Chapter 24

December 8, 2008 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Musing + Mulling, Uncategorized, World + People + Events | 6 Comments
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I am not much of a philosopher. The only philosophical question that has occurred to me is:

‘What is the point?’

No doubt, you will gasp at the profundity and utter sagacity of this insight. I understand. As deep and thoughtful as this question is (Socrates and Plato would agree), I feel rather concerned that humans do not ask it often enough. Especially the folks at the Parliament, the judiciary, and every law-making body of the world. Those grimy, balding. terribly self-important people with a preference for stale banana milkshakes and an ability to think some of the most pointless rules in existence. Lawmakers, some would call them. A bunch of doddery old fools, is the term I prefer.

Of the many strange and mysterious things and unexplained phenomena that abound in our world, including the  possession of so-called writing skills by Pete Wentz and the re-election of George W Bush in ’04, perhaps no other phenomenon is as mysterious or unexplained as the Law. Indeed, such is the complexity and inscrutability of this dreaded school of thought, that concepts such as the quantum theory pale in comparison.

Now, I’m one of those people who love complexity as such, but love simplicity more. But one thing that irritates me more than anything else is the ridiculous precision, the exaggerated, long winding descriptions, perfectly normal terms hacked to tiniest details, and the tendency to define every term that contains more than one syllable.

I mean, consider this:

The Income Tax Act, 2007

993
An individual ( “A”) is connected with another individual ( “B”) if-
(a) A is B’s spouse or civil partner,
(b) A is a relative of B,
(c) A is the spouse or civil partner of a relative of B,
(d) A is a relative of B’s spouse or civil partner, or
(e) A is the spouse or civil partner of a relative of B’s spouse or civil partner.

Or this gem:

(1) For the purposes of this section a company is a petroleum company if-
(a) its activities include any relevant activities; or
(b) it is associated with a company whose activities include any relevant activities and its own activities include the ownership, operation or management of ships or pipelines (as defined in section 65 of the [1962 c. 58.] Pipelines Act 1962) used for transporting or conveying petroleum or petroleum products.

Like, HELLO! A petroleum company is considered a friggin’ petroleum company when it deals in the damned petrol!

I would give more such examples. but I do not want you, my dear reader, to go into a deep coma.

The basic purpose of law is to safeguard our rights as an individual and make life safer and easier. But modern law does precisely the opposite. Statements and declarations abound on paper. Action is mistaken for  the passing of bills. I wonder if they would come up with an official declaration on that too.

(We’re the folks who pass rules/Never mind that we are a bunch of fools/If you should be stabbed or get your jaw broken/There’s nothing more we can do than pass a token/We’re afraid, that’s the law/We won’t do anything about a broken jaw/’Practical’ is a term for us that isn’t supposed to be/It’s not in the book, you see/Yeah yeah yeah)

Alas, I know I am pursuing a lost cause. I may be the only person on the planet to criticise the Law (the Law is the law, after all) but I do this purely out of concern for my poor little brain, which hurts every time I come across  legal mumble-jumble. It’s been like this for centuries, of course, and no one’s complaining but me. Well, next time I’ll make sure I stay well out of a hundred mile radius of a legal document.

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Nonsense is Sense

November 25, 2008 at 3:40 pm | Posted in Musing + Mulling | 5 Comments
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‘Untangented decommisional clouds with goats playing gold-stringed violins doing the macarena.’

I have no idea as to why I scribbled this on the last page of my notebook. The words, nonsensical in themselves of course, just came floating out of my head subconsciously (Really, I wasn’t smoking anything). I stared at them, then started laughing. I told D, ‘Oh wow, look at this – it’s a life-altering literary masterpiece.’

He too, stared. Then, apparently realising that I was joking, smirked. Of course I was joking. I was acting stupid for no reason (as I am tempted to do so time to time). ‘Well, it is, isn’t it?’ I persisted. ‘Makes a lot of sense.’

This was a bit too much for D. He smiled ruefully, informing me in stern tones that it didn’t make any sense at all.

