Tuesday, December 08, 2009

No Condition like the Human Condition

As I grew up to what I am today, one thing that I looked back at, was the constant lack of any aspect of me being this (human) animal not being taught to me in detail. The social sciences was the only crooked window into this soul-searcher of an infant being aware of his own existence as a moral animal. Disgusting as this seems now, it took a series of novels and a  dose of nobel literature to drill this point into my head. 'We are humans and we are subjected to the same conditions of existence all over the world.' There are exceptions of course, some of us tame ourselves to the suburban meaning of life, while others break free and suffer scorn of the so called urban intellectuals. 

I know I am being condescending about some of the elements of my own species, but I am not worried of being chased by a lynch mob on this one. They know it already. Literature has been incessantly focused on this difference, even media calling it a very difficult to pronounce (and spell) word: the 'bourgeoisie'

I am not even sure if I like this term. Its not like I care. The human is fun.

The appalling thing I was talking about earlier, about not having been taught about being human and all, well I learned about it a few years back, it was called another idiotic, obvious name: the human condition. I began to wonder why we make things sound so obvious? Why not get out of the bourgeoisie jargon and get on with our sorry little lives and enjoy the finer aspects of language. 'The human condition', it has a serene air of mystique around it. It doesnt allow the audience, the pleasure of knowing what it means, instantly after hearing it. They have to use their PDA's to refer to the wikipedia entry on it. They have to, I mean, there's no way that anyone can possibly make an obvious interpretation out of something that is made to sound so obvious. 

Well thats the catch, its not as obvious as it seems. Its usually polluted by a mine-field of dissertations and intellectual type academicians. They all want to claim that they have somehow contributed to the explanation of what it means to be human. Can you imagine a bunch of zebra's claiming that they are trying to understand, 'what being a zebra actually is?' 

Well, they are doing it, not the zebras, but those solemn intellectual types. They also use fine rim glasses sometimes. [for the record: I gave up my fine rimed glasses in exchange for the new thick rimed glasses, just so I could make that statement with no guilt]. The parenthesis explains yet another face of the human condition, claiming not to belong to a group and yet advocating something similar, but not quite so.

Why now? I was thinking about it in the form of an idea of travelling back in time. Back in time in my mind of course. This is just to re-iterate the experiment of testing what I felt was rational back then, was really rational or not. This whole quest for finding the rationality bug under rug got me to thinking how fragile our sense of understanding is, when it comes to future outcomes of our actions. This makes every decision we make, impulsive. If everything we do is impulsive, then every rational thought is also subject to the same impulse. 

Well, rationality, like the human condition is another of those obvious words without obvious meaning. Its different for everyone. If I believe that I have been rational about some decision of mine, then for some observer, my actions might seem to be cultivated out of some bias. My rationality is my conviction. For an observer, my rationality is a bias towards my world-view.

This was interesting for me, since I noticed I was looking at decisions differently now. If I try to do the right thing for me, it would be frowned upon by some observer since it would lack the same context. The fun part is, we can also have observers running around trying to figure out the exact nature of our actions (posing to be rational). 'Cool' I thought, this is Calvin and Hobbes all over again.

Calvin: "I'm a misunderstood genius.".
Hobbes: "What's misunderstood?"
Calvin: "Nobody thinks I'm a genius."

Song for the moment: The Killers - Human

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