Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Random walk - II

Continued from previous post:

link to part I: here

Next day when he got up, all those thoughts were still ringing in his head. There were certain mails in his e-mail inbox which required urgent attention but he felt boredom towards them. For a moment, he thought of the investment he had put up to come to this place. Investment is a relative term whose success depends on achievement of the purpose. These so called urgent matters had nothing to do with the purpose. But their academic importance couldn’t have been ignored so he quickly finished with those tasks. Somehow, he had always found it very difficult to do routine activities. Each routine activity was like a boring assignment, which he postponed as far as possible. Lunch in college canteen was another such activity. Quickly finishing with lunch, he went for a walk, alone, which was against the famed college culture.

It was bright sunny day, a treat in winter. This was best period in college as far as exhibition of nature’s beauty was concerned. There were hundreds of flowers; of scores of varieties, standing tall on their stem. Their appearance had a sense of vanity. He stood looking at the flowers, absent-mindedly. It was not exactly absent-minded behavior, but he was again lost in his thoughts. Flower, the reproductive part of a plant is never called upon by other parts to prove its worth time & again, he thought. Each part carries its own task as assigned by nature. But human beings often consider it unnecessary to appreciate those who carry human race forward in true sense. They consider it unnecessary to use the cognitive ability they are blessed with to understand nature.

“Nakul!! Where are you lost? I said ‘hi’ twice”, a friend interrupted.
“Oh, sorry, I didn’t hear”, he replied.
“Typical of you, what were you thinking?”
“Nothing. Nothing of much importance”
“Don’t you have class?”
“I don’t, probably”
“Haha. OK. I got to go. See you later, bye”

He suddenly became aware of many other students roaming around. Funny it is, he thought. I didn’t see anyone 5-10 min back. From where did they come suddenly? Or were they here then too? Doesn’t matter one way or the other, he thought. He noticed few people. He always observed people very closely. Not always of any particular interest in that person but to identify underlying philosophies behind various behaviors. In some cases, he could actually visualize the psychological developmental stages of people. He could see practical results of some thoughts which he had out rightly rejected in past or thoughts which he believed would lead to dead end. Not surprisingly, he was certainly not the biggest fan of these people. “That could have been me, had I considered it superficial to understand importance of abstractions in solving real-life problems” was what he thought and moved on.

For a change, he decided to visit library. He glanced through the headlines of newspaper. There is something wrong with the world as it is, he thought. That has always been the case. The solution seems so near yet so far. All the news in newspaper seemed inter-related. All news items whether describing successes or failures had a common philosophical base, to think or not. Why can’t anyone else see those links? Or is it that they see but choose to ignore? What is more contemptible? He only knew that thinking on it further was of not much use. He consoled himself saying “today’s world is not that bad, one can still act on his free will.” Yes, one can but the phrase ‘living dangerously’ never seemed more apt. He returned to his room.

The day went by. He was suddenly feeling very lonely in the evening. It caught him by surprise. He hadn’t felt like this for a long time. One part of him was smiling. This was a philosophical-psychological assignment, a tough but interesting assignment and he was very keen on knowing how he himself would proceed on it. He could have sought help, but decided against it. This made the task even tougher. He was always too aware of thought processes going on in his mind and subsequent emotions. So, this was not a random feeling. His teacher had taught that emotions don’t exist stand-alone, as irreducible primary. They are derived sum of one’s value judgments. What was the root cause of this loneliness then? Was it a longing for someone equal, someone who understands, someone who wants same thing or was it a desperate failed attempt in making unreality real? There is always a sure method to solve such problems, he thought. Check the premises. He started pacing in his room back and forth, as was his style. If suffering is what one aims for; that kind of person would desperately try to make unreality real. It seemed inconceivable that he would aim for that. He had never understood the glorification of suffering. It is not something to be taken seriously. Suffering is not part & parcel of life as some religious leaders and philosophers profess. Suffering is like a waste product of a chemical process and waste can never be the purpose of a process. The assignment was more or less solved. If the reason behind loneliness was the other possibility he thought of, it should only be matter of time.

He got back to his work promising himself that he would not let this thought bother him again.

to be continued...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Random walk

He was standing alone, outside a cafeteria leaning against the concrete pillar, thinking, for a long time. There were people passing by, he had responded to their customary greetings, but he barely remembered doing that afterwards. Only thing which he was aware of was the hot cup of coffee he was holding. It was cold, unusually cold and he liked the warm feeling of the cup in hand. Suddenly he felt resentment towards himself for leaning against the pillar. “Why do I need this pillar for support”, he asked himself. He observed the pillar from bottom to top again. “No, the pillar doesn’t care if I need it or not. It is there to support the building structure. This pillar is as concrete as the pillars which I have chosen and constructed carefully for building my character”, he thought. “No, I have never doubted the strength of those pillars and will never doubt; whatever be the setbacks and difficulties. Why then do I constantly feel an attack on foundation of these pillars? I am surely too insignificant in those attackers’ eyes.” He quickly found the answer. “Sure you are too insignificant for them to worry, but the pillars are not. It is precisely those pillars which they want to attack.” “But then, who are ‘they’?” he asked himself. “They are everybody and nobody.” He had a derisive smile. He started walking back.

He recalled certain news items read earlier that day. He couldn’t believe an article titled ‘short selling rumours is not a bad strategy’ can become news. He had read a judgment passed by a Supreme Court judge which even a 6 year old will be ashamed of. But he had studied how there is invariably a ‘reference case’ for everything that happens and how conveniently a judge can abdicate his responsibility to apply rational mind. What someone does at his work is rarely different from his convictions about life, he thought. “What will happen when a manager will abdicate responsibility? He will hire a consultant. What if consultant also does the same? Who cares? It is no longer manager’s responsibility. Observe the basis of some financial instruments, he told himself, and see similar implications in real life. What is mortgaged? – ‘Who cares? Everything is fair’ attitude. What is the collateral? – The moratorium on identifying reality. Where is the derived security sold? – ‘The world market which scoffs at rational mind concept.’ Till when? – Till someone innocent doesn’t question the fundamental, like the child does in emperor’s new clothes story.”

“What is the answer of combined gang of some economists, socialists and altruists to the ‘greed’ resulting because of above theory? Distribute the wealth equally among everyone without bothering who actually created it. By their solution a beggar has righteous claim on a successful person’s wealth. It is not beggar’s fault that the other person was ‘privilieged’. Privileged? In what? Using own mind? That won’t be answered. These altruists then start applying this theory everywhere. So even when what they ask for is fair they don’t find rational argument and the supporting arguments such as “those who are in XLRI by clearing XAT have done so because of coaching institutes so they shouldn’t consider themselves special” are born.

He suddenly remembered her. It brought smile on his face. This is a good way, he thought. I can think of all questions as a conversation with her. “Will the answers be different than what I expect? Let me try.” He had lost his way to his room and reached wrong floor of hostel. “Ahhhh… not again”, he said and resumed the ‘conversation’, walking back. Many issues were discussed, argued and agreed upon. He realized it was too late and reluctantly went to bed, but the conversation continued in his mind. The last conscious question he asked was- “Why can’t I become indifferent to all these things even after understanding their true nature?”

To be continued…..