‘Of course it doesn’t make sense!’ I countered. ‘It’s not supposed to make sense. Can’t you see?’ I thought that was fairly obvious.

D, who seemed quite irritated at my deliberate fit of stupidity-et-randomness, scowled and snapped: ‘What the hell’s that supposed to mean, anyway? It has no meaning whatsoever, it just sounds…dumb.’

Upon which, my tirade promptly followed:

‘What the hell do you mean by meaning? I can’t believe this. Jesus. You folks are so narrow-minded! Honestly, do you really believe that everything has to have a – a meaning? Come on; learn to bend your minds a little. Not everything’s supposed to have a meaning. Think about how our world would be like if we went about trying to cram everything into structures and hierarchies, plastering cold logic on everything! I suppose you’d want to assign logic to fairies and fluffy bunnies too, eh?’

By now, D was looking quite alarmed at this sudden outburst. Secretly amused, I went on:

‘No, you want to broaden your mind a little. Look, some things come with their own meaning. Some things don’t – and more often than not, those things do matter. Because it’s your imagination that decides what or how it is. Your imagination that shapes it, makes it, controls it. So, learn to accept absurdities because, believe me, even nonsense is sense. In a different way, of course. This world and the things in it – the real things, are wonderful, but the unreal is even more wonderful.’

D was silent, staring at me. Then, suddenly, he picked up the notebook, read through the nonsensical words, and said, ‘Well…yeah. Deeply thoughtful, that is.’
We both burst into laughter.

Brain Damage

November 20, 2008 at 5:40 pm | Posted in Musing + Mulling, Verses + Vignettes | 8 Comments
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My fingers have been doing the polka dance all over the keyboard for the past ten minutes, in the vain hope that it would rouse my brain from its deep slumbers and write something. Unfortunately for them, my brain just about happens to be the most stubborn thing ever created.

I can hear it chiding now, but this time I am going to have my way.
*racks brains for something to write about*
Don’t be stupid, brain, I can’t possibly write about jumping monkeys on the moon. They don’t even exist, you silly bundle of nerves and neurons.

Oh no! Blasphemy! I repent!

Emily Dickinson, bless her, once said that the brain is ‘wider than the sky.’ (Never mind the fact that she would have redefined the whole geometry from a sky to a  subatomic particle had she happened to live in our times). Anyway, the point is, the human brain never fails to amaze me. On two levels: its sheer brilliance, and its utter stupidity. Extremes on the spectrum, but both equally amazing, you see.

My awe leads me to this unforgivable crime, oh, horror of all horrors, a poem composed in its honour.

It’s a bundle of nerves weighing barely three pounds
Yet actually wider than a sky on metaphorical grounds
Oh, it’s a wondrous little mechanism, all right
(Though, like a squeezed walnut, not exactly a pretty sight)

Old Freud, he couldn’t figure it out
Not that he was the only one about
Scourging the depths of the cup of the brain
Ended up only with a teaspoon in vain

But the riddle teases us right back
It’s nowhere as as easy as a MySpace hack
Like an old geezer put on public display
But who cares, MySpace sucks anyway

It’s best if you just give it a rest
Though we will never entirely tire of this quest
It seems the answer may elude us for a while
But we’ll get there by a long mile

I am now absolutely convinced of the feats of the human brain; for this, of course, is something only a talentless waste genius like me could produce. Shelley must be rolling in his grave. You made me do it, brain.

Oh Good Lord, my brain’s rebelling on me. I’m sorry for all the late night studying, please don’t leave me, okay? You’re all I’ve got.

Two Suns in the Sunset

September 16, 2008 at 5:03 pm | Posted in Musing + Mulling, Randomosities + Rubbish | 1 Comment
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Crowded spaces. Bright lights. Sounds.
Hollowness. Filled to the brim.

The skies bend over and the ground falls away. It’s not that the pain isn’t there. Just that it doesn’t sting anymore.

Fairy tales aren’t meant to be real. It is cruel to compare them with reality.
Reality isn’t always kind.

‘No, I’m fine.’ Why do you ask? You don’t want the answer any more than I want to give it.

