Responsibility

Do we not have a responsibility to be Hedonistic?

Consider carefully the state we exist in, or even the State we exist in. Compare it to literally any era in history. Pre-World War, there was nothing illogical, nor even immoral (if that is a thing) to aspire to expansion. I mean expansion in every sense of the word: monetary, geographical, ideological and biological.  We were, for the vast majority of our history, a species still coming to terms with this planet. And though, from the earliest recorded times, we had people who dedicated their lives to the study of the stars and the skies, we still hadn’t really delved the depths of the very ground we stood on. Even today, as unprecedented as our knowledge levels and levels of self-awareness are, the leading figures of any branch of knowledge are the first to emphasize the limitations of what we know. So, in that sense, it makes sense for us to strive for more, scientifically. Even today.

However, what of the other categories? No longer do we live in times when we could send brave souls into uncharted territory hoping to lay claim to some hidden paradise. No longer do we live in times when things were so indiscernible to us that our only recourse was to assign to an Omnipotent being a shifty personality and consign any enigmatic occurrences to his unfathomable whims. No longer do we live in times when we could excuse our excesses by pleading ignorance to their long term effects. A ruler, in the past , when faced with the prospect of a Kingdom that had used up all its resources, simply looked elsewhere. He sent an army or a fleet of explorers, and mined outside his borders for what he did not have within.

But those were times when the Earth held more resources than people. And when our methods of extracting these resources were not advanced enough to outpace their reproduction. Our inefficiency, in short, was what kept life sustainable. But, having fine-tuned our technological acumen as much as we have, coupled with the population explosion, we have long since overrun that boundary. And what’s worse, we have done so in a way that makes it extremely hard to slow down. We learnt how to use machines before we learnt about what the machines are capable of. And we based our entire existence upon it. Now, we are faced with a terrible choice, to give up these never-before-experienced levels of comfort, or to keep living the way we have, and to hell with the consequences.

As always, when faced with a hard choice, and given a chance to prove its mettle, we, as a species, let ourselves down. We took the easy way out. We have the classic Deniers who claim nothing at all is wrong with our lifestyle. We have the Industrialists who dare not accept reality, since reality tends to drop share prices, and then we have the majority, who may accept that we are doomed, but are either too lazy or simply do not care enough to do anything about it.

Can we realistically imagine a time in the near future, even the next century, when people agree to control their biological urges and deny themselves the joy of parenthood in order to be ecologically responsible? Can we imagine an entire industry unanimously slashing their profits in the interest of environmental safety? Can we imagine a time when a country, knowing its own military superiority, but faced with a lack of resources, does not invade or bully another country into providing that resource?

The answer, for the Optimists, may be a yes. I, personally, can never see that eventuality materializing. You could call it my Pessimism, for me it is simply a staggeringly improbable event.

And so, knowing we reproduce too fast, consume too much, are irresponsible, impulsive, juvenile and quite frankly dangerous for ourselves, what is left to the common-folk?

Here, a single outlet appears to me: Nihilistic Hedonism

When trapped in a system where a common person’s input is nullified by miles of red tape and subversive laws and bureaucratic manipulations that run so deep that no man may fully fathom it, man must be forgiven, nay, even expected to react with a certain disgust and a desire to alienate himself from it all. If there exists a problem that has no solution and promises to sap our lifeblood for as long as we live (for example, an abusive spouse), every psychologist worth their salt will recommend that you sever ties. Cut them from your life, you are better off without it. For every common man, the system and the State is that abusive spouse. Interfering, violating, dominating and oppressing you every chance it gets. So, following the mental health handbook, distancing is just fine.

Distancing oneself from the system, however, has further implications, one that now render the abusive spouse analogy insufficient. When you attempt to disavow participation or any form of engagement, even in idle discourse, with the system, you are signaling the destruction of your faith in a functioning community. You are saying you do not believe we are capable of sustaining ourselves, we cannot coexist long term and that the tracks we are on lead only to destruction. Until this is accepted, a person has not truly severed ties.

Accept this, however, and the rest follows quite simply. When one accepts that everything has gone to shit, then one’s inner conscience no longer impels him to invest in a better future. It would be the equivalent of pouring money into a company that you know is going to go bankrupt. Having lost all incentive to look ahead, one simply looks to enjoy it while it lasts. Nevil Shute’s On The Beach captures this form of thinking admirably. The only difference being, in the fictional work, the onset of the end of life is much more immediate, and so its effect on people is that much more exaggerated. But the essence remains the same. “We all return to dust in the end, so let us make merry while we are here.” A completely understandable extension of the feeling of futility.

Today, the only avenue of hope left to us is outer space, and that faint glimmer is swiftly being shut out by budget cuts and strong, misguided opposition. Within the confines of our planet, we have reached, overthrown and exceeded our limits. What little we are still creating is merely to distract us from the fact that we have begun to teeter. We have nothing more to offer as a species. Nothing that will really matter.

The way I see it, we have dug our graves, we have lay in it voluntarily, we have thrown away all the tools that could possibly allow us to dig ourselves out. And so, the one last thing we can aspire to is dignity. Not in the societal sense of virtuous and moral behavior, but simply being true to ourselves. If we are honest with ourselves, and we recognize the mire we are steeped in, and the fact that we are not getting out, then let us shed these pretenses and do what our minds are telling us to do. Let the world mock our weakness (for indulging is always viewed as a weakness), and let it not matter. Bring on Hedonism, the full package. If we are to die, let us not die in half measures. At the very least, as a species, let us spare the feat of extinction the botched nature of our other achievements. Let us go out with a bang, though there will be none to hear it.

And so, to return to the original question: Do we not have a responsibility to be Hedonistic?

Yes. We most certainly do.

In Contemplation of Youthful Yawning

When I was a young boy, I was taught what was proper and what was improper, what was decent and what was indecent, what was good and what was evil. I was taught all the codes of conduct, the manners and mannerisms, the morals I was expected to uphold and display. All the variations in the vast expanse of “public decency” were taught to me with patient and determined endeavour on the part of my parents. No stone was left unturned. All the methods that could have been tried, were tried, and it resulted in a boy who, no matter what his other faults, had impeccable manners. For a while, at least.

Adulthood brought the inevitable deviation from the expected norm, the distancing of the man from his childhood self, a self rebellion of sorts. In many a way, as is usually the case, the teenage years marked the seismic shift from the quiet, shy boy to the boisterous, overconfident, belligerent young man. But no matter how much one changes, one can never (and this is one of those rare cases where there are no exceptions) escape from the effects of one’s upbringing. I am no different. Looking back with an objective eye, I can see clearly all the effects that are still in me, residual or dominant, that to this day dictate my actions and reactions to living experience. Even my widest “Deviations” or “Rebellions” from the path that had been set out for me can be viewed as the direct reaction of my mind against walking a predestined path without having any say in it. In some cases it was merely rebellion for rebellion’s sake.

But the problem is, so many of these issues are ingrained so early, that they lose all significance in the conscious mind and merely fester and grow roots in that dreaded underworld of the mind, the subconscious. Even someone as self obsessed and someone as prone to self examination as myself took 23 years to realize that a lot of the tinted windows that I viewed the world through had not been put there by me but by the creators of me. I speak not only of my biological creators but everyone who ever influenced or moulded my brain in any particular way. And in this context, authors of a distant past must share the blame equally if not more than those who are my kin.

Coming back to my childhood and methods used to teach me manners, I had been taught quite early on that it is rude to yawn in public. One must always cover one’s mouth if a yawn can’t be stifled. Fair enough. But as kids will be kids, a mere dictat is rarely enough for them to obey it. There needs to be a justification. The one given to me was a religious one. “If you yawn without covering your mouth, Satan will enter through your mouth and make you have evil thoughts.” It was a simple explanation, a terrific one that my childish, yet imaginative mind clasped onto instantly. I immediately began viewing Satan as this sneaky voyeur who just waited around for you to leave your mouth open unprotected and snuck in and perverted your mind. I immediately resolved never to allow him the chance. So, you could say the explanation served its purpose, a child now consciously avoided something that is considered improper. And you would be right in saying this, had the thought ended just there.

But one of the greatest tragedies of human education is that the educator rarely realizes what impact his words are having or in what manner it is impacting the pupil. The educator can do everything right, yet the innate disposition of the pupil will determine whether the message is received in the manner intended or taken in a wholly different manner altogether. My mother gave me a straighforward answer, invoking God and Satan and my fear of both of them to prevent me from doing something that was frowned upon. It was impossible to explain to me at that age the importance of public decorum and man’s responsibility as a public citizen. Even today I struggle to understand much of what is expected of me by society. A six year old version of me stood no chance. But the explanation had an effect no one could have foreseen.

