relate to him in some manner. Yet, possibly even an Amitabh Bacchan could not have landed into this kind of an experience as we did. It was sheer stroke of luck! So in conclusion - life is all about taking your chances!
The fact that I am writing about this small incident after more than 18 months is testimony to how deeply it is now imprinted on my memories.
But when we do observe the pattern of religious conversion, we will realize that barring some celebrities, people (even celebrities) do not change religion for matters of "faith in a given (form of) god(s) or traditions/ beliefs of a given religion", but more for the social treatment meted out to and by the followers of the religion to fellow believers. Whether it was Babasaheb Ambedkar embracing Buddhism after being ostracized for being a "low-caste" Hindu, or Mohammed Ali (aka Cassius Clay) renouncing Christianity to embrace Islam for the discrimination meted out to him as a Black Christian, it was the social 'restrictions' imposed in the name of religion which forced them to change their 'faith'.
While Babasaheb and Ali might be few public figures, the story has played itself out umpteen number of times in India when tribals converted themselves to Christianity or the so called "lower castes" convert to Islam or Christianity [though, some elements of the Church also allegedly promote conversion proactively but that doesn't counter the initial trigger of social treatment meted out to these classes]. So widespread and repeatable is this phenomenon that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has had to create a separate outfit called Adivasi Kalyan Ashram to ensure that tribals are treated well and provided adequate resources like education so that they are not forced into converting.
It is ironic that religion was created in the first place to liberate men from the lowly confines of social order to achieve a higher goal of discovering the ultimate truth. Spirituality hence remains the only method to liberate us from the tethers of traditional religions which bind humanity back into the same wormhole and prevent us from achieving greatness as a race, species and as individuals.
Thankfully, in a large part of our world today we have democratized and liberal governments which do not force religious following on their citizens (even if not all of them are secular states), and people in such countries have on their own largely given up any discriminatory practices based on dogmatic beliefs perpetuated by zealots or demagogues.
But we have a long way to go and possibly after Open Source software and now Open Source hardware, Open Spirituality will probably need to be the next movement for the world which will liberate us from social restrictions of age old discriminatory practices promulgated in name of religion!
|Edison's Menlo Park Lab; flickr photo by roger4336|
A professional's moral compass or measure of success depends on the very system in which they live - if your company's leaders spend their night thinking about business and treat anyone who does not as 'less than 100% committed' - that is the measure of success of the young professional in your company. On the other hand, if your leadership gives a higher precedence to doing more honorable work (no matter how 'profitable' it is) - that is taken as the gold standard.
Nevertheless, there are other pressures which a individual must face - the pressure of spending time with his beloved or contributing to his community, or far more fundamental - chasing his/her aspirations. The last one is typically even more complex - because aspirations too are intertwined with you own 'moral' compass / measure of success. There are few of us who decide upon a career direction from their 7th grade - most of us discover their passion in their late teens - some of us never do! The only constant inspirational element in our lives is peer pressure! We can get into a philosophical discussion on internal locus of control, inner strength and spiritual education etc., but the bottomline is we keep reorienting our compass with respect to our circumstances and based on the societal pressures we face.
There is I believe only one solution to this conundrum - and that is 'passion'. Rather than pronounce this an axiomatic fact, let's look at it anecdotally. Historically mankind has spent little time in the relative comfort which we take for granted today - guarantee of food, shelter and a lifestyle of 5 workdays and 2 weekends; holiday at least once an year; work from 9 to 6 - more recently work from home when convenient, etc. The concept of work-life balance is hence a pretty recent phenomenon.
Given the above, how was it that leaders in olden times - military, corporate or even national - inspired people to succeed in their motives? More appropriately, how did great minds - the Edisons and Einsteins - inspire themselves to achieve the impossible. An army officer on the front does not ask questions about his work-life balance while braving coldest winters in mere cloth tents, neither did the workers who produced numerous inventions at Edison's Menlo Park lab. The cry for passion has always been the tool used by the successful to inspire and establish the measure of success.
