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  • There are three types of people in the world, those who don't know what's happening, those who wonder what's happening and those on the streets that make things happen.

Posts Tagged ‘thought’

Part 2: Exploratory Despair Is Better Than Bliss Borne Out Of Ignorance

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on October 13, 2012

Why do philosophers still exist? Why do people even bother to ask questions? What still motivates you and I to ponder over spiritual and metaphysical unknowns? Why does the “Spiritual Guru” producing mill never run out of business? The last four thousand years have given us the greatest minds possible; Buddha, Mahavira, Kautilya, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Spinoza, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Freud, Keynes, Friedman, Einstein et al. Yet this world is no closer to eternal prosperity, peace, harmony, oneness or individual bliss than it was when Adam and Eve left Eden. You would think that if these great guys couldn’t do it, then no one can. Pretty credible historical trends strongly suggest that the path to finding the universal truth leads to nowhere but despair. So should we just give up our arduous efforts to seek that elusive elixir? No. And there are two reason why.

Firstly, I strongly believe that setting your initial goal as seeking universal truth and changing the world is a mistake. The initial objective of reasoning should be to work on yourself and make yourself a model of what you would like to see the world as. The initial focus of exploration must begin from within and must address one’s own body, mind and soul.Only when you have achieved inner oneness and peace, should you venture without. The outcome of this approach is that when your attempt to change the world or conform it to your own views fails (it will), you will not be left in despair. You will recognize your new inner self as a good enough reward for your efforts. What if you couldn’t change the world, you changed yourself and at that moment, you will be the world unto yourself.

The second reason was laid out beautifully in this story that I posted in my earlier post.  Below is that post for you to read and enjoy. As always, comments welcomed!

Very few people are gifted with an inquisitive mind, a disposition to question the origin of every matter or thought. And if such an individual is bestowed with an add-on feature called Intelligence,then life can be quite a catastrophe. Such lucky unfortunates maybe called the Philosophers of the World.

While some of these wise men pursue there voyages in the realm of research and sciences, a lot more have to live with it while they make a living off the “regular”, more worldly sources of income. For this latter group, the gift of a cerebral window is nothing less than a curse. And soon enough they start wishing that they were not God’s Chosen Ones,but, the Ignorant Ones!

So for all those who feel that way, here is an extract from Voltaire’s story

The Good Brahmin

“I wish,” said the Brahmin to me one day, “I had never been born!”

“Why so?” said I.

“Because,” replied he, “I have been studying these forty years, and I find it has been so much time lost. While I teach others I know nothing myself. The sense of my condition is so humiliating, it makes all things so distasteful to me, that life has become a burden. I have been born, and I exist in time, without knowing what time is. I am placed, as our wise men say, in the confines between two eternities, and yet I have no idea of eternity. I am composed of matter, I think, but have never been able to satisfy myself what it is that produces thought. I even am ignorant whether my understanding is a simple faculty I possess, like that of walking and digesting, or if I think with my head in the same manner as I take hold of a thing with my hands…. I talk a great deal, and when I have done speaking remain confounded and ashamed of what I have said.”……
…..The same day I had a conversation with the old woman, his neighbor. I asked her if she had ever been unhappy for not understanding how her soul was made? She did not even comprehend my question. She had not, for the briefest moment in her life, had a thought about these subjects with which the good Brahmin had so tormented himself. She believed from the bottom of her heart in the metamorphoses of her god Vishnu, and, provided she could get some of the sacred water of the Ganges in which to make her ablutions, she thought herself the happiest of women.

Struck with the happiness of this poor creature, I returned to my philosopher, whom I thus addressed:

“Are you not ashamed to be thus miserable when, not fifty yards from you, there is an old automaton who thinks of nothing and lives contented?”

“You are right,” he replied. “I have said to myself a thousand times that I should be happy if I were but as ignorant as my old neighbor, and yet it is a happiness I do not desire.”

MORAL OF THE STORY:

As quoted in “The Story of Philosophy” by Will Durant: “Even if Philosophy should end in total doubt…it is man’s greatest adventure, and his noblest.”

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

I was born on the same day as…

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on October 11, 2012

While on a two hour drive, I suddenly thought of who I shared my birthday with, and of all those people who is the one I would like to associate myself with. So when I reached home and looked up matching birthdays, the conclusion I reached was Malcolm X.

Have you ever thought, of all the people you share your birthday with, who is the one you associate with? Who is that one person you are proud to say of, you were born on the same day as…?

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , | 23 Comments »

fast.faster.fastest….to nowhere.

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on September 20, 2012

The thoughts in this post were inspired when I read “Context and Content”.

Objective: To study the apparent “need for speed” observable in human behavior of recent times.

Data:

Vimshottari Dasa system of Vedic Astrology considers a normal human life to be 120 years long. For benefit of this post, and considering the huge change that lifestyles have witnessed over the last 3 millenniums, we shall reduce that figure to a more modest 75 years. So in numbers,

Average Human Life = 75 years = 900 months = 27000 days = 432,000 awake hours

Observations:

1) I have been using Lean Tools to optimize my movements in my house. And I don’t like it! Its become an obsession. Every movement of mine is coordinated to do the maximum amount of work in least time. Its become so bad that when I place a cup of water in the microwave, I can’t just stand there for a minute while it gets heated. I have to occupy myself with some other task, like filling the water bottle, to make the most of that 1 minute. I can’t even sit on my desk waiting for my laptop to boot!

2) A lot of my friends have been asking me the processor speed of my mobile phone. I don’t get it! I remember when the most important parameter in judging a mobile phone used to be its strength and not its speed. If my phone survived a 20 feet drop, it was a good phone!

3) I am getting increasingly impatient at traffic lights. I honk at the car in front of me even when the light is red!

4) At my wedding, I asked my priest to conclude the rituals within 45 minutes. Under normal circumstances, it would have taken close to 3 hours.

5) I am embarrassed when my mobile phone does not stream an online video within 10 secs of clicking “play”.

Explanation:

We have become wholly entrapped in a web of illusion, a world where our minds have been tuned to think that “Time is Money”. We have been manipulated into choosing the fastest journey, without knowing what our destination is. We are made to believe that the speed is important, not where we are headed or what stops on the way we have missed out. It is like sitting in train going at the speed of light. You cannot see anything outside the window of the train, the train has no stops and your destination is the point you started from. You pay for the thought of traveling at the speed of light and nothing else. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

 
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