What are your life’s questions? What are your beliefs, philosophies? Please share what excites and disturbs you about your life and the world around you.

28/11/2014

/* In a non-blog context, I was asked this question too – and a few others by some other folks earlier, with a view to eliciting my viewpoints (=biases) and I thought I could share (=recycle) them with the unfortunate readers of this blog too, yet again  – but, with a few modifications, revisions & stuff; yeah, anyway, here’s hoping that these kinds of brain_melts will result in fusing and confusing more brains, ahem! */

The previous one in my randomized takes  is here:  What does education mean to you? Comment on a) The role of education in society b) The role of discipline, competition and motivation c) Ways in which children learn best  (

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Life’s questions. Oh my.  *deeeeeeeeeeeeeep breath*

Yes. I had been thinking a lot about the life’s big questions (starting for example, with deceptively simple questions such as – Who am I and What is my relationship with this splendid, knowable universe? How do I make sense of life or Should it make any sense at all? What should I do, given my current grasp over a given issue? – etc etc) in the wasted days of my youth – and still think quite a bit along these lines in certain reflective, rather gloomy moods.

But, when I realize that I am merely faffing or going around in circles, I stop.

However, I have come to a meta-conclusion & have understood that the capacity to tolerate complexity in myriad forms and welcome contradictions, but NOT the need for simplicity, certainty and straight answers – could really help me in my explorations.

I rarely talk about ‘philosophy’ – and if I am in the thick of it for some unfathomable, goddamn reason, I try to change the subject under discussion, if someone starts talking about  ‘free-will,’ ‘fate,’  ‘the human condition,’ ‘existentialism’ or… or…  etc. If I can’t, then I normally make a respectful exit.

Same is the case, when names such as an Umberto Eco or a Slavoj Zizek or a Jacques Derrida are casually dropped (=”Zizek is oh so brilliant”) for no apparent reason. That, I have been a student of Philosophy too, is besides the point.

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I am not bothered by the question – ‘What is the meaning of life?’ – because, I think, the epistemology of the interpretation of this ‘meaning’ question is, normally vague; this question assumes that there is a meaning to life. Meaning would assume that there is a ‘higher purpose’ and that there would be a certain motivation or some intention behind it. Motivation could mean a certain design by a ‘being’ or a sentient form, if you will, that has this motivation and hence it points to some variant of ‘intelligent design theory.’  I do not believe in this.

I am happy to construct my meaning ‘of life’ out of some basic understandings in terms of mathematics and physics expressed via chemistry as applied to biological underpinnings – and then onto other sciences. I am perfectly fine by the idea that the life has happened in our knowable universe, though odds were really stacked against it. It is absolutely fine that we (and therefore I) have been created accidentally, in beautifully probabilistic ways – from fantastic chemicals, over eons. My meaning (and yours too!) can be created out of such building blocks and by recursive (& overlapping) causal chains.

Having said all that, however, I still love my NaasadiyaSuktha. I like my longdead friend, philosopher and guide Kamban (he wrote an incredibly rich & indescribably beautiful version of Rama’s story in a verse form, in my dear mother-tongue -Tamil) too!

Yes, I am happier to be bundle of contra dictions, with an accent on rigorous diction. Okay, you can add dicktion too. Sorry.

Yes again, you may call my insistence on quantifiable and qualifiable underpinnings,  my beliefs – if you must.

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At another level, I feel that I have suspended my so-called search for Absolute Truth  – and began instead, to ask as to how things worked and as to how one can make sense of them, to the extent possible for my rather restricted mental capacity.

So, I like modern science (that would encompass all realms of philosophy & knowledge) with its lovable tendency to be provisional, vulnerable and for being open to changes – sometimes even those kinds of changes that would turn the current state of understanding, on its head.

I am not saying it has all the answers or even all the questions for that matter – but I like it. I can unabashedly commit mistakes and learn from them sciences – I could adapt and go, you know what I mean?

I know from my personal experience that life is not a zero-sum game. There are myriad meaningful choices and splendid abundance of ideas and materials. So.

So, I do not have any persistent and nagging major questions of life, and I try to take it as it comes. In general, I turn to specific knowledge realms with some specific questions that I can meaningfully grapple with.

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There are so many things that excite me (I am really, really a lucky chap!) – currently, one of those many ideas that excite me, is the reasonable success that I have had so far, with working on the land at my school; physically exhausting it may be – but am producing a decent output of healthy gourds, beans, greens, tubers and assorted vegetables for the school kitchen, practically everyday. The earth is so forgiving.

Being a husband excites me – of course, being with my (bio+non-bio) children too! Electronics does so too. As also wood/metalworking. And of course, gazing at the stars. Humour – um, of my kind too! So much for excitement. But alas, Ὁ βίος βραχύς, ἡ δὲ τέχνη μακρή :-((

A few things disturb me like nobody’s business – and one of them is mediocrity and its many forms, mostly in me. I try to rise above the shallowness. I of course, get into a rage. And then, words fail me. Because I recollect with bottomless grief and a sense of kinship that, it takes one to know one.

Yes, this path is quite a perilous one with many a slippery slope – and to struggle against the mediocrity monster is quite a struggle for me, I must admit.

The other disturbing thing, now that I think of it –  is the multiple concurrent standards (n>2) of some folks, who for some reason or the other, I get to know a bit more, unfortunately so for me.

However, as an active practitioner of it, I am actually okay with mere double-standards.

Oh the horror, the horror.

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You should not have asked me these questions. Yes. But I warned you earlier on and made it clear to you that I am as obnoxious & arrogant as I was those many years ago, but you did not listen; and it is rather late in the day now. Anyway, I have edited out all personal references, so don’t you worry. ;-)

Peace. May the power be with you and your group.

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