Last night I watched an Indian movie in which a reputed medical institution deceives couples with fertility issues by making them believe that the sperm is of the husband, while they actually use those of other people.
That took me to a pessimistic void — Which amazingly made me calm and which, I found to be beautiful!
HOW AND WHY DID I GET THERE?
It is not about whether the issue presented by the movie is prevalent and accurate. It’s not about the movie! It’s not related to anything personal either.
As I sat in my bed with my wife watching the movie, I thought of every single institution that must be doing some form of deception. Then I generalized and saw every single institution as deceptive in some ways. Then I generalized further and saw the entire human race as deceptive and cruel.
That view…that view of the human species as deceptive and cruel took me to that pessimistic void!
And then I was calm. I felt good. It was beautiful!
Humanity and all its affairs appeared as a giant South-Parkan turd.
I saw no beauty in any achievement of ours. I saw no charm in any glory of ours. I saw no value in anything human. The only beauty was in that deceptive view of humanity.
I then paused the movie and said to my wife (which annoyed her of course)—
‘Looking at how deception is trending these days — from government and companies to people around us — I wonder if there will come a day when anyone who is even slightly conscious will get disgusted beyond repair, pessimistic beyond hope and will start living life just for the sake of living! Without any values to live-for, without any beauty to pursue, like playing a mundane mobile game. You are just living to live. To pass time. To die! Nothing excites you. Nothing impresses you. Nothing deceives you. ’
I said that, she thought for a while and said something.
I fell asleep with that beautiful pessimistic void inside me. No values. No excitement. No deceptions. No care. No anxiety!
This is not a religious thing, it is psychological. It is about our mind!
I am not a religious person. I am not a theist. I am not even an atheist. If anything, I am a person who has gone full UG on things —who has denied every system of thought and deleted all reverence from me. Which makes me a person whothinks that not enough has been known about the mind to know higher truths and who likes to find his own truth and reality his own way. This probably makes me an explorer. A mind and self explorer if you want to be precise.
But I have grown up in a Hindu family around Hindu myths, gods, stories, narratives, spirituality and philosophy. Which equips me with certain information on what lies within this religious system.
I am currently into mind and self exploration which takes me into the components of mind and their functions. I dig through my past and my present to see what I am all about and what I can make of myself.
While into this process, I observed something about the Hindu trinity that finally made them relevant and significant for me. It was their basic and commonly consented definition and description that gave me the idea of using them for my exploration and made me hypothesize that they may have actually been created not for worship but for mental exploration and idea programming. But I don’t want to get into whether they created us or we created them debate here! I also do not want to get into the history of the religion, it’s various sects and all that.
All I am concerned about is on using their basic description and definition for mind exploration and experimentation.
Before I get into how I think we can use them for creating new us and destroying the old, let me share a few things I have discovered as of now and how I got here:
The best way for us to see ourselves is through our desires.
Desires — apart from basic ones — are ideas. We create names and concepts, identify with them, get shaped by our environment, mix them all up and project basic desires into ideas. Eg. basic sexual urge turns into fascinating choices and preferences.
We can program our non-basic desires ourselves. That is, we can delete or modify old ones and create new ones. This is idea programming.
This means, we can create new versions of ourselves by modifying and experimenting with our desires.
We can use the Hindu triad for such a task.
This is how idea programming works:
You identify the prevalent idea
You identify its history and components
You design a new idea
You destroy the old idea
You persevere with the new idea until it is time to move on
It can be generalized in this way:
Now, into the general and common definition and description of the Trinity.
Vishnu: Preserver and protector. A personification of preserving power. Calm, Relaxed.
2. Brahma: Creator. A personification of creative power. Restless, Innovative.
3.Shiva: Destroyer. A personification of destruction, reproduction, change. Meditative, Aggressive.
Let’s add them all up:
Identify: Desires that exist in you at present. The desires currently preserved. Enjoyed. Desires that are there. Just in themselves. Not as good and bad. To do this, you need to dig into your past, observe your present, notice everything that excites or frustrates you. You have to list them all down. Generalize them. Shove them into categories. Understand why they might be there. Understand their cause and effect. In simple words, you need to know the things you want and not want; desire and not desire; like and dislike. You need to know the identity you attach yourself to. You become Vishnu to do all this. Accept things as they are in order to know them and enjoy them. Approaching them with good/bad will make them elusive. Just be them. Preserve them. See them. You need to be calm and unimaginative in all this. Be Calm and Relaxed.
Design: Desires that you would want in you. At this phase, you should be imaginative and creative. Think and feel what you would want to become. What you would want in you. Judge your pre-existing desires. List the desires you want in you. Generalize them. Shove them into categories. Understand why you want them there. Understand their cause and effect. In simple words, you need to know the things you now want and not want; desire and not desire; like and dislike. You have created a new idea! You become Brahma to do all this. Don’t accept anything until you are fully convinced. Keep searching, keep designing. Until you reach the sweetest of spot. Once again, you need to be extremely imaginative and creative in all this. BeRestless and Innovative.
Destroy: Desires that you would want modified or destroyed. After you have identified the existing desires and designed the future desires, it is time to destroy the old ones. Destroy the old ideas. Destroy the old you. You need to operate at the emotional level for this. Like a surgeon. Like your own surgeon. You got to be able to feel things. You need to be able to suppress. You need to be able to ignore. In simple words, you need to get rid of all emotional residue of the old you. Get rid of all ideas of the old you. You become Shiva to do all this. Be savage. Be detached. Be both Meditative and Aggressive.
Q: But how do you actually use them?
A: Remember their basic definition, description and characteristics and use their images as symbols. Place their image in your phone or computer wallpaper as per your phase.
You can modify the image as per your requirement. You can use symbols and metaphors as per your need. THIS IS HOW THEIR IMAGES HAVE BEEN MODIFIED AND PLAYED WITH FOR CENTURIES, ANYWAYS!
A small light in these dark caves,
for now enough to save from extinction.
Slowly…igniting and turning into a dragon’s breath
I come from there,
the thought of where itself will frighten you of thinking
The fires will burn and burn…
drift and drift…
on it’s way
burning the heavens itself –
The same heavens
you lust for,
and kneel down or bend over for!
See, you are constructed with codes of geometric perfection
I have been spit due to lack of inclination
if you are an atheist
then I am God
if you contempt on barks
then I am a Dog.
You ascended into the mountains
I descended into the caves,
for you heavens are dearer
for me darkness is nearer.
Soon…when your mountains and heavens have burned
into thick dark clouds overhead
when you finally see what I see
and shiver at the sight of raw darkness
I Will be your God
and show you that light
and watch as you learn to levitate and rise beyond
and smile at death forever
I have written about anxiety before. But today I want to discuss one of its lethal forms called Anticipatory Anxiety.
What is Event Anticipatory Anxiety? — This is something I named before I knew such a thing as Anticipatory Anxiety existed. I was trying to describe the same anxious feeling I felt while anticipating certain types of different events. I noticed that the idea of those events caused the anxiety way before the event even occurred.
What are events? — Events are occurrences of limited time-span. Life is the sum of events.
What kinds of events cause such anxiety in me? —Events that include people or entities I am not comfortable with in the event environment. For example, if the event is a walk in a certain street at night, stray dogs that bark are things I am not comfortable with in that environment.
What is common in all those event anxieties? — Something undesired will happen in this event.
Personal Examples of Event Anticipatory Anxiety—
While smoking inside the house
While entering a classroom
While checking Medium notifications
While meeting certain people
While visiting one particular relative of mind.
Descriptions of what goes on inside the head (the undesired will happen thought) during these episodes —
While smoking inside the house:A family member might come and create a scene about me smoking. While entering a classroom:The class laughs at me While checking Medium notifications in the morning:No response, followers or comments! While meeting certain people: This person will insult or humiliate me While visiting one particular family of relatives:They will talk of stupid and sensitive issues.
Real life instances where the descriptions above have come true —
While smoking inside the house: A family member might come and create a scene about me smoking. There have been instances in my young-days when I have been yelled at for smoking. Beaten and even jailed for drinking.
While entering a classroom: The class laughs at me. The entire class laughed at my buckteeth deformity when I first entered the classroom after joining a new school in the 5th grade.
While checking Medium notifications in the morning: No response, followers or comments! Daily these days.
While meeting certain people: This person will insult or humiliate me. I went through a lot of insults and humiliation during my childhood and teenage years.
While visiting one particular family of relatives: They will talk of stupid and sensitive issues. They always do so.
What have I learnt from all this? — * The undesired will happen * thought is due to the traumatic memories of true events of the past. Especially of those during my childhood and teenage years.
What is the solution? — Try to recallinstances of events above where you have been successful in order to wash the traumatic memories and replace them with successful ones.
While smoking inside the house: All instances of smoking in the house in the last decade. I have come out of the smoking room unscathed every single time. When I have enjoyed and woken up calmly at home after drinking the night earlier.
While entering a classroom: When I entered the classroom of the same school one day confidently chewing a gum and humming the tune of a song knowing one of them will ask me to write them a lyrics of any song anytime.
While checking Medium notifications in the morning: When one of my stories on Dostoevsky went viral.
While meeting certain people:Multiple instances in the last few years when I have bossed meetings and have come out of them as the leader.
While visiting one particular family of relatives: All instances I don’t visit them.
Event Anticipatory Anxiety is when I have the same anxious feeling while anticipating certain different types of events.
Such anxiety is caused by events that include people or entities I am not comfortable with in the event environment.
The prevalent thought in all those events is this: Something undesired will happen.
This is due to the traumatic memories of true events in the past when the undesired has happened.
What is the solution? How to be free from this crap? Recallinstances of events where you have been successful so that you wash the traumatic memories and replace them with beautiful ones.
It’s evening and you sit here with your laptop in your room
while the world rushes home closing their desktops at work.
You’ve always been this way. You realize.
You and the world have always been this way.
When you were a kid,
while they learnt real politics outside with their imaginary guns
You learnt imagination inside because you couldn’t understand the politics of the world!
When you grew up,
while they played kings and slaves in streets, classrooms and playgrounds
You played god and designed and destroyed sportsgrounds and movie-sets inside your head.
But you were not as strong or stylish as you present yourself here
You were weak, bleak and you were scared of their breath
Not because they spat fire. But because they stank!
But you couldn’t ignore them because your horizon was still a virgin
And so you sat with them and even tried to impress them!
Even their bad breath you thought was a norm
So you stopped brushing too…
You were not at all as strong or stylish as you present yourself here.
It’s always been this way.
And then when you reached an age where boys made girls cry
You yourself cried in a classroom.
And then you were stared-at, kicked, teased, yelled-at:
By insecure blokes who saw nothing when they looked at themselves in the mirror.
You didn’t understand then that their expression towards you
was their expression towards themselves
You couldn’t understand that because you didn’t play with them outside.
And now they look at their watches at work, nervously waiting for the time they get to go back home
while you get to sit here calmly in your room writing magical words like these that turns them into whatever pleases your mood.
You’ve always been this way the world and you
First, the world throws shit at you and then you throw the world into shit.
And now the world plays king-king down there at Troy
While you play god-god up here at Mount Olympus!
Poems: Power of words to those who like to both think and feel.
Poetry, if done and read right, can thrust your mind (states, perception, beliefs, etc.) into previously unvisited zones at such breakneck speed that in no time you find yourself changed beyond even your own recognition.
This is largely because of the concise nature of the art: Mental States, Environment, Perceptions, Opinions, Worldviews, beliefs, knowledge, etc. compressed into a few words with analogies and non-linearity. They are like mighty bombs that can decimate any walls, bridges, boundaries and frontiers — If done and read right!
I say all this because I have had a strong and healthy relationship with poetry. Myself having published two books of them.
They have changed me, shaped me, destroyed me, designed me. They have helped me come out of many misery and sufferings. They have shown me many beauties and feelings. They have helped me break shackles and relationships. They have helped me build relationships. They have helped me explore, experiment. They have opened many closed doors. They have closed many open doors. They have broken emotional and mental frontiers allowing me to feel and see things I never would have even imagined existed.
Here are 10 pieces/sentences/lines/stanzas of poetry that have broken my mind’s frontiers.
Lunatic: Laxmi Prasad Devkota
You’re clever, quick with words,
your exact equations are right forever and ever.
But in my arithmetic, take one from one-and there’s still one left.
You get along with five senses, I with a sixth.
You have a brain, friend, I have a heart.
A rose is just a rose to you-to me it’s Helen and Padmini.
You are forceful prose, I liquid verse.
To break any frontiers, you need energy. You need constant energy and force. These few words did it for me. This is mental poetry at its best and finest.
Alone: Edgar Allan Poe
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were — I have not seen
As others saw — I could not bring
My passions from a common spring —
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow — I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone —
And all I lov’d — I lov’d alone — Then — in my childhood — in the dawn
Of a most stormy life — was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still —
From the torrent, or the fountain —
From the red cliff of the mountain —
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold —
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by —
From the thunder, and the storm —
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view —
This poem connected me with myself.
I started seeing differences between me and others. I started seeing things in me I had never seen. I started accepting myself like never before. I started exploring my desires. I began the process of knowing myself. I ceased to be afraid. I was finally proud of who I was. I developed self-respect. I developed strength. I discovered myself.
1: Sad Toys, Takuboku Ishikawa
When I breathe,
This sound in my chest
Lonelier than the winter wind
Japanese poet Takuboku Ishikawa died of tuberculosis. This particular poem expresses a lot. It grabs you by your outward looking head and rotates it enough so that you can look at yourself. Here and now.
There were bright glowing stars in my frontier, but after I read this…the direction of my frontier changed and I saw black holes.
the wine of forever: Charles Bukowski
the writing of some
is like a vast bridge
that carries you
the many things
that claw and tear.
I could have chosen a lot of Bukowski verses but I chose this particular stanza from this particular poem because with it I accepted that there were and are people in this world whom you can trust. In my case, those were people who wrote words. Although I consumed a lot of words in my lifetime, at one point I was stuck with mistrust and paranoia towards everything. This one helped me break that wall.
Also, Bukowski’s writing has carried me not only over things that claw and tear but also over many things that pinch and sting.
A Question: Robert Frost
A voice said, Look me in the stars
And tell me truly, men of earth,
If all the soul-and-body scars
Were not too much to pay for birth.
I was taking life too seriously when I stumbled upon this poem. This helped me tone down the seriousness and smile at the absurdity of existence.
Worldly Wisdom: Friedrich Nietzsche
Do not stay in the field!
Nor climb out of sight.
The best view of the world
is from a medium height.
While Nietzsche’s entire bibliography is a string of dynamite that knocks down frontiers after frontiers, this particular poem from The Gay Science gave me the perspective of perspective. I may look at all the frontiers I can and analyze them, get drown in them — yet is my view of the frontier itself proper?
Where’s the poet: John Keats
Where’s the Poet? show him! show him,
Muses nine! that I may know him.
’Tis the man who with a man
Is an equal, be he King,
Or poorest of the beggar-clan
Or any other wonderous thing
A man may be ‘twixt ape and Plato;
’Tis the man who with a bird,
Wren or Eagle, finds his way to
All its instincts; he hath heard
The Lion’s roaring, and can tell
What his horny throat expresseth,
And to him the Tiger’s yell
Come articulate and presseth
Or his ear like mother-tongue.
I had written a Medium story about this a little while back:
What Is A Poet? — According To John Keats
A Poet is a complete Human!
This poem is crucial for me because I like poetry. Reading, Listening, Writing, Spoken, whatever. But, my mind likes confusion.
While I yearned to consume/compose poetry and be a poet, my mind told me that poets were things of the past, waste of a life and things of no impact and substance. Be a king. Kings are the best. Be a businessman. They are the best. Be a pilot. Be a minister, etc. I listened to my mind for a long time. Not completely! Else I wouldn’t have discovered this particular poem.
I could finally see myself reading and writing compressed words and be proud of it.
The Best Time Of The Day: Raymond Carver
Cool summer nights.
Fruit in the bowl.
And your head on my shoulder.
These the happiest moments in the day.
Next to the early morning hours,
of course. And the time
just before lunch.
And the afternoon, and
early evening hours.
But I do love
these summer nights.
Even more, I think,
than those other times.
The work finished for the day.
And no one who can reach us now.
I discovered Carver when I had too many things going on inside my head and too many desires flowing inside my chest. I was emotionally and mentally confused. At my mental frontier, there was this big fucking question-mark laughing at me all the time. My personal life was disastrous. I was always anxious. I wanted to read everything, watch everything, be everywhere, be everything. Of course, this made me explore a lot of poetry too!
And I discovered Carver and this poem.
This poem demolished the question mark and showed me through tremendous magnification the real thing worth aspiring for.
