Why does having no barrier with other people, able to speak out inner wishes with other people, not having too much of self-respect, contrast sharply with perceived behavior characteristics of successful, respectable people?
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Why does having no barrier with other people, able to speak out inner wishes with other people, not having too much of self-respect, contrast sharply with perceived behavior characteristics of successful, respectable people?
To really understand oneself and the world better, one should start with a clean slate.
Erase all the criss-crosses of the chalk on it, all the dust that has settled on it, and wipe it clean with water and cloth.
Then restart writing on it, this time do it very carefully and slowly.....
Start with "Should I live or should I die? Why should I want to live?" Give this question some deep thought.
Then go to "What should I do with my time here? What do I want?". Throw in the "Who am I?" and "What have I been doing all this time?" in there somewhere.
After posing various questions, and writing the answers down, which can take days, weeks, months or years, you should have a new perspective on which to make judgements, decisions, etc.
Once the slate is clean, and has statements which only have been put there with deliberate thought, we become open to new ways of thought -- this is its biggest advantage. So at that point, you view whatever you had learned, or got misguided in the past, in a completely different light.
However, I have noticed that this sometimes, at least in my case (see this post and this post) and someone else's I know, results in an individualistic outlook. If one really starts thinking -- "what do I really want", he goes in the "alone, egotist, its-my-life" individualistic approach.
At that point, Yoga, meditation and in general spirituality start helping. Getting to know the world consciousness start having more meaning. "God", "religion", "spirituality", "yoga", "meditation" all start looking as synonyms of non-egoism and dissolved-boundaries-between-self-and-everything-else.
Science, spirituality, psychology, philosophy, technology, culture, relationships, etc start looking as the mirrors of the a kaleidoscope using the light of "ego" and "the non-living".
And then you go crazy, and visit a shrink. Just kidding! :)
UPDATE: Rishi pointed to his very splendidly written insights in this blog post, which I commented to as well.
To this post, about "being twenty something", there were some good comments. For more visibility, I am pasting one of the nice comments that I got, and one of my comment that I made in response.
I have been out of England for two years to Australia for one year and then Korea for another. By the time I came back a year ago it was like everything had grown up and i hadn't. I'm not sure i really want to grow up but I can identify with the comment move forward or get stuck in the past. It's difficult though.
With the pressures of modern day society we have it so much harder than our parents. Every one has a loan, no-one can get a house because they're so expensive, a degree does not guarantee a well paying job and even if it did, would i want to be doing something related to what i chose to study 10 years ago?
I think i want a job that gives me the opportunity to travel (never would have guessed it), is socially concerened and doesn't require me to sit in the same chair for months on end. I think I know how to get it but i may have to sacrifice these things in order to get to it.
I have been travelling around because I don't want an ordinary life but in the end, our roots stabilise us and sometimes you can't see what you actually have for what you want. My family is the most important thing to me. That is why I have moved back to the city I was born in. They are always there for me no matter how scary the world is.
For now i'm trying to stop running and let the grass grow a bit. I'm in the mind set that something will turn up, as long as I keep on looking.
Posted by: rmakins | May 13, 2006 11:48 AM
I understand what you face. I do face some sort of a similar situation.
I have come here to the US for the last 5 years. And whenever I visit my hometown, I have this weird feeling. My hometown is a small town in India, and the cultural gap between there and where I am now (San Francisco, USA), is so huge, that I become confused as to who I am, and what I was supposed to be, where I was heading, and where did I head to... I see my family there, cousins, and get this so-weird feeling that their development paths diverged from mine 5 years ago, and somehow something doesnt feel right -- the people have become somewhat different, or maybe I have changed, or maybe my perspective has change, or maybe all of these. But connecting with them in a similar manner as before just does not workout.
Being in a different culture changes you slowly, slowly, until you stop recognizing yourself. Changing cultures, is not a simple thing to do, and requires emotional strength beyond what I have.