I could walk away. But what are you running from?

Tears aren’t ugly. Denial is.

Solitude is company enough.

I don’t ask for much. Stories I can wander in. A song I can listen and fall asleep to.

A golden ocean of grass in the sun. A blue river of dreams. A green canvas of hope. And an endless, selfless beautiful sky, sky of starry nights, sky of warm clouds, sky of splashes of colours, sky of sapphires and rubies.

Dreams can sometimes be all that you have. And yet if you have nothing else but them, you have the biggest wealth of all.

How do you decide what you want?

Sometimes, the best thing you can do to erase the pain, escape the regrets, forget the moment – is to sing.

Why do the stars shine?
Why do I hold back?
Do the answers always lie beyond reach
Or do you create them yourself?

Interstellar Overdrive

September 11, 2008 at 5:57 pm | Posted in Musing + Mulling, World + People + Events | Leave a comment
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Today dawned as another beautiful (*coughnonstopraincough*) day. The furious winds, the cold so deep you can almost feel it under your skin, the the smell of the earth, the vivid, lush green of trees, the cloud-laden sky stretching endlessly overhead, glistening raindrops, umbrellas, thick blankets, crisp toast, a steaming cup of coffee…

…hang on. We’re alive!

The Big Bang 2.0 Experiment certainly created no minor waves. Even a nose-permanently-engrossed-in-some-fat-book-or-the-other-and-totally-immune-to-gossip person like me couldn’t escape the wild anticipation, rumours, hysteria and frenzy all around me.

Observations:
JB: *fingersfuriouslycrossed* Go CERN go!
CG: Oooh! A baby universe, isn’t that pretty!
SA: Seriously, what is the point of this experiment? Isn’t it quite ridiculous to think that we can artificially recreate the conditions which created the Universe? When will these self-pompous scientists learn?
N: Ah dinniken why they ur daein it, jist fir tae prove at whit a hale lot aff canny folks they ur? Bliddy tubes aw dem. This ain’t gonnae work.
SF: Shair they ken whit they ur daein! Int nae hairm in tryin, is there? Ah hope fir the bes.
GL: Typical right-winged bullshit to make money off some stupid experiment while millions of children continue die of starvation. What a waste.
BBD: They can’t mess with the world like that! God made it. Only God can decide what to do it.
My wee brother: OMGOMG we’re all gonna die!

As for me, *I* find the whole thing incredibly exciting. It’s a huge undertaking all right. On the whole, I think the whole LHC thing is quite…astounding and a wee bit scary at the same time. I must admit, something on a scale as big as this fascinates me and frightens me. We’re treading dangerous grounds here. This is something that cut right to the core. Messing with Nature is a dangerous thing. The answer to the Big Bang – Universe’s biggest riddle – is something we’ve always sought to find. And yet, when (and if) we do find it…would it all be the same?

Whether we materialise the Higgs Boson particle or not, whether we identify the nature of the invisible dark matter that constitutes 25 per cent of the Universe or not, whether we modify the architecture of space-time or not, one thing is clear: we’re getting closer and deeper to an understanding of the Universe all the time. There is something about this whole thing – the whole element of mystery – the endless search, the maddening nature of the questions, and the hunger for answers.

Einstein put it very well in one of his most excellent essays, Physics and Reality:

The very fact that the totality of our sense experiences is such that by means of thinking, it can be put in order, this fact is one which leaves us in awe, but which we shall never understand. One may say that the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.’ It is in the sense of creating some sort of order among sense impressions – by the formation of general concepts and relations between them – that the world is comprehensible. The fact that it is comprehensible is a miracle.

The connections of elementary concepts of everyday thinking with complexes of sense experiences can only be comprehended intuitively and is unadaptable to scientifically logical fixation. The totality of these connections – none of which is expressible in conceptual terms – is the only thing which differentiates the great building which is science from a logical but empty scheme of concepts.