Tune: Calming Wind And Waves: Su Shi
Listen not to the rain beating against the trees.
Why don’t you slowly walk and chant with ease?
Better than saddled horse I like sandals and cane.
Oh, I would fain, in a straw cloak, spend my life in mist and rain. (From Selected Poems and Pictures of the Song Dynasty)
The desire for power and ways to get powerful were the furthest my thoughts were managing to reach at one phase of my life. This particular verse from the 11th century Chinese poet erased the boundary in one sweep, opening a brand new horizon in front of my eyes where I saw things more important than power. I spent hours basking in this poem.
Courage: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
CARELESSLY over the plain away,
Where by the boldest man no path
Cut before thee thou canst discern,
Make for thyself a path!
A decade ago, this particular stanza filled me with courage to go take risks, do something new, become something new, become myself, explore myself, design myself — become whatever I am and do whatever I do today!
The Process of a answering this How To live question Begins With another question:
How am I feeling right now?
It should always start with this question. It should always be about this question.
But how do we track things as elusive and vague as our feelings?
Why do I keep coming back to these questions whenever I feel prominently about something? More important than that, Why are these questions even relevant when I can tune into any form of entertainment available in abundance and forget about my feelings (wash them) and shut my thoughts?
I don’t think I can get into the first, second and third questions without answering the fourth.
Yes, I have used sports, games, music, movies, TV shows, novels, friends, cigarettes, coffees, teas, alcohols — I have used them all in plenty throughout my life. I have used them all to get out of all sorts of feelings dwelling inside me. Good, Bad. Get out of feelings intolerable. Even getting out of feeling enjoyable to me as a celebration.
I have used them all to shut-down the thoughts that those feelings have generated in me. And those things of entertainment have helped me. They’ve helped me get out of the dreaded zone. But always temporarily. Unwanted feelings haven’t stopped. In fact, feelings haven’t stopped. These days, whenever I think of going into entertainment or distractions to get rid or celebrate my feelings, I am reminded of their transience. Of their ineffectiveness.
A person who goes to entertainment all the time never has to understand and feel the feelings. But the question remains: Why should anyone have to understand and feel diverse feelings when one can feel ‘entertained’ all the time?
In my case, it maybe because I have also done time of introspection in my life. And once you go inside yourself, you never completely come out, do you?
I got into introspection all those years back because I wanted to know what life was really about. I wanted to know what I was. I wanted to know why I was existing. I wanted to dig and reveal all sorts of feelings and emotions possible. I wanted to live completely. I wanted to live colorfully.
I haven’t seen those people who live for entertainment feel much about things. I have seen myself not feeling too much about things when I have surrendered myself completely to entertainment.
So, understanding your feelings is important if you want to live an introspective, profound and colorful life. You can use entertainment as a bonus. As one color in all the colors of your life. But you cannot make entertainment the only color of your life. (If you want to have a profound and colorful life, that is.) Yes, I can wash my feelings and shut my thoughts whenever I want by merely pressing y in my browser address bar, but I want so much more from life, don’t I?
With that out of the way, I want to share how I try to trace my feelings.
First thing is to be feeling-conscious:
‘How and What am I feeling right now?’
It’s difficult to do this all the time. In fact, I feel lucky whenever this question does grace me at all. But it’s sporadic. I have been trying my best to increase the frequency.
The thing to do is to try to stop yourself from getting lost in your feelings, which means from getting lost and carried by your thoughts. I see thoughts as slaves of feelings.
This is contradictory. How do I make my life colorful and enjoy the feelings when I stop myself from feeling the feelings?
My experience is that being feeling-conscious gives you some amount of control over what you are feeling. This control is important because then you can decide what to do with the feeling. This act of being conscious itself is control. You can then decide how much suppression or allowance you are going after. For me this control is important because I have found even good feelings to be intolerable for me.
Let me share something with you
A few days back, I went to a party, Got drunk and shared things with people with whom I usually don’t share things much. The next morning was devastating. I wanted to kill myself. I couldn’t stand to go back to recalling the previous night, yet my mind wouldn’t allow me to go anywhere else than there. That day passed in intense suffering. Only time shall heal this misery, I said to myself. Until…
Immediately, the intolerable hangover vanished as I started searching for words to describe whatever I was feeling.
The word appeared as if by magic. And the feeling and thoughts that had made me suicidal, vanished, as if my magic.
But it wasn’t magic.
It was a pretty simple thing: Introspection. Feeling-consciousness.
I don’t want to and have to lie to you. After that, I was in control of my feelings. I pushed as if I was pushing something physical and heavy and successfully stopped humiliation from appearing in me again.
Trivia: I had spent the day watching a stupid movie for an escape.
The mere act of being conscious of my feeling and naming it worked for me. Of course, the humiliation hasn’t completely vanished, but it is something I know-of and am in relative control of as of now.
Let me answer the questions I asked in the beginning.
How am I feeling right now?
It should always start with this question. It should always be about this question.
But how do we track something that is as elusive and vague as our feelings?
We try to increase the frequency of the question above and name the prevalent feeling. Use Words. Use terms. Name it! Human beings have managed to create words for almost all the feelings, and even if they haven’t, it’s your chance to coin something epic.
Get in control of your feelings. This will help you control your thoughts. If you manage to do it, you will live a profound and colorful life. You won’t need to be dependent on the entertainers. You can use them in your own accord to provide you entertainment whenever you feel like having one!
Whatever you go through in your childhood will have a profound impact on the rest of your life. This is because in our lives – like in the world – a thing will cause the following event and that event will in turn be the cause of another and so on.
While this holds true for all phases of our life, childhood is especially significant because it is then that we change the most. That’s the phase when we are the most passive and relatively unconscious of ourselves and the surrounding. This passivity and lack of proper consciousness means we are not at all in control of ourselves and whatever happens to us happens without our consent and will. We are at the mercy of other entities. Which means, our actions of that phase are reactive. We are malleable.
I reach back to the days my childhood whenever I try to understand the thoughts and feelings I currently behold. Almost everything takes me back there. Everything seems to have its roots there and then.
For example, today during my evening walk, I tried to understand my passion towards the unacceptable things in society. My digging took me to the stage of my life when I was mentally ill-treated and bullied by someone who was acceptable in society. I can’t recall being fascinated towards the unacceptable before my close encounter with that person and the ill-treatment/bullying I got from him and his supporters. This must have developed a sense of rebellion in me which prolongs to this day and which has largely shaped a lot of my crucial decisions.
Of course, that person must have been valid from his point of view for his ill-treatment and he might not even consider it to be an ill-treatment, but what that did to me shaped not only my behaviour but my character and entire personality. He was conscious, I was not!
Of course, I don’t have an issue with how I ended up, but I could have ended up worse if I hadn’t dared to work on my self and if I hadn’t dared to stand-up to rotten values.
What do I take away from this?
Be careful with things that are malleable and sensitive. Tougher things will resist you and will probably shape you instead. Don’t express that frustration of yours on weaker ones. Take care of softer things if you’ve got balls. If you’ve really got it, try to shape things bigger and stronger than you!
P.S. Maybe that person was more unconsious than the childhood me?!!!
Each time you are self-aware of what you are doing for a living, you realize that you are on the lookout for the next true revolutionary thought, idea, so that you can sell them on platforms such as these and earn your money or things that humans are built to earn.
This way, you may flatter yourself by seeing yourself as a ‘natural-being’ because you are like a tiger or an eagle, or a pigeon or a sparrow:
Constantly on the lookout for the next meal.
This also means, you are not like a domesticated animal in that you are not fed based on your service to others.
But there’s a major difference between you and them (nature’s foragers), in that, what you are after is not the meal itself. In fact, if you are not after viral-content but are rather after some true thought, idea, then what you have collected could be the most worthless thing for any creature. Worse, it could be worthless for you in terms of its value in the marketplace. Take the idea that I have built this particular story upon for instance: I cannot guarantee that this will be read or listened-to by people such that my views and reading time go up. In fact, my experiences have time and again shown me this outcome in the form of proverbial slaps!
On a personal level, this hardly matters for me, because I would have already gathered my share of true experience and knowledge from the exploration and the writing. But, such ‘true’ experience and knowledge aren’t foods, clothes, houses, etc. in that they can’t be eaten, worn and they won’t save me from the winter cold. Which means it matters a lot from a professional level.
What am I trying to take-away from all this? What am I trying to say?
This life of an online creator is amazing. It is amazing in that it allows one to go wherever one wants in search of whatever thoughts, ideas, ‘truths’, stories one wants to discover. But it comes at a bargain. There has to be a certain ‘smartness’ if one wants to take it out of personal use and earn ‘valuable’ things from it.
The ‘smartness’ required is of productive-story-selection.
You have to be able to winnow:
You have to be able to carefully select (productive) publish-worthy true thoughts, ideas, stories from the mass of all conceived thoughts, ideas and stories.
You are like a forager but a forager who can’t directly consume the thing discovered. A forager who has to winnow the thing discovered and distinguish between things suitable for personal use and professional one. A forager who has to then come into the marketplace and then try to sell the thing discovered.
As a creator, you are like a beast but a beast that hunts for thoughts, ideas, and stories. A beast that then filters the things hunted and comes to the marketplace trying to sell whatever seems fit for selling (from the perspective of the beast.)
Q: But what about all those who teach you to express everything without winnowing?
A: My life experiences have taught me that people in general do not care about you, let alone your thoughts, ideas and creations.
But there is nothing unethical with this, is there? In fact, everything is natural about it. Most hunting animals do know whom they want to prey upon. And the reason they prey is for their survival. You have all the right to winnow sellable thoughts, ideas.
Most fascinating thing is that there’s even something called surplus killing where certain animals at certain times kill just for fun. Which should give you further inspiration and reasons for winnowing. Seek all forms of true thoughts, ideas, stories; sell those that can feed you and use the remaining for your personal use.
Q: Which type of creator are you?
(We are not considering killing for self-defence and all that)
A Human-Creator: A human-creator is a creator who tries to feed-off almost every type of thought and idea. This type of creator is experimentative. Of course, some will be successful and some won’t, but like a true human, such a creator wants everything and keeps an eye on everything too. They will use the useful and keep the rest for potential future use. Force marketeers too fall into this category.
A Crow-Creator: A crow-creator is a creator who creates part-time: Like crows foraging. If there’s an easy meal to be had somewhere they will eat there. But if there isn’t any, they will be out there trying everything. Just as human-creators, they will try and taste everything. For them, it’s just about the earning.
Scavenger-Creator: A creator can also be a scavenger. I have seen a lot of those and I fear I will become one. A scavenger-creator lives-off dead or second-/third hand things: Thoughts, ideas, stories, knowledge that others have conceived. The scavenger-creator takes others’ works and re-interprets them for the consumption of the mass-public. You can find a lot of those in the form of informative YouTube channels with millions of subscribers.
Eagle-Creator: This type of creator knows what he/she is supposed to create and sell. They are precise and meticulous. Niche creators you can call them. You don’t see them experimenting much.
What about the winnowing creator?
A type of creator who has a niche. This is because I have used the word ‘true’ up there. Which means, this type of creator cannot settle with publishing everything. The search for the true makes them like eagle-creators. But the search for truth in everything makes them human-like.
They look half eagle, half humans:
(Maybe we should take our favorite animal and try to be like them)
A trick for Self-Improvement. Unfasten all the seat-belts that bound you to seats. Wear something comfortable. Stretch your body parts. Take some deep breaths and get ready to go for a long thought drive.
A thought drive is a drive where you free yourself from the cycle of static sitting or sleeping and hence, free yourself from many shitty and sleepy thoughts.
A thought drive is a drive where you move around in such a manner that it sets the platform for your thoughts to take you to amazing mental places to see spectacular things.
A thought drive is a drive where your movement acts as an accelerator and the thoughts that you will have inside as the views you would see from your physical vehicle window.
How do you go for a thought drive?
First, you have to be willing to see what your thoughts have got to show and tell you. After that, you have to move around. But, you have to let go of all those meditative, sedative mind-control, self-control, god-focus, self-focus lessons that shitty and sleepy gurus have preached to you. You have to be ready to listen to your thoughts. Listen to what they have always been meaning to tell you but you have always been shutting them off because you fell prey to the scam of some philosophical conman.
After all this, go for it. Move around in whichever pattern you feel comfortable. Long walks, short walks, to and fros, stand and stares. Find the sweet spot of movement, like you do with your car seat. And then welcome your thoughts. Accept them. Invoke them. Do not use dull philosophical theories to understand them or control them. Let them flow. Let them come. Accept them.
But how do you make sure you don’t get lost?
That’s a good question. Thoughts are stingy and lethal at times. that’s why you have to learn to be strong. You have to learn to be able to take every sting with a smile and you hve to be able to respond every slap with a deep breath.
Once you are ready with that and good to go for a drive, you have to begin with a single thought. It could be an image, a sound, an idea, concept, desire, goal, person, computer, star, whatever. Yes, right before you go for the drive, begin with a single thought. Then, finish the drive by coming back to the same thought. Finish it by bring the original thought back. And notice how that thought looked before the drive and after. If you manage to do that, you will not only have discovered a lot of things, but you will also have returned to your home safely!
Being Visionary is more about will than originality.
I don’t know how it goes with entities such as stars and rocks and rivers but with those of us living with cell (s): we are always forced to make decisions.
An ant crawls on my table and I for my own leisure block its path with my finger. Now it has to make a decision: persist with the obstacle or go a different path. The ant has obstacles apart from me: The dog, the wind. Which means, it has to make a lot more decisions in life. However, regarding the approach to making those decisions — looking at its circumstances — I believe it has only one: pragmatic which tells it to go to the currently most beneficial place.
I, as a human, am similar. I go along with my business and for some god’s leisure, a thought comes and blocks my path.
Then, I am left to make a decision: force myself out of the thought or go a different one. Lots of thoughts and events occur, which means I have to make a lot of decisions. But, when it comes to approach, I have observed two in me:
Within the pragmatic approach I am like the ant. Whatever thought or obstacle I face and have to make a decision, I decide to do that which seems currently the most beneficial.
While taking the visionary approach, I become a human in that whatever obstacle I face and have to make a decision on, I decide to do that which seems in line to the vision of myself I have in my mind. It’s like the ant going, ‘I have to climb this finger thing and die so my vision of becoming a martyr is realized.’
Pragmatic approach is understandable, you do that which ensures your survival and life-success. But where the hell does this thing called vision come up on me?
Where does the vision come from?
My observations of myself have shown that I do not in fact envision a future for myself. What I do is simply decide to not be pragmatic and allow my mind to drift along the inner voices, the rest is done by my mind. This way I don’t think it should be called vision. It’s more like natural is the correct term.
While I envision myself, I am in fact, not as creative as I think I am. This is because I am not designing a certain type of me from scratch. Rather, I am merely imagining (projecting) a me who has fulfilled all the desires that exist in me during the moment of envisioning. It is like the perfect balance of all my desires. THE SWEET SPOT. This way, fulfilling my dreams or realizing my vision is more like me being that which is natural to me: achievement of all desires, with the desires being the things which are natural.
Pragmatic approach is more about advantage. I will have to sacrifice a lot of my desires in the process. Success is the key here.
Let’s stay with the visionary approach:
Even if it’s not about free designing and creating, there is a certain skill required to envision yourself.
As mentioned above, firstly you need to agree to listen to your desires and let go of certain pragmatism (Of course, mixed approach exists in people but let’s not talk about that here). Even after agreeing to listen, the path won’t be easy. Your mind will make you scream, yell, cry, want-to-die in its search for the perfect image for your desires. It’s like pulling out a healthy tooth. But when your mind finds one, it fills you with ecstasy. You are freed. You are free to work on the how’s and finally forget visioning and decision-making!
And then the sad part begins:
The desires you have inside you are not constant. They change with new knowledge and experience and so has to your vision.
The irony of it all is that even if you go after the vision and reach the situation envisioned, there is almost complete certainty that things will end up being something completely different!
Do you also worry you are not doing enough or learning enough? Given your standard of yourself, do you think you aren’t productive enough? Do you feel like something is stopping you from being a certain place, feeling a certain way?
Even when you do manage to get rid of all distractions and do the things you ought to work on, do you feel a certain rope kind of thing pulling you into something — away from your deed? Do you also get anxious if you do not allow yourself to be pulled by that rope?
Do you feel anxious, nervous, sleepy, tired, insecure, confused, jealous, etc. most of the time?
If your answer is yes, than it implies that you too — like me — have been falling prey to the Seven Deadly ills of modern life.
I’ve been successful in avoiding all seven of these ills as of the time of this writing.
