One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Too Close, Too Far

Water Color on Paper, 18 x 16 cm (Practically, we also treat many human groups as Invasive Species under the titles of minorities, others...etc)

Too Close, Too Far 2, Ink and Crayons on Paper, 23 x 17 cm (Practically, we also treat many human groups as Invasive Species under the titles of minorities, others...etc) 
There is a mountain that neither flood, nor wind can move. A few kilometers down the mountain, there is dust that are originated from the same mountain, but are at the mercy of wind and water. Some day, these dust particles will become a mountain. This is part of a process, we known as rock cycle. There is nothing special in it, except the stories that time imprint in them in the form of rock features and fossils, and we read these stories as earth history. There is a man called Nelson Mandela, the most respected, among world leaders, who is struggling with lung infection (tuberculosis). Doctors are trying to kill the bacteria that are feeding on his lung tissues. People around world are concerned for his health and pray for his recovery. Bacteria are thought to be the oldest life form on earth and all other life forms originated from bacteria. It doesn't matter, how much we value men and care for them, they were once bacteria and they will turn into bacteria (decomposed). It is just the story one writes with his/her in his life time that remains and are in reality valued. The same is true about life forms. They have the same origin and are dependent on each other. It is just our perceptions that creates differences of values.

It was my second time, that I was hearing the term invasive plants. The man who was educating us on local ecology , lectured us about importance of native plants and the dangers of invasive plants overtaking them, and then asked us to remove the invasive plants. Within minutes, everyone wearing gloves and armed with spades and shovels starting uprooting plants. For a while, I followed the crowd and then stopped, as I remembered my conversation with the ecologist, the first time, I took part in uprooting invasive plants. I asked him, "why we are supposed to interfere with nature?"... "The invasive plants are introduced accidentally by men and are harming the local population of plants".  he replied. "But isn't evolution supposed to be a phenomenon of accidents and competition?" In fact, what we were doing was artificial selection and we were thinking that we are doing an ecological service. Artificial selection is not "Natural Selection" in the sense that, it is based on human interests and values. Our artificial selection of pets, for example are more based on social trends and sometime, social status. 

We talk about our values and systems and values and systems of others and have created a geography of values. In our eyes, men that born in the geography of our values are more valued that are born in a geography of a "foreign values". Napoleon has rightly said, "Geography is destiny". The fact is, we don't value, what we call facts and value what we have constructed. We accept, evolutionary theory as fact, but then then put our values based on our social constructs. Even further, we distort the events (facts) by constructing stories or our versions of interpretations to convince ourselves that we are better than others.

In short, we are too close, if we want to, and are too far, again if we wish so. All contradictions, all differences are nothing more than our wants and wishes. It might seems just a claim (or babbling), but if we seriously deconstruct the social constructs either by facts, or a thought process, this won't be just a claim. Recently, I come across deconstruction of social construct by a thought process. I didn't agree with it, but I liked it and want to share it (hope, you may also enjoy reading it),

" Meeting God

You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that's when you met me.

"What... what happened?" You asked. "Where am I?"

"You died," I said, matter-of-factly. No point mincing words.

"There was a... a truck and it was skidding..."

"Yup." I said.

"I... I died?"

"Yup. But don't feel bad about it. Everyone dies." I said.

You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. "What is this place?" You asked. "Is this the afterlife?"

"More or less," I said.

"Are you god?" You asked.

"Yup." I replied. "I'm God."

"My kids... my wife," you said.

"What about them?"

"Will they be alright?"

"That's what I like to see," I said. "You just died and your main concern is your family. That's good stuff right there."

You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn't look like God. I just looked like some man. Some vague authority figure. More of a a grammar school teacher than the almighty.

"Don't worry," I said. "They'll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn't have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved." "To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it's any consolation, she'll feel very guilty for feeling relieved."

"Oh," you said. "So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?"

"Neither," I said. "You'll be reincarnated."

"Ah," you said. "So the Hindus were right."

"All the religions are right in their own way," I said. "Walk with me."

You followed along as we strolled in the void. "Where are we going?"

"Nowhere in particular," I said. "It's just nice to walk while we talk."

"So what's the point, then?" You asked. "When I get reborn, I'll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won't matter?"

"Not so!" I said. "You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don't remember them right now."

I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. "Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It's like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it's hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you've gained all the experiences it had."

"You've been a human for the last 34 years, so you haven't stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for longer, you'd start remembering everything. But there's no point doing that between each life."

"How many times have I been reincarnated then?"

"Oh, lots. Lots and lots. And into lots of different lives." I said. "This time around you'll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 A.D."

"Wait, what?" You stammered. "You're sending me back in time?"

"Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from."

"Where you come from?" You pondered.

"Oh, sure!" I explained. "I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there's others like me. I know you'll want to know what it's like there but you honestly won't understand."

"Oh." You said, a little let down. "But wait, if I get reincarnated to other places in time, could I have interacted with myself at some point?"

"Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own timespan, you don't even know its happening."

"So what's the point of it all?"

"Seriously?" I asked. "Seriously? You're asking me for the meaning of life? Isn't that a little stereotypical?"

"Well, it's a reasonable question." You persisted.

I looked in your eye. "The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature."

"You mean mankind? You want us to mature?"

"No. Just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature, and become a larger and greater intellect."

"Just me? What about everyone else?"

"There is no one else," I said. "In this universe, there's just you, and me."

You stared blankly at me. "But all the people on Earth..."

"All you. Different incarnations of you."

"Wait. I'm everyone!?"

"Now you're getting it." I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

"I'm every human who ever lived?"

"Or who will ever live, yes."

"I'm Abraham Lincoln?"

"And you're John Wilkes Booth." I added.

"I'm Hitler?" You said, appalled.

"And you're the millions he killed."

"I'm Jesus?"

"And you're everyone who followed him."

You fell silent.

"Every time you victimized someone," I said, "You were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you've done, you've done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you."

"Why?" You asked me. "Why do all this?"

"Because someday, you will become like me. Because that's what you are. You're one of my kind. You're my child."

"Whoa." You said, incredulous. "You mean I'm a god?"

"No. Not yet. You're a fetus You're still growing. Once you've lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born." 

"So the whole universe," you said. "It's just..."

"An egg of sorts." I answered. "Now it's time for you to move on to your next life."

And I sent you on your way.

 - Meeting God was originally posted in "Philosophy Circle"  accessed on 9/1/2013 -

What I liked in "Meeting God" is its deconstruction of the social constructs, that somehow, we are superior than others because of geography of values. It is not the geography of values that make us more valuable, but personal values that earn after dying many times in our life times. Every time, we are broken, we re-emerge with new set of values, that born out of our realizations of our shortcomings and mistakes. Every time, the old-self dies, the new-self becomes a better person. Every time, an old society dies, a new better society emerges. What I didn't like, in the "Meeting God" is the concept of growth of fetus to become god (perfection is not the aim, development is). I don't feel easy with the concept of perfection (although, earlier during my teenage, I was obsessed with it and had an idea of "elysium" as an utopian society). The concept of perfection, magnify our imperfection and increase our intolerance and do not let us to be accepting us and others, as they are. I usually blame social constructs, not because they are human-made, but because they are based on the concepts of perfection and lead to uneasiness and unhappiness. The idealization of our appearances, our lives, our desires, values and our notions, and expectations from others are all based on social constructs, that are seeded in the concept of perfection.  

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