Is Internet the panacea?

We all seek help. In fact, we all NEED help -no matter how positive we are or how seasoned. Every now and then we are stumped; faced with an unfamiliar situation that makes us unhappy – either it is because we let us ourselves down or someone else has; someone or something touched a memory that we have tried hard to overcome. Sometimes it is just because someone has been downright mean (including us). Guilt, anger, envy, anything really can trigger the feeling of “what the hell am I supposed to do now?!”

Our first go-to friend in most such cases – is the internet. Maybe because that is the easiest, most anonymous (so we think, at least), perhaps fastest thing to do. Sometimes, if we are lucky, we get exactly the answers that we had been seeking. But then how often does that happen?

What the internet really provides us, without fail and on all occasions is PERSPECTIVE. We get to know two very important things within just about two minutes.

  1. We are not alone. There are a great many who have had similar experiences and have somehow figured a way out.
  2. We are unique. No one person is or has gone through the exact same situation as us.

The best picture of the Internet is perhaps, that of a reassuring friend – who nods her head no matter what we tell her, smiles back and offers comfort “You know honey, ….”. And we come back feeling light and relieved; with a feeling of having been understood and with a feeling of having understood our own situation and others’ as well. She has given us the perspective and wisdom that we so lacked in an unfamiliar, albeit very personal situation. We are all aware of the “what” in our life. Mostly though we are at a loss for the “why”. And that is where she helps us most. When we put the “what” and the “why” together, slowly, we can chisel away at the “how” – How do I change this situation? And we do eventually, in our own way.

So is Internet the panacea? Probably not. But we should still seek her for getting the choicest ingredients to make our own concoction.

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Reset

Yes. There has a been a break. It has been 4 months. Of course, I can offer reasons for my absence. Getting back into the grind of things after the medical shake-up; multiple family events (and hence commitments); multiple deliverables at the office and the list goes on. They are all true.

However, I can also admit the TRUTH.

Convincing ourselves of the ‘facts’ like those listed above is easy. It lets us get on with life as we know it; helps us to remain firmly seated in our comfort zone; tells us that we are fine individuals trying to do our best given the circumstances. Essentially, it lets us feed the illusion that keeps us happy.  It is also the illusion that holds us back.

On the other hand, accepting truths, bitter ones, about ourselves is a painful process that involves introspection, detachment from the situation, brutal honesty, coming to terms with our limitations or mistakes and finally, forgiving ourselves. Often, this means we will be harsh and critical of ourselves, refusing to take courage that we will not fail the next time we try, sometimes preventing ourselves from trying again. When we realize, we will never know if we never even try, perhaps we will also find the courage to try.

How about then, coming out with the truth and telling the entire world about it? Letting yourself be judged, truly for who you are? That takes a different kind of strength; one that doesn’t seek approval from without but from within. The one that says “I am ashamed. Yes. But I will try again because that is the only thing I can do.”

So what is that TRUTH about which I am making such a lot of fuss? The truth is that I could have written, at least on some days, but I did not – because of inertia. Writing and reading are passions of mine – of course! However, if there is a break, for whatever reason, there falls a wedge, a chasm, that gets wider and wider as time progresses. It is like an avalanche. A rock starts to fall as a natural process (like the medical situation). In itself, it is not that dangerous. However, as it rolls, it turns into this dangerous, all destroying force. The gnawing feeling of inadequacy, the urge to break the monotony and live the passion are all there. But they are still powerless against the mass of rolling inertia. The mass needs to break and dissipate against a bigger force, the inertia needs to be surmounted by the will.

Nothing very dramatic. I know. But it is also very real. The reality of limiting ourselves, not because we lack passion but because we say “I will do it tomorrow”. All of us do this in one aspect or the other. We continue to live in the illusion that we will truly get to it tomorrow. If we don’t get to it today when we can, we probably won’t get to it tomorrow either.

I am not sure how I managed to overcome the inertia. I took a break without doing anything at all for 2 full days. That probably naturally reset my system and my passion trumped the inertia finally. Thankfully.

We all then need to ask ourselves – what resets my system? A talk from a motivational speaker? A chat with a best friend? Rest and distance (like me)?

Or is a reset really required? What if you just did what you want to do, make a beginning, without really thinking about it? Chances are, you will love it so much, you will “just” do it again tomorrow, and the day after and the day after that……

Artificial Intelligence!!

The comment from Maddie on my post,  Supreme being of them all! got me perplexed. When I had posed the question, I had thought about only biological beings. But his comment on artificial intelligence forced me to contend with intelligent machines too. The first question to answer is then: Should they be considered inclusively in the “beings” class?

Although I find accepting this extremely difficult, the more I think, the more I convince myself to say “Yes”. Artificial intelligence allows machines to think and learn. It allows them to interact with everyday objects seamlessly, make decisions based on past experiences and so on. These are cognitive abilities that so far have been restricted to biological beings with a somewhat evolved brain. A bacteria in comparison is far less intelligent (though it defeats us all in being adaptable and hence surviving any adverse condition). These intelligent beings (yeah there I called them beings) may be missing some abilities, yet, but I do believe it is only a matter of time before they gain these advanced abilities too.

Which brings me back to the first question. Who is the supreme of them all? Suddenly, even the prospect of this question is too scary, too significant to grasp and too ambiguous to answer rationally in the present. For now, I table this question and retire to watch time reveal the answer.

 

 

 

Right to Silence Act

I would like to make an appeal to you all. Can we together demand a legislation for a “Right to Silence” Act? Why you ask? While every person has their “Right to free speech”, in a moving, communal vehicle, I would like to be able to assert my “Right to Silence”. That’s why. Picture this: Traveling in India in a bus that is stuffed to breaking point with people, with most of the said people enjoying their right to free speech. Now imagine enduring this ordeal every working day for at least two hours. That’s my lot in life. Yes. Thank you for the handkerchief.