Yes, at some point of my life, I have experienced all these which makes me sit here and think that I should be sharing these ills with the world. I — with confidence — hold these ills responsible for many of my weaknesses, unproductivity and misery. They have threatened me, sucked life’s joy and beauty out of me and have almost killed me. These are serious diseases and should be cured/removed/avoided.
I will now share my personal experiences with each and communicate why I consider them to be ills.
Here we go then…here are SEVEN DEADLY ILLS OF MODERN LIFE:
Facebook: It’s been a dozen years since I deleted my personal facebook account. In between, I have created random accounts to manage my business accounts.
The major reason I deleted my personal account all those years ago was because certain people I didn’t want anything-to-do-with started appearing there. Those included distant relatives and school-bullies (teachers included).
I was going through a transition in my life which included a lot of pdf learnings in my devices, and the last thing I wanted was their face in my sacred temple. Whenever any of those people appeared through suggestions or through posts of friends’ friend, I got agitated. I was clear with myself on the fact that I did not want to befriend them at any cost. Yet, facebook didn’t understand this! It got to a point where opening a facebook app meant anxiety. I thought: I can talk to my family members and close-friends on a cellphone, having them on facebook has less reward than the risk of those unnecessary craps appearing on my screen. I deactivated and have never had a personal account ever since.
A few years ago, when I started a publishing company, I felt the need for a facebook account. I created one with the company name and created a few business pages. My sole motive was to use facebook for work. A few months later, I was fighting with a random stranger in a stupid group! I was checking my account every ten minutes. I wanted more likes and comments on my post. I was getting more anxious. Things soon started to get personal. I began adding a lot of friends…and yet again, some unwanted people appeared! I deactivated the account soon — my business didn’t go anywhere through facebook promotions (paid/unpaid) anyway. Illness because: Facebook thrusts you into the rat race.
Instagram: Oh, facebook’s younger sibling:
how late you came into my life
and how early you disappeared! If facebook is racing in a crowded city, Instagram is you reaching the posh-area. It’s not just about running here, it’s about how hip you look while you run.
As in facebook, I opened an instagram account when I started that company. I was told that it was THE platform to reach out to young and ‘cool’ people. I created my personal account and a couple of business accounts. Looking back at it now — considering how uncool I am — I wonder what was I thinking back then!
I tried to use it for work — which for me is all about expressing who I am. But what I ended up doing was checking if each post I created fit into the norm. While this may be looked upon as being business-friendly or staying relevant to the trend, my experience was such that I had become something completely different. I didn’t say what was to be said, I said what should be said!
The original me vanished and was slowly being replaced by a cool funny youth. Once again, I am neither cool nor funny and I am proud of myself for that. Whenever I went to a place that looked nice (by posh standards), my eyes searched for a spot where I could take a photograph of myself and post it with a stylish caption. When I did it, I spent every five minute refreshing the page and scrolling down the human coolness. I hated it. My account got relatively relevant, but it was me no longer. I deactivated it. Illness because: Instagram pressurizes you to fit-in.
Twitter Where do I even start on this monster?!
During the course of my life, I must have activated-deactivated twitter on more than ten instances. I start one, gain a few followers, get fed up, deactivate. I start another, gain a few more followers, get even more fed up, deactivate again…
The supposed platform for the intellectuals attracted me for the same reason. I thought I could share wise opinions and change the world. How it ended up was, I found myself intoxicated in half-baked thoughts — always looking for a line that would increase more followers than one that was actually wise. Another thing that happened to me while I pushed for those words was I hoped some significant celebrity would retweet my stuff and I would be popular forever thereafter!
Of course, that didn’t happen, so I must have been fed up due to that too…but the bigger reason I suppose for being constantly fed up was that twitter was more for show than for a pro. I was getting exposed to mediocre thoughts disguised as world-changing just because a person with a great following had said it. Words have quick impact on me and twitter’s impact wasn’t healthy. I should rather spend time finishing, polishing my thoughts and reading finished, polished ones, I concluded. And so I deactivated. Illness because: Twitter is seeming intelligent, not being one.
Tiktok Okay, I am not familiar with this as much I am with the ones above. Yet, I have been around those who are and what I have noticed is: It’s goddamn addictive!
Uninterrupted supply of short-length videos with provocative music in the background that give you everything from the dance moves of that relative of yours to the review of that obscure restaurant in town means Tiktok has enough going-on within it to make you forget to turn off the stove. It doesn’t even allow you to get bored.
Although I do not use this platform as much, what I do know is that the more you enjoy shorter content, the more tedious longer works get for you. This means your patience dies and only quick stimulation can satisfy you. Depth gets boring. I don’t think all those are qualities you would want to miss.
Given Tiktok’s popularity, it has facebook’s rat-race quality within it. Also are twitter’s half-bakedness and TV with even more mediocre channels within it. This could only mean one thing: DISASTER!
Tiktok also seems to normalize otherwise embarrassing behavior. While it’s good not to get embarrassed at what you do, it is better for us all to not have normalized certain things. And there are lots of those certain things in Tiktok! Illness because: Tiktok satisfies your darkest urge.
Reddit While I had — without much intent — used Reddit a long time ago, I went back to it with purpose last year when I wanted to promote a link. I created a username and joined subreddits I thought would be relevant for me. Within a few days, I forgot the work purpose and started enjoying the opinions I and discussions I could read there. A few days later, I started posting comments and posts. A few more days later they started to get noticed. I wanted to post more. Comment more. I let my urge flow. I let it flow to such an extent that I still remember a morning where I shivered, fumed in anger trying to think of a reply to a comment of mine. This continued for a while.
Reddit is like school. There is knowledge there but you don’t pay attention because it is not provided well. There are bullies, and there are good guys. There are teachers. But one thing there is that, you don’t matter. YOU the person, the individual with an identity, with a context, doesn’t matter there. While it may be a nice thing considering how all other social media platforms exploit YOU, the discussions in Reddit don’t get humble and serious for that very reason. Illness because: Reddit devalues ideas.
Quora: It’s not at all a good idea to search all of your curiosities in Google. We should be able to answer certain questions ourselves — by reading and thinking about them. Yet in google you have the option to listen to credible people. It’s worse to ask random people about your curiosities in Quora. The flux of opinions you get means you will forget about thinking-for-yourself and turn into a mere pinball in the game of opinions of others. Illness because: Quora habit won’t let you think your own answers.
(Bonus) Entertainment Websites: Websites about sportsmen, movie-stars, musicians, etc. They are built and written to prove to you that the heroes they present and the works they do are superior to you in every way. That you are not like them. That you missed out being like them. That you should consume this and this to even slightly resemble them. Illness because: You can do better!
With experiences in all this, I have finally found some respite on Medium. It has allowed me to freely express ideas as these without having to worry how my neighbor will judge me, or how unkempt my hair must be, or will a Phd. from xyz trust me.
As of now, I don’t consider Medium to be among these ills. Hope it won’t get into the top seven anytime soon!
Before getting into why books should be read books in hardcopies, let me give some background.
This mind of ours is a weird thing of which we still have a lot to decode. When you think you have unearthed its mechanisms, it surprises you with something else. I mean, look at it, all I had done was sleep with a book in my bed last night and this is what I thought I this morning:
Hardcopy books are something you feel. The smell, the weight, the cover, the design, the font — it all adds up to the overall experience of reading a book.
In many ways, they are like wine. You don’t say this wine gives me this amount of buzz so I better drink this amount of whiskey. You don’t say it. It doesn’t work that way. Wines have their own essence and it is not just about the alcohol.
Similar are hardcopy books: You don’t say this book gives me this information so I better watch a video on YouTube or listen to an audiobook. You shouldn’t say it. It shouldn’t work that way. hardcopy books have their own essence and it’s not just about the content within it.
In fact, we humans don’t work that way. We aren’t utilitarian. We want beauty. We imagine. We philosophize. We want love. We want to feel. If we were only utilitarian, you wouldn’t have this thing called computer in your hand right now. So stop bothering hardcopy books and go enjoy your shorts!
I can still recall how great it felt as a child to perceive natural features like a forest, a river, a dark cloud, or rain. I also felt good at the thought of any stories or games or music. This way, I had a taste for aesthetics and fun.
Those feelings started fading away from me as I grew up. First the aesthetic disappeared and then fun. Dark clouds and rainfalls turned into environmental phenomena that turned me gloomy; rivers were nothing fascinating; trees and forests turned boring. Later, the stories and music I enjoyed stopped being fun and here I am today. There are glimpses of beauty and joy — but sporadic and vague.
I didn’t grow up, I grew dull.
A lot of factors are responsible for this change: the practicality of life, the conscience of adulthood, depressive thinking, anxiety, all have played their respective parts. Very well, in fact.
But this afternoon as I stared out of my window at the impending dark clouds and glimpses of blue sky, I — after a long time felt alive. A feeling bubbled inside me that took my thoughts to the fond memories of childhood, the beauty of the sky above, the fascinating that my future can be, the importance of feeling and the beauty of life itself. I wanted to cry. It was a powerful feeling. Although the feeling didn’t last long it was enough to remind me of what I had been once upon a time and what I have been missing in my life all these years.
We get worried about ourselves a little too much — that’s the issue I think. We get too caught up in what/when/why/how we should be/do which turns us into mere pendulums. There’s success and failure. There’s either excitement or frustration. While that is okay for survival, I don’t consider that to be a life lived. I have stopped considering it to be a life felt. I don’t think a life not-felt is a life understood.
There are such diverse things inside and around us and we have this amazing ability to feel each and every one of those. Some of those are tasteful, some disgusting. Yet we get to know their nature through this ability of ours without having to get physically intimate with them. But we don’t do it. We are too eager to grow up. To mature too early. We want to do things faster. What we miss in all this is life. We get successful, but we overlook life.
Q: What does it take to feel alive?
A: A little reminder once in a while that doing is the means and feeling is the end!
It’s beneficial to step back and observe the human race from a distance, forgetting about your own goals and concerns for a while. In the true Schopenhauerian ‘will-less contemplation’ sense.
The distance has to be perfect. In true Nietzschean sense:
Do not stay in the field!
Nor climb out of sight.
The best view of the world
Is from the medium height.
The view from this distance is worth every sight of it. I mean, just look at us:
The leader of animals, dwelling in this blue marble sort of thing which itself hangs in empty space in a monotonous cycle. Yet, we aren’t inspired by our mother: we don’t want to do the same thing over and over again. We want ‘progress’, we want to grow into something else.
‘Everything has to evolve,’ we say, ‘the earth that you see today wasn’t the same a million years ago!’
We are unique in this sense. We come up with these half-baked theories and understandings of the world and justify our actions. In fact, we come up with particularly those theories that justify our actions. It’s like we as beings only see what we want to see. Our desires are primary. Knowledge comes later. For instance, we don’t say, ‘look how disciplined earth is towards her father…’. We don’t say it because we do not like discipline. We do not want to settle. We want to eat and grow. Eat and grow even if our diet turns us into matricides. But we will come up with some theory to justify that too!
Who are we, by the way?
Some say they have evidence that some god created us, some prove that we are a result of a natural process. But I think both those views are misleading. Distractions. To hide a simple truth: we are nothing!
Yes, we are monsters who like to consume and grow but apart from that, we are absolutely nothing! Kill us now and I don’t think that ‘god’ will even notice. Yes…yes the universe is conscious through us…But what I also get is that it is yet another justification for our existence and appetite.
So the answer to the question above is this: we are nothing apart from greedy monsters. We should have long ago said to ourselves that we are greed manifested in physical form. But there’s nothing wrong with that. Greed is a virtue. It is a virtue because it ensures survival. How else does a creature like this, which believes it has conscience and knows of what it has done in the past, continue on?
Another verification of our nature is through what we worship. Among us, we revere the ones who are the most greedy. While we do this, we are doing nothing else than appreciating our essence. There’s nothing wrong with it. Once again, how else do we go on?
Enough about greed. It’s our driving force. It’s our essence.
Yes, we love science not because we love to learn, we love it because it equips us with powerful guns — and a shot at a good career, of course!
Then there’s entertainment. Our fuel. We of today need it more than the real one. Once we thought the grass was green on the other side and that was our meaning, but then globalization happened. We saw the reality.
If we had meaning other than greed, we would probably be celebrating love and all other feelings. But we have no time nor energy for those things because they consume more. They trigger our imagination. They do things to us. They make us think more. What we need is the emptying of the thoughts. How else do we reset from the exhaustion of constant want? — No, not with a Dostoevskian novel in hand. That’s why, the bulk of us today watch people review movies instead of we ourselves watching one. The former is engaging, the latter stimulating.
‘I watched it, so you don’t have to.’ = ‘I live life, therefore I don’t want you to.’
Humans = Greed + Entertainment. Where everything done for both is pragmatic while if you seek to feel the truth with your flute, you waste your time.
‘What’s your real job?’
Where are we now?
Our biggest achievement is that we have managed to build computers. If we ever needed anything to prove to ourselves that we are superior than the rest, computers have done that for us. They have shown to us that we are capable of creating an entirely new being from scratch. They are our ego inflations. No wonder the most greedy do business on it! And we talk about artificial intelligence now as if we are scared, but what we are actually doing beneath is gloating at our accomplishment. We won’t allow any other being to rule over us! The so-called best among us don’t even allow a normal human being to enter into their territory without years of worship and application.
We have created vessels to take us to the stars. We look at the sight of rocket launches and floating stations with a deep glad sigh. ‘We have achieved so much,’ we pat ourselves in the back. It’s another one of those things that has validated our superiority. One has seen fishes swim and birds fly in the air, who has seen a creature reach the outer space! We try to convince ourselves that going to a different planet will somehow solve our problems where in fact all we are doing with those dreams is trying to fill the void: we are nothing! With a fantasy:
‘May be we will encounter god — who has been sleeping — along the way and wake Him up. Or we will encounter other clever beings like us and life will be meaningful again.’
Meaningful as in new wars, new politics, new golds…
So what else do we aspire to?
What is happiness, anyway?
A neurological condition arising out of the perception that an individual has attained what it set out to attend. It could have meant a lot once upon a time, but not anymore.
What has the individual of today set out to attend?
A piece of cake in this celebration of human coronation. A few more views, a few more likes, a few more subsribers, a few houses, a few more sex, a few cars, a few more countries. A few more hours of forgeting of the existential dread.
What is the lesson humans teach each other?
Don’t kill yourself. You too can eat and grow. That’s the meaning you’ve been after.
Before getting into why I consider physical pain to be the greatest teacher, let me give some background.
I am one of those who constantly and intentionally creates problems for himself. Even when there is nothing significantly alarming in life, I have the habit of questioning and worrying about things such that I miss everything else going on, every emotion flowing in and need someone else to remind me of the absurdity of what I have been thinking and worrying about. That someone doesn’t have to be a highly intellectual or spiritual person. That something doesn’t have to be sophisticated or philosophical. Hearing a ten year old kid react while playing a video-game can do the trick. But such encounters rarely occur.
Believe me, I have read and heard the best of preachers preach and the greatest of teachers teach.
‘Thou shalt not do this…’, ‘You have been viewing the world wrong…’, ‘This is the proper way…’…they say.
But for me, what they preach and teach has always been like listening to some music you don’t like. You can hear the music playing, you understand what’s going on…but it just doesn’t touch you.
That’s my character.
Now I want to share my present situation:
I am going through excruciating pain in my mouth because of a couple of rotten teeth. It has persisted for a couple of days during which it has grabbed my attention, sucked my energy, has made me scream in anguish, has taken buzz away from beer, clouds away from smoke, taste away from food and relaxation away from a cup of tea. It has eclipsed my entire being and my thoughts haven’t been able to focus anywhere else apart from the region that hurts.
Under this situation, however, when I move my mind around things, I am amazed at my stupidity for constantly and intentionally creating problems for myself when there are none!
‘Everything is so simple…why was I complicating them?’ I ask myself.
‘This goes here, this there…this fits here…that doesn’t fit there…It’s all so simple. WHAT WAS THERE TO WORRY?!’ I question myself.
This is why I call physical pain the greatest teacher. While I sit here as a being suffering from the complications of its own body, I don’t have time nor space to get lost in mental forests of gloom. For one, it is because I don’t have the energy. Which makes me question whether my anxieties and mental issues are the result of me not being able to apply my energy appropriately. While all the energy of my being is sucked by the consciousness of physical anguish there is little left for the reveries of mind. This is why, perhaps, the mind focuses on the real.
Other thing I notice is the absurdity of problem-creating itself. While I sit here trying to figure out ways through which I can rid myself of this anguish, my state-of-mind is that of the issues of the body. The body which is real. I think I look at the thing that usually bothers me with the same state-of-mind which crops all unnecessary parts and perhaps, the mind focuses on the real. Here there is no place for problem-creating. Things are the way they are!
