Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Sorry State of Being

We travel in the fast lane. We work. We work a lot. Not that we do it for nothing- some yearn, some earn, some learn. Working is good but conditionally, the condition being you are doing what you love to do. With most of us, we don't know what we love. By the time we do, it is too late to take that path. We then end up making what we do, what we love to do. There is no questioning that - compromises are inevitable and for some, permanent. While our lives revolve around work, we lose touch with our ability to follow our gut in matters not related to work. We begin to build a cage of comfort and security around ourselves. By the time we realize we are caged, it is too late. We have neither the courage nor strength to break free. We can either get depressed about it or work on building the courage and strength. And where do we find them both? The answer lies in creativity.

The best creator is perhaps God and nature is his magnum opus. Not many of us have the eye for the lessons hidden in nature's many layers. We turn to those who do - in the form of their works. Poets or writers, painters or sculptors, dancers or musicians and the like all had an eye for creativity. Simple answers to our difficult questions are hidden in their work. The trouble is we don't look closely enough. We are in a rush. We miss the detail. We remain uninspired. That is also probably because we are too full of ourselves. The only question we ask "What is in it for me or my whatever?" The larger picture is the one that you see in totality of scale and perspectives. If you don't, the lesson is incomplete.

While science, technology and rationale thinking have changed the world, the three alone cannot save the world. We are going higher, faster, but we are losing touch with our roots. We need to slow down our pace, catch a breath, take another look at what has gone by and ask the basic questions of life again (remember to replace the 'me' with 'us' and 'I' with 'we' ). If we do not have good answers, we are indeed treading the wrong path.

To summarize, I will quote a paragraph from the Lost World by Michael Crichton. "What makes you think that human beings are sentient and aware? There's no evidence for it. Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told - and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare. Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight for their "beliefs." The reason is that beliefs guide behavior, which has evolutionary importance among human beings. But at a time when our behavior may well lead us to extinction, I see no reason to assume we have any awareness at all. We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is a self-congratulatory delusion."