For young professionals too, passion is the only guide. If one feels passionate about living a high flyer lifestyle - one needs to give up the work-life balance to achieve it; if one finds working on new technologies more satisfying - one needs to live that day and night; if one finds passion in serving the family or being with friends - life should take precedence over work.
One could again argue that the above is just a translation of the term "success" into "achieving your passion" and the dilemma of what success construes simply get transposed into what is my passion! There is just one distinction - unlike success, which depends on your moral compass, which in turn tends to get influenced heavily by what the 'rules of the game' are at your employer or in your community, passion has a completely internal source of construction. At best passion is influenced by your upbringing or your exposure to how much you know about the world (and so have you been exposed to sufficient number of things to feel passionate about one of them), but for a modern corporate professional exposure is hardly a concern, and upbringing is what makes us what we are.
Corporate organizations, on their part, need to make efforts to help professionals identify and achieve their passions. More importantly, they must provide reasonable avenues for professionals to jettison out of the organizations should they find their passion not being in line with what the organization does.
To conclude, I can only say that finding one's passion and measuring one's success in achieving it, is similar to finding true love - you can never be sure what you are looking for until you find it. Talking about passion, I myself haven't figured out mine properly as yet - but I do believe that I am in a position to judge my success without the need to benchmark it to the behaviour of peers or leaders in my company. And that, if nothing, is at least a good start! :-)
I’m the only person I know that’s lost a quarter of a billion dollars in one year. It’s very character-building. [ref]
If the English have enslaved the people of India it is just because the latter recognized, and still recognize, force as the fundamental principle of the social order. In accord with that principle they submitted to their little rajahs, and on their behalf struggled against one another, fought the Europeans, the English, and are now trying to fight with them again. A commercial company enslaved a nation comprising two hundred millions.
Tell this to a man free from superstition and he will fail to grasp what these words mean. What does it mean that thirty thousand men, not athletes but rather weak and ordinary people, have subdued two hundred million vigorous, clever, capable, and freedom-loving people? Do not the figures make it clear that it is not the English who have enslaved the Indians, but the Indians who have enslaved themselves?
When the Indians complain that the English have enslaved them it is as if drunkards complained that the spirit-dealers who have settled among them have enslaved them. You tell them that they might give up drinking, but they reply that they are so accustomed to it that they cannot abstain, and that they must have alcohol to keep up their energy.
Is it not the same thing with the millions of people who submit to thousands or even to hundreds, of others - of their own or other nations? If the people of India are enslaved by violence it is only because they themselves live and have lived by violence, and do not recognize the eternal law of love inherent in humanity.If you clear any long winding sentences in this text - it begs to ask why the superior power of arms is at all a factor in controlling the masses. Read between the lines, Tolstoy is telling Gandhi to not fight the British Raj to its own strengths but invent new rules of the game which will enable Gandhi/Indians to play to his/their strengths.
As soon as men live entirely in [their] accord ... aloof from all participation in violence - as soon as this happens, not only will hundreds be unable to enslave millions, but not even millions will be able to enslave a single individual.Do not resist the evil-doer and take no part in doing so, either in the violent deeds of the administration, in the law courts, the collection of taxes, or above all in soldiering, and no one in the world will be able to enslave you.
This statement describes the quintessential Human being who always attaches emotion longing and belonging to the people and things (entities) rather than to work. Arjun represents this quintessential human in the Gita, when he say’s:
Kim no rajyen govind kim bhogairjeevanam va|
Yeshamarthe kankshitam no rajyan bhogaha sukhami cha||
Ta imevasthita yuddhe pranamastyaktva dhanami cha|
Etaana hantumichaami gnatoapi madusudhana||
2. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
The reason why we resist change is that we are afraid that the change won’t work or changing with the change may lead to failure. This fear of failure is what keeps us from changing and working (i.e. doing And karma). Lord Krishna gives a call to all Human beings in form of his call to Arjun:
Kshudram hridayadaurbalam tyaktva uttishtha param tapah|Which means - move beyond the lowly fear of extinction, stand up for the fight. Taken figuratively this call is for all humans to quit the fear of failure and be prepared for a fight - A fight with existing conditions for change.