I don’t know how long this pain will last. In fact, I am about to go visit a doctor. But I don’t want to forget the lessons that this pain has taught me. Lessons about my reality, human reality. About my energy, human energy. Lessons about attention and conscience. Lessons I could never learn from gurus and philosophers.
This physical pain has given me hints on what I shall do and avoid. What I should try to constantly realize. Some part of me wishes some kind of physical pain always remains in me. But again, it’s not comfortable. I have to get rid of this anguish and this is what matters as of now. I need to go to the doctor for I have tried toleration and bearance but none has worked. I have tried homemade ways to avoid pain killers, hasn’t worked. The pain is real. I need to trust the system now. I need to trust a doctor. I need to focus on what is real. I need to do that which is there — not worry about that which may not be.
Right now, I don’t have enough energy or time to question the morality of medical systems!
You notice your anxiety and it burns such that you cannot help but question why you are feeling that way. By then, you have tried everything: distraction, inspiration, perspiration.
Questioning the reasons for anxiety is the only thing left to do and when you reach to that phase, half of it is already gone. ‘Why didn’t I do this before?’ you wonder. You begin digging, imagining, hypothesizing: what is causing this anxiety?
You go through multiple scenarios: past, present, future. Friends, family, self. Mental, emotional, physical. You trial and error through them. One moment you feel you have found the cause: memory of your bullies from school is causing this anxiety…but something doesn’t fit. ‘I have solved it before,’ you say and move on. Another moment: fear of failure! But still something doesn’t feel okay. The anxiety doesn’t leave! ‘No there’s something else,’ you say.
‘Oh, the absurdity of choosing a career of a writer’
‘Yes…but no not this time…I have dealt with it already. I have ideas about it…I don’t need to be anxious…it’s something else’.
And then you think:…it’s not the cause that’s the cause. It’s the anxiety that’s the cause. It’s the anxiety — which like a python dwells inside you. Yeah, it sleeps a lot too. But when it wakes up…it consumes you. It sees complications where there are none. It feels wrong when there are none. It sees another python when there is none. It may not only be the effect of sharp perception which sees the fragility in everything, It may be the cause of wrong perceptions. It maybe behaving like the way they call quantum particles do. In this case, it is both the cause and effect.
As long as it is effect, you can put the python to sleep (by digging the cause)and move on until the python wakes up again. And then you do it again. But if it’s a cause? What do you do? — Medication? Meditation? Masturbation? But, they’re all temporary!
Since I have mentioned the term ‘quantum’ above, I once read Einstein saying this:
…Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.
I don’t know in which context he said it, but he said it good. The anxiety as the cause is similar. It’s some sort of weakness that lurks inside you and creates problem after problem. Time and time again. Why?!
It doesn’t let you have fun with your family, your food, your film. Doesn’t let you be at peace with your pet, your poetry, your plant. Nor does it let you do anything. It lurks and it hurts. Burns and it…It sucks!
It sucks color out of you, joy out of you, love out you, life out of you. And they say it is the sharp perception of the impending threat! I don’t wanna be sharp.
A better question then:
If you are constantly suffering from anxiety, are you shrewd or ill?
(I have written this and now the python seems to have gone to sleep. I wonder when will it wake up again? Oh, wait…it’s back! Apparently, my thinking about it woke it up)
Every now and then it is a blessing to be able to just sit down to write — without planning, without an idea, without something to say, without anyone to criticize, without dreaming of followers. Without caring about the functions of writing and duties of a writer.
It is something you cannot do all the time and you cannot plan. It just comes. Flows, rather. When the burden inside your chest becomes too heavy for you to even breathe, when the idea of being a writer becomes too impractical for you to even live. When you don’t want to speak anything anymore, when you don’t want to make it anymore!
But it happens because you have to still sit down and write something!
I once heard Anthony Burgess say he’d quit being a writer if he suddenly had a million dollars. But I have also heard Charles Bukowski say that writing was never a work for him. ‘It all flows too naturally for me once certain prerequisites are met,’ said he.
But they are old folks. Long gone! That was their deal. Why do I cling on to the thoughts of these thinkers of yore? After all, they didn’t know how it was like to live here — today — 2022 — …they didn’t feel how it feels to be me, or you.
How did this idea of becoming a writer even get into my head? And Why? Why didn’t I want to be a doctor, or an engineer? Is it their doing?
Q: Why do I have to do it? Why can’t I not-do it?
A: Thoughts. My thoughts.
They may have long gone, but human-thoughts haven’t.
Every now and then it is a blessing to be able to quit old thoughts and patterns of thinking. They are like extremely heavy loads to your fragile imagination. They break your proverbial back.
Why can’t I move on from old identities, old relationships, from old self?
After all, I am living in a new world. Why do old concepts like nations and religion keep bothering me? Why do they buzz in my conscience like a mosquito? This internet thing wasn’t there a while ago. If the internet was there in the age of enlightenment, there wouldn’t be advocacy for sovereign nations. Nations were supposed to be a bridge connecting all of us of different races and castes. And now we are connected. Yet nations exist today —and they themselves are disconnecting you and I! What an irony. I hate nations — I hate my nation — I hate your nation!
I once talked to an old writer, ‘You guys of today are lucky…the computer corrects your grammar,’ said he.
‘You guys were luckier. In your age, not everyone could publish,’ I thought.
Old thoughts! They bug, they bite, they hurt. I want to be new every second. I want to be someone else every new day. I want to kill the yesterday’s me. I can’t do all that with my physical body, but my mind is free. I can do that to my image and self. But, why don’t I do that?
Is it because I have a citizenship with my name on it?
I condemn nations. They all should die. Nations are pathetic concepts infesting our modern souls.
I wonder if someone from Norway also criticizes nations as much as someone like me — who is from Nepal — does?
It doesn’t matter. Nations are like old thoughts. They are old thoughts! They trouble humanity just as my old thoughts trouble me. They should die, just as my old thoughts should!
It’s therapeutic to sit down and write nonsense like this. I wonder if anyone will even read this particular word. And this little jibberish here: hfdaslvnadfkl. If yes, then here’s a small gift from me to you:
Hello, I wish you well for your life. Please take care of yourself.
But even if no one reads, I really don’t care (on this one at least) for I have cured my anxiety for now. That’s what should matter to me!
I haven’t been-to or lived in the United States, or the United Kingdom, or Norway, or some nation similar — which means I cannot tell how those nations will make you perceive about humans, but, I have been born-on and lived in a small nation called Nepal — which means I can tell you that this Nation has made me disgusted with this species called human beings.
Q: What kind of people?
A: In general.
Q: Be specific!
A: Okay, there are two aspects to it. One is the people’s inability to manage and second is their greed.
Q: That’s common in people of all nations. Be more specific.
A: If that’s the case, buckle up!
Management: You wake up one morning fresh and hopeful about the prospects of both the world and your life. To respect that, you want to take a shower. You go to the bathroom and turn the knob of the tap: There’s no water flowing! Even the toilet lid is covered because you haven’t been able to flush the doings of last night. Still, you gotta do the morning deed. It smells bad: You get disgusted with your own smell. You get disgusted with yourself. But somehow you manage to hold yourself together. You change and decide to go out for a short walk. As soon as you leave, you are greeted by a smell. A smell so bad, so pungent, you feel sympathetic towards your toilet. That smell is from the waste that hasn’t been collected for weeks. It gets inside your nose and from there to your blood and soul. If the morning smell disgusted you with yourself, the public waste disgusts you with people. You can’t see yourself or the people around you without that smell. They seem and smell like waste. You get disgusted. You question humans in general. You wonder if other nations are similar. You return home and curse the god that placed you in this rubbish out of all the rubbish in the globe.
Pettiness: You are on your scooter and are about to park in a space. There are already ten other bikes and scooters parked. You spot a small empty space between two bikes. You, dreaming of your future, accelerate towards that empty space — but another bike rudely overtakes you and parks in that very space. You are angry. You look around and see that there are enough spaces left for ten more bikes. Why did this person have to park exactly where I was about to park? I was nearer to the spot? Couldn’t he have parked a little further? Then you argue with yourself that there’s no point blaming others, so you quietly go and park in another empty space. The empty space you saw at first was about a ten metres closer to the destination both you and that person were headed to! That person was just petty! This pettiness creeps on to you. It ruins your entire day. You enter the government office for whatever you were there for. You are already angry and hungry. You take the token and they tell you the official is out for lunch. You wait for half-an-hour — and they tell you the official has left for home. ‘Come tomorrow,’ they say and move away from you. ‘Why?’ you shout. No one listens, let alone answer. Now, they all seem and smell like shit. You get disgusted. You question humans in general. You wonder if other nations are similar. You return home and curse the god that placed you in this rubbish out of all the rubbishes in the globe.
We talk about the world moving ‘fast’ today but Europe in the 18th century must have been faster. Yes, these express technological developments are blinding and who knows how long it will take for us to finally understand what has been happening for the last 20 years or so, but Europe in the 18th century must have been at a different level purely due to the amount of ideas being thrown around — new ideas about ourselves, our world, new ideas about ideas!
It was the time after the Renaissance and giant thinkers such as Descartes, Locke, Leibniz; time of men of science such as Kepler, Hooke and Newton. New interpretations of classic ideas were happening, art was developing, science was emerging and philosophy was changing — humanity was becoming something new!
It was in this mood that one of the definers of that space-time, the most popular interpreter of those years and people emerged: Voltaire and it was in this mood that his classic Micromégas appeared.
I had read on Wikipedia that this particular work of fiction was science fiction but my preconception got the better of me and it told me it was an exaggeration— after all what kind of science fiction could an 18th century philosopher write when science wasn’t even SCIENCE yet!
But I was surprised (and angry at myself at this habit of preconception).
This short story is about an inhabitant of a planet that revolves around Sirius — which is 24,000 times bigger than the Earth. His name is Mr. Micromégas. He is big (24000 geometrical paces of five feet each), he is old (600 years of age). He is a philosopher!
After being trialled for heretical observations he decides to travel the universe:
…sometimes by the help of a sunbeam, and sometimes by the convenience of a comet, he and his retinue glided from sphere to sphere, as the bird hops from one bough to another. He in a very little time posted through the milky way…
He reaches to the planet Saturn and notices that the inhabitants there were mere dwarfs compared to him (about a thousand fathoms high.) There he befiends the secretary of the Academy and they begin travelling together.
They slip from moon to moon and spring upon passing comets and they reach Jupiter. There they learn some secrets and leave. They traverse about one hundred million leagues and see two moons on Mars. They do not stay on Mars because they think it would be too small to accommodate them. So they continue on. Until…they are tired and want to rest. This is where they notice the Earth. There they resolve to land. They move toward the tail of a comet and finding an Aurora Borealis they embark. They arrive on the northern coast of the Baltic on the fifth day of July in the year 1737.
On Earth they encounter whales and think it to be the ruling animals. Finally, they encounter humans who are obviously visible to them only through microscopes and audible to them only through certain creative mechanisms. They do not believe that such small creatures could possess intelligence. They talk to humans and ask questions like — if they were happy, if they were inspired with souls, etc.
A human mathematician, astounded by the questions, measures them which makes them realize that one should not judge things by its external magnitude.
Then they begin conversing with philosophers and learn from them that the Earth-humans fight with each other a lot for leaders who never go to the place of conflict by wretches who possibly never behold the leaders who tell them to sacrifice.
Hearing about the barabarians who rule from their palaces, give orders for murdering millions the Sirian is fillied with compassion for the human race. He then recognizing that there are only few who are wise in the entire species, he asks questions about mathematics and science. Hearing the answers, he is impressed. And then he asks them about soul:
Tell me what is the soul, and how do your ideas originate?
What follows after this question is bombardment of ideas from the philosophers. Some quote Aristotle and some Descartes, some Mallebranche and some Leibniz and Locke. But all present different opinions.
A person tells them he can answer all the secrets (which was contained in the abridgment of St. Thomas) and after he surveys them from top to toe, he says that they too were made for the use of man!
When leaving, the Sirian presents a book to the humans which he says willdemonstrates the very essence of things.
What he writes in that book, I will not write here. I suggest you read, or rather experience the work yourself.
All in all I think this book manages to beautifully illustrate the speed of that age in Europe — the variety, the hope and the excitement from all the intellectual developments happening. We humans tend to get carried away a lot. It is happening today as well, with our scientific and technological progress.
After reading this book I have realized that this is nothing new. I consider 18th century Europe to be crazier and more full of doubts and imaginations than today. It was a dangerous time, for it was a time where ideas and idea-generators were popular. Anything could have been thought, imagined and envisioned. Things could have gone anywhere, but it has reached here. Voltaire surely was influential in all this.
I don’t think I am alone in this. I am sure I am not alone in this. This restlessness is painful!
When I start a book, I do not want to stop until I have finished it. Yes, I have my Time Management Formula where I divide my day into parts where reading and writing get a certain amount of time each. I have divided in a manner so as to not mix them together. One at a time. It is supposed to help me cure this agitation, this headache:
Read-only from x to y AM.
Write-only from a to b PM.
Yet, when I start a book I want x and y to extend forever, killing a and b in the process. I want to read on and on: for the whole day, days or weeks. Until the book is finished. Done!
I find it difficult to get into the writing mode while I read.
The same happens when I am in the writing mode.
When I start writing a thing or two, I want a and b to extend forever, killing x and y in the process. I want to write on and on: for the whole day, days or weeks. Until I am exhausted and out of writing energy. Done!
I find it difficult to get into the reading mode while I write.
This issue drives me crazy. Take this moment for instance. This moment: when I am writing this article, I am writing as if I will never ever read a book in my life. I am a writer, I don’t read, is what’s buzzing inside my head.
But something similar had happened this morning when I was reading a book:
I love to read, fk writing, was what was buzzing inside my head.
If looked upon as action, as a whole, I may have been successfully reading and writing. But during each process the difficulty, the restlessness, the agitation, the ache is real. It hurts.
I am trying to make friends of reading and writing. I want them to be friends. I want them to understand each other. I want them to understand me. I want them to understand the situation. I want them to understand the human irony.
At times, they do understand. But most of the time they don’t.
Yet in the overall context, I do both. But with pain. The Time Management Formula works. It is like a machine which pushes me to do things. It makes things happen. But it is like a machine. It doesn’t make me feel. It pushes me. It just gets things done. Just like machines.
I wish they (reading and writing) understood each other. I wish I could get up after finishing this and read for the rest of the day. But no! Another writing-idea has popped up. It’s as if I want to throw all the books away and just write for the rest of my life. Yet when I start reading, I don’t want to stop. After I finish something I want to read something else immediately. I want to go on and on…
Yet, the Time Management Formula works: like a clock. Like a machine. I want something organic…
What about you? Does this happen to you? How do you deal with this?
There are many who, out of ignorance, out of envy or out of their own self-insignificance-perception will spit verbal poison at you. They will — with their petty mind — carefully locate the thing(s) that matter, strengthen you and derogate it to a great degree and you immediately find yourself facing crisis, feeling weak. Your foundation crumbles. No matter how capable you think of yourself, it is an extremely tough task to remain unbothered by the sting. When a snake bites you, you feel it!
Let the stinger sting. If you don’t feel a thing it might imply you are too malleable, dull or blunt. Sensing the sting means: you have your values and you perceive the sting. Which I think is a healthy thing.
At times there are stings which lead us to an appropriate direction while we might have lost track. Those however are in fact not stings but medicines for us. The difference between poison and medicine is in the intention. We’ve got to be able to spot the intention. Unable to know which ones are which might be detrimental to us.
But the real problem is when one allows the poison to sustain.
If that happens, we find yourself baseless, willess, strengthless — with the poison enveloping us and we thinking only of the person(s) who has stung. There we might even develop an impulse for revenge, which I do not think is a healthy thing. Our mind is supposed to be free, aware and ready for the next truth — thinking of giving a punch back to someone is the last thing we want it to be doing! We’re not that petty.
Worse than that would be: we boiling. Angered, fuming we spitting words back at that person. Words that hurt. Words that derogate. In other words, we ourselves stinging and spreading poison. We don’t wanna do that, do we?
Q: So what do we do then? How do we deal with verbal poison?
A: We rub the wound a couple of times and think of something else!
(What we value is valuable, that is why we the valuable one values it)
a quality that you either have or want to have in yourself
In the traditional sense, this ‘special worth’ of Merriam Webster is socially given. If any qualities in a person of any given time and place is deemed worthy and ‘good’ by the society, that quality ends up being a virtue. But I don’t think that it should be the case. An individual should be allowed to determine what virtue he/she would want in themselves and fight or convince others that the virtue they have selected is more worthy then the one prevalent if that is not the case. It is about fighting for the true against prejudice.