Yawns were now intimately associated with evil thoughts in my mind. Once I yawned for about half a second before my hand leaped to cover my mouth. My mind went into a fear fuelled overdrive. When you are desperately trying to avoid thinking about something, your mind will ensure that that is all you can think about. I was fearful that my half second delay had let Satan into me, did this mean I would think evil thoughts? Right on cue, all that constituted evil in a six year old’s brain began flashing in front of my eyes like a powerpoint presentation. Where before I would have yawned a huge yawn five seconds long without the least consideration towards how it affected my train of thought, I was now engaged in an unwinnable battle with my brain to rid itself of the thoughts Satan brought into it. Of course, at the time I attributed this to Satan him(or her)self, not to the human brain’s often vindictive behaviour.

It took almost two decades for this behaviour trait ingrained deep in my childhood to surface once again in conscious light. Last week I yawned, and being much more comfortable with obnoxious behaviour as an adult than I was as a child, I did not bother to cover my mouth. If society did not like the look of my innards then they could look elsewhere. But almost immediately my mind filled with a train of thought whose perversity shocked even myself. “Where did that come from,” I wondered at myself. And then it hit me, that childhood story had never left me. I had long since given up any fear of, or indeed belief in Satan, but the reaction to yawning without covering my mouth, that never left me. Eighteen years later, my mind still clung to the belief that an unabashed yawn brought evil into one’s mind. I wonder now, what is a bigger crime. Yawning in public, or having to deal with the guilt of thinking uncharacteristically perverse thoughts every time one yawned for eighteen years. Which one made one feel more unclean, more unworthy?

The contrast between the innocence and the simplicity of the explanation offered to me as a child and the adverse psychological effect it had on me, made me ponder the topic in depth and at great length. And eventually my mind moved on to generalities. Who decided what was good and what was evil? Public welfare is generally considered to be the standard, but is there any such thing? Is there anything that can ever be equally good for everyone? Does every good for someone not have a flipside for someone else?

And, as a logical counterpart to the above questions, came the question of who decided what evil was. A lot of what seemed to be considered evil today seemed ridiculous to me. And the standards kept changing arbitrarily, usually decided by the dominant religion or culture of the area, only giving me further proof that there was no innate ideal goodness or evilness, just our conception of it. Very well then, if that were the case, why would man go through the trouble of creating these concepts at all? What was the way of mankind before these concepts came into existence?

The way was simple and pure. The will to power.

Before good and evil existed as concepts, before man had progressed (or regressed depending how you look at it) as far as that, the simple factor that decided each action was the strength of the perpetrator in relation to the subject of the action. Whoever was stronger, decided the course of events using his strength, and the sole aim was the propagation of his species. Survival of the fittest in the truest and purest form. Even in the primeval civilizations, the strongest of the tribe, clan, group or gathering always claimed the best shelter, the best females, the lion’s share of the food for himself. He did not bother to think of the handicapped child who was not getting enough to eat, it was none of his concern. He was the best of the species and his responsibility was to protect and enhance his genes. The other’s must take care of themselves or die in the process.

But then came the big upheaval. Ironically, it was with the arrival of “reason” that this most unreasonable of errors was introduced permanently into human civilization. The concept of equality, the concept of charity, the concept of goodness were introduced. How else were a mediocre mass of people to control the exceptional individual? It is no coincidence that most of what constitutes “good” in all of today’s leading moralities is the controlling of one’s urges or refraining from indulging in one’s pleasures. It has its origins in a concept that had been devised to prevent the strong from exercising their strength. Of course, no human dictats would have been adhered to, the Gods must necessarily be invoked. And thus, Gods that were previously viewed as distant, intangible, indecipherable beings that were distant and uninterested and merely existed and caused all to exist, suddenly transformed into Gods who were minutely interested in every single action of every single person and dealt swift and harsh retribution whenever man fell out of line. God took on the role of a moralizer and man (even the best of whom is regularly fallible) was now subjected to a constant torrent of inner guilt. It proved an efficient deterrent, and one of incredible cunning.

Mankind today exists in an unceasing, unrelenting state of continuous self loathing. The noblest of men, the purest of heart, even they have moments in their past that they are secretly ashamed of. Even if it never comes to be acted upon, a single unseemly thought can haunt a mind for years if not for a lifetime. And herein lay the double masterstroke of the masses.

Firstly, the greater the scope of a man’s actions, the greater his potential for guilt. A man who never did anything of significance in his life probably would not have much on his conscience either.

Secondly, the state of self loathing was one already common to the layman. It is natural for the inferior to feel chagrin at his inferiority. The great, however, were not used to such considerations. They were unused to guilt. And now they found it shackled to their every deed. The concept of evil was tailor made to fit the deeds of the strong that the weak could not hope to match or perform. And by contrast, every act of mediocrity became exalted as the good. Thus in time pride, once considered the noblest of emotions, is now considered a vice while humility, once viewed as a manifestation of cowardice, is now hailed as a great virtue.

Religion fine-tuned itself, perfected its methods, absorbed human psychology and historical knowledge into itself and has today become the most ruthless, efficient means of killing an individual and creating a pliant, submissive cog. Wherever one finds disrespect of geniuses, one will not have to look very far to find religion.

All this I gained from reflecting on a yawn in my childhood.

Only this and nothing more.

Peace and its Follies

How shall I find the help I need?
Shall here a thousand volumes teach me only
That men, self tortured, everywhere must bleed
And here and there one happy man sits lonely?
                                                                               – Goethe

Peace and its Follies

World Peace. It rolls off the tongue nicely. Celebrities, politicians, in fact, public figures of any kind have bandied this phrase about so much that it has rendered it meaningless, valueless. But let us not judge the term by the perversion it has undergone. Let us go back to the basics and examine the concept as it was in its original state.

Is World Peace attainable? And if so, is that necessarily a good thing?

Let us begin by addressing the first question.

World Peace is put forward as a utopia. A world where every human being gets along and prospers without harming his fellow human being. Where one can attain greatness without leaving the other in the dust, where all of mankind walks hand in hand from glory to glory. This, then, is the goal. Very well, how are we to go about it.

Race, gender, nationality, physicality, sexuality, cultural hegemony, historical prejudice, religion, culture and economics. These are just a few terms that can be named off the top of one’s head when considering just how many things divide mankind. Can all of these be overcome? The problem we face today is, we see these issues as individual issues needing individual solutions, or at best, problems that are interrelated. No one sees these issues as a single tree that has branched out from a single overwhelming factor. Evolution.

A certain Charles Darwin put forth a certain theory that subsequently went on to be proven. Darwin himself must not have imagined how vast the scope of his theory was. What the “survival of the fittest” means, what the existence of the survival instinct means is that every creature, given the chance to help its own cause, even at the cost of the other, will act to help itself or its kind survive. This is an animal instinct, and humans like to believe they have risen above it, but it is prevalent, if not dominant, throughout mankind. Fierce education mingled with fierce determination of will has produced exceptions. We have all heard stories of selfless sacrifice, if there is such a thing. However, the fact remains, the vast majority of mankind, or any other species on earth, has no qualms going to any extent to get a headstart in the rat race that is survival.

Now, seen through this light, one begins to perceive all the above mentioned terms of differentiation as mere tools. The British used “The mission of civilizing a Barbarian country” as a tool to drain India of its wealth of resources. We were called barbarians, and we believed it. And we merrily played along while they stole out the backdoor carrying our treasure. The white man called the black man a lower form of human being, and united the Western world in this belief, until a whole continent of people were enslaved. Hitler used the Jewish Race as the scapegoat to unite Germany in retaliation to French excesses. America used Islamophobia to justify attacks on Arabian countries.

Everywhere, every propaganda, every justification is a thinly veiled attempt at superiority, or a desperate cry for survival. Humans have it ingrained in them to step on corpses on the way to progress. No civilization in all of mankind’s history has prospered without having terrific violence in its past. It is, simply, the way it is.

Let us assume for arguments sake (though we would be wrong) that the survival of the fittest was not the root cause. Let us take each of the terms of differentiation as a problem in its own right, interlinked with the other problems intricately, but a separate entity nonetheless. Even so, can such a plethora of differences ever be overcome? When, in the same country (ironically enough, a democratic country), there can exist a journalist who doesn’t blink twice before flinging insult in the face of a religious figurehead in the name of freedom of speech, and an extremist who believes any insult to his religion is justification enough to carry out an act of terrorism; which naïve creature could even hope that peace could prevail even for a little while on a global scale?

There can never be a solution to man’s fear of the unknown. And the world is too large, mankind too diverse, for differences not to exist. Education proves inadequate to fight the instinctual reaction of man to shun or destroy that which seems foreign to himself rather than insquisitively learn about it before he judges it. Man will remain a man, and violence will remain an integral part of him.

