Love and Loss

Sometimes, when you love someone, then the most difficult thing that you can endure isn’t losing them but having to watch them lose you.

You cry not because of your own loss, but because you know someone else is crying too.

Thank God or else…

When some people thank (their) God for giving them what they wanted – happiness, money, health, etc. – and claim the greatness and lovingness of God because of their own personal experiences, isn’t it unfair to those who are supposedly given the opposite of that – disease, disability, grief and a life of immense and eternal suffering?

Consider a state that does everything for the rich but neglects the poor and takes away even their basic rights as humans –  right to health, education, food, water, justice, etc. Wouldn’t it be unfair to the unfortunate for these few lucky people to praise that state endlessly because of what it does for them?

And, what if the state declares that it will only take care of the people who vote for it again and again and that those who don’t, must be punished forever or at least until they also fall in line? Wouldn’t you call that state an evil state? Of course you will. Then how dare anyone ever say that in order to get the love of God, you must pray and worship endlessly and have complete faith otherwise you would be subjected to eternal damnation even after you are dead? Sounds equally evil to me.

How would you explain the lovingness and generosity of God when a child is born with a permanent disability, is going to live in suffering for its entire lifetime (long or short) and is marked to die with it? When I see someone suffering immensely, wouldn’t it be a corruption of my mind and morals if I should still praise God?

As Epicurus famously quoted:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

On Love

Love Hearts

I come online many times to this blog and start a new post, like this one, and I want to write something on Love. And I want my post to be carefully worded because I want what I say to mean many things. Yet, when I sit down to think about what I must say, I don’t have words to put forward. It is as if everything I want to say has vaporized and I would rather log-off yet again and wait for the next smart idea to start writing.

But so far as Love is concerned, there are no smart ideas. There are only real or surreal things to say and put forward but has anyone who ever thought and wrote about Love said things plainly enough? No. Or at least I know that I haven’t.

There is something about Love that causes the writer to keep going around in circles trying to build some sort of a palace of thoughts and feelings and emotions from there to address what he wants to say. Any discussion on Love has to make it sound mystical and full of reverence.

And so the point is, it is too damn difficult to say things plainly. There are no simple ways to define how Love is supposed to feel. It means different things to different people and for some people, what, who and how they love is always a big big secret.

It’s not my Karma

Karma

 

Karma, they say, basically means that your good and bad actions or deeds come back to reward or punish you. So, if something good is happening in your life right now, it is because of your past good Karma and if something bad is happening, it must be some bad Karma.

Of course, it is only a concept that people theorize about and it comes mostly from religious texts but, of course, no one can ever know for sure. Well, then why am I writing on this? It is for two reasons.

First, I think it is completely wrong. Why? Because it requires me to presuppose that the Universe is a just place. It tries to fool me into assuming that I am the most special component at the centre of this universe and the entire universe along with the laws of nature are colluding to make things happen with only me on its mind. Or, increase the subset and say it has us – all humans – on its mind. Even then, I feel that once you consider the vast expanse of the universe and our relatively tiny and irrelevant place in it, the concept just stops making sense right then and there. The universe is huge and we haven’t explored even 1% of its size to see if there are any others like us on some other planets. It is so vast that we haven’t yet, and might never be able to discover any other forms of life in it. Yet, we can be so arrogant and self-centred to make this gigantic claim to know that the same universe is designed to run as this rewarding and punishing machine that know exactly what some tiny human did and what he/she should get in return.

Secondly, let us suppose that this concept was somehow acceptable on the grounds that it encourages us to do good deeds increasingly more often than bad ones fearing Karmic retribution. Fair enough. But I am still not too happy with it because now it attempts to do something else that spoils the essence of being human. That it does by telling people that their achievements and failures are somehow magically linked with a past that they might never know to be true (like from “past lives”), thereby fictionalizing our lives. Does it also mean that one’s efforts to achieve something and their emotions and feelings attached to it are basically irrelevant in front of Karma?

We don’t need to find supernatural explanations in everything. Sometimes, things just happen. The essence of being human is in doing and dreaming, it is in rising and falling, it is in flying and hurting. We deeply cherish both our good days and bad days and that is how humanity gets its charm. Let us not trivialize it by resorting to a concept that stinks of wishful thinking and immaturity in order to gain a placebo effect.