While we’re critiquing traditional thinking, I am reminded of one Nietzsche from the 19th century.
In his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche talks about ideally have only one virtue. Saying how qualities evolved from the maturity of one’s passion is the best route to discovering one’s virtue, he also goes on to say that while it is illustrious to have multiple virtues, it is a hard ask. He says multiple virtues will eventually envy each other as they all vie for the highest position within you.
But I think multiple virtues can be managed together. For that to be possible though, we need generalization and a little act of symbolism.
At this moment, I want to share my virtues with you. (Not what I have, but what I seek in me.)
These virtues as of now are:
Now, what I did to make sure these qualities I want to have in me won’t fight and compete with each other as Nietzsche warned, I have used symbolism to turn all three into one.
First, let me quickly define what I mean by those words above.
Calmness for me is the quieting of thoughts such that they go about slowly, gently and smoothly.
Strength for me is when your thoughts stop and ignore fearly emotions. Strength is when your own thoughts dominate and beat the hell out of petty and harmful thoughts.
Depth for me is thoughts reaching the root of everything it encounters.
I initially didn’t want to write and publish this article because all this is my personal work in progress and I may not have the same thinking about these things tomorrow as of now. But then I wanted to go ahead and do it, for reasons I do not know yet.
Well then, with that out of the way, I want to talk about the generalizing and the symbolizing.
I searched for a single thing (symbol) that would successfully have all the three qualities I have in it.
What could that be which is calm, strong and deep? — And then I got it:
Ocean surfaces can be calm. Oceans are mighty strong. Oceans are seriously deep.
Okay, I do know how ocean surfaces are violent and disturbing too! Just like our thoughts. But since we are humans, we can decide how we would want the waters to flow.
In Nepal, it is difficult to find an intellectual unstained by Hindu/Buddhist or some sort of political ideology. This tendency might be a global phenomenon, yet, in Nepal, it stretches to a nauseating degree, so much so that you can correctly guess an intellectual’s entire idea-set by merely knowing his/hers religious/political inclination. The person I am writing about today is Laxmi Prasad Devkota.
He struggled with both those elements and yet managed to live and create in a way that included and transcended them.
You can’t predict him, you can’t guess him and you get both annoyed and exalted by his spontaneity and randomness: in other words, by his poetic genius.
There’s a lot of myth surrounding the man.
Stories of him giving away his coat to the poor; writing lengthy poems in cigarette packs; struggling immensely with money; being sent to Ranchi (a city in India known for mental treatment) — are abound. It was in this context that he was called a geographical mistake by a Brit whose name I cannot recall.
Yet some had enough sense to recognize him and call him a Nepali Mahakavi (Great Poet). But apart from that, his works and ideas aren’t popular in a folk sense and his presence is mostly limited within dull school-books.
Yes, such is the society of Nepal and such was the man born here: ahead of his time, inappropriately in space!
He mostly wrote poems (epic, short, metered, unmetered) spanning from Nepali Shakuntala to Prometheus. His seminal work Munamadan is still considered to be the greatest work of Nepali Literature. It is a tragedy about a man who leaves his wife and mother to go to Lhasa for a better financial life.
He wrote songs. He also wrote a lot of short stories and a novel.
His essays are brilliant and it is in this context that I would like to introduce his ideas to people who aren’t familiar with him.
A few years ago I published a collection of poetry in English named PARANOIA:
When I reached to the final stages the work — set to publish — I had the idea of using my work as a medium to interpret a couple of Nepali writers — in English. I translated certain lines I liked from Devkota’s essay collection and placed it in.
The translations include his thoughts on a wide array of things: creativity, art, science, philosophy, spirituality, education, life, god, etc.
I now want to quit this rambling of mine and insert those translations/interpretations so that you can judge and hopefully enjoy his ideas on your own.
Truth shines through feelings…
In the heart lies the luminosity of God.
Feelings or emotions are primary
Desiring and thinking come later.
To be devoid of these four is the sign of being a beast.
Difficulty doesn’t imply depth.
Difficulty doesn’t mean Art,
Incomprehensibility doesn’t have any value.
To manufacture machines.
And the soul desires a thing,
education provides something else.
All I’ve learned till B.A
in three years
I can put into little children’s minds better,
That we usually call Education
is making man stupid.
Creation Love Art
And love is the chief element of creation
Whilst Art is the chief action of love
I yearn to see:
What lies there in the heart!
I want to bow my head
As if the all pervading God is scolding me.
I know that I am a sinner.
The beautifully illustrated Truth is Art
Which springeth from the creative imagination.
The truth lies in our life
and unless it comes from the formlessness to the form:
we do not realize it.
Civilization hasn’t yet started.
We haven’t learned to respect life.
Real progress will start
The day our sentiment of brotherhood gets firm
As long as we aspire to become great in this world
or hold feelings to do things
and show our pride,
Vairagya is impossible.
To doubt is better,
as it helps understand,
Question is everything, answer is maturity.
It is cowardice to not move forward in opportunity.
We cannot live in a life devoid of danger.
What Science does not
Science cannot satisfy man’s curiosity
and he searches for glimpses
beyond the Sciences
through the magic of emotional and imaginative world,
where man feels self-satisfied as if he is near the truth.
What Art not
The works done by mathematical formulas,
even though are the works of brain,
do not deserve to be called Art.
Painting is Art, Photography is not.
Where Art springs
When the creative imagination sees new dreams
Rising from imitation
And maneuvers its works in its own manner,
Let’s get small
There is fun in being small
We can see others’ significance dance around.
There is pleasure in the peacefulness of ego;
We can see others’ pretense.
The energy to manufacture Art
Doesn’t come from the mere superficial darshan of objects
nor does it comes from mere intellect and knowledge;
It comes from those subtle consciences,
Which find emotional caressing from divine experience
rising above bestial eyes.
The beast merely looks and remains satisfied,
but man tries to touch the heart of everything.
Teacher and teaching
Science cannot locate everything
and our psychological studies end
within the darkness of the intellect.
This is why no teacher can teach.
In the divine talent of the Creator
The word was born
studying this creation
attain clear messages of
Divine Beauty and
In the creative imagination of God,
Totality works and provides beautiful
lines and colors and forms
to the Truth of God.
We realize the ‘beautiful’ through the sensing of Truth
and where there is no Truth there isn’t beauty.
This Self-Illustrating form of God
manifests in artistic creativity such that
truth becoming beautiful descends to the outer forms of the senses.
practicality is limited and
philosophy, intellect is blind.
I enjoy imaginative truth the most
and through it find the glimpses of God
I enjoy gambling,
As I find ample opportunities there
To engage my mind and study.
Why is God silent?
It is the consequence of the
Western Civilization that,
God doesn’t speak in
Wind and Water.
I speak with the shadows
The optical world is merely
The manifestation of the inside
And all solid objects are liquid.
In the heart of the poet
The rocks speak
And the leaves have tongue.
Those who say,
The world doesn’t speak
Those who say,
There isn’t life in the hills and the trees and the stars
Elucidates the affinity
Between man and God
It is Human-Heart and Imagination
Man seeks to
His identification with the unknown
And in the world of the known
Seeks for the kingdom of the unknown
For studying the life of any culture
There’s nothing more enlightening
Then the Arts of that culture.
We feel we’ve reached near to the Creator
When that eye in our inner world opens
Can bring to form the unavailable and the irregular
And fill it with colours.
A small spark of
The fundamental creative dream energy of God
He tries to create
Runs after fresh magic to improve the world
Listens to the call of the unknown,
Ascending beyond sights and sounds
Seeks for the inner sparks and sounds
He turns forms into sounds and words into pictures
He dislikes boundaries
He wants to fly and pluck
Peek from darkness and
Steal the fire from heaven.
Work and Art
In a simple table,
The work of carpentry is done
If a carpenter
Creates a table as if a beautiful dream
Art it becomes.
We call those creations Art
Which are within the boundaries of truth and beauty
If they’ve got the natural affect
For the heart of life.
Empty dreams aren’t Art
As long as they don’t get published.
Truth and Beauty
Beauty arises from the prodigious consciousness of truth
Published in 1848, this short work is where Poe searches for the sweetest-spot of wisdom to look into scientific and philosophical questions.
In his own words, he wanted it to be considered as a work of poetry:
To the few who love me and whom I love, to those who feel rather than think, to the dreamers and those who put their faith in dreams as in the only realities, I offer this book of truths, not in its character of truth-teller, but for the beauty that abounds in its truth, constituting it true. (Preface)
Apart from physical, cosmological, and spiritual implications, Poe in this work provides us with his epistemology. By that I mean — he provides us the method/way he believes in and has used to observe what he has observed and conclude what he has concluded. In doing so he has also provided us with his own brief interpretation of the history of philosophy.
I have summarized in this manner:
It was the metaphysicians who first came up with singular fancy that there exist but two practicable roads to Truth. Aristotle was the founder and popularizer of the deductive or the apriori method. He started with axioms, or self-evident truths and from axioms he proceeded logically, to results. His most illustrious disciples were one Euclid and Kant. Aristotle and his method reigned supreme until James Hogg preached an entirely different system, which he called the à posteriori or inductive method.
His plan referred altogether to sensation. He proceeded by observing, analyzing, and classifying facts — instantiæ Naturæ, as they were somewhat affectedly called — and arranging them into general laws.
While the mode of Aristotle rested on noumena, that of Hogg depend on phenomena; and so great was the admiration excited by this latter system that, at its first introduction, Aristotle fell into general disrepute.
But he recovered ground, and was permitted to divide the empire of Philosophy:
For many years, it didn’t matter whether the truth was even demonstrably such, for the dogmatizing philosophers of that epoch regarded only the road by which it professed to have been attained. It all ended with the scrutiny of the means, where it was found that the mean fit neither under Hog, nor under Aristotle.
If the crawling system was exclusively adopted, men wouldn’t have arrived at the maximum amount of truth because the repression of imagination was an evil not to be counterbalanced even by absolute certainty in the snail processes. Nor was that certainty absolute. Their method was like holding something close to the eyes to see it better. Which in turn blinded the seers.
The major taint in Baconianism lay in its tendency to throw power and consideration into the hands of merely perceptive men who mostly dug for minute facts, especially in physical science. All they did was depended on facts and closed their eyes to everything else. They gave hard time to those who wanted to evolve from facts through generalization. They called them ‘theoretical,’ ‘theory,’ ‘theorist’ in a degrading manner.
On the other hand, the Aristotleians were blind as they had:
This way, none of them came — even by accident — to the broadest, the straightest and most available of all mere roads — the majestic highway of the Consistent. They failed to deduce from the works of God the vitally momentous consideration that a perfect consistency can be nothing but an absolute truth?
After that proposition, the process of truth investigation was taken out of the hands of the ground-moles and given to the only true thinkers — to the generally-educated men of ardent imagination:
The speculators and the theorizers. The Keplers, The Laplaces, whose theories are corrected/reduced/sifted/cleared of their chaff of inconsistency —
This way, Poe establishes and selects intuition, which he describes as:
A conviction resulting from shadowy deductions or inductions.
Elsewhere, he describes an artist as someone with an exquisite sense of beauty which affords him not only a rapturous enjoyment but also a sense of deformity of disproportion (FIFTY SUGGESTIONS XXII).
Poets (who are artists) have the ability to sense the wrong and they can see injustice where the unpoetical see none. They have a clear-sightedness in respect to wrong which is nothing more than a corollary from the vivid sensation of right. Poets have an irritability towards the wrong.
As I think back on the subjects I was taught at school, I find no subject more general and peculiar than Social Studies.
Other subjects were pretty much straightforward and drew a clear line and scope: Science was about hard sciences; Mathematics about numbers, angles and their relations; English and Nepali tried to infuse command over the language through grammar and literature (although I would prefer literature to be a separate subject, but of that some other day); computer about getting used to computers. But social studies? Was it just supposed to be about understanding social stuff or was it about having a command over society?Was it supposed to be what we call ‘social sciences’? What was it?
I mean, history you can understand. But geography? I vividly remember being taught to look at maps! And at the same time, I also remember studying about the monsoon, weather, climate and all those kinds of things. What were they doing in social studies? If the argument is that they have importance in our social life, then, well each of the sciences and languages do too! Likewise, civics and sociology is understandable. I got my first exposure to the political system of my country through this subject.
As with almost everything, the curriculum I was a part of came from Western Countries. In this regard, it was futile to argue about the subject matters of social studies in Nepali context. There was no point blaming the ‘incapable’, ‘incompetent’ thinkers of this country. I had to blame either the US or UK. And since I am from a ‘developing’ nation, that was futile as well– Anything they did had to be genius!
Which basically means, it is more a National Studies where each subject matter is looked upon relative to one’s nation. Even International stuff. Otherwise, anthropology, archaeology, geography, philosophy (of all subjects) would want to be somewhere else.
This clears it up for me: social studies isn’t social sciences. The major difference being, social science would want to be more objective in its nature, whereas the purpose of social studies is solely to inject some ‘national sense’ inside the learners head. In the former you could talk about the geopolitical weaknesses of your country, in the latter you had to be proud of it! Therefore, geography fits well inside social studies.
In this way, what I see in social studies is a tool which holds the essence of modern education. While science and mathematics get all the attention and accolades and surely provide the best things in life if done well, social studies quietly lets you know who you are and whom you should dedicate yourself to with all your talents! Telling you whose side you are on.
Proving once again that the things that have the deepest impact are usually ones that are the quietest.
I just hope there won’t be ‘Big Tech Studies’ anytime soon though!
You, born in a normal family with normal requirements in life and a normal worldview properly begin your social life with your school.
There you are immediately introduced to rules and regulations. If you break them, you are punished. Your punishments are so impactful to your psyche that — after a certain while — even a thought about breaking them makes you scared. Anxious. If you are thick-skinned enough to not get scared, you will end up a hooligan, a thug.
Likewise, if you follow those rules and regulations, you are rewarded. You are rewarded with claps and medals and praises. This makes you proud of yourself. Your pride is such that — after a while — the thought of gaining more of those claps and medals and praises gets you drooling. You are lured. You want more. You want to achieve more. Hear more. Claps, praises.
And so the same formula of rules and regulations drive you through college and university where — if you perceive you haven’t been up to the rule, you get anxious and at the moments when you think you will achieve or actually achieve some kind of success, you get excited…
And this way, you get into the job market, and you go through your life.
The formula (once again) is simple for you: follow the rules and be happy or break them and be miserable.
Now, if you are lucky (yes lucky!) or crazy you will question who the fk created that system of rules in the first place. Only if you are lucky or crazy! And you will start questioning a lot of things. The foundation of the system, the motive, the people invovled, etc. etc.
There you will be stunned at your first hypothesis of the division. Yes, there is a division!
On one end were you: a normal person with normal wants and circumstances and at the other end were those who made all those rules and regulations.
And then you will realize something that will feel like a slap: a slap vicious and lethal, embarrassing and humiliating than any teacher had ever given you:
What you did or did not was always ordained, controlled, fabricated!
Yes, your entire thoughts, desires and your bloody life was designed to make you exactly the way you ended up. You were never free, you were engineered! And it was never for you, you were just a tool…
And this is where you reach that realm: The Realm of Gods & Kings!
And then you will see them for the first time in a way you had never seen them. Yes, you had always heard of them, known them: but you had never understood them. Now, you understand them. Feel them.
They are the ones who drove you around like cattle. There you will see them and tremble at the sight. Tremble at your ignorance: they are the same kings, priests, philosophers, scholars and merchants that you were taught about. That you were preached about. Who were praised and venerated. Revered. Followed by thousands of you on Twitter!
Yes, you, you do think and talk to your buddies (same as you) about your big ideas — Where did this all come from, where might it be headed; what if life and what is existence; does god exist ; do aliens exist; democracy rules! — wear pendants and tikas, sit on your yogic postures chanting om, close your eyes and pray, sing, etc. but you do that with a vicious unconsciousness. Yes, you may talk and write about Plato, but you do it without a clue, without a sense. You are just a babbler, an unconscious machine. Going bla bla bla. Talking much but realizing nothing!
But guess what: they aren’t! They are your Gods and Kings!
You had once questioned god with your friends while smoking ganja on top of that hill, hadn’t you? Now, here you have it: Plato is your god, so is Buddha, Ashoka, Alexander and Napoleon! And so is Hawking. So are Jobs and Gates: Your gods and kings. For they set the rules. They watch you move. They decide your fate. They are in the realm of gods & kings, and you — you poor normal guy: aren’t! You are just normal. A normal tool. Nothing. You are dispensable. Manageable. Organizable. You, you normal person!
And then you think you are a democratic citizen of whatever your country. You talk of your vote, and your rights, and your activities.
