Thursday, October 15, 2009

What's wrong with the world?

I always wanted to ask this question, to everyone I knew. As a kid I wasnt really aware of the gravity of what it meant, but it did mean something. It was like having a doubt that there's something stuck in my teeth, while I prod ceaselessly with my tongue, the entire dental length and breadth for the answer. 

I didnt have the tools to ask the question, neither to answer it. I cant claim to have them now either. But I have one small advantage over many. I can say calmly, that yes, there  'might' be something wrong with the world after all. 

Long ago, back in school I had heard of the idea called 'reinventing the wheel'. It probably meant that we shouldnt try to make things all over again which are already made. This is probably the premise of the patent and IPR laws, replicating an invention deserves no credit. This idea works phenomenally well with physical and tangible objects. Nobody will go and reinvent a spoon if a sudden desire to eat arose in a person. But will we go ahead and reinvent the way we live if one decided to live long enough and embrace circumstances?

I have some reason to believe, and this is my theory, that everything there is to know about the human condition, has already been written down. But unfortunately known only by a few. Misery, a concurrent theme in many people's lives (at least I have seen it in the form of insecurity), is long to be known as a serious waste of a precious resource, thought. What good is the human race if it shuns the idea of learning from the past? Where to find this epic body of knowledge which deals with these kind of issues?

I dont like to ask other people what have they learned from a book, or a film, or from an experience. Ok, perhaps I am not so lenient about the experience part, but I dont like to ask the former questions to them. Strictly because nobody knows until they come face to face with that same fact in some other way. Learning then is totally experiential (my theory again). Even learning from what somebody learned from their experience can give volumes of insight only if its described properly. 

So other people who can be a store-house of this knowledge of life (how the wheel was made, so to speak) are a very limited resource for such an experiment. Other resources I found was observing people and films. These two things go hand in hand since they offer a window into the life of someone else. These windows allow me to imagine me on the other side of that window and understand my own responses to those circumstances. Yet the films are not a really good resource, since they only go back a 100 years or so of human existence trying to cope up with something which is 10,000 years old. 

The most efficient resource I found then, were books. Probably books written way back even before my forefathers were born. I found a lot of insight about day to day life and questions about why we do what we do, to have been elaborately described in classics. The most beautiful thing about these classic texts is that they have a unique, dated way of explaining life.  They create that sort of imagery, which would sound ridiculous if not seen in context, which makes it even less appealing when read from an unobservant point of view. Great detail hides in these words, which lead to even more thoughts about more 'why's', more 'what's', more 'how's'.

I finally came to a point of asking myself the question, what's wrong with the world? I dont know, but I know only this that there is a total disregard of the ancient written word with people living nowadays. Not many really want to put themselves through the pains to understand how life had been lived and how todays questions of insecurity had already been solved eons ago. Whose job is it? Should we take it upon ourselves to learn these things or should some medium be present to propagate these ideas, once again.

I personally prefer the first option, taking it upon ourselves. There's nothing better than a realization that happened to me than to some other person. The amount of responsiveness I'd develop would not be matched by the latter. Another medium, I found so gladly lacking the adequate machinery ( a receptive mind ) is the schooling system. American military, perhaps had a saying, "Get'em young!" The same applies here. Any reasonably sound person will understand that a child's mind is the most receptive of all. If only they could open our Veda's and other ancient scriptures to the minds of these kids, we could save a lot of generations from the same old misery of the mundane.

I agree with what Thoreau had to say about this: 

"No wonder Alexander carried Iliad with him on his expeditions in a precious casket. A written word is the choicest of relics. Its something more intimate to us than any other work of art. Its the work of art nearest to life........The symbol of an ancient man's thought becomes a modern's man's speech."

What's wrong with the world then? - We're probably not paying enough attention.

Song for the moment: John Mayer - Waiting on the World to Change

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