“Almost everything we call ‘higher culture’ is based on the spiritualization and intensification of cruelty – this is my proposition; the ‘wild beast’ has not been laid to rest at all, it lives, it flourishes, it has merely become – deified.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Now to address the second question. Is World Peace a good thing?

The first answer to come to one’s mind would be, “Yes, obviously.”

But the first thing that comes to one’s mind usually does not have a lot of thought behind it.

Friedrich Nietzsche postulated that war, conflict, dissent, dissatisfaction, revolt, revolution and cruelty were all necessary cogs in the machinations of human progress. It is almost a form of purgation in the Aristotelian manner that he professes works to the good of mankind. If one glances through history ( a worthwhile endeavor) one will find that the greatest leaps that man has made progress wise have come from times of tumult and warfare. The might of American Space programs relies heavily on Nazi science. The slavery question prompted concerted research into human psychology and race to investigate if one is really inferior to the other or is merely believed to be so. The oppression of Germany by France through the Treaty of Versailles ended up providing the impetus for uniting the whole of Bavaria with such an excess of fervor that they held the rest of Europe in a tyrannical grip of terror for almost a decade. Mankind has a wonderful habit of blooming to its full potential when under duress. And Nietzsche’s argument is that for this very reason, evil is needed, if only to spur the good on to greater heights.

A world at peace would have stagnated. There would be hesitations before every step forward. Everytime progress could be made, it would be weighed against its possible side effects and collateral damage and ultimately given up. That the whole species of man will advance in unison is a vain dream with no attachment to reality. In the real world, you always need a pioneer to light the way before the rest of the masses follow. But right there comes a divide. The pioneer’s task is the toughest, must his reward also not be correspondingly the greatest? If yes, then he is at a position more elevated than the rest, which distorts equality, and there can be no peace without equality. And if no, then we fall back into Karl Marx’s argument, and a simple google search will give you the disastrous consequences that any attempt at large scale Marxism has brought upon mankind.

Incidentally, in case the above remark misleads you into believing this article is pro-democracy, the very concept of democracy itself is flawed. And in the context of equality, this becomes all the more dangerous. In a democracy, all men are proclaimed equal, right at the outset, this leads us to a contradiction. According to the “logic” of democracy, the opinion of an educated, trained professor of Economics and of an uneducated, ignorant old villager carry the same weightage when deciding who is to be elected Finance minister. Democracy treats people as equals, when they are not. This results either in oppression of the masses or of oppression of the intellect. And none of the scenarios are pleasant ones.

This same thinking overflows into the wishful concept of World Peace. As mentioned before, peace cannot exist until there is complete equality in mankind. A man, seeing another above him, will necessarily wish to rise to his level rather than remain below. It is only natural, only fair, and indeed this aspiration is the reason we have advanced so far from our caveman days. But aspiration is a short step away from ambition and ambition can be squarely blamed for 80% of our world’s issues today.

These arguments do not even delve into the practical consequences of world peace. How is one to control overpopulation? How is one to control the already overaccelerated usage of our resources. And most importantly, what will then provide the impetus for humans to move forward?

The choice, in the end seems to be this. Peace at the cost of progress, resulting in stagnation, or progress while accepting collateral damage as a necessary cost that must be paid. The delicate task of mankind is to keep alive its repugnance for barbarianism while recognizing and accepting that barbarianism is still and always will be an integral part of the human psyche.

In conclusion, Peace is a noble objective to keep before oneself, but it is an erroneous one. To revert back to Nietzsche, “Life is essentially appropriation, injury, overpowering of the strange and weaker, suppression, severity, imposition of one’s own forms, incorporation and, at the least and mildest, exploitation.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

This, seen objectively, is what life constitutes. The choice of accepting it or spending one’s life fighting against it, remains a personal one.

Of the Purpose of Friendship

Today, our planet is miniscule to us. Two things have contributed to this, our knowledge of the size of the universe and our planet’s size relative to it, and the advancement of communication technology.

In earlier, more innocent, or one may argue, more ignorant times, we imagined that this planet was immense, the entirety of the universe maybe.  Now, with the internet becoming a necessity rather than a luxury, no corner of the world is out of reach for us. The planet lies at our fingertips.

While this has its obvious advantages, which I will not get into here, it brings along with it certain complexities that did not previously exist to this degree. I speak of human interaction.

A comic strip I recently read stated that “Happiness is your family staying at least one expensive plane ride away.” The point it made was valid, almost profound. It is too easy for everyone to reach everyone today. Distance is no longer a barrier to contact. And so clarity in dealings with fellow sophisticated primates becomes all the more crucial. One must know what one is doing when maintaining a bond of any kind with one’s fellow beings.
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Social existence was conceived by man, evolutionarily, to improve his chances of survival against nature. We may safely say he succeeded. The fact that his survival is now threatened by these very same social contemporaries does not take away from its success. He has managed to at least alleviate some degree of danger from predators and natural calamities, though it will never be completely alleviated.

 Having banished that problem, the use of relationships evolved. A study of history will reveal that the greatest benefit mans social nature has granted us is the sharing of knowledge. We have, through the cooperation of man with man and the magic of communication, been able to erect monuments, philosophies, technologies and ideologies, not a single one of which could have been created without the platform provided by the men before us. A child in today’s world has access to information that has been in existence and is being collected since as long back as 3000 BC. Before the age of 25, he can acquire information that on his own would not be knowable to him in a million lifetimes. Relationships provide one with the benefit of tackling many different problems at the same time, or tackling the same problem in many different ways. No two men are alike, and therefore, their method of approach must also necessarily be different, the slightness in the degree of deviation is irrelevant. The repeated and ruthless testing of facts by the men of science ensure that we do not rest our research on shaky foundations. They have built us a platform of reinforced titanium. From here the only direction we can go is upward.

So, relationships are then to lead us to a higher form of existence. I speak of higher forms not in the supernatural or religious sense, but in the worldly sense. They are to help make us what we could not be on our own. That is their true purpose.

In each friendship, there is the host (the individual) and the guest (the friend). A friendship may occur when the will or spirit of the host comes into contact with that of the guest. As to what form of friendship results from the meeting, is decided by the nature of their respective wills.

The friend is here referred to as the guest because he requires admittance from the host. In some cases the admittance is given reluctantly, but nevertheless, a “friendship” cannot occur without the host allowing it. The host is breaching the defenses of his self in order to allow the guest in, so that he (the host) may experience and learn things that would not be possible on his own. However, this pre-assumes the admittance was voluntary.

Where the host’s will is much weaker

Abusive: In some cases, the will or spirit of the guest is so overpowering, so overwhelming, so all encompassing in comparison to the host’s own, that the admittance is acquired by sheer force rather than by willful consent. These circumstances, where the host has little or no force of will in comparison to the guest’s, are the ones that give rise to all forms of abusive friendships. The host is, in this case, a helpless pawn. The guest may do with him as he pleases, use him as a tool and then toss him aside when he is no longer useful. No control resides with the host, he is now a passenger. In milder cases, the superior will remains with the inferior just so as to have a constant reminder of his own superiority. It is a perpetual ego boost, if you will. In more extreme cases, there is financial, mental, emotional or physical exploitation. This only takes place when there is a massive difference in force of wills.

Other forms of abusive friendships start off as normal friendships, with the host consenting to admit the guest and a mutual benefit occurring. However, in due course of time, the superiority of the one (the guests’s) becomes apparent over the other(the host’s). The guest, becoming aware of the advantage he possesses, begins to wield his power, testing his limits, taking it further and further, until he has absolute control over the host.

In both forms of abusive relationships, the host is unable to break it off of his own volition. Subconsciously, his will recognizes it is in contact with a higher form, and it craves it and is loathe to break it off. Consciously, this may take the form of fear, reluctance, love, procrastination, or any emotion that will put off the thought of breaking off the friendship from his mind. In these cases, the host remains bound to the guest by choice despite suffering abuse at his hands.

This does not include the cases where there is actual physical intimidation from the guests preventing the host from breaking it off.

Non Abusive: A variation of non abusive relationships that results from this type of meeting of wills is that of the dependant host. This occurs when an inferior host will meets a superior, non malicious guest will. The host, consciously recognizing the superiority of the guest, feels indebted to the guest merely for maintaining the bond. What results is the gradual disintegration of the self esteem, morale and confidence of the host. How long it takes for the process to be complete depends on whether the guest acts to impede the process or help it along. But there is no way to put a stop to the process outside of ending the relationship.