I still beleive that going back to my hometown might give me the highest meaning for my life that I could ever give, but I am ever so afraid of the consequences of looking back, not confident at all whether that is the best way of doing things, especially when the world, wholly, is moving forward. Sometimes, emotions and biological survival play games against you, and world is so confusing.
At other times, I feel that being in ignorance is actually bliss, as I see many people around me who have similar situations, just loving the present with a care-free mind without stepping back and looking where they are.
Somebody has said rightly, "take it easy". But others have also righly said, "do what your heart says".
The problem is that hearts are prone to mistakes.
Good things about me are not mine. I think most of my moral inclinations, my malleable mindset, whatever few virtues that I have, have been borrowed, directly learned from others surrounding me.
I think that if we always try to look at the better sides of people, their virtues, and appreciate them by heart, then the world feels a very nice place to be in. We see goodness and happiness all around us, and feel like being in heaven. And then slowly, we start getting those good things into ourselves, and become a better person. Thus, the ability to perceive only the good in people helps us become good ourselves, and make us feel better as well. Its a win-win situation.
It is said that we get molded based on the company we keep. Bad company, bad friends yield a bad person. But I think if we try to see only the good in our friends and acquaintainces, we become like as if we had the best company of all!
One exercise I can imagine being done in this vein is -- a group of people should sit together and take turns recounting the good virtues of the people they have met in their lives. This will be an amazing exercise, and will allow people to know each other better, know that there are so many good people in the world, know that good is abundant, and in turn will make them better people themselves!
A conscious decision must be made as to which direction does one consider important -- truth or happiness.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar wrote something like -- "Wisdom is a burden, if it does not make you free". I think this higher level statement implies that wisdom is of no use if it is directed towards just imposing what is right or just finding what is right, and not applied towards finding happiness for self and others.
This is completely true, I beleive. I have been on the wrong path many times. My intention often turns out to be "find what is right", instead "lets be happy".
I have experience now which says that -- happiness is the better path, looking from the holistic point of view.
For example, "judgement". These days I have gotten stronger opinions about morals and rightdoing, as I now look at behavior from a very keenly observant point of view, and find many "wrong" intentions in daily normal behavior. For me, "ego" also falls in the wrong category, and this is one of important reasons why I find all behavior "bad" these days. However, I do find the right ones, dont worry. In fact I find more right ones than bad ones than many other people do, and hence I consider myself close to many people.
But I recently found that it was not helping me. Judging everybody was taking me nowhere. I needed to like the people as they are. Even though they are bad, they always have a good side, if not apparent, sometimes we need to dig it out from them. And most people need love and love can be the means of relationships. (these days, when it is becoming easy to live, people are more tending to not needing love with other people, but i am sure, if they have the proper experience, they will ultimate realize it regardless of how individualistic they are).
And then, when I found somebody who was really not understanding how things work and his/her lack of empathy was causing trouble for everybody, instead of finding solutions to the problem that lead to peace and happiness for all, my ego and anger started rising and I started finding ways which gave support to them (ego and anger) instead, causing bad consequences. However, hopefully I have realized soon, and I can swerve the future.
Let us all be successful in findling joy for everyone. Let was walk vehemently on that path, with determination to never fail.
God help us in doing this.
Holding a sleeping Arnav, son of brother Amit, bhabhi Manisha, in this pic
He slept for around 2-3 hours continuously on my arms.....! It was a wonderful experience.
When I try to act smart (arrogance), my sharpness of looking at things increases.
When I act in the normal way -- "we are all equal, and good" -- it decreases.
(similar to what i said in this post)
Today, I decided to look at life with me as an individual, and a living and desiring one at that, rather than looking at life as a bunch of things.
Today I decided to love life rather than things.
Today I decided to connect myself with my past, and to better understand myself -- where I am coming from and where I belong.