3. Smell the cheese often so you know when it is going to get old.
This statement tells us the imperative nature of change. It is well said by someone - the only constant in the world is change. The Gita also says so by –
Vasansi jirnani yatha vihaya nanvami grihyani naroparani|The atma keep on changing its body like a person who throws away old clothes and puts on new ones. Change is imperative and so one must keep a close watch on change, so as to catch up with it as soon as it occurs.
Thatha sharirani vihaya jirnanyani sanyate navani dehi||
4. The quicker you let go off he old cheese the sooner you can enjoy the new one.
Matraparhastu kaunteya sheetoshnasukhdukhdaha|Joy and sorrow are like summer and winter. They come and go. O Bharatvanshi, emotions result from your worldly senses and one must learn to ignore or bear them.
Aagamapayinoa ntyastanstitikshasva bharat||
Karmanye va adikar aste ma faleshu kadaachana|It is ‘karma’, or doing of work (i.e. Moving beyond the fear of failure) that you are entitled to not its fruit. If every human embraces the fact that the fruit is not his territory, then there is no fear of failure. If no fruit is desired then how does one define failure? It is only the effort that we can put in which matters. Since putting sincere effort is in our hands, we will always be successful by doing so. Your failure is when you don’t put your fullest efforts.
The question is not whether we will live or die - the question is whether we will be free or not - Subhash Chandra BoseI have been debating with myself whether to make this post or not for the past 15-20 days and finally decided in its favour. If it offends anyone in any way, I apologise beforehand.
Think of all the activities that give you emotional or physical pleasures - love, food, sex, self-praise, anger and above all physical inactivity (आलस ). Of course all of us would differ in the level of pleasure these activities give us, nevertheless it cannot be denied that all the above do give us pleasure to some extent. Notice the similarity of the above list to the biblical 7 sins and also notice the fact that these are pleasure-points that we share with animals.
On the other hand think of what gives you intellectual pleasures - you would define many activities like work and arts, but if you think deeply it is just one word - freedom! Freedom from all ailment, freedom from ignorance etc. etc.
But humans are a unique and complex species! We tend to mix up both - have you ever thought that you were better off with your parents around to take care of you as a kid than now? You were not free then - yet you enjoyed those moments more than today when you are ‘free’. I don’t mean to say that your parents kept you bonded, but simply that, at that age you could seldom do any activity without help from your parents.
My point is humans as an animal are averse to freedom; while humans as an intellectual being crave for nothing but freedom.
Animal instincts - love; emotion; anger - going out of your own control - slavery
Intellectual instincts - practising your passions; doing what you want; non-subordination; being free; not getting governed by anyone else’s wishes - freedom
Humans are basically a conflict between the animal self and the intellectual self and our behaviour is (to pick words from the Matrix movies) ‘the sum of the remainders of a set of unbalanced equations’ - we are an anomaly because we are not balanced.
All animals are balanced by their animal instincts - hence the food chain survives. One animal is subordinate to the other; the stronger one eats the other and thus the food chain. But we humans are an anomaly - a break in the food chain; due to our intellectual self we can defeat the Lion which is far stronger in physical strength.
This is an anomaly in the perfect world of nature - and so we come to the eternal truth - nature can be balanced by only one means - removal of the human species.
Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you.If you want to read it in full, you can read it here.
When someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You’ll be happy you did. I guarantee it.
नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः
अजो नित्यः शाश्वतोsयं पुराणो
न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे
“What dies is the body, the soul is neither born nor dead” - The Bhagwat Gita
This line from the Gita provides succour to many of those who loose their loved ones. One likes to believe the theory – more so because it is from the Gita – the epitome of human experience from over the centuries.
But there are times when one wonders about its authenticity – if the soul is indeed all powerful, why does it succumb to the illness of the body? So many physically challenged people find their self-confidence diminished throughout their lives. There are some who are mentally strong - but (1) they are more exceptions than a rule (2) most of them have had to go through rough times before they (re)gain their confidence.