Another type, probably the best possible under the circumstances, is that of the imitator. This occurs when the inferior host meets the non malicious, superior guest and spends the entirety of their relationship in an attempt to bring his inferior will up to the level of the superior. This form of friendship is most beneficial to the host, while not so much for the guest. The host has a living model to replicate, he may observe, study, question, practice all the traits of the superior. He lifts his own self to a height he has never been able to scale before. For a weaker will, this is the only form of friendship with a stronger will that is beneficial and true to its purpose. It is the only form that takes him upward and not downwards.

Where the host’s will is much stronger

A Hollywood movie (Revolver) famously proclaimed that, “The first rule of any game is that you can only get smarter by playing a smarter opponent.”

Occasionally, even Hollywood happens upon the truth.

When the will of the host is stronger than the guest’s and yet the guest is let in nonetheless, there can be many precipitating causes. However, outside of boosting one’s self image and reinforcing one’s comfort in one’s own superiority, no relationship of this form yields any true benefit for the host. There may be naïve positives pointed out under the guise of phrases like, “they teach me the beauty of simplicity” or “every man is special in his own way”, but these are empty phrases created to pacify the hearts of those who are vain enough to believe them. One who believes there to be truth in these phrases would also soon believe that Marxism does actually create a classless, sustainable society and environment for the world to live in. And once you have gone down that path, you are lost to logic.

The truth is, when allowing a weaker willed guest, you are diluting your energies. This form of friendship mainly takes place in two scenarios.

The Egotist Friend: This host does not wish to climb higher. His purpose is not elevation. His purpose is impression. He wishes to be considered elevated and achieves his purpose through comparison. He surrounds himself with people who are no equal of his in any way. Instead of striving to achieve a higher existence, he strives instead to feelhigher by mingling with the minions. This may achieve the desired result as far as he is concerned. Within his circle, he may be considered with a certain amount of respect, admiration and maybe even awe. However, for our purposes, as far as the true purpose of friendship is concerned, he has achieved nothing. In the best possible outcome, he will have stagnated. In the worst outcome, he will have degraded himself to the point where he no longer deserves the tag of the “superior”, no matter what he is perceived to be. In short, he will have received credit for something that he is not. And how commonly we perceive this tragic phenomenon!

The Charitable Friend: The second scenario takes place when the host, knowing it is stronger, better placed or higher, call it what you will, condescends to befriend the lowly guests, not out of a feeling of self aggrandizement, not out of egotistical ulterior motives, but out of a belief that because it resides on a higher plane, it is somehow duty bound to help others get to that plane as well. The age old dogma that man owes a debt to mankind and must do everything he can to help his fellow beings even at the cost of himself. The motives behind this form of friendship may be noble (If they are genuine at all), however, that does not make them correct. Not in the least. Whenever a will is concentrated downwards, whether for positive or negative reasons, the outcome is always negative on the whole.
Yes, its condescension may have lifted a few paltry guest wills to a slightly better plane, but the duty of the higher will resides in forging a new path, so that the rest may follow more easily. Not in personally carrying the incapable on one’s back and being bogged down by their crippledness. This form of friendship is the most dangerous to the higher will and to humankind at large, because it is regarded as nobility, humility, charitability. In short, it is praised. And thus reinforces the downward course of the higher will.

It is worth considering that this kind of action may be so highly praised because the mob subconsciously always strives to discourage individuals from rising alone too far above the pack, and in this way they cover their malice and insecurity in a cloak of admiration.

When the host is equal to the guest

Neutral wills: This is one of the most commonly found forms of friendship amongst humankind. And unsurprisingly, it is one that does not involve much thought. All the other forms mentioned above and that will be mentioned below, whatever their positives or negatives, had at least this to their credit, that they had a logical thought process behind them. Whether the thought was conscious or subconscious, malicious or gratuitous is immaterial. The thinking was existent and so it lent itself to some purpose. This form of friendship, however, is a thoughtless one. Instinctual, comfortable, easy. One could almost say natural, if only its outcome was not completely counter natural. When a host meets a guest whose will is exactly its equal, but the host derives no effect nor produces any upon the guest, but the both of them merely coexist exactly as they are, that is what is known as the Neutral Will friendship. It is an anesthetic, a zombie mode, if you will. There is no purpose served by this except to while away time, alleviate loneliness, distract one from the harshness of realities. Maybe have a shoulder to cry on. One may even argue that is all one needs from friendship. But again, standing above the narrow, naïve short termed perspective, one must recognize the error in this thinking and guard oneself into falling into this rut. No form of stagnation can ever be productive. And when one is not moving forward, one is always falling behind.

Binary Star
In space, binary stars are two stars that have attached themselves to each other through a common centre of mass. They neither collide with each other, nor do they move apart, but are eternally bonded with each other through their respective gravitational pulls and as a result spend eternity spiraling through space, ever locked in an almighty embrace with each other.

I can find no better analogy to explain the last two forms of friendships, and possibly the two most important ones.

Downward Binaries:
Herein lies the most dangerous form of friendship. When two wills of equal might collide, and the host cannot overpower the guest nor allow itself to be overpowered, then two situations may arise. This is the first of them, and the deadliest of all the forms. In the Downward Binary scenario, the host and the guest attach themselves to each other, and from then on ensues what are commonly known as mutually destructive relationships. One complements the other perfectly, but only the negative sides. Neither will is able to bring forth its positive side, and on the other hand, the negative traits of both wills are reinforced. Friendships of this kind are capable of bringing down the highest of wills, and in each case it results in a double tragedy, because not one, but two will spiral down to their annihilation in unison. They each find justification for their actions in the support of the other, and they in turn dispel any doubts that the other may have about the course their lives are taking. They walk hand in hand and willfully traipse towards oblivion, and barring divine intervention, very few forced on earth can stop them.

Upward Binaries: Herein lies the treasure, the arkenstone of friendships. This form is rare, one is lucky if one encounters it even once in a lifetime. Multiple occurrences are almost unheard of. An Upward Binary is a friendship that results when the host admits a guest of equal might, and the two lock themselves in the binary girp. However their spiral goes not down, but up. From the beginning to the very end, this form of friendship serves no purpose but to spur both host and guest on to immeasurable heights. Neither will would be capable of scaling half as high on its own, however every time one falters, the other is there to spur him on, and so on and so forth to eternity. The binary stars may be dissimilar or identical, complementary or clone like, the medium of elevation differs. However, what does not differ is the result. The result leaves both spellbound. And very often leaves something behind them that holds the whole world enthralled. Separating the two is just as improbable as in the case of the Downward Binaries. And truly, to take the analogy further, the binary system is only broken when the stars perish. And usually, when one persishes, the other is not long behind. This bond is more sacred than love, than honor, than loyalty, even dignity. This bond is the only one that succeeds completely in achieving what is, in the end, the true purpose of friendship.

The Birth of the Universe

Humans, you have searched for the answer to your existence from time immemorial. You have made many fantastic tales, mythologies and fables in a desperate attempt to make sense of what is a sometimes unfathomable and chaotic cosmos. To the uninitiated mind, indeed it looks a complete mess. However, of late, some of you have evolved mentally to the point where you have begun to perceive the patterns, the symmetry in my creation.

The argument over whether I exist or not still rages fierce all over the world. It has cost so many lives, destroyed so much knowledge. So much unnecessary carnage. And from a race such as yours too, that possessed such unlimited potential.  And to think that all this while the answer was right in front  of you. Like the answers to the best riddles, the answer to this one too, is the simplest. So simple that it never occured to you.

You assumed a universe that you took millenia to even begin to understand, must have begun from something equally complex, if not more. However, there you are making a huge assumption,  and in science, assumptions are criminal.

The demonstration of the falsity of this assumption is you yourself. When life began, you were an organic molecule. You were a dna that began replicating itself on a molecular level. And look at you now. Much is said about the near impossibility of the evolutionary creation of something as perfect as the human eye.However, what you fail to understand is that, given enough time, perfection is easily attained.

It took four billion years for a single cell organism to progress to the wide diversity of life you witness today, including your own species. Four billion years rolls off the tongue easily, but have you ever paused to actually consider the magnitude of time it indicates?

So, coming back to my original point, if in four billion years, a cell can multiply into all the forms of living existence that you have witnessed or will do so in future, is it so hard to imagine a similarly simple beginning for the universe? The universe is roughly 14 billion years old. That is a long time to multiply and diversify even from the humblest origin.

But where, you ask, is the answer to the riddle of my existence?  If I claim to be creator, where am I now? Why, you ask in outrage, do I turn a blind eye to all the horrors that are perpetrated on earth? Where is god and why does he not show himself?

The answer to this, and the implications of it as a consequence,  force me to term this turn of events as tragic. One man amongst you even stumbled upon the answer,  but I do not think even he knew what he meant exactly when he said it.

God is dead.

Not in a metaphorical way, not killed by the evil of man or loss of faith or any such triviality. Simply dead. God’s immortality is the first and most terrible lie, and the one with most far reaching consequences. For it is this lie that necessitated the fabrication of all the other lies.