I suddenly feel happy and living. Suddenly I know what to do -- suddenly I understand what I want -- suddenly confusions reduce, and problems reduce; and especially masochistic tendencies and habits can be identified and toned down.
Suddenly I understand what I must do to make myself happy, and fulfilled.
We must. We must love life and not things. We must love ourself as a living, desiring-to-be-happy individual rather just a non-entity between logically proceeding world and life.
We must look at life with a consideration of people's emotional needs; and structures which were formed to satisfy those needs including social ones such as family, religions, cultures, and economical such as abstract entities (like a company).
However, such outlooks, which focus upon a person's biological and related origins, may make a person oriented excessively towards the self.
We should try -- and try hard, since that might be necessary -- to find ways which fulfil all people towards what they actually want.
(This has been cross posted from my hidden personal blog, so is more personal than other entries here in this blog)
Whenever I talk to my mummy and daddy, I feel different.
I feel that I have a life. I feel that I know how to live happily.
Its a very weird -- different experience.
Everyday I am thinking of what to do. It appears like such a difficult choice. Whether to go this way or that way. Meeting so many different kinds of people having so many different kinds of lives -- ideas about lives -- that one becomes confused.
When I talk to my parents, I feel I am okay... I am leading a fine life with a fine job, and a fine everything else. I just need to enjoy it.
Its so different.
In the traditional model of life, that my parents have (we are from a small town in India, having our own little way of doing this), I have to just be a simple person following what the values and cultures of traditional life tell...its not about self expression, its about how much you know about "what should be done according to what our society says". Its a completely different model than what we have here -- "what do I want to do?". This difference in the focus over an individual is obvious, glaring, and widereaching.
Its something related to this other observation: When I meet some people, I see that they are dynamic, and are always looking for ways to enrich their life, looking for new ways to have fun, looking for new things to learn (for some: "and analyze"), etc. But there are so many other people, who appear so simple: they look like they are not trying to be happy, they are just happy intrinsically...they have some kind of bliss or some deep contentment written over their face -- they dont need to do a lot to be happy -- just basic simple things will make them happy or sad. They dont confuse or over-complicate their lives. They stick with the basics. They are not the kind of people who will invent theory of relativity (since intelligence, sometimes I feel, is a consequence of some kind of a disturbed, unstable mind); but neither they need someone to do it.
The latter kind of people are easier to love, and befriend. By easier, I mean, I feel like talking to such kind of people more. I feel like being around them. They wont talk about weird new ways of looking at life, but they will pull together a subspace filled with care, support, love and closeness.
When I am very sad, I hardly think about any intelligent thing. I think about my family and love. I think about simplicity of love. I yearn for care, and not analysis.
And look at me...what I have become. I try to analyze everything. I try to analyze happiness and life. I analyze people, and culture. I analyze engineering problems. I try to make analysis as the basis of my behavior.
Its such a burden now that I think about it.
Simplicity is divine, complications are a bane.
God bless Life, simple and complicated, and all that goes with it.
Convention is hitting me from all directions.
Today I had a phone interview, I screwed it all up. I was sleepy in the morning. I hadnt prepared for the interview. I was not very positive in the interview, I was lying on my bed, in a sleepy mood, when I gave the interview. All sort of convention is hitting me from all directions. Running away from conventionally accepted good habits is suicide.
I should basically now come down to the basics of what life is about -- what people do. What people think as good habits, just follow that. For example, get up in the morning, have a bath, keep your teeth clean, keep washing your clothes regularly, be very sincere about jobs, study, be disciplined, dont eat in front of the television, dont listen to too many songs, dont talk on phone with friends too much, take care of your books (i gave some of my important books to people in the college, but never cared to get them back), take care of your health, eat well, eat good food, early-to-bed-early-to-rise, worry about others in the family, worry about business, etc etc etc etc.
My all inconventional habits are actually troubling me now.
All convention is good. I must learn to live with that.
Here I am, searching for myself.