Some physicists, among them myself, cannot believe that we must abandon, actually and forever, the idea of direct representation of physical reality in space and time; or that we must accept the view that events in nature are analogous to a game of chance. It is open to every man to choose the direction of his striving; and also every man may draw comfort from Lessing’s fine saying, that the search for truth is more precious than its possession.

Humanity has always been in the search for truth…since the beginning of time. In my opinion, our existence is threatened more by the possibility of giving up this search, than it is by Global Warming or warfare.

On a related note: I was quite taken aback at the number of people who thought that it was their last day on earth. I just hate it when people jump to stupid illogical conclusions concerning the ‘end of the world’. All that talk about the world ending in 2012 is rubbish as well. Weren’t we supposed to die in 2000, or on the of sixth June in 2006? =P It seems that every now and then someone will turn up with their own prediction of the end of the world. Guess I’ll go and make a prediction myself and massively publicise it…I decide to switch on the toaster tomorrow morning and BAM! the world doesn’t exist anymore! People will fall even for that… :roll:

PS. I wonder just what Einstein and Orwell would have said were they to witness this experiment.

Lost for Words?

August 10, 2008 at 6:38 pm | Posted in Musing + Mulling | 2 Comments
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There are times when your head is bursting with a million thoughts and things to say. And there are times when you can’t think of anything at all. As if you’ve just run out of conversation, and have nothing left to say. As if words and thoughts and images and ideas just drift around lazily at the back of your mind, rooted in silence.

Silence…it has so many hues. It can be oppressive, it can be merciless, it can be over-powering, it can be crushing; but at the same time it can be weightless, liberating, sublime, refreshing, comfortable, uplifting, flowing…

There are silences that creep into awkward conversations. Silences that seize you in a heated argument. Silences that deter you from taking the next step. Silences that prevail after the blinding flash of reality. Silences that emerge out of chaos.

The frantic, rushed and hasty pace of the world makes no sense against the milieu where everything is calm and quiet and flowing. Where things, instead of being frenzied and rushed are as rhythmic and free-flowing as water gushing in a stream.

The endless chatter and babble and talk seem so hollow and absurd when pitted against silence. Silence takes us away from our pompous and superficial selves and brings us back to everything that is humble and pure and true within the self.

Silences, whether outer or inner, arise out of equilibrium. They may leave you with feelings of emptiness, bewilderment, fulfillment, warmth, tranquility, but all those feelings are only the milestones along the path called discovery, of whose truth is the destination.

The indescribable is so called precisely because of its inability to be wrought into words and images…because it is all the more profounder in its silence.

But why the hell am I describing silence? That’s just stupid.

The utter futility of words.

Some things are best left unsaid.

A Letter to Time

July 26, 2008 at 7:13 pm | Posted in Life as I See It, Musing + Mulling | 5 Comments
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Dear Time,

You are a funny thing.

Except that you have a twisted, sick sense of humour. Yes, you do. It really isn’t funny how you can be more indecisive over your speed than George Bush over his multiple-question choices when confronted with an elementary quiz (even with all the options being exactly the same).

Why, for instance, do you have to travel at painfully slow speeds during every Botany lecture? Or, for that matter, when ODT takes up the mic and resolves to display his shameful singing skills? Or during those ridiculous traffic-jams? And you shamelessly zoom by whenever I happen to be sleeping, or reading, or in a concert or in the library or in an interesting lecture or sipping coffee while thinking about nothing in particular or…well you know the list.

You know how many times I’ve cursed you and begged you but you blow all the whining and cursing with one ‘Pooof!’ of your breath, throw back your head and laugh, saying ‘Relativity!’ Well, relativity all right. I expect Einstein spared you the shame of asking you how long you took to choose your pizza topping.

Anyway, I’m a bit alarmed and disturbed by you. Well, you know, us humans are always a bit alarmed and disturbed when it comes to you. You knocked at my door on the fourteenth of this month and pah! now I’m seventeen. Thanks to you, I’m hit by dumb questions from dumb people such as ‘Are you grown up yet?’ from all sides. I mean, come to think of it, there would be no such questions if it weren’t for you.

