To Be or Not To Be
A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well.
-- Louisa May Alcott.
...........hmmm....that more or less describes my situation !!
~A Wise Man Said~
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
~When in Lancaster~
Life as PhD Student
Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Monday, April 29, 2002
I don't believe in God. At one time I did, now I don't, and perhaps, never will.
I have no exact recollection of when I stopped believing and why ...As a child I would think -- if someone was in charge, how could things go so wrong? I could never understand the concept of prayer; if he knows everything, why does he need to be told? And, if telling is everything, why doesn't he answer?
As years passed, I became more skeptical. Who wrote the scriptures and how do we know he wrote the truth? If some of it isn't true (proved), then how can we believe the rest of it to be true? If the Holy Books are not supposed to be taken literally and it is up to us to interpret it, then who is to decide who will make a correct interpretation of it? How do we know it is correct?
When I fall ill or things don't happen as expected, my mother tells me it is all because I do not have faith in the one above. I wonder if it's not enough that one is good, that one does one's duty honourably, that one wishes no harm to anyone -- it is also important that you pray regularly, fast on certain days and go to church on Sundays.
It would seem that people who believe in God and faithfully follow all the hundred religious rites have some sort of advantage over us. No matter that they have very little to commend themselves as far as human qualities go, we should expect to meet them in heaven, if we're fortunate enough to be admitted ourselves.
Isn't the end and aim of all Religion to produce a human being who believes in good and does what is good (for the moment, let's forget the definition of good), then when a human being is already that, is he to be condemned just because he does not claim to be a product of and party to the institution called 'Religion'? Well, it sure beats me.
Friday, April 26, 2002
I'm just a soul whose intentions are good,
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood.
- - - Joe Cocker, "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"
Tuesday, April 23, 2002
"...It seems so unfair: some of us starve to death before we're out of infancy, while others- by an accident of birth - live out their lives in opulence and splendour. We can be born into a reviled ethnic group, or start out with some deformity; we go through life with the deck stacked against us, and then we die, and that's it? Nothing but a dreamless and endless sleep? Where's the justice in this? This is stark and brutal and heartless. Shouldn't we have a second chance on a level playing field?
How much better if we were born again in circumstances that took account of how well we played our part in the last life, no matter how stacked against us the deck was then. Or if there were a time of judgement after we die, then - so long as we did well with the persona we were given in this life, and were humble and faithful and all the rest - we should be rewarded by living joyfully until the end of time in a permanent refuge from the agony and turmoil of the world. That's how it would be if the world were thought out, preplanned, fair. That's how it would be if those suffering from pain and torment were to receive the consolation they deserve.
...Thus, the idea of a spiritual part of our nature that survives after death, ought to be easy for religions and nations to sell. ...People will want to believe in it, even if the evidence is meagre to nil."
The scientist and astronomer, Carl Sagan, had these words to say on the subject, in his remarkable book "The Demon-Haunted World".
Being an ardent worshipper of science, I would have expected myself to accept the reasonability of this argument and make an end of it. There was certainly nothing to prove that a part of us lived on while the whole of us was rotting.
But my mind refuses to let go of the problem (if one can call it that). After all, "Absence of evidence, is not evidence of absence". There is very little evidence to establish the existence of an afterlife, but it would also be impossible to conclusively prove that there is no such thing as an afterlife.
I would be the last person to say, that in any matter where it is difficult to get at the truth through logical means, one should trust what is intuitively obvious. What is intuitively obvious to me, may not be so to you and that being so, it cannot acquire the status of a universal truth.
But even so, when a certain knowledge is realised within oneself, an enormous satisfaction is received and it is this satisfaction that I seek. Not that I do not care whether the world is just and fair or not (as things stand, I don't think it is), but my actual motivation, I feel, is far more selfish.
I was born into a religion that teaches us about a judgement day, when all bills will be settled. Sinners will pay for what they had received, immorally and poor sufferers will now enjoy what they had missed or rather, paid for.
While it is a perfect hunky-dory setting, doesn't smell quite right to me. That soul's (if there are such things) fly into the clouds and are then meekly led off to heaven or hell -- I need something more than just an imagination to believe.
But...though I should find it extremely difficult to explain, I am not able to dismiss the idea of rebirth as easily. That after we die, some part of us lives on to animate some other body, might sound like a pretty bizarre idea, but it does not seem all that fabulous to me.
I can somehow feel what is meant when it is said that we carry the burden of our past lives. It is as if you're carrying a weight that you're not aware of having ever lifted and yet, you can't help but feel it.
I have heard of incidents where children remember their past lives. Upon investigation, it is found that the facts are indeed true, and there is also no other way the child could have learnt of them.