Am I supposed to go on and continue the cultural legacy of my parents and forefathers?
Am I supposed to be like friends?
Am I supposed to be like people around me here in the US?
Am I supposed to be like people in India?
Am I supposed to fulfill my father's and mother's expectations?
Am I supposed to fulfill my relatives' expectations?
Am I supposed to have my own desires and the desire to pursue them?
Am I supposed to be a studious, intellectual type - like the people I have seen in college and admired?
Am I supposed to be a very simple and down to earth - like the people I like to be with?
Am I supposed to be a businessman-like, uninterested-in-studies kind of person which most of my relatives are?
Am I supposed to be like my father, who is a very socially active and visible person?
Am I supposed to earn a lot of money, like what my ancestors and relatives did and are doing?
Am I supposed to be very religious, like some of ancestors were?
Am I supposed to just leave outside of society, like my mother's mother did?
Am I supposed to be God-loving, people-loving person that many people I like are?
Am I supposed to be like a professional who will mind his job and try to earn more skills to get a better respected job?
Am I supposed to earn money to keep our family going?
I look ahead, and I see uncertainty.
Things will go right and things will go wrong.
There'll be really nice people, but, they'll be different.
They might want different things, they might expect different things,
I might want different things, I might expect different things.
There'll be love, there'll be joy,
There'll be disappointment, there'll be distress.
But thats how fascinating people can be.
There'll be responsibilites which I will try to accomplish, but might be harder than I think.
I might fail, and fail often.
Maybe I wont try hard enough to succeed.
Maybe I wont be capable enough.
But thats how it is, and is going to be.
There will be occasions which will be unexpected,
There will be challenges that I havent forseen,
They will be hard,
But they will be sweet.
There will be those desires realized,
there will be those cherishable moments,
but just so that I can enjoy these more,
there will be those moments that I will always wish would have been otherwise,
and those unfulfilled dreams, that I will keep longing for, ever.
With fear, with might,
With self-doubt, with confidence,
With apprehension, with curiosity,
With repulsion, with acceptance,
With pessimism, with optimism,
I welcome life.
When, at times, I stop and look forward, I see, right through the bright lights close by, A short and long, straight and dwindling, dimly lit path. I see people, I see times. I see friends, I see fun. I see successes, I see happiness. I see love, I see bliss. I see misunderstandings, I see sorrow. I see hardships, I see misery. I see problems, I see depression. I see adventure, I see exploration. I see downs, I see ups. I see lefts, I see rights. I see importance, I see worthlessness, I see help, I see harm. The mysterious, Promising joy, love, success, the journey seems inviting, When the unpredictability of the voyage causes me to shiver, It scares me first, the journey through the path, A picture of something like an exciting journey When I look forward, I see an exciting journey. An unpredictable ride One part of me pulls me to one side, Dont believe them, they are illusioned! But arent they happy? I ask But you can be happy being disillusioned... Or can you? Arent illusions a means for happiness?
Dont try to be like others. Just be happy.
Is this just my social panacea or will work for other people as well?
Did I miss something by not extending my inner self outwards for all people to see? Was my fear of rejection justified as a reason for doing nothing all my life but trying to mold myself in order to make myself pleasant to others? Would doing nothing but seeking enjoyment not have helped me better become part of a shared enjoyment percolating over groups of people?
--- ShadowJD@aol.com wrote:
> I pose a question to the group in sincerity (unlike some of my
> rantings!). Is the intellectually superior person more of a benefit
> to society than the average person? Is there a positive correlation
> of intellegence and success, and where is intellegence a liability?
> Does intellegence breed socially undesirable traits (sociopathy,
> megolomania, feelings of isolation and persecution) or mearly
> acts as an amplifier for these traits?
> I have not settled on an answer and would apprieciate insight on
> this matter.
> Res Ipsa Loquitor
> It is better to be intelligent than average. Ignorance
> isn't really bliss. But knowledge isn't bliss either. Knowing
> about the suffering of others is itself painful.