One feels even more compelled to question this belief when death comes by. Death – a biological phenomenon; manifestation of the simple fact that just like any other machine, organs of the body wear out with time, and there comes a day when the body can no more sustain itself. The soul must now leave the body and death becomes an inevitable culmination!
One wonders, if science progresses beyond its current limits, if we were able to create life – that small cell which is the building block of each organ; and if we were able to replace each ailing organ – would it be possible to defeat this inevitable cycle – this अविरत चक्र ? Or would there still be a ‘theoretical limit’ to human life?
Can death and disability ever be defeated? Can the soul ever get an ‘अक्षय पात्र’ to house itself?
At this stage of life where most of my friends are getting settled in life - I am confused. On one side are the tall dreams and ambitions set in childhood and adolescence, on the other are practical aspirations which arise more out of peer interactions than individual thought and on the third side are expectations others have from you.
Looking back, till now I have mostly done what pleased my heart whether it was in school, college or MBA. Even in my job I have been fortunate to have got interesting opportunities (though not always :-P). But will following the same path keep me happy - what of expectations of loved ones are not fulfilled? They won't be happy then - in turn I would not be happy.
More disturbingly, some parameters of success have changed even in my life; some luxuries which one never thought of (sometimes never knew about) are now desired; some goals which one never set have now been set by peers, colleagues and other environmental factors. Will one be happy if one does not fulfill these 'hygiene factors'; achieve these luxuries? Its a tough call - believe me.
I have always believed in this quote by George Bernard Shaw:
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him... The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself... All progress hence depends on the unreasonable man."But, I am not sure if I continue to want to remain 'the unreasonable man'. I am no more sure 'What makes me happy?' and hence the purpose of life is becoming more and more unclear.
One feels the artificiality overwhelming on occasions like the New Year’s. I am not against people going to parties or discs on the New Year’s Eve (even though I myself don’t have a preference for that). But what I find objectionable is the some people partaking such activities not because they enjoy them, but just out of peer pressure – the very next day they would end up sick, tired (and not having enjoyed themselves) sullen, sometimes even backbiting about how dull the party was or how awful the dinner was.
It is even more troublesome when they choose you as the agony aunt. I am the last person who could have any solution to these problems. But, the most frustrating part is that they do not even expect you to suggest any solutions – they just want you to act as a sand bag where they can vent out their frustration and then lament – “Good for you that you didn’t join!” Allaaah !!!
On such occasions I remember “Peter Keating” from the Foutainhead. I feel that there’s a small element of Peter Keating in all of us. We all do some things just due to peer pressure – just to please others. It is at such times that we end up hollow out of the experienced – unfulfilled, unhappy and hence needing agony aunts. :-)
No ideas, no struggles to achieve them, no milestones (except those planned in a structured goal setting exercise) ... life's good but it is unlike the heady days of being a self-motivated individual when there was a constant thought of creating something new, changing things around, doing something unique.
Life has suddenly become very planned - your manager would set targets for you to achieve, and project after another would flow in. No more brainstorming for setting your own standards, and strategizing to achieve them, no more discussions for coming up with that unique offering that would lure your audience, no more nightouts just talking about that one-idea only to reject the one you discussed last night. No more MastishK, no more Arbit, no more Khoj, no more Entreplayer, no more Ethics Portal, no more ........
I have been into my enterprising mode since school days. I reckon today the games periods spent under trees discussing - the changes in the school magazine, the new format to energize the generally morose 'morning prayer service', the new way of presenting thought for the day, the numerous revisions of singing a particular line of that song for teacher's day, and refining dialogues for that play written by the cast. Campion School has large playfields - I today feel that the abundance physical space had a psychological effect of making our ideas boundaryless and full of life.