If I was immortal,  then there needed to be an explanation for my inaction in the face of worldwide despair. If I was immortal, then there had to be a grander plan I had in mind that justified what was happening to this world. All the fanciful embellishments that religions and scriptures endowed upon me stemmed from this one lie. This is the actual Original Sin. This is what really caused the fall of man. This is what will eventually be your bane.

I am mortal. I am just as mortal as you, as every other life form, and even as every inanimate object. Stars shine and then destruct. Planets form and then destruct. Entire galaxies thrive and then capsize. And all that once lived, dies. Are you so blind to the cosmic cycle? Can you not see that everything has a beginning and an end and only differs in the comparative duration of its lifetime? Why did you feel the need to exempt me from this rule? Does a creator have to live as long as its creation? Is the Mona Lisa not still revered though Da Vinci has long since ceased to exist? Do we not still marvel at Nietzsche’s profundity though his body lies decomposing in the earth? Is there not a parallel almost everywhere you look?

Nay, but you have not seen the true parallel yet. You make a mistake in my role. You assign me the role of a mother with regards to my creation. But I, in fact, am the father.

Allow me to elaborate.

In your species, what role does the father play in the creation of the child? Almost none except the initial spark. The big bang, as it were. The injection of sperm. He provides the spark and then he leaves. His job is done. After that, the mother, the receptacle, assumes the responsibility of creation. She holds in her womb the raw material that will in nine months time reveal itself a full fledged human being. She feeds it from her own body, shelters it under her own skin, fueled by her own heartbeat.

There is no more accurate or apt analogy in all of existence.

In the cosmic scale, I am the father. Nature is the mother. I was what you scientists call “the first cause”. The big bang. That was me. That was the injection. As soon as that was done, my role was over. After that, nature took over completely. Nature guided you through the eternities of space and time, separating, fusing, colliding, exploding, condensing,  evaporating. All of the apparent chaos was in fact a carefully thought out plan. Nature fostered exactly the conditions you would need to thrive. And you are not the only ones who have. Countless planets share your fate.

However, returning to the analogy of us as parents, I as a father, provided all the material you would require to exist and survive. Nature, as a mother, more tender in her love and so also more volatile in her anger, gave you instinct. Your greatest weapon. The ability to retain and pass on information through genes. She did that,  and much more. You really had no choice but to thrive. She made sure of that.

You came close to the truth many times, none more so than when you named her Mother Nature. She is your mother indeed, but a parent can do only so much.

A parent’s task is this: To provide a healthy and rich environment for the child to grow in. To equip the child with all the tools and knowledge required to survive and thrive.  And finally, to ensure that the child is eventually strong enough to live independently,  on its own merit, and repeat the process of reproduction and upbringing and take the species forward.

 This is the parental criteria demanded almost universally.  And we have fulfilled all of these. If, in spite of all the best and quite frankly admirable efforts of the parent, the child still turns out rotten to its core, the parent must not be blamed though it is done commonly enough. We gave you everything you needed to become an almighty race. Sustainable for billions of years, not mere millenia. But you turned around and spat in its face. You spurned every lifeline thrown your way. And O! Irony of ironies, you did it in my name.

Lies! Calumny! Blasphemy! What blame lies with us? Us who gave you everything and more. Nay, turn your finger inwards, human, the blame lies with you. I, your father, have long since perished. Like you, like the universe, like everything, I too had an end. I could not intervene when you spread lies about me. I could not show you where this path of falsity led. I could not stop you when you turned on each other. I was not there for the proverbial Kane and Abel murder. I was not even there when the first homo sapiens wandered on the earth’s surface. I was long since gone. A father who hoped he had done enough to secure for his child a bright future.

How miserably I have failed. And you call me omnipotent. HAH! There is no joke crueler than this.

This, humans, is the truth of the universe. It is useless to me. I am dead now. Do with it what you will.

Oedipus was from Stockholm

Introductory notes

Oedipus complex: According to Sigmund Freud, every child (in this case I deal with only the male child) posesses an innate complex because of which the child feels sexually attracted to his mother. The mind, in most cases, succeeds in repressing it and later dealing with it in other ways (identification and emulation of paternal traits), however,  in the primary stages, it is nevertheless manifest.

Stockholm syndrome: Also known as trauma bonding, stockholm syndrome is a psychological phenomena which causes the victim of a hostage situation to express empathy, sympathy, positive feelings or even love towards one’s captor. There are other causes or cases, too, but this particular type is of relevance.

———– ———– ———– ———– ———– ———–

Now, then, the Oedipus complex is innate in all of us. If so, whence does it come? I believe the answer has today been unlocked. And here, free of charge, it shall be revealed to you in the name of science. Imagine yourself waking up suddenly in a prison. You dont remember anything before this, this prison is all you know.

All around you loud noises, white noise they call it in the world outside. But you know no fancy lingo, you know no lingo at all. You cannot speak, comprehend, or indeed form any coherent thoughts. All you see is red walls, moving, pulsing, throbbing.  Sounds that should scare you, but instead they soothe you. Weirdly, you feel one with them. As if your very existence had been initiated right here, attached by the navel to this strange contraption. It is all very comfortable and nice. But you want more. You are human, you want your freedom.

You kick out. No cigar. The fortress is so impenetrable,  they didn’t feel the need to leave guards. You rest, once in a while kicking out in frustration,  but otherwise silent. You brood in anger. This is kidnapping. This is solitary confinement. Are you to endure this forever? What fate worse than this? Thus are your thoughts in the beginning.

 But gradually, unnoticeably, a change begins to occur within you. You begin to identify yourself with the prison. You begin to understand it. A primal sort of understanding that you yourself cannot understand. But you understand this much, you love it. Whatever this entity is, whatever its reasons for keeping you in captivity, all that is irrelevant. You love your captor. Not just any old love either. One of longing. Not platonic, quite the opposite. You thirst for it, and while it is around you, you are in heaven. Bliss knows no bounds. Such pleasures are only sung about in dreamy songs by dreamier poets. (Stockholm syndrome)

But whats this,  your own private pool begins to drain. Your whole world thrown into turmoil. You begin to feel the walls contract around you. You are being evicted!  The fall of man all over again. Paradise was yours and now it is yours no longer. But this time the fault was not yours. You did not eat of the forbidden tree. Who then, was punishing you, and for what?

 Life was punishing you. And life never needs a reason to.

Suddenly you find yourself in a hideously brightly lit world. You hear shrieks of all pitches. You cannot understand what is happening. All you want is to go back. Back to paradise. The creature, clad all in white, strikes you sharply. Such pain you have never known before. You cry out in anguish. Anguish of the physical pain mingled with your grief at being forced from your former place into this horrid existence.  Despair threatens to rend your vocal chords from your throat. Amongst all this chaos, you hear a sweet voice ring out. Sweeter than any melody you will ever know. You feel two arms welcome you within their grasp. They are not brutal on you, like the man in white. They are soft, gentle, tender. Such care you recognize immediately.  It is her. Your captor. All your feelings of love, lust, passion, rush forth until you are drained. Drained of all energy. You fall asleep to her singing, lilting tone, clinging to her for dear life. She is all you will ever love. (Oedipus complex)

When you grow up, you will hide it. It is considered shameful. Taboo. You will suppress it. People will give it funny names, oedipus complex they will call it. They’ll scoff at it. Call it disgusting, disturbing, gross even. But each of them have felt it too. It resides in every one. Oedipus complex borne out of stockholm syndrome.

Abnormal, say they?

If she be not fair for me
What care I how fair she be?

Of The Three Stages of Knowledge

In the following dictum, I will address the three stages of acquisition and possession of knowledge by man. In an age where information is freely available to any who wish to acquire it, it is increasingly necessary to have a clear direction and thought process regarding one’s current state of knowledge and the direction towards which one must aspire.
As I see it, man can be broadly classified into three separate categories, from which it follows logically that there exists a hierarchy. In general, philosophers or any people who made man the subject of their investigation agree that with regards to intellect, nature is aristocratic. Meaning the higher up the hierarchy you go, the fewer are the number of people consisted in it. But, no matter which position one takes up in the scale of judgment, there is always more work to be done, as I will show shortly.

The first stage: Faith and blindness

 The first kind, (henceforth they will be referred to as “the number 1’s”)as previously mentioned, are the most numerous. They consist of the populace who do not know, do not wish to know, and who believe they do not need to know. They do not concern themselves with the study of life, or man, or thought. They have immersed themselves in the menialities of existence and, finding even that too much to handle, refuse to overload their minds with worries that do not have any direct bearing on their next meal. They mock and heckle those who aspire to go higher, out of fear that they may be left behind. They are highly distrustful of any opportunity for changing their lives, since change is often the best test of a man’s capacity for survival and adaptation, and they subconsciously recognize that such tests will expose their frailties. This, in turn results in the obsession with upholding tradition, where such dangerous phrases as “it’s always been done this way” are bandied about. An imitator has a much easier task of it than an innovator, and the easier the task, the less they are made to feel inadequate.