> On the positive side, knowledge helps relieve suffering.
> As long as intelligence is combined with other traits like
> sympathy and tolerance, it's possible to achieve goals,
> and the pursuit of knowledge keeps life interesting.
Define "good" :-
for self: He should be able to be happy.
for society: The society should benefit from his existence. In what way? That
they should be happier because of his existence.
[Is good for society more important than for self? Umm. Well, they are more.
However, when both can be achieved be at the same time, it serves the most ppl.
[But this is digressing from topic]]
Option 1: He should have good analytical skills. Empty, isnt it?
Option 2: He should be able to best meet his ends. What are his ends? Here in
comes the non-intelligence-related-attitudes. His ends will be to achieve a
particular combination of good for himself and good for society with a
particular importance distribution.
If you choose option 1, then I dont think intelligence helps. It might in fact,
be bad for both himself and the society, because of the associated negative
social tendencies (and usually functional social interactions are a big part of
reasons for happines)
If you choose option 2, then goodness for himself and the society depends on
the importance distribution that the person has. If the importance distribution
is favorable for either, then good intelligence aids it. Bad intelligence
However, your question was more like "how being intelligent affects the
importance distribution?", so I havent even answered the question yet.
Well, if the person is intelligent enough (as per Option 2), then he must have
figured out the most appropriate importance distribution from where he is
seeing the world. I am only intelligent as per Option 1, and to figure out the
appropriate importance distribution is beyond me.
2 years before, just some time after I joined USC, I was thinking of buying a bike to traverse from home to school. But there was this hesitation I had. I used to come by the school tram (bus) from my apartment to the campus. Though bikes looked appealing since they increase productivity and reduce effort, they will make me more alone... When travelling on the tram, I got to meet fellow students, some whom I already knew and some whom I didnt, and thus could use that time for socializing. When travelling on the bike, I was alone.
Later I found myself in a parallel situation when I was thinking about buying a laptop. I used to use computers in the school public labs and I met a lot of people there. In fact, most of the new people I had met were those I had met in the public labs of the school. If, however, I used a laptop, then I would have to sit in the library in a cubical alone, and surf there. Or maybe use it at home further reducing social interaction. The desktop is even worse: you wont leave your home at all if you get one!
Yes, its quite obvious - use public things and you are surrounded by the public, use your own things and you are surrounded by your own things...
Attend schools and you will meet other students. Pay the teacher to come and teach you at home, and you will meet just the teacher.
Live on earth and you get 6 billion people. Buy a whole planet all for yourself, you get the planet.
I have been up all night, so I am probably spilling out non-sense.
This is a quick scribbling of thoughts I did some 5 years ago, when I was in the beginning of my bachelors study. At that time, I was very fascinated by the Stars - with the fuel to the fire being Startrek and some Discovery Channel Programs:
If you were ever gazing into a dark starry night, far away from city lights and noise, you would have felt the loneliness of mankind. Distances so great that one cannot even imagine separate this tiny Earth from the heavenly stars - and the distances between galaxies still increasing at incredible rates every moment. The silence of the night and the silence of the stars will inevitably drive you to that simple question - Is there someone out there? Then we unfailingly are driven into thinking that there may be someone of humane qualities, someone who could feel emotions of sadness, anger, joy, happiness, the same way as we do, someone who will be anxious to meet us out there, waiting for us to respond.
Infinite stars, infinite planets....and abundant life. People living like we do, laughing like we do, crying like we do. Isn't it our duty to meet them? Isn't it our duty to help them? Isn't it our duty to progress with them? To learn new things, to explore, to go where no man has gone before? Are the people on Earth enough? Wouldn't you like to meet some more - some different things? Yes, it is almost a fact that there has to be life beyond the solar system. Billions of billions of billions of stars and life on just one planet of one star? No. A big NO.