Here’s to democracy:
Only when each and every human individual reaches the realm of gods & kings, will democracy even begin to be practical.
Dream on, Run from bombs and surveillance!
Follow on, Praise on!
As to education:
Well, they removed this secret from the curriculum a long-long time ago!
Philosophy’s task is to Understand and Guide Life and the World. That is what Real Philosophy is and should be.
Philosophy in general tends to get a bad rap in our times. Almost to the extent of getting bullied by the scientific community. In fact, philosophy has been getting it for a long-long time. Paraphrasing Kant, ‘she used to be the queen once, but not since long’, Understandably so!
After the advent of the scientific method and its apparent successes in the form of Copernicus’ model, Galileo’s observations and most importantly Newton’s calculations, philosophy in Europe quietly hung its head low and retreated to the back side of the scholarly ‘classroom’. Literally too, the success of science and its use to the states at around the 17th century along with the growing irrelevance of church and theological speculations meant philosophy had no place in what used to be the highest level of learning — which it used to share for a lot of years with theology. Understandably so!
Philosophy had no business meddling in things that were empirical in nature. Things of matter. It never had. The scientific method was destined for that. And once it arrived, philosophy had to retreat.
Yes, there have been philosophical roars and explosions now and then after the advent of the scientific age but they haven’t been intense enough, they haven’t been loud enough, they haven’t been impactful enough. Apart from: in the social, cultural and ‘life’ domains.
An example is Nietzsche. He was good and impactful because he didn’t speculate much on the nature of atoms, or the color of stars. Or even if he did, he wasn’t promoting it as loud as superman. He was a good thinker of human thoughts, nature, culture and understanding — the domains not accessible to science. That’s why he was good. He was doing real philosophy.
Real Philosophy for me then is philosophy in its truest sense: love of wisdom.
And wisdom is the ability and the state of mind where everything (notice the word everything) is taken as a whole and reasonable (notice the term reasonable) observations and conclusions are drawn from it. This is where philosophy is good. This is where philosophy is relevant and this is where philosophy is beautiful. The end goal of philosophy is life. That is: The Everything. Human Life. Animal Life. Machine Life. Whatever life. But Life. Not life in an organic sense but life in a subjective sense. And whenever philosophy focuses on life, it wins. It becomes relevant and it makes bloody sense.
Let’s take Plato. His works have multiple dimensions. He has talked about all sorts of things from Government to God to Education to Arts. I find Republic to be an extremely valuable and life changing piece of work, but Timaeus feels tedious, vague and nonsense. Whenever he talks about how people work or how society should operate; about the types of people present and about the use of art or war in human affairs: he is solid. He is there. Making sense. Changing thoughts and lives. Breaking shackles. Un-ignorable. Same is with the Allegory of the cave. We take something to be true, but what if it isn’t: this is the domain of skepticism, about our tendency to mistake things false as real — it’s about illusions and deceptions. It’s bloody good! False perceptions can have dire consequences in life. One human doesn’t need to experiment by jumping off a cliff to know that one cannot fly. It is common sense. It is pre-science. It is Real Philosophy. It is Plato. But when he starts talking about how the earth — which is our nurse, clinging around the pole which is extended through the universe — he comes un-believable and ignorable.
Similar is Schopenhauer. In his seminal work, The World as Will and Idea, look how bloody genius he is when he is talking about Arts and their use for us in life. And then compare that with his preoccupation with wanting to find the material and ideal source of it all — he goes astray and never becomes the genius thinker again. He seems like a mere copywriter of Upanishads and Buddhism.
Staying with those latter two, my experiences with them too have been similar. They are relevant and working as long as they are addressing life in general. About the misery. About the absurdity of desires, etc. But as soon as they venture into expressing how the universe may be working, how the earth may have come about — they look stupid.
Real Philosophy then is a subject that deals from the most general POV. With Wisdom. About life. Let science rant about The Big Bang Theory, the duty of philosophy is to check its relevance to our lives. Point out the theory’s absurdity for the mind, life and society. Laugh at science’s over-ambitions and faults. Be sarcastic if needed. Bring everything that is overrated back to size.
Real philosophy’s duty is not to compete with science. It’s is to guide and nurture science. An aging grandfather may not be able to outrun his granddaughter who is breaking records in local running competitions — and he shouldn’t try — because it’s not his job! His job is to tell her what she is doing right and what of hers is wrong and guide her appropriately. Tell her what over ambition will do to her life. Share experiences. Tell her what in life is of value at the end of it all. Show her the meaning of race in the context of her life. That’s the role of real philosophy and its presence for humans is eternal. Unlike the analogical human grandfather however, philosophy will only die with humanity and will only get wiser the as humanity ages.
For instance, let Neuroscience or psychology — the scientific embodiments of age old philosophical question of mind-body — do their work. See where they lead. Patiently. If they stumble upon a problem that is not empirical in nature but is epistemological, tell what may have been wrong in the approach. Guide those sciences. Don’t go around forming new speculations about what mind may be. Don’t go around promoting simulation theories. Those will lead nowhere. Science is philosophy’s child, there is no need to be competitive. Without philosophy, science wouldn’t have been born, without philosophy humans might not be around for long! That’s enough of pride for real philosophy!
As humans sit on their rockets and fly above, pump their data into their computers and a new being create, take more and more control of earth and its surrounding: many-many challenges await. Numerous problems will this race and other creatures face. If you leave it all to science, the chances are: either everything will be mechanical or dead. This is where real philosophy shall step in. To keep the real human engine running, to keep things alive. To think about and better life. It should show the significance of various things to people and all beings capable of seeing. It should teach to be critical, skeptic. It should explain the value of everything. It should be able to talk about the impact of learning and knowledge. Importance of virtue. Context of greed, lust and everything of the likes. About the good and the bad.
It is something no university can/should teach. Because it’s no business of organizations driven by various motives to be teaching life to people! Whenever they have tried, they have failed. Let them create their workforce for states and corporations. Real philosophy should be kept away from all these temporary structures. Its work is to contextualize and guide all thoughts and actions.
It is real and it has always come out of real thinkers. Call it Real Philosophy, Philosophy OR Thinking: the choice is yours.
A quick glance of known/believed human history will reveal to us one constant: Learning is essential. Vital. Crucial!
Learning in the sense of:
the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, attitudes, and preferences.
But another quick glance will reveal to us one more constant: learning has never been much popular among the masses. Yes, the populace has gathered a fact here, a fact there, and have been informed, but that cannot be said to be learning. Similarly, learning has had to face obstacles from many sources.
Yet, humans have been — time and again — able to learn and generate new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, attitudes, and preferences with the load of all those people carried by a selected few in all time and place. Those carriers are the people of learning. Therefore, the value of learning and people of learning is constant.
We might never know the individual(s) who first came up with the understanding of the process of bipedal walking, fire production, stone tools manufacturing; language, art— yet looking at trends of how men have learned in recorded history, we can safely assume that there was someone somewhere who first converted an event of natural occurrence into a method. Who first converted phenomenon to knowledge. Crisis into solution. Despair into fascination. Those who did all these were people of learning.
It is those people of learning who first had the idea of viewing natural items as gods. Irrespective of civilization, this has been common. We might look upon that as weakness today, but for that time and place, this was learning: understanding, knowing, the world. You can’t call them weak. If that view didn’t happen, then who knows what would have happened! They had a way to turn fear into some kind of control. Those people of learning!
Similarly, it was peoples of learning who first had the idea of organizing pre-civilizations scattered societies into an order — once the number of folks increased. This too has been a constant in multiple civilizations. You might call it natural, I call it the doing of peoples of learning. Remove them from the equation, and we might not have been sitting here writing and reading on Medium.
And likewise, the peoples of learning came up with centralized power, religious rites, aesthetic buildings, laws, etc. And it was the same people who with their learning came up with the idea of things as diverse as citizenship, republic, and reason.
Indeed the rest is history. History made and interpreted by peoples of learning.
Without the people of learning, there might have been no history. You might say, there might have been a better history, but how? showme!
Irrespective of the moods of the temples, states, monarchs, councils, universities…People of learning have stood and shined.
Here today and heading to the future, uncertainties abound. Anxiety, paranoia, and stupidity reign supreme. That’s just the way we perceive natural things. But of course, here we are people of learning. Let’s understand and DECIDE where things shall go. Where we shall go. These kinds of shaping’s have always been the task of peoples of learning. Now it’s the time for current peoples of learning.
Let’s decide the fate of us all — our mind, life, earth, and everything else. If we won’t, then who will? — — Machines of Learning?
I had this idea to open my laptop and write in short about life in Nepal – the country of my birth and citizenship. Things to write have weird sources and this one is no different.
In regards to the people to whom I may be writing to : I had Non-Nepalese people in mind, especially the open minded and intellectual type – to provide them a glimpse of things from a relatively insignificant nation in the world.
Well, some nations are significant. Extremely significant. While some are utterly not! While their existence and citizens in themselves are criteria for significance, I tend to look at two basic factors to decide for myself on what makes a nation/state significant or even successful:
Surviving implies survival of the society/nation’s basis and essence: identity and peculiarity. Thriving on the other hand implies strong political, economic, cultural presence along with the ability to generate new knowledge and invent whole bunch of things.
Surviving alone makes a society significant to itself while thriving makes it significant to others as well. Just as in the case of individual creatures.
In this regard, Nepal is a surviving nation but a terribly non-thriving one! (It’s political, economic and cultural destiny is usually guided and at times even driven by agents that are not Nepalese.)
That’s the first thing about Nepal: It’s an insignificant nation. (Ask every single Nepali person that you happen to meet in your country and they will validate this for you!)
Life of mere survival – on the inside – is not too amazing. It is the case of existence without meaning. You are just there existing. Surviving for the sake of survival. Nothing else. While some cases of survival are fierce: where you have to battle against adversity day in and day out; some are ordinary: you are just there because you are so insignificant that no one wants to even hurt you. Nepal is in the latter category. That is why it is the case of existence for its own sake.
And this rubs on to you. You too are just surviving. You feel there is no larger motive and purpose. The evening sun hits you in your face, you feel warm and get drowsy. The sun goes away and you feel cold and lost. This is what happens if you get influenced by your nation.
It is not that life out here is tough. It is dull. That’s the issue, if it was tough, you would have a purpose. If it’s dull, you just want to sleep smelling your own fart. That’s what this nation is doing and I guess that’s what most of its citizens are.
Disposable waste generated each day from households lie shamelessly in the streets just because the bloody government can’t manage a proper landfill site, while sounds of construction equipment bombard your ears all the time from all directions. (They are apparently building houses to house KFCs and Pizza Huts). Look at the irony!
People are obsessed with doing what they have seen Americans and Indians successfuly do in YouTube, Facebook and TikTok. Most young lads who have remained inside the country still find riding bikes at high speed is ‘cool’ and meaningful. You go talk to elderly blokes, and you will notice that their brains have stopped noticing anything in life apart from money. That’s the way it is.
You respect the nation and decide you will live here. You go through your pains and eventually decide to make a living as a writer. No one cares. And then you write in English. You see a platform such as Medium. And when you are eligible, you realize that even Medium doesn’t care! (about your nation)
These are not talks of frustration. This is reflection. A part of reality.
See, I have things to motivate me and give my life direction and purpose. I am okay. I won’t quit and go. But at times, looking at the nation am a part of, I wonder if some nations (insignificant ones) should be allowed to quit and go!???
Unless they can give themselves their own direction to go.
Morning shows the day is a popular proverb. Is it correct, or is it merely a case of a lazy attachment towards mornings?
Let me give some background first.
Back at school, the classes I hated were Mathematics, Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology), Computer, Dance, and Music. One of my earliest memories of mathematics is nervously queuing up to submit the homework to the teacher. I may have wet my pants on one or two occasions. While I could argue that my hatred towards and difficulties in mathematics – which still persists to this day – was because of that evilesque teacher, who frightened me a lot, I do not remember such intimidating teachers in Science, Computer, Dance or music. Of course, I have never loved math and neither has it been graceful to me. Although I tried my best later on.
This has led me to conclude that those hatred are directed more towards the subjects than classes. Never enjoyed science and computer! Always found scientific concepts boring and sedative. They never managed to trigger the learner in me. And since I never was a ‘love-what-is-right-for-your-career’ person, I never seriously tried. Computer classes were interesting as long as they provided me with the opportunities to play card games. I have never been a dancing person. In regards to music, I can confidently say that the dissatisfaction was more because of my boastful and annoying classmates rather than towards music itself. Later I enjoyed a lot of music alone!
School has long gone but my learning hasn’t ceased. I self-learn most of the time. Perhaps, because learning is the source through which only I can be better at my writing but actually because I love to learn.
I have tried to teach myself all sorts of things over the last decade. I have gone through Euclid, Einstein, Plato, Rousseau, Shakespeare, etc. etc. Some have been tedious. Some like a smooth ride. Analyzing which subjects have been which, I have realized that: Euclid, Einstein and the likes have been brutally tedious while Plato, Rousseau, Shakespeare, have been fun although not easy. In fact, this adult-age difficulty is the thing that made me think about what I may have loved at school in the first place!
Coming back to school, the subjects that I liked and felt more natural towards were Social Studies, English, Nepali, Environment and Population.
Although I never acquired good marks in anything in any classes, I remember once getting crazy high marks in Social Studies, not only by my standard but also my entire classroom’s!
Whenever it was time to go up a grade and new textbooks were made available, I finished reading (not studying) all chapters in Social Studies, and all stories, poems and essays in English and Nepali.
It is funny when I think about it:
I buy and download all sorts of books. And still to this day, the mathematics, science, and computer books feel very impenetrable and I have to focus incredibly hard to go beyond a quick skim – during which I get seriously doubtful and anxious. But books about politics, society-culture, psychology, philosophy, and literature get consumed with great enthusiasm and ease.
This has got me questioning whether interests are hardwired in childhood itself or whether it’s about the reluctance to get out of the comfort zone?
It is not about being fast. It is about doing what’s appropriate.
Once there lived a tortoise, a frog, and a snake nearby a river. They were good friends. Their life was normal and good. They crossed the river together early in the morning, ate their respective foods, and returned back in the evenings.
One day while they were on the other side of the river, loud thunder and lightning together with deadly black clouds filled the skies. Realizing that it would soon rain heavily, the wise tortoise said –
‘Hey, guys. Look at the skies. I think it will rain heavily. We should return back. It will get worse if it floods.’
‘Don’t panic. Nothing is wrong. We can cross when it starts raining. There’s no point worrying now. I am innovative enough to figure out tens of solutions even if it floods,’ the frog, who was intelligent, said.
‘Exactly! It hasn’t rained yet. We shouldn’t bother about things that haven’t yet happened. Live in the present, son. Even if it floods I think I am smart enough to figure out hundreds of solutions for us,’ the snake added.
The tortoise wasn’t amused with their way of thinking.
‘See. I am neither fast nor intelligent and smart as you guys! All I know is that it will soon rain heavily and it’s better we cross the river. Else we may not be able to return at all. There’s nothing to lose if we get going now. Let’s go. I am going.’ the tortoise said and started to cross the river.
The frog and the snake smirked and went about their business. But just as the tortoise had anticipated, it soon rained heavily. They were finally alarmed and decided it was time to cross the river. The rain got heavier and heavier until the river started flooding.
First, the snake jumped but he got badly hit on his head by a large piece of floating log. This got him giddy. He lost control of himself. The river violently took him away and he soon died.
The frog, not seeing the snake, thought he had crossed the river. He jumped too. But the torrential river was too much for him to handle. The water kicked him around like a pinball. He couldn’t handle the force and died.
The tortoise saw all this from the other end. There was nothing he could do except wonder why his friends didn’t listen to him in time.
The other day the debate was around the same question:
What is the difference between knowing something and applying that knowledge in life?
After a friend of mine said what he always did —
‘I know all this. The problem is that these things cannot be applied to life.’
I get hit hard every time these things come up. It makes me wonder if all philosophical and literary pursuits are indeed vague and unimportant. I wonder if they are mere luxuries of impractical and privileged people: Fanciful playthings for people who cannot get along with reality.
But I had to answer my friend. Ihad to answer him because for most of the time, I see the importance. On top of that, I had to answer him to prove to myself that I was capable of interpreting almost any thought in words. But more importantly, the solution was lurking not too deep inside my consciousness. I had to bring it out.
‘Thoughts drift. Thoughts are not under our control easily. Applying something you know is just about successfully leashing certain thoughts. After that, it is about maneuvering them in any direction you want!’ I said.
I was relieved. The friend remained silent. Awkwardness reigned for a few minutes.
We look at others and think they have it all. We wish we did what they did. But, what we forget is: There is a reason why we are the way we are! It’s for us to figure out what we really are.