All this perhaps sounds a little funny, and maybe it is, but my personal researches (I don't like to use the word "inner feeling", but it also plays a role) incline me towards this view. I definitely do not as yet believe, one way or the other, but my mind is open on the subject, and until such time as more information comes to light, will continue to be fascinated .....
Friday, April 19, 2002
A fellow blogger had posted something about how he marvels at the innocence of a child and would that we all could be children again...unaware of life's complexities and happy in the moment.
Reminded me of something I had scribbled a long time ago, a time when I was hooked on verses.
CHildhood is the happiest of times
when innocence is still in its prime
The heart does not have secrets to hide
the mind is also free from pride
When little things can fill you with joy
and life is just another toy.
Monday, April 15, 2002
I had written something quite some time ago....felt like putting it up here today.....don't know why....
If there was a someone........
One grows emotional at times and wonders how it would be if one could pour forth all ones troubles, anxieties, fears and worries into the heart of another and find a responding chord.
If one could be secure in the knowledge that whatever the world thinks of me, there is one who believes in me and in whose love and loyalty I can always depend on. If there are fingers that are always ready to point at me, there are fingers that will twine with mine and reassure me that I'm good. That for every person who tells me that I'm worthless and full of faults, there is one person who will tell me that there's none worthier and its my faults that make me what I am, and I wouldn't be as lovable, without them. That when somebody blames me for the wrong I've done, someone will tell me that I couldn't have known it was wrong and if I did, I wouldn't have done it.
That when I feel the need to express my feelings or discuss my ideas, I know I have someone to turn to, besides my diary. That if I have a problem, I know it will no longer be mine, but 'ours' and together we will attempt to solve it.
That every gesture of mine will be rewarded with an equal gesture and not because it is expected, but as an affectionate reaction. That when my heart is heavy, the world won't know the difference, but someone does and cares.
That if something very tragic happens in my life, the pain is lesser, because I know I won't have to cry alone. There are many who will throw me a handkerchief to wipe my tears, but what comforts me is that I have a shoulder to weep on.
That people may come and go in someone's life, I've nothing to fear, because I've been promised that there will be none as dear as me.
Alas! How emotional can one be !! One tells oneself "This is the stuff that dreams are made of". One feels like a child lost in a frightening jungle, looking for its parent. Some look and find. Some look and don't. Those who do, are lucky. Those who don't, are either devoured by vicious creatures, life becomes too much for them, or they learn to survive by themselves. They find the strength, the reassurances, the comfort inside them and learn that when you expect things from others, you may be disappointed but you can always trust yourself. You may not find the friend you were looking for, but no one can be a better friend to you than yourself. Only you know what lies deep within you, and when you know how precious it is, you can only feel sorry for a "Someone" , who never found possession of it..............................
Thursday, April 11, 2002
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet and I suppose, by the same token, a cauliflower by any other name would still smell like, well, whatever it is a cauliflower smells like. Jokes apart, I think there's more to a name than that.
I don't know why but I could never like my own name. I somehow feel that names have a personality of their own, or at least we perceive one, and the way I see it, the name doesn't suit me at all. I feel more comfortable when addressed by the shorter form 'Syl' or even my nick name 'Preeti'; they are better definitions of me.
We sometimes form impressions of people without being aware of how. I feel that names play quite some part in conveying these impressions. Our contact with the owners of certain names influences our subsequent perception of those names or we have learned to identify the name with something. When we hear the name 'Sita', we imagine a virtuous woman , even if the Sita in this instance is anything but virtuous.
We can say with some assurance that a name can influence our impression of another, but does a name influence the owner himself?
I wonder if I might not have been a different person altogether if my name had been, say, 'Suhasini'.
There is one other interesting fact pertaining to this name business that has always intrigued me. I'm more than a little interested in astrology, though my knowledge is hardly accurate when it comes down to it. There is a system in Hindu astrology, I've heard, where the first letter of a person's name is used to determine the person's star sign (or something to that effect). In short, the name is considered as the key to a personality.
I'm not saying that there is anything at all in this, for the simple reason that I don't know, but I do consider it worth pondering that ancient texts seem to attach more than a passing importance to the role that one's 'name' has to play in one's life.
Tuesday, April 09, 2002
* Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
* Out of sight, out of mind.
.....Two very opposite ideas and both sound so true. I was interested to know how it could be so and after some pondering I came to this conclusion: When you really love a person, absence only intensifies the feeling and your sentiments grow warmer than before...whereas for a mere acquaintance or someone who is actually not dear to you, the reverse will hold true. You forget the person the moment he or she has left your circle of vision or atleast, soon enough.
hmmm.....the heart does have its reasons......