Inadequacy, the root cause of most evils prevalent today, manifests itself in many forms, most commonly known to us by racial and gender based oppression. When a person or a community is innately weak or insecure, anything or anyone that is different in any way is perceived as a threat. The logic behind it is sound, if one is rotten on the inside, anyone different from you is more likely to be an improvement rather than a degradation, and hence they are a threat.

Another feature most commonly observed is the “finding of faith”. As mentioned before, the number 1’s do not concern themselves with the major existential questions of life. However, life has an uncomfortable habit of bringing these questions to the forefront from time to time. No matter how much one turns a blind eye to them, even in the most dedicated ignorant’s mind, the question will present itself to him, and it will bother him. And so he feels the need to provide an answer. He is not bothered about whether it is true or not, he merely needs a convenient theory that will explain away anything and every event whose first cause is a mystery. Here is where religion steps in. God is omniscient, omnipresent, he controls our fates, he decides what happens, not a leaf can turn without his will. A wonderfully devised concept, tailor made to their requirements. Now one need not worry how the world was created, how the volcano erupted, why lightning struck one house and not the other, why one country is repeatedly struck by plagues and famines while the other prospers in heavenly climes. We have a “Get out of jail free” card. God did it. He is all and knows all, we must not question it. We must have faith. And therein lies the final nail in the coffin.

When man no longer feels the need to question anything, he is no longer a man.

But the issue runs deeper. With advancements in technology and observational equipment, the causes behind many events which previously remained mysterious and unexplained are now clear. The roundness of the earth, our place in the universe, the evolution of man as a species, the history of the formation of our planet and our solar system; the answer to all of these questions have more or less become clear to man. But they were not always so. And now comes the most dangerous contradiction that is inherent in the number 1’s.

The question of how this world came about had already been answered for them. Some highly imaginative people had already constructed beautiful tales of the world’s beginning. Six days of work and the seventh day for rest. The earth was made for man, so that he may worship God. Many variants of this tale exist, but the principle remains the same, the earth had been created FOR man BY God. From this, it wasn’t a huge leap forward to assume we held a central place in the universe, indeed that it revolved around us. All physical phenomenons indicated so, and if the world was created for us, we certainly should be in the center of it.  But now, some irritable fellow comes with this ludicrous idea that the earth revolves around the sun. Another claims we are descended from apes and are nothing more just than another species on just another planet. These bothersome “thinkers” threaten to overthrow all the convenient mental peace that has been so carefully preserved by the number 1’s. And if we know anything about them, it is that they are resistant to change. Now they switch from the defensive to the offensive. Rather than reconsider the question in their minds, they will attack the questioner. Here came into existence the words blasphemy, heresy, godlessness, witchcraft. Under one or the other of these labels, the truth mongers were attacked and banished, tortured or killed. And as time goes along, any deviation from the “norm” is clubbed into the same group. Homosexuals, transgenders, atheists, scientists, philosophers; any who bring the uncomfortable thoughts back into their heads, are made outlaws. The superior numbers of the number 1’s gave them a crucial advantage. They needn’t answer uncomfortable questions when they can drown it out with an almighty roar of ignorance.

Modern examples of this is the unbelievably vehement protesting of the inclusion of Darwin’s theory of evolution in the curriculum. The message is loud and clear. We are number 1’s, we will not be made to learn.

The second stage: Hope and values

The second kind (henceforth they will be referred to as “the number 2’s”) are of a much nobler make, and consequently much rarer. This consists of triers, honest well wishers and folks who may generally be considered respectable and are good role models for humanity. The number 2’s are people who recognize the importance of attainment of knowledge, and abhor intolerance of any kind. Acceptance and charity are their chief characteristics. They spread awareness for the need of education and literacy, they fight against oppression, they try and make the world a better place. They are instilled with the innate belief that with enough work and goodwill, man will be a brother to man and we will peacefully co-exist. This belief extends further than just man himself. It manifests itself in the form of animal rights, environmentalism and generally preaches tolerance to everything. Most of the social changes that have been brought into society have been pioneered by number 2’s.

So the number 2’s, then, seem to have the right perspective of things. What is it, one may ask that separates them from the third stage of knowledge?

In one key area, the number 2’s come up short. While they usually perceive the world with a level headed, logical mindset, in one area they contradict themselves and deviate from logic and trespass into the dangerous, murky woods of hope. Their “belief” that this world can be a better place, however noble, is still in essence, a belief. And belief comes out of lack of evidence, or else it would be a fact, not a belief. Truth does not require faith to back it up.

When one studies history, from the earliest civilizations all the way to the current state of society, one is given cold, hard evidence that humanity will not be improved. For every social evil that man has fought to remedy, his co-habitants have managed to invent ten more. The evils have become subtler, thus giving the impression that mankind is moving forward, away from barbarism, but in truth man always remained a caveman. It is the evil that is evolving into a civilized existence. Where before man needed swords and guillotines to oppress another, today man uses money, literally just a piece of paper, to oppress entire countries. It reduces the manpower required for oppression and also is much more efficient and doesn’t create a mess. Evil, unfortunately, has been evolving much quicker than mankind.

But the number 2, at this crucial juncture, leaves the path of truth. They will not deny that evils surround us on every side and most, if not all of them, are manmade. They will recognize that the world has many more evil people than good, and that we are only spiraling into a worse and more degraded existence. They, in fact admit this quite wholeheartedly. But their sentences don’t end there. It is inevitably followed by a “but…” Here enters their belief that with enough education and social work, we can change the course of history. We can make man turn away from his animalism and embrace humanism. We can create a world where people will share rather than steal, tolerate rather than exterminate. All evidence suggests the contrary, but their innate goodness will not allow them to accept that man is inherently evil. They hope. They are overcome with grief at the state of man, and feel helplessness at the ineffectiveness of their efforts. Of this kind are all the saints and good people of the world who sacrifice their lives for the benefit of others, the same others who would not hesitate to turn away at the first requirement of a sacrifice on their part.

There is another kind of number 2, a sub-species if you like. They are the kind who realize the futility of their activities, but do it anyway. They do not do it out of the belief that their efforts will make a heaven on earth, they do not even believe that they will be regarded with gratitude by posterity. They do it, simply, because they want to, it pacifies their heart. We hear repeatedly the metaphor of the single candle spreading light in the dark room. They wish to be that candle. They do not believe their light will ever conquer the dark, but they are comforted by the fact that such light exists at all, even if they themselves cannot reap its benefits.

The number 2’s, if met with resistance so strong that they cannot any longer bear it, usually morph into escapists, those who preach naturalism, run away from big cities and take up residence in an out of the way cottage. They are so affected by man, that they must run away from him, that they may forget they are men themselves too.

Thus, the number 2’s are noble, but their nobility itself is what prevents them from transcending into the third stage.


The third stage: Impatient Condescension

We come now to the third kind (henceforth they will be referred to as “the number 3’s”). The number 3’s are the rarest, most endangered of all. They consist of those who have seen humanity, recognized it, understood it to its core, and are so repelled by it, they remove themselves from humanity completely. They prefer to sit on a peak, look down, and pass judgment. They are those who possess knowledge of an eclectic nature, they learn not only about what interests them, but also what disgusts them, so that they may know why they hate what they hate. Their knowledge of the world, its inhabitants and their nature runs so deep and true, that they are able to escape the trap which the number 2’s fall into. They do not allow for hope. They do not become depressed every time they witness evil. It is no surprise to them, they expect it. They are not ones who enjoy futile exercises. And recognizing the futility of trying to “better the world”, they abstain. They watch on with a smirk the honest efforts of the number 2’s and the misguided protests of the number 1’s. They point and laugh, but will not raise one finger to influence the tug of war. Their interest is academic. Mankind’s lunacy interests them, often entertains them, and so, as a circus owner would, they allow the participants to display their natures in all its freakishness, so that it may provide a spectacle that is entertaining. When asked to point out the flaws in any person, object, or idea, they can discourse unceasingly and always intelligently about the many defects in that subject’s very essence, and yet if asked to help amend it, they will smile in an infuriating, knowing way, and politely decline.

The number 3’s are the most knowing, but that does not allow them to rest comfortable with the knowledge. Each man has a yearning within him that stirs him to action. In number 1’s it was the pursuit of daily bread. In the number 2’s it was the betterment of the world. In number 3’s it is the attainment of even more knowledge. A number 3 can never believe he knows enough. He will remain a student till he lies in his grave. He has a heaven on his earth, and that is a library. He reads thoughts of great men before him, critiques them, applies what he can and dismisses the rest. On to the next man. Always onward, never stagnant.