Once there lived a chameleon who could not just change his color, he was a shapeshifter. He could turn into any creature he desired – however he desired – whenever he desired. But the issue with him was, he didn’t know what to become!
One day while roaming around in confusion, he reached a shed where a milker was milking a buffalo. As he watched the scene wondering what kind of life was best, a drop of milk entered his mouth. He loved the taste! And then he thought to himself – This is so good! If a drop tastes like this, imagine what a hundred drops might taste like! How lucky must this buffalo’s calf be! I think I should be a calf.
And then he had his first transformation – he turned into a newly born calf and sat near a buffalo who had just given birth. The next day, the owner of the shed saw this and was glad that one of his buffalos had given birth to a twin. He happily accepted it.
But life as a calf was not as wonderful as the chameleon had imagined. The milker hardly left any milk for him. All he got to drink was a few drops left behind in the udder. He starved badly.
Then one day he thought – This is not good! Life of a calf is miserable. I think I should become a milker. He is the one who takes all the milk.
And so he did. He transformed himself into the same milker, tied and shut the original at a corner of the shed and took his place.
But life as a milker too was not as wonderful as he had imagined. He had to work tremendously hard – day and night without getting to drink even a drop of milk. It was then that he realized that the milker doesn’t get to drink anything. Everything went to the owner.
Then he decided to transform into the owner of the shed. He transformed and untied the milker. He locked the original owner in the storeroom of his own house and started taking care of business. But hardly a day had passed and he began freaking out. He had to take care of the house, manage workers and other people, listen to harsh words from others, manage loans and credit – And all this gave him no rest. All he did was worry day and night. There was nothing else. Only a constant fear, threat and thoughts of profit!
While he got to drink the milk, the miserable thoughts he had to deal with made the milk irrelevant and tasteless. It was no different from the water he drank as a chameleon – just some liquid entering into his body. He ceased wanting to drink milk after a couple of days.
This is not fun. Not fun at all, he thought one night.
He immediately went downstairs, freed the original owner, turned into a chameleon and ran off the house. He didn’t transform into anything else ever again.
Before talking in detail about bad thoughts, let me give some context.
A terrible nightmare woke me up at 3 AM this morning. After that, I went into a 30 minutes or so of ridiculous post-dream analysis.
I felt terrible. Weak. The dream and its thoughts were miserable!
I restrain myself from using the lessons from Vedic and Buddhist spirituality I once learnt. I dumped them after practicing for a lot of years, because I felt they were limiting my world-view and perspectives.
But this morning I the petty thoughts were intolerable. The more I argued with myself, the more I suffered.
So, after a long gap, I took out that spiritual-weapon. Focusing, drowning and losing myself on a feeling of nothingness!
It helped me fall asleep.
But that episode is still haunting me right now. Like a wound it persists. I don’t know what to do with it. It is injuring and damaging.
I have decided to write about them here to see what happens!
Thoughts are the ultimate entities of this human existence of ours. I have elsewhere tried to justify this statement. Thoughts play a crucial role in our knowing.
True and False are also essential to us.
If I am hiking in the woods and a thought suddenly says — A tiger is approaching, my immediate reaction will be to be alert and then look around. I do this because I want a proof of that thought. If I don’t find any, I relax a tad and walk on. This is because I haven’t found any justified truth to what the thought told me.
But still why my thought may have told me that is a question that won’t let me relax completely. If I can relax a bit, it’s only because I found a certain false in the thought statement.
However, if I notice birds flying or other animals making hasteful noise when I look around, I have found some evidence to support that thought, which increases my heartbeat, gets me sweating and emotionally injures me after which I start to figure out mechanisms of defence. This is because I found a certain truth in the thought.
But the differentiation between true and false is not an easy task as thoughts in themselves do not provide us with any distinction. Thoughts in isolation can be either. False thoughts can be judged as being true and vice-versa. As happened to me this morning, I panicked because I took the thoughts as being true which may or may not have been the case.
This is where a faculty in us called thinking is to be used for — locating evidence.
the facts, signs or objects that make you believe that something is true
In the case of the tiger in the woods, I searched for facts, signs or objects that had to prove to me that the tiger was there. In the case where I did not find any, I relaxed and moved on, whereas when I found some, I panicked and began thinking self-defence.
But figuring out the evidence wasn’t so easy this morning. For one, the dream and the subsequent thoughts told me things that were detrimental which was followed by imaginative ‘evidence’ which then emotionally injured me.
Unlike the tiger-case, I had no way of identifying facts, signs or objects as the thoughts were not about my immediate physical environment. They were about my self-worth and poor-decisions.
I then tried to argue with the evidence it provided by searching for counter-evidences which were again countered…
Now, how do I correctly gather evidence to judge the true or false thoughts that are about things as subjective as self-worth and decisions?
In other words, How do I deal with injurious subjective thoughts?
If my thoughts tell me that I am worthless, justified by an immediate evidence of me not earning money currently, which then injures me; how do I deal with them?
The path I chose was of ignoring — focusing, drowning and losing myself on a feeling of nothingness!
Is that it? The best solution? Is it healthy?
My purpose behind writing this was to just interpret whatever had happened this morning with me. As I have been writing, I have been noticing how absurd but effective the spiritual method is. While it would have been a stupid act in the woods, it does seem to be a worthwhile act in the safety of bed. That is, in the domains of subjective thoughts.
But in the long-term it seems hazardous. Since it is like tucking away an object of discomfort, I think it won’t stop thoughts from haunting you after a certain period. As I said in the beginning, while I did manage to fall asleep, the wound hasn’t left me.
A long-term approach such as that is sure to keep one away from addressing the issues at hand turning one’s life into one with ignorance. It was one of the reasons I had stopped using their teachings altogether because I thought they were limiting my world-view and perspectives.
So what is the solution?
I think I have found a few:
(Please remember that I am only talking about injurious thoughts related to Self-Worth and Decisions)
Irrespective of the situation and threat, the only thing we can do that will not have any repercussions in both short and long-term and will only help us in dealing with the injury better is to be strong. Come what may I will deal with it could be the best thing to remind yourself during a crisis.
While seeking evidence may not be as easy as in the immediate and physical scenarios, I think we should try to look for real-life proof of the doubts we are having. Trying to answer questions such as — What is the basis of the thoughts I am having? How can I prove it? What may have triggered it? can prove to be helpful as they take us away from the injury into the lands of scrutiny, where we have control (somewhat). This questioning I believe is the apt method to judge the true or false thoughts that are about things as subjective as self-worth and decisions
Remind yourself of deeds done:
This is where every deed ever done comes into play. Reminding ourselves of each act of success achieved, however trivial, can prove to be very useful. Maybe it is a game won, a road travelled, an adventure, an obstacle that had been overcome!
For me the purpose behind writing this was to — firstly, interpret what had happened to me earlier and then to hopefully heal myself through it.
I think I have successfully managed to do it (for now).
Writing for me is very important for many reasons. I am feeling the beauty and reality of one of those right now.
I asked myself about the future of thinking after I noticed how alert I was getting using my phone, laptop and TV.
I tried to understand the alertness and discovered that there was a voice inside my head that constantly reminded me that whatever I do in those devices is being surveilled,monitored and analyzed.
What is happening now is that this alertness is getting contagious. The hangover from device-usage is getting into my head. I am getting alert while Ithink, see or talk sensitive stuff in the same manner.
As if my thoughts and views are being surveilled, monitored and analyzed.
Is this what will happen to our thoughts in the future?
I have often found myself in the middle of philosophical arguments fuming with anger, full of anxiety. Speaking or typing at the speed of light what my fast-beating heart and an inflating ego demand of me.
While my intention behind discussing ‘deep’ things with others is almost always to share and hear things about I have been reading, thinking or writing, I haven’t been able to stop myself from getting petty to the point of attempting to humiliate the other person with all kinds of insults to his/her intellectual capacities.
Thisgot me questioning:
How can I handle such philosophical arguments better?
There are a couple of things I am clear about:
I *want* to have such discussions
I *don’t want* to win the arguments. I just want to learn a thing or two, boast a bit and have a good time at the end of it all!
So, how can I stop such philosophical arguments from getting petty?
How can I handle such arguments better?
The first thing is to see what goes on during such arguments by trying to identify some significant factors at work.
We have to remember that Man – being an intellectually advanced (relatively) animal – is very sensitive towards its intellectual abilities.
No normal or dignified human being would ever want to be told that his/her cognitive abilities are of a low-grade. It would be like challenging a python on its strangulation abilities by strangulating it. The python would obviously want to prove you wrong.
I think this factor is at work our petty philosophical arguments.
The dignity factor
What I noticed was, most of us arguers believe that the ability to philosophize is the highest kind of intellectual ability. It’s just the way our culture is set up.
But it is justifiable because the ability to philosophize implies the ability to use our brains for something other than trifles. Everyone can trifle! Something other than practicality. Everyone can be practical! To dwell in the domains of abstractions and values. Now, not everyone can do that is what we believe! The same reason we value science, mathematics and engineering too. Apart from the money.
I think this is why no one wants to lose such arguments. As it would imply intellectual loss. Defeat.
From this angle, it seems as if philosophical arguments are the best test of cognitive abilities.
At this point we can wonder why it has never become a popular sport or a reality show. There is so much at stake!
The other factor I found was Cultural/Identity Sensitivity.
Philosophical arguments touch on areas that form the basis of any culture and identity. Religion, Ethnicity, Nationalism, all these have subjective worldview at their bases. Philosophical arguments are merely debates at core: The nature of reality, Creator, Rights and Wrongs, Why x is better than y, etc.
These are substantial stuff. No wonder people get agitated! Some even kill others for their views…This is a dangerous territory!
The other factor is emotional sensitivity.
If Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra has helped me get over severe nervousness and anxiety, then I certainly would be emotionally offended if anyone calls it merely a reverie of a madman.
These are the factors I have discovered as of now. I will update if I find more.
Now, what about the answers to these questions:
How can I stop the arguments from getting petty?
How can I handle such arguments better?
The best solution is to stop participating in such arguments altogether.
But as I mentioned above, I do not want to do that.
So, in order to stop it from getting petty to the point of anger and harassment, I should remember that the person in the argument who remains calm the longest has a better intellectual ability. This is self-explanatory.
Of all abilities, I believe that controlling and directing thoughts, desires and feelings are the most difficult. If I manage to remain calm throughout, then I believe my ego will be silenced.
At the same time, I should remember that I always have the option of walking out of such arguments or not participating at all. If I am having an argument it means I have voluntarily participated in it. Therefore, I should be able to reasonably listen to others and calmly defend my opinions and learnings. Even if it concerns me culturally and emotionally. If I can do that, my ego again will surely keep quiet.
It is in situations such as these, that we take ourselves too seriously, forgetting that we are smart only because we think so.
The point I am trying to get across is that:
No matter how smart we think we are, we all are indeed fools.
Our reverence towards our own fellow humans proves this.
Time and time again, we have been deceived, troubled and subjugated by the very person or the system we hold great reverence towards. Be it the emperors, the religious gurus, democratic leaders, the corporate visionaries, whoever. We have all been constantly well-deceived by those we revere.
Yet, we don’t learn!
Here we are today creating, gossiping, promoting and worshipping modern tyrants (dressed as merchants) only to create more tomorrow.
We humans never learn, do we?
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I had developed a desire-management formula. I have been implementing it for more than a couple of years now. The reason for sharing?
It has proved to be very effective.
Now that I have fully committed myself to a life as a writer, there are a few elements which I think are essential to such a lifestyle.
This desire management is simply an allocation of those elements to the wants and needs embedded in almost all of us.
I had been very random and all-over-the-place with my thoughts, desires, time, work and life management. This particular formula has helped me get a little bit more organized. It may be of help for others as well, irrespective of the profession.
I hereby publicize this formula as The ABCD formula as it contains the (fundamentals) ABCDs of my existence and life.
ABCD = A, B, C and D desires. All four are distinct sets of various sub-desires. Those which are common with each other are organized in the same set. This way, each set is a whole desire or as I like to call it — the wills. Each will is named according to the most generic term that applies to all sub-desires.
Let’s dive into the desire management formula.
It stands for Ability.
Ability is the state of being able to do something. It is about skill, talent and capability. It is the absolute means, the foundation without which none of my other wills or sub-desires can be fulfilled.
My desires in terms of the abilities I want/need are as follows:
Ability to Think
Ability to Learn and Understand
Ability to pursue freedom
Ability to love
Ability to experience
Ability to enjoy
Ability for aesthetics
Ability to earn and survive
Ability to be strong
Ability of Wisdom
Thinking, learning, freedom, love, enjoyment, aesthetics, earning and surviving are my sub-desires. All these are grouped in the ‘A’ set.
With the A set, my purpose is — to remind myself that in order to look far, I need a good telescope.
It’s all about maintaining, polishing, updating and upgrading my abilities to do things. It’s about sharpening the tool, so to speak. It’s about the tool. It’s about the lenses and the vehicles.
It stands for Being.
Being is about existing in a certain way with certain values and ideals. It is about personal ethics and feelings. It incorporates everything I am, want-to-be and will-to-be as a free-being, human-being, son, father, etc. etc.
My desires in terms of the being are as follows:
Life and World Experiences (including Travels)
I want to be as greedless as possible. At the same time I want to ensure I am not petty. I want love, freedom, strength, free-thinking, experiences, travels, aesthetics and joys in life. All these are grouped into the ‘B’ set.
With the B set, my purpose is — to remind myself of things that really make me who I am. My real purpose in life. My being. My essence.
It’s all about being who I am with this. I have settled on these sub-desires after years of hard work. My work with the B set is to ensure I don’t ‘sell-out’ (Whatever that may mean!)
It stands for Seeing. But is written C. Hence, C is an apt alphabet. Plus, it makes it easier as it perfectly fits well into the ABCD system which makes it easier for me to remember whatever I am trying to. I hereby use the term C-ing for seeing.
C-ing is about learning, knowing and understanding various subjects and elements of my life and of this existence of ours.
I had earlier mentioned about my life as a writer. My desire to — learn throughout my life was one of the things responsible for this choice. Now, it is also a necessity to sustain that choice. If I want to continue being a writer, I have to try to learn all the things all the time.
All the subjects I find interesting, relevant and important are covered under the C will or the C set which contains 3 distinct subsets.
My desires in terms of the knowledges of things I want/need are organized as follows:
All three are acronyms.
HG-HE-STEP includes knowledge of things that are somewhat social or humanitarian in nature.
E: Experiences (of People)
sPa includes knowledges of and via three tools of knowledge acquisition:
This sub-set includes looking at the previous subset through all three lenses (for instance, looking at technology from a scientific lens as well as from a philosophical one) along with studying the fields themselves and their interconnections.
For example, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Arts, Art of Science, Scientific Art, etc. etc.
POLE™ is all about my subjective, intuitive understanding and conclusions of everything possible.
™: Thought Management
Alternatively, I also use: EEEGSSTTPP
which stands for: Existential, Experiential, Economic, Geographic, Scientific, Social, Technological, Temporal, Political and Philosophical knowledge.
But it is difficult to memorize. C-subsets are much more convenient.
With the C set, my purpose is — to remind myself of things I want to and have to learn.
It’s all about organizing, balancing, selecting and choosing the subjects to learn.
It stands for Doing.
Doing is all about the actions I need to take and the things I need to do to fulfill the desires of ABC. This is through which I get things done. It’s about setting and implementing goals, objectives, strategies and tactics.
At the point of this writing, my D is threefold:
I got to write, publish and be active in various activities apart from those two. This part is subject to much change and adaptations.
With the D set, my purpose is — to remind myself and ensure I successfully do what I need to do.
You may have noticed how they are all interconnected. I think this is the beauty of this desire management formula (for me obviously!).
Let us begin this thought experiment by imagining a habitable planet with life. Far Far away!
The planet is revolving around its own star. Its day-night period same as Earth’s.
And on that planet, let us imagine species – Millions. With variety for procreation. Just like on Earth.
Let us imagine one species among them head-and-shoulders above the rest – In intelligence and sophistication. Just like us!
Now let us decide that the planet has had life for more than a billion years. The intelligent species there has been smarting around for more than 2 million years. Just like ours!
Now let us imagine the planet with its peculiar atmosphere, water, soil, forest, etc.
Let us imagine all this with one crucial difference — it’s intelligent species not like humans. Let us imagine them different. Yes, let them walk on two feet and let them look like us physically. But let them not be like us behaviorally.
Let’s make them different.
Let’s not make them build huge buildings, monuments and structures. Let’s not make them political. Let’s not make them national. Let’s not make them create huge corporations. Let’s not make them kill each other or creatures. Let’s not make them adhere to their own mandatory principles. Let’s not make them need any kind of superficial entertainment — Let’s make them wise.
