Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The College Reunion

So the three friends of old times found themselves together in a college reunion after many busy years of indifferent silence. Abhinav did not appear much different from how he looked during his student days. He did seem calmer and more contented with life. He lived in a small city with his wife and children. Wilson was balder, plumper and livelier than ever. He never stayed in the same place for a very long time. He said his eyes needed to see different places and people after a while. As the silence no longer was comfortable, a conversation began...

Wilson : Life has been a colorful collage of places and people so far and its always interesting to meet different people with such diverse ideas and beliefs.

Abhinav : It surely is. But somewhere down the line you do wish to settle down, have a family, raise children and watch them grow. After all that is the purpose nature has defined for us.

Wilson : Just because humans like all other species seem to follow a certain pattern and just because instincts for survival and procreation come naturally to all, does not ascertain that it is the highest goal set by nature. And even if such is the case, why should one be bothered about what nature wants from us? Why should we not go by our own instincts and do what we want to do? Although even that is ultimately a work of nature. I do what I want to do, for as long as it interests me. And then move on as soon as boredom casts its spell on me.

Abhinav : Boredom comes effortlessly to people. It will follow you whatever you do, wherever you try to hide. Does it not make sense to confront it and fight it back? I believe it makes a difference to give time to oneself, try and analyze one's own nature and try to eradicate whatever it is that causes boredom at the first place.

Wilson : What makes you think that natural instincts that man possesses and their outcome can be eradicated by man himself? Why should a software program that produces certain outputs have the capability of eradicating itself or change its algorithm?

Abhinav : What if the algorithm is written in such a way to shift to a different algorithm based on its input? I haven't been able to achieve this fully but I do believe it is possible.

Wilson : And my convictions drive me to choose different inputs whenever I want a new output.

All this while the software engineer sat quietly with a glass of full of whiskey and ice. He was more confused than ever. Time had ruthlessly destroyed all his beliefs one by one. He envied Wilson for being able to change his life whenever he wanted to. His own days were filled with monotony and boredom. And yet he knew that the fear of unknown and the grip of the known would never let him change his ways of life. He agreed with Abhinav that it is boredom that needs to be worked on....He was not sure how? "Both my friends appear so contented and seem to know exactly what they want out of life. And here I am not able to take a step forward in any direction", he thought. "But how can I believe in the outputs of some vague software program when I have no clues about its algorithm? How do I know what inputs to choose?". "A wise person had once said that it is wiser to know that one doesn't know than to be under the illusion of knowing what can not be known" he said to himself. He may not be the happiest person but he surely appeared to be the wisest going by the words of wisdom uttered many thousand years ago. Pleased with himself, he got himself another drink. Is it wise to continue being “wise” or is it wiser to seek happiness instead?- Unfortunately the wise man had said nothing about that.

1 comment:

Harmanjit Singh said...

The essence of the problem is: you have nothing worthwhile to do. To face the basic triviality of your life is hard but you'll have to do it one day.

There isn't anything spectacular out there that would make your life awesome, or worth talking about, or deeply meaningful, and it scares you, and you get restless. You think the past and the present may be boring, but the future must be preserved as a potential starburst, and therefore why do something which dooms the future to the mundane. Why commit to anything? Why not keep the options open?

Almost all of us will not be stars. It is not important to be a star, even to yourself. In fact it is hugely damaging to believe yourself to be essentially different from others.

The problem is: we /want/ to be passionate, but nothing seems worthy of that passion. What to do? Do nothing and stare at a wall? Do the mundane which offers a high maybe once every 3 years? Go off the beaten track and get mind-fucked by charlatans and disillusioned?

There is no perfect solution. Live by doing, not by dreaming. Do what you have observed other reasonably happy people do. Work with dedication, be financially comfortable, help other people, grow in knowledge and understanding, pass on your understanding to your children or to others, and see life as an endless continuum, and not as the life-of-you which started 30 years back and will end 50 years hence.

It is not about you.