Civilized Brute

 

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Every civilization tried to preserve what defined it but alas the culture and values each possessed decayed over time as new one took over it.
Every civilization had a soul but the current one in which we all live in lacks what you can call ‘essence’.

Things can never touch the soul. That’s what Marcus Aurelius said but well right now we all feel that things can fill the void within us. The present civilization doesn’t know the difference between needs and wants. Wanting merely for the sake of wanting is what has led to greed.

Rosseau believed that civilization ruins mankind and takes him away from natural virtues such as compassion and empathy. The natural state of man is benevolence but the moment he becomes civilised, he turns brutal and savage.

Man is born virtuous but well civilization makes him endowed with vices. It drags him away from idyllic happiness to misery.
The more materialistic man becomes, he forgets his innate virtues.

Rosseau goes to the extent of claiming that civilization condemns man to a life in chains.
Man is born free but is brainwashed into being civilised and hence comes across bondage.
He loses the essence of what it means to be free.
He feels owning property is what makes him powerful and free.

Civilization doesn’t really make man advanced, it makes actually greedy and destroy the harmony of nature.
Civilization is its own anti-thesis.

Mark Twain believed that civilization is the multiplication of unnecessary necessities. It’s so true as we just on accumulating things in our life without thinking what purpose they serve.
Our collective consciousness thrives on collecting things for mere sake of collection.

Civilization was meant to ease the life of mankind while he took the essentials from nature without forgetting to also tend to it whenever and whichever way he can. But man developed a sense of authority over nature. He started feeling that nature owes him.

He moulds nature as he pleases.
So the focus went from inventing things to make life easier to plundering nature just to satiate his greed.

Land ownership has changed the dynamics. Man wants to own property by deforestation. He doesn’t care about greenery but would love to have high-rise buildings.

 

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“The skylines lit up at dead of night, the air-conditioning systems cooling empty hotels in the desert and artificial light in the middle of the day all have something both demented and admirable about them. The mindless luxury of a rich civilization, and yet of a civilization perhaps as scared to see the lights go out as was the hunter in his primitive night.

Jean Baudrillard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Groove to the tune of Happiness

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You have an uncle you never knew about who flies a single-engine plane onto a grassy landing strip. That uncle is Happiness. He hitchhikes into town and inquires at every door. But when he knocks at your doorstep, you are asleep and usually at the unmerciful hours of your despair moments. You don’t notice his presence.

Happiness isn’t elusive. It’s the way you describe happiness that makes it appear out of your grasp.
Happiness is usually equated with getting whatever you want.

But of you’re happy only when you get what you desire, is that even happiness ?
Isn’t happiness independent of your desires ?
It isn’t like instant gratification definitely.

Jane Kenyon in her poem ‘Happiness’ mentions that there is no accounting for happiness. It’s like a prodigal that comes back to the dust at your feet after having squandered a fortune away.

When you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands… when you’re happy and you know it and you really wanna show it, clap your hands…

 

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But these days many people fake happiness. They want to show that they are happy when actually they aren’t. They wanna hide the fact that they can never be happy no matter what.
What is the stuff that happiness is made of ? Bubbles, laughter, giggles, genuine mirth ?

Well these days happiness is made of forcible smiles, people gritting their teeth from within yet trying to purse their lips and smile at their colleagues. You hate someone still gotta smile at them. Is that happiness ?
Isn’t happiness about the freedom to be yourself at certain occasions ?

The boulder ensconced in the perpetual shade of pine barrens comes across happiness too. So well, hold on, happiness is near you. Don’t chase it.

Happiness is that delicacy that can be found in the most mundane of circumstances. Imagine it comes even to the clerk stacking cans of carrots and the woman sweeping the street with a birch broom.
A wineglass that became weary of holding wine has a rendezvous with happiness too.

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Happiness often saves its most extreme form for you alone and remember you are never abandoned. Make a feast in the honor of whatever you lose in life as you should be ready to take the finest garment that you saved for an unimaginable occasion when unexpected happiness finds you.

