Anxiety about what would happen to our children after us

What makes people say that they don’t want their children to suffer privation after their death ? When we say they don’t want this to happen they of course mean that today they are anxious that after they are no more their children do not suffer  want of money or comfort. The funny thing is why you are anxious to do something which is not achievable unless you cease to exist .Wanting to do a thing is okay when the subject is alive and the object is within realm of possibility . In this case the thing will be done when the subject no longer exists. But does the subject really care when the object to be achieved  is not within realm of possibility?

A little more on the realm of possibility thing. We desire for a thing only when we  know that it is within the scope of reality, that is ,the thing we desire is not a fantastic thing which happens only in imagination. For example we know that we  do not have wings and consequently  cannot fly like birds .We know that we cannot vanish here in India and appear in the  Sahara desert.Such things are outside the realm of possibility and we therefore do not  ordinarily desire them unless in dreams.

To desire that our children should live comfortably after us is to desire something outside the realm of possibility .And it seems such an empty thought.

Symmetry

I really do not know if a sense of symmetry is innate in human nature .Often I find it very uncomfortable to view things which do not fit into a symmetrical pattern .If someone leaves a book on a table in a slanting position ,that is out of alignment with the four sides of the table I feel pretty uncomfortable and cannot rest till the position of the book is restored to a position which fits into the shape of the table space.A similar discomfort is experienced if I see a picture or a painting on the wall out of alignment with the border of the wall with the ceiling . I often experience acute discomfort if the design of a building incorporates a slanting roof with a skewed intersection of the two sides of the roof .While photographing the horizon has to be necessarily kept in alignment with the plane of the image ;otherwise the picture leaves you pretty uneasy,whatever be the artistic merit of the photograph.

I keep speculating if the symmetry of the type we are talking about here is ingrained in our nature. If a building has one minaret on the right side ,it follows logically that there has to be another one on the left side and likewise it has four corners it follows logically that two more minarets have to be provided at the back.Symmetry is not only felt as a necessary quality in all products of human endeavours but it is felt we cannot do without a conscious feel of symmetry in our environment. Why do we not stay in circular rooms  or rooms shaped as irregular polygons and instead choose to stay in square or rectangular rooms ?Is it because we need constant reminders of symmetry around us in our daily life ? Of course this opens up another interesting inquiry as to if  symmetry of form would imply what we are already familiar with in terms of shapes and forms and  any deviation from the familiar forms would imply lack of symmetry.

We cannot bear ugliness –  which means that we cannot bear asymmetry .Can we say that ? We are implying here that lack of symmetry is ugliness. It is a bit far-fetched to think that  structural proportionality alone makes for beauty .Actually beauty is something more than symmetry. But certainly asymmetry detracts from beauty .In real life we find it extremely uncomfortable living with loose ends hanging say for instance in electrical cabling. We find it equally disturbing to see a painting or a picture hung on the wall out of alignment with the border of the wall with the ceiling.In photography we insist on the plane of the image in alignment with the horizon .In daily life we find the most banal of experiences causing uneasiness because somebody down there has not taken care to ensure that the basic symmetry of form is incorporated in the design of the object. Something is jutting out somewhere or something is missing where it should be .We find in our homes half open doors of wooden shelves,drawers pulled out ,curtains rolled into balls and loosely lying about  and bed sheets coming out of the matresses and such other other experiences .

The obvious question that comes to our mind is whether beauty flows out of symmetry or rather lack of symmetry implies ugliness.We do not see in nature a design towards achieving symmetry but the beauty there is intrinsic and flows dynamically even in its changing forms . It is not therefore not necessary that symmetry is an essential ingredient for beauty .Apparently beauty  exists independent of symmetry.

Looking at oneself as a quantifiable self

An interesting perspective is to look at oneself as a quantifiable self, not merely a glorified qualitative being that cannot be pinned down to a few measurable data. Data driven being. A monitorable entity in terms of numbers. Like we monitor a country’s economic growth in terms of GDP etc.

The obvious assumption is that the quantitative goals are set before hand and the progress monitored in terms of the goals. Alternatively benchmarks are set in terms of desirable quantities and the progress monitored. A third thing is don’t monitor in terms of preset goals but monitor post facto and take corrective action wherever warranted.

All this for what? Everything traces back to making best of life and derive maximum happiness out of it so as to lead a meaningful life .Ha, ha. Without doing all this if we can lead a life of happiness we don’t need to carry all that metrics with us!

I thought we were talking about the body

I do not remember when the feeling of transience ( of  being a bird of passage ) actually first occurred to me.Perhaps after I crossed the age of 40 when I started thinking about it all coming to an end,abruptly. It is the abruptness that came home to one and it is to beat it that one starts cultivating the feeling of transience.It is as though one wanted to be one up on life , being prepared for the end. Just like in John Donne’s poem where the poet tells Death not to be proud because when you are ready and conscious of death its sting no longer works.

Is self-awareness really necessary?

It is believed that the shortcut to the road to knowledge and enlightenment is self-isolation.

This is  the Hindu’s way of thinking ,which has come to be accepted as the only way of finding your way out of the morass of confusion that surrounds you .Nevertheless it has a validity of its own although one is not sure whether by being self -aware you will attain enlightenment. Do we know for certain that all those who have attained enlightenment have done so after attaining higher levels of self-awareness ? One is not really sure. And then there is the difficulty of defining what enlightenment is . Granted this is known and we are fairly certain what we mean by enlightenment ,we may proceed to accept the theory that self-awareness may lead to attainment of enlightenment

 .Perhaps we are entirely befuddled by confusion the moment we come out of the womb .We continue to be making our way through a world of uncertainty and chaos ,which we are continuously trying to interpret according to the limited logic operating in our pea-sized brains .Out of this we try to arrive at logical positions because we cannot rest till we arrive at a position . The uncomfortable question that is haunting us all this while is whether it is necessary at all to arrive at any position. What if we do not try to set our mind at rest by giving up the pursuit of knowledge or enlightenment ? Because there is no fixed position you can take and once you think you have arrived at a position ,that is not the end of the story. There are other questions,other postulates ,other parameters. It is like the miasma that you come across on a hot sultry day on the highway .As you approach it there is nothing and further down there are further miasmas.

Death

We may look at death as cessation of consciousness , the subject experiencer becoming a part of the object that is experienced. Looked at this way death does not mean obliteration but only an extension of the subject’s existence. I look at death in yet another perspective.A person who is born becomes an Idea in Time and continues to exist as an Idea even after death.Thus all those who had lived and died before us are not obliterated but remain rooted in existence although they have ceased to exist in space.

Living spaces

I have often thought why people living in very small houses tend to be more closely bonded together than those staying in sprawling  mansions .Obviously the theory  that living in penury is a causative factor for solidarity among people and the smallness of the living space brings them together in fighting their common enemy-poverty. This is apparently a facile explanation for the bond that exists amongst people living together in tiny houses . What occurs to me is that more often it is the physical space in which they live together that builds the emotional relationship. We have often seen that in case of illness of the near and dear ones the poor people rally around their kin with surprising amount of material and moral support. You will not find this in the  rich families.

    One explanation for this could be that human bonds are built stronger when people are ,most of the time , within seeing distance of one another. If in a one-room kitchen dwelling unit a family of five or six members  are staying together they live in close proximity to one another most of the time ,within seeing and hearing distance of one another. This also causes some friction some times but as one would  observe in the Indian villages the fights do not last long and the warring parties come together at the earliest.