I ask myself if I am changing for good or is this just a phase that will pass; am I entering the planned way of life or is this just a learning experience? I ask myself whether I am betraying my childhood dreams, or is this just a preparatory phase for something bigger? I wonder, whether I have been lucky all these days or is it my hard work that has borne fruit? Is this just an eclipse or the settling of twilight on the sunny days of childhood, adolescence and youth. Is life slowly going to cocoon itself in the cycle of monthly paychecks, yearly bonuses and weekend parties; or is it going to blossom into a life of greater professional clarity, greater understanding, and thus pave way for even more enterprizing efforts ??
I wonder ... nowadays .. I wonder .. may be I am mad, may be I am still trapped in my childhood. May be that Dreams are only the past-time of children and the grown ups must think practically... may be I am wrong ... may be ... I wonder .. and yet I still dream.. unable to limit my vision to what my naked eyes can see, I dream .... I dream ..... Dream Unlimited ......
If it is a mixture then we can safely assume that life should contain both work and leisure – thus suggesting the work-life balance that most HR personnel recommend. Since the components of a mixture retain their own properties; work and life too would run on separate lines, at different times and for different purposes.
But it could be a compound – right! In which case work and leisure would combine and form one substance. One substance – life. For example, for a musician, work and leisure are the same – music; for an actor, work and leisure would be the same – acting. Finally, for an entrepreneur Work, Leisure and Life all are his passion – his passion of entrepreneurship!
But we must first decide whether our life is a mixture or a compound! Any comments?
Agent Smith: Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you do it? Why? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you're fighting for something? Something more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom or truth? Perhaps peace? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence without meaning or purpose. And all as artificial as the Matrix itself, although, only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can't win. There's no point in fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?
Neo: Because I choose to.
The Matrix and its power to relate to and thus help in solving philosophical and spiritual issues never stops surprizing me. Those who have read 'The Foutainhead' by Ayn Rand, will remember Howark Roark's statement - "the worst second-hander of all--the man who goes after power". I did not understand the reason behind this tenet by Rand when I read it and had been thinking over it for a long time. Finally while in discussion with Aurko the other day comparing different theories from Karma-Yoga to the Matrix and Ayn Rand we hit upon the plausible solution.
The Set Up: The world is a matrix. We are all programs. Choice is an illusion created by the system. But if we realize that the world is a matrix we can defy its laws, thus assuming control of our own lives rather than system deciding it for us. Choice is no more an illusion but the ONLY truth.
Assumption: We are inside the matrix and first priority is to come out of the matrix. We do not debate on this as of now.
What is the way to liberate from the Matrix: To assume control of oneself (not others). We have to come out of the matrix to know our real nature and gain real control. Control over oneself is achieved by self realization. This relates to breaking of mental barriers like when Neo came to know that the speed of his movements is decided by what he believes and not what he actually can do. We have to test the barriers and only then can we overcome them. But a caveat would be that any achievement in the system should not become the ultimate goal; the ultimate goal is self realization.
Why not control others: In other words - why not go behind power. The Matrix analogy fits in exactly here providing us the answer. By trying to gain control of others (seeking power) we are simply replacing the control exerted by the system on others with the control exerted by us. When you replace the system you actually become just another (part of the) system and so will not be able to come out of the Matrix. The way out of the Matrix is outside the system - not inside it.
I do not know whether the concept 'looks' clear in the small para above 'coz a lot of thinking went into my own mind before I drafted it. To me The Matrix does make a lot of sense!!
Coming to another issue - happiness. In Mumbai I see people happy, even though they are at the edge at all times. Happiness has no conditions – more so as someone has said – you are what you believe yourself to be. If you believe you are different, you find joy in being different. If you think you are like others - you find joy in being the common man around. But the challenge is to identify which of these choices are real? I mean if you chose to believe the exact opposite of what you've now chosen, could you still live happily? Or did the society(system) almost 'force' you into choosing what you have chosen. Is the choice an illusion created by the system or is it 'the only truth' in your life?
For starters, a more pertinent question is -
Why should it matter if the choice is real or illusionary?
Why do you waste your time thinking about such complicated nonsense which at the end of the day leaves you more confused?
I have only one answer to these questions.