 

 

Collisions with future

Rene Descartes saw two worlds. The world of mind and the world of matter.
Descartes said that it’s possible to imagine ourselves as thinking beings yet doubt the existence of the external world including our bodies.

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But how can you see yourself separate from the world when circumstances rule your life ?

Ortega y Gasset believed that ‘reason’ isn’t something that is passive but active. Something that allows us to get to grips with the circumstances in which we find ourselves and helps us change our lives for the better.

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If you think seriously about yourself, you always find yourself immersed in some circumstance that could be oppressing and limiting. Those limitations aren’t only your environment or physical surrounding but your thoughts, that contain prejudices and behaviour shaped by habit.

 

Mirror, mirror on the wall..

One of my favourite scenes in the movie ‘Lion King’ is when Rafiki, the wise old monkey shows Simba the Lion who he really is and how he has forgotten his real self by asking him to peruse his reflection in a pond. Sometimes a mirror isn’t just a way of admiring yourself or knowing how you look or see whether you look alright for an occasion.

Rafiki asks Simba to look at his reflection a pond, Simba of course sees his own image. When Rafiki says ‘looook haaard’,

Simba sees his late father’s image being formed in the pools of water. Rafiki tells him that his father lives in him, just that he never observed hard enough ever. It delves into the inner recesses of your soul.

When you look at yourself in the mirror, you don’t usually see how you have evolved over the years as a person. It’s only the reflection at that moment that catches your eye.

In Arvind Mehrotra’s poem ‘ Approaching Fifty’, the narrator looks at himself in the mirror and sees three faces. One is his own. The other a grey haired man’s whose life insurance policy has matured. The third image is that of a mocking youth’s who paid first premium of the life policy.

There is a feeling of disorientation when it comes to a mirror image. When you reminisce the nostalgic version of yourself or the futuristic oldie in you, you feel spaced out.

Don’t we do a cursory check often to confirm that we continue to exist in the way we did yesterday or last year ?

You might have embarked on a new direction in life such as changing a job, reducing family budget due to inflation, yet the peremptory nature of looking at yourself in the mirror everyday doesn’t cease, does it ?

The mirror isn’t always an object of taking pride in yourself. Sometimes it’s about accepting your current state of mind and how that affects the projected image. Whom are you fooling ? You can fake a smile to the mirror. But can you feign a smile to your soul ? Why don’t you look at the mirror to see your true self ? It doesn’t matter whether it’s frustrated or ugly or feeling disenchanted with everything in life.

Why don’t you be atleast your real selves to the mirror ? You don’t have to be your prim and proper self always in the mirror. It holds no preconceptions and it’s silver and exact when it comes to reflecting back your true self.

Maybe you are hiding a lot of pain in your eyes by giving it the appearance of twinkling with joy to the mirror.

A new enlightening spark

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Translating experiences doesn’t always mean seeing everything through rose-tinted glasses. You’re an artist who draws without an eraser in life.
Since failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour, not all experiences are there to bring out the best in you. Some bring out your worst and make you feel crippled. But those are the ones that tell teach you how to appreciate life.
Once Kamala Das, went upto the terrace to commit suicide at midnight. She saw the moonlight on the courtyard below, just when she wished to splatter it with her blood, she saw a mad beggar below the lamppost dancing lifting his emaciated hands in the air. The rhythm of his grotesque dance seized her from jumping from the terrace. She instead felt she was dancing on the most desolate pinnacle in the world.
She returned to her room in an half-asleep state and wrote with a resolve ‘Wipe out the paints, unmould the clay. Let nothing remain of that yesterday.’

Happiness Revisited

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Man goes in search of that elusive entity called happiness. Rather it seems elusive to him as he keeps running after it. Whatever you chase, seems elusive. There is a weird sense of fulfilment in chasing after something that should come naturally to mankind. Happiness is a state of mind. It’s isn’t a goal.