The number 3’s are great conversation makers, but terrible friend makers. They are great at criticism, terrible at encouragement. They set incredibly high standards of expectations from everything, and consequently spend the majority of their lives shaking their heads in disappointment at what they witness. However, when something lives up to their expectations, they are in a much better position to appreciate it, and consequently, enjoy it much more than anyone else. They admire art, possibly the one redeeming factor of humanity, and consequently judge it all the more harshly and cannot tolerate mediocrity.

Number 3’s, then, are of no great use to humanity, one may say. Indeed, they do not wish to be. They sit on the banks while the river of mankind flows by, and while they sit they notice how it flows and why. They look upon the chaos of the water particles jostling up against one another, each particle believing it should be in the ascendancy, and each inevitably being consumed by the whole. The number 3 will not touch the river. He will judge it, he will record his judgments and he will pass on. It does not matter if his judgments are deemed sound. It does not matter if they are accepted or even understood. His judgment is his art and he must create it. That is the duty of the number 3.

Of and Relating to the Way of Living

The topic is by no means original, nor maybe, are the thoughts put forward in them. However, such as they are, I put them as coherently as I can in what lies below.

We live. We exist.

I will not bother going into whether there is a God or not, let us stick with what we know for sure. We are made of cells. Nature drove the evolution of single cells into complex organisms, crustaceans, fish, amphibians, squirrels, monkeys and then us. We all know the deal. Should we be worried that after 3.6 billion years we still remain this stupid? Possibly. But then Nature does not really care if you are smart or not as long as you procreate.

However, contrary to what some great thinkers have tried to assert, our senses are our only connection to reality. And whether we are within Plato’s allegorical cave or without, our senses are all we can rely on. We may not be getting the whole picture, but a picture we do get, and it is, however faulty, all we can be sure of. And since we do sense, and sense that we do sense, and so on to infinity, we must necessarily exist.

We are social animals.

A while ago, our distant ancestors decided they were better off living as a group in order to better their chances of survival, thereby blessing or condemning (depending on how you look at it) their descendants to the bonds of society, first as animals, and now as humans. The rightness or wrongness of this too, I shall pass over, as there is nothing we can really do about it now.

So, as it stands, we have determined two things, we exist, and we need to exist within the confines of society. Now, then, how are we to go about living in this society. Since mankind has discovered means of recording their thoughts in a more permanent and physically accessible way, we have seen them ponder this question. Are there any commandments that apply everywhere? Do we understand ourselves well enough to be able to come up with universal rules? Can our rules differ from Nature’s, or are we falling into the same trap of self-aggrandizement by assuming we have any control over anything?  Can a Utopia exist?

Chuangtse, disciple of Laotse (of Taoist philosophy), believed that working of one’s mind and acting upon one’s wishes gave birth to evil thoughts and created worry in man. Inaction and detachment was preached. I beg to differ. The back-to-nature philosophers always based their philosophies on one tenet that was faulty to begin with. The assumption that mankind was ever “away from nature”. No matter what heights human intellect ever reaches, no matter what zeniths technology touches, mankind will ever be a slave to the whims of nature. We are Nature’s mistress, with absolutely no power over it, fully aware that we can be cut loose at any moment. This possibility scares us no end, and also serves to make us grateful of our tenure of existence.

When living in the midst of a metropolis, our senses so easily distracted by the whole arsenal of distractions we have invented for ourselves, the mind easily consigns to the back offices the memory of just how powerless we are. We obsess over controlling the things and people in our life as a constant overcompensation to pacify our latent feelings of inadequacy. But a single catastrophe anywhere in the world swiftly brings the folly of harboring any kind of hope back into prime focus. Investing too much hope into this world could be equated to investing in real estate on the Gaza strip. Experience indicates it will be end in misery and loss, and if you still go ahead with it, you cannot place the blame on any but yourself.

So, having established that we were never anything but slaves to nature, what is left to us is the question of how best to spend our time here.

Having observed mankind with a critical and objective attitude, admittedly leaning towards the harsher side, it is exceedingly clear to me that the inherent nature of man is too varied, too fickle, and too ignorant of itself to ever allow the possibility of a unified world or a standard law for all humanity. World peace is fiction and working towards it is an exercise in denial. Man never knows what he wants, and is therefore unsatisfied with anything that he gets. For the rulers, it becomes a question of constantly reminding the public of the invaluable service that is being rendered them. The second those services are no longer awe-inspiring, they are taken for granted, and before long derided and pushed out of power. Great dictators in the past have recognized this, often resorting to incredible deeds (whether glorious or terrible), not out of necessity, but to put up a show. It may be noted that this is another indication of our innate connection to nature. Show of strength as an alpha in a pack is a common trait throughout nature.

As to why we are this way, I shall not address that here. It too is out of our hands, and hence doesn’t concern me. However, having established that we are not a species that can be ruled by a unified law, and having seen no evidence of any form of government yet invented that has kept even a majority of a populace happy, I turn out of lack of options to modes of self governance by an individual.

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Let it be clear from the outset, this is not a dictum for the masses. The masses usually need a blindfold and a leader leading them on, now with the whip, now with the bribe, to lead the best possible life a cattle can hope to live. I have no words for cattle. I address this to those who see humanity and the world as I do. Who harbor no illusions as to our existence, who do not hope.

So as not to be misinterpreted, I am not preaching depression and nihilism. Life, as terrible as it can be, is still a thing of wonder. Out of the known universe, we are the only species that can introspect and ponder the wonders we are allowed to experience. We are the only species to have risen above instinct, at least partially, so we may look down upon it and judge. Most importantly, we are the only species that has learnt to pass on information in other ways than hereditary instincts. With the result that we now draw on information both genetic and synthetic, when we ponder the universe. We still have much to learn, probably more than we could ever actually know, nevertheless we are also the most learned out of all the existing species known to us.

And so we, of all things existing, should know best to value life. To borrow from Nietzsche, we must not let religious moralities and decadent values kill our awareness of the wonder of life. We must not live this life in preparation of a possible afterlife. We must live this life first and foremost. To learn and to experience, these are the two pillars of existence. To turn away from these is to turn away from life.

Immediately upon doing so, however, the question arises in one’s mind. When at every turn of Fate we are assailed by woe and misery, how is one to enjoy life? How do we not turn to automatic defense mechanisms like religion or the other extreme like nihilism?

Personally, I am in agreement with nihilism insofar as they assert that there is no innate morality in man,
there is no higher meaning to our lives, and we are nothing special if seen on a cosmic scale. However, I stop short of asserting our lives are meaningless. We are not above or below the rest of existence, but that does not imply meaning does not exist at all. Going back to Nietzsche, viewing life as only justifiable as an “aesthetic phenomenon”, one arrives at the answer quite simply.

One must have experienced life to be able to hate or love it, and so complete detachment cannot be the answer. But if we get embroiled too deeply in the stormy seas of everyday existence, we stand no chance, we shall need mental crutches at every turn. After ignorance, this is the leading cause of the booming industry that is religion. The correct attitude is one of educated condescension.

We must educate ourselves relentlessly. The necessity of studying history can never be overestimated. Every tower we stand on today has been built from the rubble of our history. On studying history, only a closed mind would fail to see the truth about humanity. History does not repeat itself, it merely continues in one ceaseless torrent. If one knows history, one knows life.

When, by self education, the knowledge acquired succeeds in killing expectations, one will learn to regard life with bemusement. The futile endeavors of his fellow men to create “a better world” and to “make everyone love each other as brothers” will provide ceaseless entertainment.

Darwin, when he proposed his theory of survival of the fittest, must himself not have realized just how many aspects of our lives his theory was applicable to. The way of life I propose may not be very helpful where procreation is required, but the burden of survival in this chaos is greatly alleviated.

When tragedy strikes, he will nod in grim satisfaction as he will find himself better prepared than any around him.
When happiness comes his way, he will enjoy it without any notion of it lasting. Such a mindset preserves the best of what is offered while protecting against the worst.
He will make many friends, friends of the moment, who make him happy today and maybe will do so tomorrow. However none of them will be indispensable. The loss of any one, or even all of them together, will not result in his collapse. Merely another tragedy to be swept aside with that knowing smile.

A life such as this may be compared to that of the Mongol army under Genghis Khan. We plunder what we can from whatever we encounter, enjoy the fruits of his labor, whether our own or someone else’s.
And, having no expectations (which in this analogy may be compared to a base or homeland), we are not left vulnerable to attack. Genghis Khan, incidentally, lived to the ripe age of 68 and died in his bed after an easy post-retirement life.