‘Are. You. Grown. Up. Yet?’
they ask from all sides, in a sneering, idiotic fashion that brings back – I don’t know why – memories of a particularly sinister chorus of an advertising jingle I’d heard as a kid. And then, I can do nothing but tell them to shut up. Growing up was never (and isn’t ever going to be) on my to-do-list, I tell them airily.

To-do-lists. That brings back memories too. Remember when I was a silly little girl of eleven, I’d make stupid, gigantic to-do-lists that included every wee thing, including even things such as brushing my teeth at night? It sounds so strange now. I never follow a To-Do-List (I don’t remember checking that little box in the ‘done’ column in ages) now…though that maybe, er, due to my failure to follow them.

But really, that’s the problem with the world today. For most people, life has become an endless chain of To-Do’s. Do this, do that. And you go on running, adding more and more items to your To-Do-List at every stop, but never once pausing to stay and care to look.

So…back to you. I’ve already whined about you being oh-so-unfair. But what are you, really, Time?
Do you even exist? Are you just an illusion? When did you begin? How will you end? Don’t you ever get tired of…going on, all the time? Don’t you ever rest?

Yes, I pestered you with these questions back as a six year old and I pester you with them now. They’re maddening questions, you know. You don’t how much humans fuss over them, and over you. We owe life to you, and yet we don’t understand you at all. You’re never absolute. Most of the humans are terrified of you. You’re the biggest bully we’ve ever known.

It’s easy to say you’re cruel. That you are merciless and intimidating. But don’t feel bad. It’s because of you that we have such a thing as memories – belongings that we gather and carefully preserve above everything else. It’s because of you that we can have music. That we have life itself is due to you. OK, that’s enough praise to last for a lifetime.

And what exactly is a lifetime? And what exactly is a moment?
Oh, I can hear you sighing now and wishing I’d stop with all these questions already. Well, all right, I’ll stop. But before I do so, let me ask you something. See, seventeen years isn’t really a long time when you’re looking back at them – no period of time is. Thing is, you’ve always been there, always hovering in the background, leveling every thing. But at some point of my life, I hope you’ll finally relent. I know that one day, even if for one fleeting moment, you’ll be still. And that moment will have been a lifetime.

Until then,
keep ticking.

The ‘I’

June 21, 2008 at 3:48 pm | Posted in Musing + Mulling | 2 Comments
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What makes a person an individual? Their name? Their body? Their own qualities, their intellect, their soul? Their religion, or lack thereof, their way of life…what?

The name is a provision we make to organise things better. Associating a person with their name is something we do simply to escape the chaotic mix-up that would arise if everyone and everything went about nameless. But you may argue, may you not, that that is exactly what is required – isn’t the act of naming, after all, setting something apart from something else, making it distinct, separate, independent?  And that is the cornerstone of being ‘individual’ – being different. But what we call a person might be the name to millions of others. Then doesn’t the distinctness vanish into thin air? Moreover, a person can be called anything: any name at all.

The body, too, is illusory. The body is like a shadow – you wouldn’t associate your being with your shadow, how then can you associate it with your body? Don’t you relinquish the body at the moment of your death?

But the trickier aspect is this: a person with their own unique qualities, opinions, aspirations. Of course, these differ from person to person – and therefore, you may safely assume that this after all, is what makes a person different from the person next door. And you’d be right. But what if you happen to change your opinions (opinions can be temporary), shift your interests, replace your desires? Then that would, by our definition, be nothing short of being another person.

And yet you are not another person. You are just you. This is the heart of the matter: being you. Being – we call it existing. Existence, in one form or the other, is still existence. That is what we mean by ‘soul’. My definition of soul is a simple and short one. I call it the ‘essence of existence’. Soul is the heart of existing, one way in which humans differ from computers: we know that we exist. That existence, and the knowledge of that existence, is what it means to have a soul.