Because I choose to! :D
And suddenly I realized - how true! Everyday while returning from office when I get on the Mumbai Local I see numerous faces - most of them are tired, sweating and stressed, and on every face you see the expression of acceptance - acceptance of their life, acceptance of the crowded local, the sweat and the stress that their life comprises of! These are not happy people (not by their looks at least) but they are not sad as well - their life is still; constant . . . . should we say lifeless? I wonder! None of these mortals would ever want to create a revolution but they would also not be a hindrance to it. They are like a buffer solution - oblivious by what goes on in their surroundings. But mind you, this unaffectedness is not a sign of divine realization - these people have just got used to life! Life which is supposed to be like a river - vibrant, dynamic, fast moving and even violent in some places has become 'lifeless' for these people . . .
My reading about these people might be wrong . . . but on the outset at least these people don't seem to show a river-like life . . . . I just hope I am wrong . . . more so I hope I would never join this mass of people who have got used to their life!
Indeed - the tragedy of life is that you get used to it!
The discussion is about the gap between fact and fiction in relation to the movie ‘The Rising’ – supposedly made on Mangal Pandey’s life.
Such questions have always been raised whenever Indian Cinema has dared to make films based on real life instead of fiction. Recently the Supreme Court had stayed release of Black-Friday (made on Mumbai Bomb Blasts) because it used real names of victims and accused in the Blasts. On the other hand just see how different Hollywood is – movies like Apollo 13, The Rookie, Titanic and many others not only do well but go on to become classics. Then there are movies like Saving Private Ryan, Three Kings and Forrest Gump which are made in a backdrop of a real life event like a war and are widely appreciated. In none of the cases are the movie makers accused of diluting or manipulating the facts.
Then why are Indian movies expected to portray the ‘real’ unlike fiction? Movies are a work of art and they need to be seen in that light. Of course when the protagonist of a movie is a real life character (like in case of Mangal Pandey), he/she will be glamorised and the unpopular parts of the story bypassed or reduced. But this should not be made a case against art and freedom of speech. Everyone has right to portray a character as he/she feels like.
This applies to even literature as much as it applies to movies!! Freedom of speech is the underlying spirit and no other law of humanity can be used to obliterate this right. If there is one thing that differentiates humans from other animals it is our ability to communicate and so for the human intellect even before the right to food and clothing comes the right to communicate freely.
And freedom of speech is what differentiates this new communication medium – the internet – from the others. But freedom of cyberspace is another topic – I better redirect you to the following links than do any narration myself.
John Perry Barlow Library
Cathedral and the Bazaar
"What intimacy is not; And also what it is . . . . .
" 'All beginnings are lovely' - a French proverb reminds us, but intimacy is not about that initial 'Velcro stage' of relationships. It is when we stay in a relationship over time whether by necessity or choice that our capacity for intimacy is truly put to the test. It is only in long-term relationships that we are called upon to navigate that delicate balance between separateness and connectedness and that we confront the challenge of sustaining both without losing either when the going gets rough. . . .
"Nor is intimacy the same as intensity, although we are a culture that confuses these two words. Intense feelings no matter how positive are hardly a measure of true and enduring closeness. In fact, intense feelings may block us from taking a careful and objective look at the dance we are doing with significant people in our lives. Intense togetherness can easily flip into intense distance or intense conflict, for that matter. . . .
"For starters, intimacy means that we can be who we are in a relationship, and allow the other person to do the same. Being who we are requires that we can talk openly about things that are important to us, that we take a clear position on where we stand on important emotional issues, and that we clarify the limits of what is acceptable and tolerable to us in a relationship. Allowing the other person to do the same means that we can stay emotionally connected to that other party who thinks, feels, and believes differently, with-out needing to change, convince, or fix the other. An intimate relationship is one in which neither party silences, sacrifices, or betrays the self and each party expresses strength and vulnerability, weakness and competence in a balanced way. . . . "
Love affairs are mostly associated with adolescent minds, but actual love and intimacy are very difficult to sustain and require a mature mind which has the power to accept - the good as well as the bad!