Shouldn't we just leave now? Isn't it late? Find the means and leave for the stars - is what I feel I must do now. But the means are not there. I am just waiting for someone to announce that the first spaceship is waiting to be filled.
Or may we wait for someone to be found in the skies or wait for them to find us? This seems a more better and realistic solution. But this should happen fast. We must, MUST HAVE TO find them. It is our moral obligation to our Galaxy. In the same way, as we help our neighbors - our citymen, countrymen and the Earth people.
T0 GO WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE....BUT SOME OTHERS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THERE, WAITING FOR US.
It is our inherent desire -- it will be their inherent desire - TO MEET.
What is so good about meeting? One may ask. But I think perhaps that is what we have been doing since brith....meeting new people and making them happy - and maybe perhaps that is the reason for which we live.
I many time feel that I can sense their ship coming toward us -- on the way right now and reaching us any moment. The moment of the HISTORY OF MANKIND. The most significant achievement man has ever made. And with most impact on humankind.
These silent - mysteriously silent stars speak a lot. As if inviting us to to come their way. The pleasant cool appearing stars are in fact very hot and firing and fatal if we go too near. But whatever they may be, they are a symbol for the life revolving around them - the peace, the pleasant, the anxious - the life around them.
What one will get by living on the earth. The earth has bound us with responsibilities, duties but the thing that matters to God and not to earthlings is that WE GO AND SPREAD.
Thats why I imagine myself on a space ship bound for the stars - feeling that I have succeeded in my life - doing a thing for man - what man must do.
Date: somewhere in 1998
After turning into a more contemplative person a few months ago, who asks "why?" to everything, I developed some conceptual insights into the way things work, and more importantly, into the reasons behind human behavior.
Then when I began to read some philosophical (or other) material, I found many of the things I had discovered myself were already discovered by people before and well documented. Of course, not that I was expecting that I was the first person to discover them, but...
Moral Relativism (or cultural relativism) was an idea that I realized myself over a period of some weeks last fall. Though it is a quite simple and obvious concept that everybody who has studied philosophy (or related disciplines) or read related books knows(or even by experience), knowing it by your own realization is a totally different experience than just reading it from a book or hearing from a friend.
The process is quite interesting. First you dont see anything, and believe them as just other oddities of life. Then you begin to see some patterns, and that is all you see. Then you see the common generator of the patterns. Then, applying the classic generalization and reductionism of Mathematics (and Science), you arrive at a concept that can explain all observed things perfectly. There. You have achieved enlightenment. (For this thing atleast). As time passes, you confirm it n number of times with new observations, and the idea sinks into your brain. It then becomes part of your basic knowledge, and you think of it as an obvious concept.
Reasons of human behavior can be a particularly interesting area to think about. Whats a human desire? What does a human want? What is the difference between different people? There are dozens of questions like these.
The concept of money as "a means to exchange services with the society", which is so obvious that it is money's definition, is quite enlightening. Atleast seemed to me, when I realized that sometime ago. From money, you go to services, society, economy, jobs, survival, work, the importance of science, the importance of technology, etc.
And yes, thinking about Darwin's Theory of Evolution can be the most enlighening of all things. The direction of human existence, human life, human behavior, human society, human behavior become suddenly clear. That all organisms including humans are just trying to survive and reproduce is an idea people knowingly disagree, but is the most important fact, I think so. It is the most important first thing you need to understand if you are to understand anything.
There were many conceptual insights (they were to me, may not be to many people) that I developed, a few of which I mentioned above, that have made my understanding of the world dramatically better.
What suddenly triggered this?
Why did I start thinking after 22 years of age? What was I doing upto that time?
The primary cause of this is changing a country, a culture, a civilization. This is a time which forces you to think about the basic assumptions about life you have made without even thinking about them. Then afterwards, it is just a chain effect.
Moving to another quite different country for some elongated time period is one thing I would recommend everyone.