Every time I am on the bus, I am forced to listen to a 17-year-old gushing about the man she has plans to marry, a business man loudly showing “who is the boss” on the phone, an unfazed lady expounding her quick fix recipe and on and on and on it goes. Why, Oh WHY do I need to know about every random person’s life or character when I am enough of a character for myself to deal with! It is truly amazing how much, how loudly, how indifferently people can converse. I do deeply understand their need to be entertained for two hours on a choked, smoke filled, hot day. I say, talk by all means. But could you please tone down that volume knob?

It makes me wonder. When your physical being is intruded upon, it is deemed rude. I can’t go ramming into people right? Then how come this kind of assault is perfectly acceptable? Sigh… This situation is so chronic that as soon as I get home, I shut off “everything”. I don’t want to listen to a single pin drop. However, as always, life moves on and I gather barely enough strength to survive another day of the tonal assault.

Hereby, I reiterate the intention of this post. I beseech you good Samaritans to please support my plea for the enactment of “Right to Silence” Act. Let there be —-.

 

 

Supreme being of them all!

Are human beings the most supreme of them all? This is not intended as a spiritual or astronomical question. Just a worldly one. Are we the supreme of beings on earth? For most of you, this would be a no-brainer. “But of course” is the answer. Few would be gracious enough to concede that humans have serious shortcomings with respect to many, many attributes: we can’t’ beat an owl’s eyesight, we can’t be as fast as a leopard, we can’t be as powerful as a hippo and so on. However, as a sum of all parts, in general, we humans are considered superior (by ourselves) as we make up for our physical inadequacies with tools and ensure our survival (domination) over other species.

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Unhappy in a perfect life?

What am I still searching for? This is an all consuming, frequent thought that takes possession of me, as it would a number of you too I suppose. Leaves me with a feeling of something missing in the midst of the best of everything. This phrase captures the feeling eloquently.

She’s stuck between
who she is,
who she wants to be,
and
who she should be

I would really like to know who penned this. It is a brilliant example of capturing a lifetime in 3 lines. It mirrors what I go through and perhaps everyone does. This conflict of having and doing everything you should but “wanting” something else. That is if you do know what you want. If you don’t, the confusion is manyfold.

What do you do at such times? When the need to be someone else is so strong that your perfect life seems to be suffocating? I admit I am not brave enough to make drastic changes to chase a dream. But staying on the same path forever isn’t an option either. So, I have learned to come to terms with this feeling without letting myself drown in frustration. These five points have helped me immensely and I hope that they connect with you too.

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A case for the acceptance of all

This post has been prompted by my reading “The Gene” by Siddhartha Mukherjee (just started the book). This post is not a book review (the book is excellent though :)). Rather, it is about a thought that was triggered as I read about how Darwin’s understanding of evolution came to be. As far as I know, most people are at least aware of this concept. Many disagree with it and over the centuries there have been many other proposals, refutations etc . However, it is still perhaps the most popular concept of evolution.

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The recycled soul?

Two independent events over the weekend that were coincidentally relevant have forced me to think about fundamental questions of birth and death. In the past, I have studied the questions of birth and death, life and its vagaries, desire and pain, destiny and free will as explained from multiple religious standpoints. However, in the recent past, I have learned to simplify my existence, my world view, my understanding and love of God to very few basic principles. This simplification has allowed me to be far less questioning and far more accepting thereby making life, well, more simple. But these two seemingly small events revived the questions from the past that had been blissfully suppressed so far. Quick context. Event 1: Advertisement that called for essay entries with the title “Who am I”. Event 2: Unplanned spontaneous discussion on reincarnation for a Hindu.

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Why I refuse to write about any ONE thing

Follow up post to Key to a GOOD post?  The other thing I have been told about blogging: It is advisable for a blog to follow a theme – like fashion, travel, food, inspiration, etc. This makes eminent sense; I do sense that. However, in my blog you will find a bit of EVERYTHING (with positive leanings towards positivity) – poems, fiction, observations, theories, conclusions, humor, inspiration and I know not what else. This probably makes you wonder – how can she be knowingly stupid?

I can’t comment on my level of stupidity. That is for you and others to discuss and arrive at a consensus. I can speak on the motivation for this apparent lack of sense. I love writing (as I have told you a billion times already). One of the reasons I love writing is, it is one of the few REAL things without any boundaries whatsoever (which is true of any art form I suppose). I can write about anything under the sun; anything out of this universe; anything you have never read before; anything I never knew I could write about before.This for me is a form of liberation that allows me to explore my own thought process and abilities; in the process shaping me as a person. It is the freedom to explore and live unlimited! Join me on the exploration and let us discover where this leads us to!

 

 

Key to a GOOD post?

I was told that a good blogger needs to meet at least two criteria: provide good content, provide it on a regular basis. However, in the one month that I have been blogging, I realized this is not the complete picture. Good content in itself is not good enough. Why you ask? Let me urge you to consider this. When anyone can read / view / hear just about anything they want to at any time, what makes them choose and return to specific content?

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A month and counting….

I have been blogging for about a month now. In this duration, 19 precious people have allowed me to be part of their world. I don’t know much about any of the 19 of you. However, I do know that each one of you amazing people has given me the encouragement and strength to keep posting every day. Thank you so much for this motivation!! While it is gratifying to think that in some way, my writing has connected with you, I sincerely hope that you enjoyed reading my posts so far. I will continue to try my level best to write every day and write well so as to merit your time.

Please connect with me and share your thoughts – about my blog or about anything under the sun or about anything out of this universe. Let us get to know each other better.