It is, in effect, what it means to have an identity. I consider identity and individuality to be two different things. A metaphor explains this quite simply: Water is, by definition, a shapeless, flowing, substance. When that same water becomes ice, it acquires a shape, and doesn’t flow. When that ice is heated it again becomes water, and that same water upon heating changes into gas. At every stage, the properties vary according to the form. The form is changing but no-one doubts the existence of the substance. Water, in liquid, solid, or gaseous form, is still there. And you don’t have to call it water – you may as well call it ice or gas or orange juice. So at every stage, in each of its forms, it has a unique set of qualities. Volume, mass, shape, fluidity, transparency, each of them peculiar to the respective form. That is individuality. The fabric of uniqueness. But in spite of everything, in spite of all the change, the water continues to exist, continues to be. That is identity.

And in the end, it all boils down to this: Wherever you may come from, whatever you may be called, whoever you may be related to, however you are, whatever you may become, you won’t stop being you.

The Peace and Power Riddle

June 4, 2008 at 5:25 pm | Posted in Musing + Mulling, World + People + Events | 3 Comments
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It is entirely possible for tomorrow to not arrive. It is easy, say, for humanity to wipe itself clean off the surface of the earth by nuclear warfare, or get wiped off by one of the natural calamities we have been instrumental in creating ourselves.

Either way, the conclusion is the same.

Lately, every major political leader, in every country of the world, has been screaming from the rooftops for World Peace. World what? Peace, you say? Well, you’re fooling yourselves, folks, for you’re as near towards getting world peace as My Chemical Romance are towards being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

What right do people in power have to demand peace, anyway? It’s them who demand peace while plotting to wage wars, who keep on babbling away about human rights while violating them from the first day of assuming office themselves, who don’t see any difference between making speeches and making weapons. It’s easy enough for them to talk peace, demand peace, propagate peace, market peace, while peace is something that they’ve never had and never wanted. While the Darfur conflict gets keeping worse and worse, the people who are in position to stop it continue to sit and close their eyes. US still hasn’t drawn troops out of Iraq. Suicide-bombers are being manufactured like packets of cereals. You show me one of these politicos who want peace who are prepared for it.

What about people who do care? Who, truly and genuinely, want the world to be a better place? Are they seeking an ideal that doesn’t exist? Are they being optimistic and foolish? If optimism if foolish, how does pessimism make things better? If you’re an optimist, you obviously want things to get better and hate the current mess it is in; if you’re a pessimist, you still hate it. So whether optimistic or pessimistic, we all agree on one thing: the world’s current situation sucks. (Oh yes, even the optimists, for being an optimist doesn’t mean that you have to see the bright side and ignore the dark side altogether.) That much is certain.

The 1960s saw the peace movement in various parts of the world, but half a century later, we’re no better off. Where does the problem lie? Is it illogical for peace to be possible at all? Okay, hang on, we’re not talking about something abstract here, we’re talking about our lives, for fuck’s sake. Then is it to do with the framework of international policy? Partly, so ably outlined by George Bush: If you’re not with us, you’re against us.

Oh, then there’s this bloody religion business. My God is better than yours. How convenient! Brainwash the masses into hating each other for having a faith different than their own. Religious fanatics will do anything for proclaiming superiority of their respective religions; they’ll kill for it, die for it, anything but live and let live for it.

But when you take it all together, it all boils down to one single thing. Power. It’s power what drives politicians and policies, religions and races. The two World Wars were wars over power. The holocaust and Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’ were the direct outcomes of his thirst for power. The Cold War, the gold rush, the dot com burst, you name it. Aren’t they all to do with humanity’s never-ending quest for power?

The ruthless force that makes men shine like stars, or crushes them to dust. Isn’t it strange, when Nature had already made us the most powerful species from the start? There’s power and there’s money, that loom over the earth as bullies, making people commit stupid, cowardly things. Power is a bully that creeps in and intimidates us in every decision or choice: even the choice of survival, for natural selection itself is a fight for power.

And there you have it. There’s nothing you can do about it – hunger for power is hardwired into our brains. And power isn’t a bad thing in itself – it’s its handling that plays the devil. So as long as there’s fighting over power, there’ll never be world peace. So the question facing folks everywhere today – politicians, economists, philosophers – is how to control the balance of power and guarantee lasting peace. Marx asked the same question and said the solution was a classless society where the Power was to the People. But hey, the Soviet Union didn’t work out, did it?