We seek happiness for its own sake. We pursue things assuming that they would make us happy. Be it money, job or social status etc. all are hankered after in the pursuit of happiness.

Happiness doesn’t happen on its own. You have to prepare for it, cultivate it. It lives within you without your knowledge many a time. You have it in you to build for yourself. It doesn’t exist in some far off place. It’s within a single thought that dwells in your mind. You fail to grasp it thinking it lives elsewhere. You see it lives in you all the while. The funny part is you go look somewhere else whatever resides within you.

It never lay in any material objects ever outside you. It is there where you aren’t even looking. You never thought it always existed anyway even if you paid no attention. It never sought after your attention. It only wants you to realise its presence. Omnipresent everywhere.

You can’t seek happiness by consciously searching for it again and again. If you ask yourself whether ‘I am happy or not’ and believe it or not, you would stop being so.
How many of us are fully involved in every detail of our life whether good or bad ? Well you might find happiness by not trying to look for it directly.

Victor Frankl, the Austrian psychologist, said in the preface to his book Man’s search for Meaning, “Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. Just like happiness, it cant be pursued. It ensues as an unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a course greater than oneself.”

Happiness, the elusive goal. How to reach it by a direct route ? You cannot. It’s a circuitous path that begins with achieving control over the contents of your consciousness.
Our perceptions about our lives are the outcome of many forces that shape experience. Each of these have an impact on whether we feel good or bad. They are outside our control.

We don’t have a say over our looks, temperament or our constitution. We don’t choose our parents, place of birth or the circumstances under which we grow up.
But there is a time though rare, where instead of being buffeted by anonymous forces, we feel like we own our fate. A control over your actions. This leads to a sense of enjoyment, sense of exhilaration. This moment becomes a landmark in memory for what life should be like. This is known as an optimal experience.

A rarity yet a truth. A feeling the painter feels when the colors on his canvas have a magnetic tension against each other and produce a new living form astonishing its own creator.

What is the way to happiness ?
There is no way. Happiness is the way.

 

 

Turning point

These are my self-composed quotations that can inspire you at any given phase of your life. Enjoy reading 🙂

 

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  • Why do you seek approval ? A songbird sings and ascends for himself. Joy fills his notes and elevates his wings.

  • Life is meaningful if you look for wonder in everything. Your interest in life sustains its essence.

  • We always wait for better time ahead forgetting that ‘Now’ is all the time you have and in your control.

  •  Life isn’t about a single moment of ‘Eureka’ or a great realisation. Many trivial and significant moments come together to create a hype called ‘life’.

  • Many useless incidences in life lead you to where you are today. Even though if you look back, they might have appeared to be really dreary, mundane and lifeless.

  • Fear is a figment of your imagination yet you give it fodder for survival. It dies the moment you disregard it and stop putting it on a pedestal.

  • Prayer isn’t a feeble consolation. It’s an honest dialogue with the universe.

  • Faith is the bird that makes you soar even with clipped wings.

  • Arguments with loved ones are about letting your ego vanish and mending the relationships than proving yourself right.

  • Patience begets wonders though it’s hard yet proves to be fruitful and develops your self-worth in times of desperation.

  • Optimism is the key to unlocking the latent potential in every being when he feels there is only a dead end.

  •  God is an abstract living being. He embodies the universe yet we relegate studying him solely within religions without seeing his omnipresence in daily life.

  • True love helps you grow into the person you always wanted to be without regressing your potential and making you stagnant in obsession over the beloved.

  • Look inside when things seem in disharmony outside. For your inner being manifests in the visible realm of life.

  • Who said you can’t grow in a muddied swamp ? Look at the lotus. The problems in your life are fuel for your growth. They are firewood that produce blazing warmth.

  • Man acts like he is the superior race on Earth. Yet unknown to him he acts second to an entity elsewhere.

  • A telescope can help you gaze at the stars. But only your internal heaven can make you bask in the moon’s glow.

  • The present moment is like Italics and it’s upto you to make it bold with your awareness and gratitude for being in it.