The Magnitude / Life Is Short

Happy New Year all!

Here’s a crazy thought that might help cheer up your year ahead.

Human life is ridiculously short to savour the magnitude of what the world actually has to offer.

Let’s say, there are at least a thousand supremely great movies to watch, and thousands (if not tens of thousands) of great books to indulge in. Hundreds of genius musicians to listen to, on a wide range of genres and languages. Nearly 200 countries to live in, and even Space if time and technology permits. Thousands of great paintings and artefacts that would blow you away. Countless cuisines and drinks that you will give your life for if you ever get a chance to taste them. (And of course, so many other levels of enrichments that I missed mentioning because I’m oblivious to). And god-knows-how-many kinds of people to meet and share all this!

So much to do, so little time. Only I’m not sure if this is a beautiful thought, or rather a very depressing one.

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Happiness and Truth – two sides of the spectrum

I have been in quite a discomfort for a few days now. I am not relating the inventive thought of Hemingway or Aristotle with that of mine (and my immature thoughts).  I am a person who believes happiness and truth doesn’t come as a package. It’s a choice a person has to make in his lifetime. I think most prefer happiness. Like religious people. They prefer God’s comfort over reasoning of faith. Faith doesn’t require thinking. Well, that’s why they call it faith. Blind belief. Whether that is true is a topic for another debate. As I was saying, some prefer truth. And most often, they find it hard to be happy. Some would argue that happiness is subjective and that in reasonable people’s case, happiness might as well be the search for truth itself. I disagree. They are not happy. The knowing process just makes them feel better.

Hemingway on Happiness

“All men who have attained excellence in philosophy, in poetry, in art and in politics — even Socrates and Plato — had a melancholic habitus; indeed, some suffered even from melancholic disease.””
– Aristotle

“The dumbest creatures are always the happiest.”
– Colin Firth

“But hail thou Goddess,sage and holy,
Hail divinest Melancholy
Whose Saintly visage is too bright
To hit the Sense of human sight;
And therefore to our weaker view,
O’er laid with black, staid Wisdoms hue.” (Il Penseroso, lines 11–16)
– John Milton

Accumulative Advantage

There’s this one principle I always held close. A principle that explains everything about us. “Accumulative advantage”. A mere understanding that success and failures and whatever you have gained and lost – everything whatsoever – is because of advantages that you are not even responsible for. An understanding that all the good things that happened to you – was almost entirely by chance. Pure luck. 

And today, I was more than gratified when Melinda Gates (with Bill Gates) talked about that same principle in their Commencement Address at Stanford University. Here’s an excerpt: 

“There’s an essential ingredient of success, and that is luck. Absolute and total luck. When where you born, who are your parents, where did you grew up. None of us earn these things. These things were given to us. So when we strip away all of our luck, and our privilege, and when we consider where we’d be without them, it becomes much easier to see someone poor, and say, ‘that could be me’. And that’s empathy.”


Full speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wug9n5Atk8c

Join the discussions: https://www.facebook.com/jijosunny/posts/684653964904991

Affinity

I was thinking. In the other part of the world, well, they get each other naked before falling in love. But here in India, we marry and then desperately try to fall in love. And I don’t see how this is any better. I mean, how can we know if the so-called better half of you can actually satisfy you, both sexually and emotionally, or at least either one of that? What if he or she doesn’t? Do most of us really have an option? Even if we do, wouldn’t it be a little late? Marriage I see here is like a form of socially acceptable insanity. But there is an interesting (and relieving) part about this sad reality; and that is – we don’t fucking care. Ignorance is our key to living a happy life.
 
Join the discussions: https://www.facebook.com/jijosunny/posts/664638963573158

Solitude

I have always fantasised living alone. And I thought it was because I find myself interesting (like any other narcissistic might say; and I’ve read somewhere that people who like to spend alone time are the ones who have all the interesting thoughts in the world) or because everyone else around me turns out to be uninteresting.

But contemplating on the matter lately did help me realise something else. I realised its more because of how less I want to bother (or lets say, pester) someone, which is inevitable when that *someone is around you all the time. I’m talking parents and close friends. Even a potential wife in the future. P.S I love all these people I’m talking about – so much.

People are (or eventually become) selfish, arrogant and most of the time, plain boring (so pessimistic of me, you might think). Maybe that defines human being. But I cannot seem to tolerate those features on anyone else but me. Well, that ironically is because I’m selfish too. I always look at married couples with great surprise. I have come to understand that I can’t even stand the thought of being part of a social concept called marriage; for tolerating another human being for a lifetime (and for having someone to tolerate me) is beyond my endurance. Having said that, I’m not sure about what’s going to happen next. Well, who is?

Another thing I have noticed is how gratified I feel being alone; especially when I go with a bottle of beer or indulge in a long ride. I feel myself. Paramount, I feel no obligation to entertain any one else. I’m not saying I do not enjoy having a good company; but I feel all the more happy without them too, which is so unlike most out there.

Extremity

When everything goes perfectly in your life, you will sense a very strange and uncanny feeling, for you’ll feel you have nothing else to earn or achieve. Like it is the extremity. I suppose it is dangerous of all emotions.

I have felt this more than a few times in my life.

And only when you feel it, will you realise how dangerously depressing it is. When you have nothing to do. Do not get me wrong; I’m not talking about boredom. I’m talking about absolute extremity. It is that moment you feel that you are totally contented and satisfied; and trust me, it is dangerous.

So you better be lucky enough to have something to aspire for, fight for or wish for; always and forever.