Dictatorship, democracy, anarchy…what really is the best way of making power make way for peace? The solution seems elusive…one hundred and ninety-five countries, various cultures, and contradictory socio-economic conditions. Dictatorship is definitely off the list. Democracy is reckoned to be the best way of governance so far but then what is to account for bureaucratic selfishness and shortsightedness?

And anarchy…I’m not sure that it’s the best way – indeed, even if it is a good way at all – but it seems to me that anarchy is the only system which puts faith in humans’ capability to govern themselves, not by a bunch of people that supposedly represent them. It trusts them enough for them to practise freedom – but then just where do we draw the line between the required and excessive freedom? And would that freedom be preserved at all and not be culminated into another dictatorship? Is it possible to eliminate the element of power after all?

Ah, maybe I’ll just leave it to the economists until I can work out a theory of my own ;]

A Healthy Dose of Insanity

January 5, 2008 at 9:48 am | Posted in Life as I See It, Musing + Mulling | 9 Comments
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Insanity is my only means of relaxation.

I guess that applies for all of us. Even the most grim-faced, humourless creatures. That occasional quirky behaviour, the unpredictability or the feeling of unserious-ness that goes with it are some of the pills that all human beings ought to have from time to time.

But I wonder why so many people are unwilling to commit themselves to an occasional lapse of reason. Are they unaware that there’s a part of them that secretly yearns to get away from the mundane, to rid itself of all worry, to drop the concern and just be? Are they reluctant to expose that side of them to the world? Afraid, perhaps, of what the mind will do if set free?

Isn’t that what insanity is? Setting yourself free.

You can say that human beings are born free, but all of their life, whatever they may be bound by – wealth, responsibility or time – most of all a person is bound inwardly by themself. We imprison ourselves and don’t even know it. To be insane is to break the shackles and cut all the chains. The chains of reason. Of the tedious drudgery. Of the realm of impossibility.

To come on a more concrete plane, let me first define what insanity is. (And no, I’m not talking about the medical aspect of it.) Insanity, madness, lunacy – whatever you may call it – is an aspect of human behaviour that, in itself, is a counter-image of a person – and a very useful one at that. Why do I call it a counter-image? Well, because in this particular type of behaviour you don’t confine yourself to the facade that you may project to the world, or to even yourself. You become what you are not that you purport to be but that which you are, unknown to yourself. (Maybe that’s a bit confusing, but it does make sense.) Every person has dozens of ‘selfs’ in their natures. Dozens of different images, a whole bunch of different personas. All unified under the all-powerful ‘I’. This isn’t hypothetical rubbish, but science, albiet a very confusing one. Beneath the sense of identity that every person possesses are other sides of themselves that they aren’t aware of. Insanity is unearthing these sides.

Now you may argue it isn’t really possible, or rational, for a person to not know their own self. Well, guess what, it completely is. Schiller got it right when he said ‘When the wine goes in, strange things come out.’ We all know the effects that alcohol or drugs induce in a person that lead them to behaviour or ability they didn’t think themselves capable of – but there it is, a merely external, artificially induced, unnatural phase. Insanity is innate, instinctive…a natural drug, I’d say.

I know it’s boring to be predicable, conventional, and typical all the time. It is necessary to confirm yourself to the standards for society’s sake (we aren’t a bunch of mad apes on the lose, after all) but it is vital to be occasionally insane for the sake of your own. What’s the fun in leading an almost-programmed life anyway, with forlorn expressions and grim viewpoints?

To quote Jean Dubuffet: ‘For me, insanity is super sanity. The normal is psychotic. Normal means lack of imagination, lack of creativity.’ Definitely. And it’s also a kind of a defence mechanism that allows you to push back your anxiety and angst – and live as though you haven’t a care in the world. It’s good to be insane once in a while.

You aren’t doing it for anybody else; you’re doing it for yourself.

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