Does everything happen for good?

good bad

When something bad happens and people tell you, “In the end, everything happens for the good,” I find it unbelievable how easy and simplistic they make it sound. How do you know things ALWAYS happen for the good? And how do you know that that good will be for everyone involved? Moreover, how and when will you know the end if there ever was one?

If someone was born physically challenged. Would you say everything happened for the good? You know what could have been good? Being born NOT physically challenged.

If someone contracts a fatal disease, like cancer, would you say everything happens for the good? One might give examples of survivors like Neil Armstrong and Yuvraj Singh and make a point that “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” But ask yourself this. Did cancer make them stronger or was it the fact that it was cured that made them stronger? And what about the thousands that Cancer really kills as opposed to the very few handful who survive?

Two people who love each other get separated. Would you say everything happened for the good? Good of whom? For one, I could understand, but for both? I can’t agree. And by “In the end..” what do you mean? When should that end have been? Finding the next partner? But even that might not be the end? You might separate from them also. Then what? Will the end keep shifting until the whole thing becomes pointless?

Life is not for people to pretend to simplify. Human beings are complex and their lives and situations are complex. Good doesn’t always happen. Nothing’s ever right and you can’t always make things right.

Let us not cheat each other of our tragedies by saying that everything happens for the good. Things just happen. You don’t get what is good for you, you just get what you get. There is no universe looking out for you trying to strike a balance. You just need to be happy in whatever you have.

Enjoy your happiness but equally enjoy your miseries.

 

A cold and harsh reality

Image source: http://www.wellhappypeaceful.com/overwhelming-sadness/

People who have faith in the supernatural, sometimes find it a lot easier to deal with pain. Faith acts as a guiding force, a form of support that helps you cross the road when the going gets tough. All you need to do is continue to believe in a universal force that is out to help you very soon. There is comfort in knowing there is a big brother watching over you. Sooner or later, things will be better.

But for people who do not put their faith in an invisible deity or mantra or good or bad karma, any suffering becomes hundreds of times more difficult to deal with. There are no imaginary friends to take care of you and no promises of a better future. All there is is a cold and harsh reality. Things won’t become right by kneeling, praying, offering sacrifices, worshiping idols or following godmen who claim to be agents for your salvation. There is just a realization that you don’t always get what you want, you simply get what you get. Things happen. We can’t always explain everything but it’s alright. The question, “Why me?” gets the answer, “Why not!” or maybe “So what?”

I feel it is alright to take support in whatever makes it easier to deal with pain, despite whatever anybody else might say. And this is coming from someone who chooses not to do so himself. Because I also think there is no way I would ever pray, ask or beg for happiness. That is not the way life is supposed to be lived. I believe we are a lot more than puppets being subjected to good and bad conditions by a universal force just so that it can get devotion and admiration in return.

Unforgiven

It is easy to forgive others but so much more difficult to forgive your own self. Conscience can be such a devil. You can convince any jury in the world that you are not at fault. But deep down inside, you always know what you did.

No amount of arguing can change what a heart truly believes. Hell, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. Sometimes, good people do bad things, and when they do, they find out they can’t live with it.

But then, you don’t always get what you want, you just get what you get. We all make mistakes and we all pay a price.

Argumentum ad populum

 

As per Wikipedia,

In logic, an argumentum ad populum (Latin for “appeal to the people”) is a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or most people believe it. In other words, the basic idea of the argument is: “If many believe so, it is so.”

Some simple examples of this fallacy are:

  • Everyone’s doing it.
  • In a court of law, the jury vote by majority; therefore they will always make the correct decision.

Some other important issues that suffer from argumentum ad populum:

  • A politician charged with provoking riots claims that majority of people have voted him back to power; so this charge against him is false.
  • XYZ religion is followed by millions; therefore all its claims are true.
  • Chemical castration for rapists is the right punishment because the majority wants it as a law.
  • A government is elected democratically and by vote of majority; therefore all its policies represent the people.

Such arguments may sound persuasive but can be fallacious at the same time. One could claim that smoking is a healthy pastime, since millions of people do it. Governemnts, religious clergy, godmen and other groups try to suppress dissenting and unpopular ideas normally resort to such arguments to persuade people against these ideas.

In fact, centuries ago, almost everyone used to believe that “the Earth is flat”. Does that mean the Earth was actually flat and that it has become round now because most people believe that now?

Therefore, a clear logical analysis of important arguments is necessary to understand whether we are believing an argument because it really true or because we see majority agreeing with it?