Yes, let’s imagine them greedless, free and wise. It’s just a thought experiment after all!
They didn’t build huge buildings and structures because they are okay with distributed minimalistic settlements and structures of aesthetic/experiential importance.
They didn’t organize politically because they are okay with improvisational organizing. They understand the need of community but also realize the absurdity of politics and power.
Everyone is wise enough to mind their own business and greedless enough to not want unnecessary things. Everyone has their own land and they are fine cultivating what they need and consuming it. Remember, they are not greedy, so it will work.
Now, since they are wise as such, they did not need/want big businesses.
Nor did they have to trouble other creatures for their own amusement. They live at a distance far enough to remain untroubled by other creatures.
Since they are free and wise, they didn’t adhere to mandatory customs and principles such as marriage and children. Their population is well balanced. Whenever it seems to increase, they have the wisdom to understand it, hence, there will always be those who will make personal sacrifices. They didn’t need any forms of superficial entertainment as they don’t have any dissapointments hence anxieties.
So, what will they do? How will they live? How do we imagine that?
I propose the following:
They will spend their time in philosophical, scientific or artistic contemplation and creation. Depending on individual preferences or the need.
They won’t build sophisticated technologies. There is no need — they don’t want to conquer their fellows or the cosmos. They are wise enough to be happy where they are. They will scientific technologies though. For reasons clear! They might have computers and internet.
They have understood that the only purpose of their high intelligence is to experience and understand life and the world. Nothing else matters! All is peaceful and well.
Here I want to quickly share his views on the birth and use of Hindu God Brahman and the Hindu Reincarnation system by the ruling system in ancient India. It is presented in fictional form in his historical-fiction From Volga to Ganges.
Pravahan is a king of Panchalpur (Kannauj) in around 700 BC who has modified the Hindu Religion. His lover Lopa is not very fond of that kind of thinking though.
One day she asks,
‘Why are you involved in things apart from royal duties?’
To which Pravahan replies,
‘You mean my flight towards Brahman? But Lopa, all these things are not separate from Royal Duties. Our ancestors had honored Rishis such as Vasistha and Vishwamitra for the sake of supporting the State. Those Rishis inspired people to follow the command of the king in the name of gods such as Indra, Agni and Varun. Those Rishis made the kings conduct huge and expensiveYagyasso that the public’s belief in them would persist…All this was done to establish people’s faith in divine forces…and to tell them that all we have is due to Gods.’
‘But you already had old gods, what was the need of Brahman?’
‘For ages, nobody has seen Indra, Varun and the likes, therefore a few have started to doubt…I have established the form of Brahman in such a way that no one can ever demand to see it. It is beyond the senses. No one can doubt this concept the way they might doubt gods with forms’
‘…are you doing all this merely to keep your citizens in illusion?’
‘…It is necessary to do all this to keep the state under my control…our biggest enemies are the ones who doubt gods and Yagyas’
‘But you also talk of the existence and philosophy of Brahman…?’
‘If there is an existence then there has to be a philosophy. Not through senses though, because skeptics will talk of empirical proofs — this is why I talk about subtle senses. And now I talk of such methods that people will keep searching for ever and ever without losing their belief…’.
And then Pravahan tells her about his new invention that is greater than Brahman — Reincarnation:
‘Reincarnation is the most useful. The rate at which the wealth of we feudals, Brahmins and merchants is increasing is the same at which ordinary people are getting poor. There are those now who provoke artisans, farmers and slaves by saying, “You are troubling yourself by giving away your earnings to others. They trouble you and tell you that the Suffering, Pain, charity and sacrifices you do here will be repaid in heaven…No one has seen anyone enjoy happiness in heaven…”, to which we have established a narrative. All differences in this world are the result of your deeds in your previous lives…I do not care about Truth and Lies, it (an idea) just has to be useful for me. Today the idea of coming back to this world after death doesn’t seem credible…there will come a time when all of the pathetic citizens will be ready to bear pain, suffering and injustice in the hope of rebirth…’
‘But isn’t it ruining the lives of hundreds of generations just for your selfish wants?’
‘…it isn’t wrong. I am doing such a task that even the ancient Rishis couldn’t do…’
‘You are too cold Pravahan!’
‘But I have merely acted as per my ability!’
I understand that this whole thing has been presented by Sankrityayan in a Marxist mirror. That is, this thing of Metaphysical and spiritual nature has been looked upon from a dialectic-political-economic angle. It has also been presented in an artistic/imaginative manner. It is surely a limited view-point. But, it is a different perspective nonetheless!
It is about questioning the one who said the said.
Written words are static in nature. Other forms of expression which rely on words such as speech are dynamic.
Written words remain static unless mobilized — which equips the recipient with control over the thoughts and ideas expressed.
This control is crucial because it gives time: A valuable entity.
This available time can be used to imagine, ponder, scrutinize, and eventually decide! This available time can also mean freedom — from haste, from manipulation. Freedom to imagine, contemplate, scrutinize what you like when you like!
You can pauseand zoom on a single word for eons and not proceed without having extracted all the necessary juice out of it.
This observation made me derive a quote:
Written words are static content for dynamic minds while other forms which rely on words are dynamic content for static minds.
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I intensely explored the internet for doses of wisdom. Philosophers, Spiritualists, Poets, Writers, Filmmakers, Artists, Scientists — I was on a mission to find and understand everyone who thought freely and deeply.
I used to jump around fields — at times philosophy, at times spirituality, literature, cinema, arts, science…where, finding a thinker I related to — I would consume everythought available on the internet of his/hers. I wasn’t committed to any specific field.
Deep inside however, I was in fact seeking ‘the one’ ultimate thinker to whom I could submit myself intellectually-whole-heartedly. And based on whose style of thinking, I could build and develop mine!
A case of seeking the giant on whose shoulder I was to stand.
It was during such explorations that I stumbled upon the ideas of an old person from India discovered under the tag: Indian Spiritualists.
I had followed quite a few from India before — Kautilya, Kabir, Vivekananda, Paramhansa Yogananda, Ramana Maharshi, Rajneesh, Aurobindo Ghosh, even one Vimalananada from Robert Svoboda’s Aghora. I was pro-vedic spirituality at that time and had great reverence for the System.
But this particular old bloke I discovered was something else!
He said Vedic Rishis were fanatics high on drugs (Soma) and called one Rajneesh a pimp. He openly said he was not anyone’s guru and that knowledge of the ultimate was absurd.
‘You cannot know anything
You don’t want to know’,
he proclaimed. He hadn’t written any books, so all that was available was through videos. YouTube has tons of it.
He yelled, sweared, and roasted almost every revered spiritual saint and system.
I was immediately drawn to these thoughts as he spoke unlike any I had heard and had ideas that would put even Nietzsche to shame. He was quite something ! He was UG Krishnamurti.
I am not going to write about his life here. My only purpose with this article is to share what I think he was and his perspective is.
And so as time passed I started getting heavily-influenced by him. I continuously watched his videos and his thoughts and ideas became the foundation of my own thoughts and thinking. I had found the shoulder. But the one I couldn’t stand on. There was none!
He was elusive and incomprehensible. The more I thought I understood the man the more confused I got. I tried to fit him into different systems of thinking. At times it felt he fit into Roussean style, at times to Postmodern thought, at times to Mahayana and eventually to Absurdism. But something or the other always didn’t connect!
Initially, he had felt so natural and easy to grasp but the more I watched his videos and read stories about him, the things he said, the more bewildered I got.
He didn’t seem to care to write, make money, enterprise his thoughts. He didn’t seem to care about anything. He at times calmly expressed his ideas while at times, yelled in the videos. What was he about? What does he care of? Does he even care for a thing? Even Buddha preached as far as I knew!
Who was this guy? What was wrong/right with him? Was he a hypocrite? Was there any marketing-propaganda I missed? Who was he most like: Camus, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Rousseau?
Years passed and the influence remained and grew. His perception of life and the world very much remained at my intellectual-core. I gradually separated from Vedic Spirituality as I discovered flaws and absurdities.
My every impulse of wanting to be a guru someday, revering some thinker, monetizing my thinking, pursuing the 4 Ps (Power, Prestige, Popularity, Pleasure) used to hit upon the wall called UG which used to shatter and destroy the desires mercilessly. Desires were gone alright, but I didn’t know what else to do. What to pursue!
UG Krishnamurti was there in his American/Indian home talking with celebrities and big-shots. He didn’t seem to have a concern for money. It all seemed to have been taken care of by his followers or however. But I was here in Nepal, struggling in semi-political institutions to make ends meet. He may not have wanted to be a Guru but he was one.
I quietly kept his thoughts and ideas inside a small compartment of my mind and called it UGian Philosophy. I didn’t want to discuss or debate about it with anyone. I didn’t even want to search for other people’s opinion on him on the Internet. He was a puzzle, a riddle that I was to solve — by myself. He was a philosopher whose philosophy had inspired me, influenced me and had formed the base of my intellectual thinking. I had to find a category for his thinking. There had to be a category!
This continued for a few years.
But now, as of today, I think I have an answer to him and his ideas. I think I have finally understood what his philosophy was. Although, I have to honestly say that the UG Krishnamurti that influenced me was the one I viewed and listened to on the internet. I have no idea what he was like in person and what the background of it all was. It is just about the UG Krishnamurtithat appears in Videos and his meeter’s blogs.
What I understood was that the process of assigning UG Krishnamurti and his thoughts to a school of thinking or philosophy was in itself an absurdity. UG Krishnamurti was not a philosopher. In that, he didn’t have a philosophy to teach or preach. UG Krishnamurti was merely a negater:
He was what remains if you remove all schools of thoughts from a person.
Let me explain:
All thinkers I mentioned above: Kautilya, Kabir, Vivekananda, Paramhansa Yogananda, Ramana Maharshi, Rajneesh, Aurobindo Ghosh, Vimalananada had some philosophical destinationto sell and achieve. This applies to all other schools of philosophy, science and arts. They all are about taking you to a particular intellectual space. A destiny, a goal.
UG Krishnamurti had none. He was not about anything or anywhere. He was only a denier. Once again, he is what is left in a person if you remove all schools of thoughts from him: Philosophies, Sciences, Arts — everything! With that removal goes every value, morality, perception related to those schools. Every ambition or corruption we have is indeed the mixture of countless confused schools of thinking!
Take Schopenhauer for instance, a denier but still had spaces to sell and achieve. Be it in the form of an aesthetic-genius who can perceive the will-in-itself or in the form of an ascetic who accepts the nature of will. Buddha had nibbana to sell and achieve. Nietzsche eventually had Uberman and perspectivism. Absurdists had existential-meaning to achieve. Science likewise has empirical evidence.
But UG Krishnamurti had none. He didn’t seem to profess any particular destination. All he did was deny all existing ones. The closest I have found to this type of thinking today is of the absurdists. Yet, the absurdists seek existential-meaning, the cause to exist and do. For example, through Camus’ Arts it is as if they seek justification to do things in life. But without pursuit, UG became a natural thinker. The what is!
I would even go as far as to say that he is Man in the natural form without a color of culture.
UG Krishnamurti seems to have firstly, denied everything and secondly, didn’t seem to have bothered to search for new avenues. He seems to have just settled in negation without bothering to seek further. Why he didn’t care is not for me to answer. Although I can make a guess that he might have thought that commiting to a seek would once again trap him in the rabbit hole. It would mean ambition, rhetoric and eventually —would have meant ending up like everyone else making the same mistakes. Just another system!
All systems eventually fail, and what begins as a naive pursuit of truth necessarily ends with forceful adjustments to opinions once hardships arise, he probably understood. Absurdism!
What all this has eventually meant to me is that UG has immensely helped me see the absurdity and negate all propaganda, marketing, hypes and promises of various systems of thinking. Yes, we all have seen how each system promises, asserts and presents itself as if it is the only credible method to the truth. Thanks to UG Krishnamurti I have had the courage to see the absurdity in each and negate all of them in me.
What this has done to me is — opened me to the exploration of brand new possibilities either through the invention of a new system or through the amalgamation of all existing ones. (Yes, I am risking inevitability but I have my tools of hope!)
Other difference with me is that I have not concluded. I have not settled in negation. I still seek, search and pursue. And that immediately makes me a non-UG. And I have no problem with that! I believe in exploration and seeking. Not on settling and concluding. Hence, I look to learn and take important aspects from here and there. With UG, what I have done is follow a technique professed by Buddha with whom I don’t agree on much otherwise:
Just because a boat has taken you across a river doesn’t mean you have to carry the boat around with you further.
I am going to propose a theory to begin this writing about the importance of knowledge:
The extent of knowledge (need-to-know) any given human society requires for a successful survival is of:
the geographical periphery that society can identify as its
the past, present, and future of itself
Likewise, the extent of knowledge (need-to-know) any given human society requires for progress is of:
the geographical periphery that society can identify as its own and of the world
the past, present and future of itself and of its world
In primitive nomadic days, any tribe that may have pursued and acquired geographical-temporal knowledge of itself may have survived but failed as soon as it could no longer keep up with and acquire geographical, temporal and likewise knowledge of other tribes it came across.
The tribes and states which could gather and analyze the most knowledge succeeded the most. A good example of this is the success of Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Empire:
Is it merely a coincidence that such large an empire existed alongside one of the most intellectual and knowledgeable periods of human history?
While we are at it, the importance of such knowledge can also be justified by the fact that Kautilya who emphasized a great lot in socio-economic-political knowledge and pursued it rigorously managed to initiate and assist what was to become one of the biggest Empires in the Indian Subcontinent — The Maurya Empire.
Similar examples can be gathered from the Roman and later from the success of the British Empire. In the second half of the 20th Century, it became visible in the form of the US and its successful hunt of all forms of knowledge.
What kind of knowledge?
The correct modern term for knowledge is — Research and Development.
I talked about Geographical and Temporal knowledge of itself and the world that a successful society acquires. NASA, NSF and DoD seem to be responsible for such information. They take up 27.6 % of the total R & D budget.
Similar is the case of acquiring — knowledge of itself. Health and human service department takes up 47.3 %.
Here’s a list of ten nations that spend the most on R & D:
Israel: 4.9 % of GDP
South Korea: 4.6
In terms of total expenditure amount, it’s in the following order (descending):
US, China, Japan, Germany, S Korea, France, India, UK, Taiwan, Russia
Of course, the type and method of their knowledge-acquisition is different but at the end of the day it’s about getting the information of:
the past, present and future of itself and of its world
for the political entities that support them by either investing in them or paying them.
From an individual point of view, it is apparent that pursuing knowledge is beneficial for financial, mental and physical health.
From a financial point of view, generating knowledge for sectors that receive maximum financial attention is sure to increase the chance of earning higher. For example, for the department of health and human services in the chart above.
From mental and physical health point of view, and their progress, just replace geography by physical and society by individual in the following:
the geographical periphery that society can identify as its own and of the world
the past, present and future of itself and of its world
Here I am, in the 21st century (A.D.) living in Nepal. One of the poorest nations in the world. Yet, writing in one of the most advanced writing platforms about the importance of knowledge in the context of the past and future of humanity and the world; using one of the most sophisticated technologies in the world.
Why am I doing this?
Is it because I identify as a global citizen in this world or is it because I am trying to progress the nation I identify with: Nepal?
Knowledge has always been important and will continue to be so as long as humans will exist.
It is cliché to say that we live in an interconnected world where an impact in a certain part of the globe is felt throughout. But it is true.
COVID has proved it and so has Climate Change. So will upcoming crises.
We humans of today have come close to becoming one unit when it comes to suffering. We all are heading into domains, we are unfamiliar with:
the geographical periphery that society can identify as its
the past, present, and future of itself
But now we are talking about:
computers that have their own personal identities (others)
our bodies that have been invaded by technologies (itself and others)
unknown zones with possibilities of unknown beings (it and other)
Hence, we do need to upgrade to:
the geographical periphery that society can identify as its own and of the world
the past, present and future of itself and of its world
With the ‘world’ now including:
Our own mixed-bodies
This leaves us with two major considerations:
Just as in primitive nomadic days, any tribe that may have pursued and acquired geographical-temporal knowledge of itself may have survived but failed as soon as it could no longer keep up with and acquire geographical and likewise knowledge of other tribe it came across:
We humans of today, have to acquire more and more geographical, temporal knowledge of the Universe and of Artificial Systems and ourselves for our own security. We have to understand the importance of knowledge!
As we head into the unknown, we never know what will attack us next.
Similarly, ethical considerations also have to be made as to what we would want to be and become. And also how we would like to treat other beings.
We have never been in this place before. But we also have power like never before, therefore, responsibilities like never before.
We all need to know now like never before. That’s the importance of knowledge!