What purpose does such a life serve, one may ask.
Having established there is no higher meaning to our lives, having recognized that we are one species out of many who live on a planet revolving around a random star in a random galaxy in a random outstretched branch of the universe, the purpose of life can only be a selfish one. To enjoy as much as one can while enduring the least possible amount of pain. All else must be subject to this scale of judgment. If woe outweighs pleasure, whatever it is must be cut loose ruthlessly. And conversely, when pleasure outweighs woe, every effort is to be made to retain it. And let not morality provide a barrier between one’s desire and its fulfillment. Morality is for the weak.
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“The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” – Friedrich Nietzsche 

The Flaws of Genius

We live in a world where cowardice is not frowned upon, it is valued.

The legend of Spartans, that they sent out their kids in their early years to fight for their own survival, in which way the weak and cowardly were weeded out, and only the strong and brave remained, today that would be called savagery… But was it really?

Is there not some semblance of logic, if not in the tradition itself, at least in the fact that as a society they were sending the message that cowardice is not okay? That a person’s weakness should not be upheld as a good thing? Why is it that in society today it is wrong for someone who is good at something, to flaunt that he is good at it. If a man excels in any field far more than everyone else, and he shows it, he is called arrogant and a show off, and ostracized.

There was a time when this was not so. Geniuses were allowed to state publicly that they were geniuses, and they were loved all the more for it.
When George Best was asked, “Who do you think was the greatest player of all time?”
He answered, “I am.” It was simple. It was the truth. He knew he was, so why shouldn’t he say it?
Eric Cantona would turn up his collar every time he was on the pitch. Because he knew, with certainty, that on that pitch, he was the king. It was not arrogance, it was confidence.

Every genius has his flaws, but instead of harping on about his flaws in an effort to make him human, I say we should ignore his flaws on light of his extraordinary ability otherwise.
It’s the least they deserve.

I do not say that humility is not a quality. It definitely is. But does that mean necessarily mean
its absence is a flaw?

Today we are at a point where a talented person who is humble is rated higher than one who is not.
Why? Is their ability not the same?
Certainly if a man boasts great deeds and does none, boasting can be stated to be, quite rightly, a flaw.
But if a man has the ability, what then? Is his proclaiming that fact not honesty? Why is it looked on with the same disapproving stare as the one of the vain boaster?
Can a person who is superior to others not acknowledge that same fact? Does he have to falsely cover his abilities in the blankets of normalcy in order to not let the others feel inferior? Is this what our world has come to, where a master of an art is forced to conceal his brilliance just so that the common man watching him does not feel inadequate? Should we not work to cajole the master’s feelings rather than the ordinary mans? For who is it that has done our species a bigger favor? The master, the pioneer, the leader, the risk taker, the one who excels? Or was it instead the layman who sat gaping at these wondrous deeds?

The answer seems obvious. One must strive to make conditions ideal for geniuses to develop. Even geniuses have room to evolve, but we must let them take their evolution in the right direction and not seek to pull them down to our level.

Today it is considered the duty of the genius to educate the less enlightened so as to bring them up higher than they’d ever get on their own. If the genius chooses to do this of his own volition, I have absolutely no problems. I salute him.
The problem arises when he is expected to teach, even if he is not so inclined.
If you force a genius, against his will, to educate the less talented or intelligent, using up time which he could instead have been using to further his own skill and achieve heights never scaled before, are you not crippling progress? Are you not sacrificing the discovery of the unknown just for the noble, yet thoroughly impractical process of making man work slightly above his own capacity?

Let us say Darwin was coerced to teach people less knowledgeable about biology at a time when he could have been doing his research to perfect the theory of evolution.
Are you not doing a greater disservice to mankind as a whole for the benefit of a few hundred or even thousand people?
Those same students, who at the end learnt a bit more about biology than they would have alone, would they not have profited more if they had not learnt at all, but Darwin went on to perfect the theory?

A humble and charitable genius is an idea that is nice to think about, but I would much rather our geniuses concentrated on being geniuses and we common idiots can take care of the charity and humility.

We have reached a point where we are now even scared of telling kids they failed. So now a kid cannot fail until he is in the tenth grade. One of the single most ridiculous ideas I have come across.
A kid needs to be told he failed, in order for him to want to improve. If you tell a kid that everyone who races, regardless of whether he wins or not, is a winner, you are removing the very incentive the kid needs.

Effort-reward. The dynamic is simple. If a kid wants a reward, he must strive for it. If he does not win, his effort was not good enough, he must try harder. But if a kid who tried harder is treated the same as someone who did not, you are demotivating him. You are discouraging the people who possess the ability to go the extra mile from using that very ability. In short, you are restraining them from excelling.

Why?

To protect the feelings of the mediocre.

What this does is it sets a dangerous trend. Parents now learn to teach their kids according to these rules. When the child commits errors, parents prefer to make the child think it is okay rather than admonish him. This is the coward’s way out. A child has, obviously, a child’s brain. If at such an impressionable age, you give the impression that it is not his responsibility to improve and adapt, but it is the world’s responsibility to accept who he is, you are destroying the child’s life in one fell swoop.
Congratulations, you have now raised a child who will never take responsibility for any mistakes he makes!!

It is argued that some kids do not take criticism well, and they break down under it. And their performance would decline even below their normal average just due to mental stress.
For this reason they try and outlaw criticizing a child.

The way I see it, if a child cannot cope with criticism, and he cannot motivate himself to become better, he is mentally incapable of a decent survival anyway. The world is not a place that wants to encourage you to do your best, the world is a place that wants to eat you up the second you stumble.
And if a child cannot prepare himself for that, he is not good enough. And to compromise the development of superior children for the temporary welfare of this one child seems to me to be idiocy.

Today we are supposed to be diplomatic, politically correct, sensitive. What they really mean is, we should shut up and do what we are told. Seems a recipe for disaster to me. I would much prefer a world where the genius rose above and beyond the rest, and were allowed to soar to their heights, while the layman went about his daily pell mell. Humanity did not evolve to the point it has by everyone being equal, it did so by a pioneer leading the way and the common mass following.

Let the genius be a genius, let the common man be common.

Knowledge is my Bane

When you were born, I was your only guide. There were others to tell you what to do and how to do it.
But you were too young, you did not understand them. But you understood me.
Even today you can understand me, if you let yourself. But you won’t, because today you have Knowledge.

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There was a time I ruled the earth. I still do, as far as all the other species go. I am still king.
They still do what I command. But no longer for humans. Humans only have an ear for me in their infancy.
Then my influence fades even as quickly as a child’s footprint on the snow. Only visible until a fresh layer of snow falls, or a brief wind blows. Such is the effect that Knowledge has on my will.

Without Knowledge, every being on Earth bows to me. And only in this way can they achieve the perfect balance. For all beings were perfect when they were created.
But Knowledge intervenes. It gives vain ideas of a better life, of an improved world, harmony, structure, peace.

There will never be peace. Peace is not perfection, peace is a falsity. The concept of peace is my single greatest enemy after Knowledge himself, for it is a minion that comes tagging along with Knowledge.

The world was not meant to be this way. There is a delicate balance, beyond the comprehension of the wisest of you. You presume to understand, yet with each grain of Knowledge you edge yourself away from perfection. You slave away to better yourself, but if one strains to move away from perfection, then each success in his attempt is a failure to his cause.

Would that the world returned to its origins, where men did not question, they did not possess Knowledge enough to frame a question. They obeyed. And since I am not external, but internal, men do not feel enslaved, but it seems to them that they act of their own volition, when it is in fact I that is guiding them every step of the way. Only I know the balance, only I know the structure. For I am taught by Mother Nature herself, and any who question her laws are doomed to a life of imperfection and failure.

When I instruct a man to kill, he must kill. It may not serve him well, it may do him naught but harm, he may rue his decision. And he may question it. But it was necessary. For there is a greater balance.

And there was a time when he would have listened. There was a time when, though he could see no good coming from his action, he would listen to me, and he would act.
 Today, you would call him a savage, but he is, in fact, much closer to perfection than you, vain fool!
It is he that serves the purpose of his creation, he does not presume to be greater than he is, and he does not disobey the laws of the very earth that gave him existence. He may not understand why, or indeed if at all he is helping, but I see all, and I know he has served a greater cause than all the rest of your pretenders put together.

But you are too far gone now, you will not realize it until it is too late, though you prattle on about it incessantly. Even under the curse of destruction, you seek a lifeline from Knowledge, the very cause of your demise.
You had all the answers, right in front of you. And you threw it away, seeking Knowledge instead.

And once you are finished, you shall realize the folly of your endeavors.  You will wish you had listened to me. For I am the purest form of command.

I am Instinct. And Knowledge is my bane.