Do you know any other prevalent ideas that are assumed to be true just because many people believe it to be true?

Indi-Ban-ization

Only 4 days back, I wrote a post on the growing religious intolerance in our country. I mentioned how we are banning books, writers (because, you know, Pen is mightier than sword and so the writer might hurt some sensitive people.. sob sob), art and movies, etc.

In just 4 days, so much more has happened that it is with great reluctance that I am writing this post. After all, you need a break from one single topic but India is undergoing its own version of Talibanization at such a rapid pace that would put Schumacher and Usain Bolt to shame. Before we know it, the Talibani leaders might start applying for Indian citizenships.

Pardon me if I miss some more incidents, but fresh in my memory are the following from the last 4 days:

— The Grand Mufti (head of Muslim clergy) in Kashmir has declared a “Fatwa” against singing (Yes, SINGING!) saying it is un-islamic and a shameful act. Yes, you heard (or rather read) me right. Following this Fatwa and a series of online abuses by its supporters against them, Kashmir’s first and only All-Girl-Rock-Band, Pragaash, has called it quits and given up on singing and performing out of fear for their lives. But, the ruling national political party has promptly, after a delay of 3 days, acted by – wait for it – CRITICISING the Fatwa. See? We support our women. Nevertheless, the Band is still banned (no pun intended).

pragaash

— Well, how could the Hindus be left behind? In yet another shocking (the magnitude of shocks now coming down with each case) incident, members of a regional (and religious) political outfit, desperate to maintain their fading (if not already extinct) relevance in Indian politics, have started protesting “democratically” in front of an art gallery in the capital warning of consequences (how democratic) if the exhibition is not shut down and some paintings not removed. Their problem? They think that depiction of bare human forms in art is derogatory to “our cultural values” and portrays women in an obscene manner. (Must be those devillish Westerners affecting our Art, I worry). How stupendous – political party, religious faction, art critics, all-in-one? I wonder where their concern for women vanishes when they and their affiliates beat up women for wearing jeans and going to parties.

— Further, BJP, a national political party, has also revealed their well known fascist and religious nature by invoking the Ram temple issue yet again just a year ahead of the upcoming national elections in 2014. To the unknowing, a piece of land in a town (or village?) called Ayodhaya has been the source of extremely dangerous tensions between the Hindu and Muslim communities since decades over a conflict regarding whether a temple or a mosque should be built at that place. The BJP has, as expected, again raised the pitch in favour of temple instead of the mosque.

As I was about to sign off on this post, I have just seen in the national news channels that the same outfit that is protesting against art (above) has contributed to the Ram temple issue by saying they will agitate in favour of building of the temple and, if required, are even ready to display the Hindu might. Okay, so now they won’t even wait for me to finish my blog?

In our country, a huge section of our population is living below poverty line, are uneducated and illiterate and therefore find solace in anything religious. We don’t have enough food, clean drinking water, schools, hospitals, electricity, and jobs and our economy is in tatters, but we worry more about where a temple is being built, which art can be exhibited and which not, which book should be read and which not, whether muslim girls should sing or not, and to top it all, we are even willing to slaughter people for such trivial issues. And this is not going to fade away. The talibanization of our country is afoot.

Why? Because we are a nation of fools and those who are negligent of this rising foolery. We will curtail every form of freedom of expression, speech, etc. etc… Oh, did you say freedom? We will ban the word itself one day.No use invoking the constitution – it does not forbid us from being fools and idiots.

And, did I mention we are also secular? Ya, but our definition of secularism is not the same as that of the “morally deprived west” in that we do not consider secularism to be freedom of and from religion. We think it is the freedom of forcing a religion’s outdated and illogical decrees on to everybody else, and we welcome with open arms, the venomous and regressive ideals that the fundamentalists bring with them.

I wonder why atheists and secularists and scientists do not make similar speeches to say that we will “unleash science education upon those who dare to act stupid,” or “the Earth is suspended in the Solar System due to gravity and we will slaughter any artist that depicts it being otherwise,” or “if you show a ghost in a movie, we will get it banned because as per science, ghosts do not exist.”

I think that would be quite funny. What do you think?

When God cheats

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Whenever a sportsman or a sports team claims that they won because God was on their side, shouldn’t the result be cancelled and spectators’ money returned?

Imagine what would happen if a team started thanking the referee for their victories. Wouldn’t you call it cheating?

What do you think?

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