Saturday, September 29, 2012

Using a little bit of arithmetic logic, I just convinced myself that I am almost ready for salvation and becoming a saintly soul.

Most religions essentially tell you that the secret of nirvana, or the state of being enlightened is complete and resolute detachment from the material world around. I think I am almost getting there. And I wish to share this happy news to you. The logical method I am going to use today is the simple process of elimination. I go through the list of all major objects in the material world and prove I don't care about each one of them. Let's dive in.

Let me start with the really far-off places in the universe. I think it's safe to say that I am totally disconnected and emphatically don't give a rat's ass about far-off galaxies, black holes, supernovas and other boring, lonely joints in the universe where nothing interesting ever happens and no fun people ever hang out.

Image Credit: Link

Besides, the only news we hear about these places is negative s**t all the time: some stray asteroid gate-crashes into a planet to upset its chemical equilibrium, some new star erupts violently  reducing all the near-by moons into star dust, or some black-hole swallows off all the debris altering the neighborhood space-time fabric.  This is disaster-porn from depths of the cosmos and I don't even like when media shows terrestrial disaster porn - like poor farmer neighborhoods, earthquake-stricken crumbling streets of Haiti or slums on the dirty streets of Calcutta. May be, those uber-rich kids with photography as a hobby, armed with a fancy digital camera and that show-off "zoom-resolution-exposure-aperture" lingos  might find those tragic scenes as "artistic" when shot in black-n-white.  But I find these dismaying images in our world infect my soul and curve my spine with their negativity.  Being born in  the "post - angry young man", post-machismo 1980s era of Bollywood, I am instructed by the mainstream popular culture to shun all violence, negativity  and root for world peace and inter-human love. So, I am a sensitive person who can't relish violent stories, by principle.  Therefore, It is a serious violation if I get upset or excited when a loser meteor crashes into a planet full of hydrogen-bombs and a astronomical fireworks display ensues and people on earth get to see it after a million years using their high-tech space telescopes. BIG GODDAMN LOSS if some planet's sorry ass is blown up. Thank you for telling me but it don't matter to me. Interests like wonderments of our magnificent universe have no place in my disciplined mind if I have to be a worthy candidate for nirvana. In short, I don’t care about some cosmological tabloid stories.

Coming closer to home, let’s enter our own solar system in the milky way galaxy. Do I worry that Pluto is no longer a planet? Do I care if Jupiter has a red spot or am I happy if Saturn has 3 rings? Naah … Again, statements like these are mere assertions of their being and that they exist and are doing whatever they do is just a facts in my head. If a bunch of facts about inanimate objects in the sky can ruin your mental composure, I mean no disrespect, but aspirations of nirvana are a little too much for you. Therefore, in the true spirit of detachment, I simply accept these things as they are. I can't judge and get attached to someone's actions or their past or their future. It's a trap I conveniently avoid by killing all curiosity in my life. 

Let's move to the stuff happening on this planet now. The planet is kind of where I draw the first line of influence. Of the things outside the physical scope of this planet, there is little give and take between me and them and I really have no business worrying about them, creating more attachments and thereby, diluting my nirvana aspirations.  But, once we come to the Mother Earth (being almost a closed system), I have to be careful as any stuff on this planet can screw with my life and the emotional experiences that result thereof. Folks with lack of well-directed spiritual ambitions tend to worry a lot about things like degradation of carbon, water, nitrogen cycles, rapid climate change, rising sea levels, hotter summers, colder winters, environmental sustainability,  biodegradation, endangered species, soil-degradation, lack of food sufficiency, failure of democracy, civil liberties, wars, geo-politics, fossil fuels, corporate greed, human rights, lack of trust in the government and the evils of media and advertising.

Image Credit: Link

People spend their entire life worrying too much about what I call the "Big Picture". They are always saying ,"Oh! the system is breaking down". Let me tell you something about systems. Alright? 
A long, long time ago ... in the very early man society of present-day Ethiopia, a lot of horny men found a lot of sexy women very attractive at unusual times of the day. Those unchecked romantic liaisons resulted in the first-ever baby boomer generation. That sudden rise in population meant that locally available food and water was not enough to feed the whole society. Then they walked up to this really wise, old man with this problem. There, sitting on a half-formed stone, with a bunch of leaves covering his loins, he coined the iconic words for the first time:"THE SYSTEM HAS BROKEN DOWN. WE NEED TO FIX IT"

Since then, the system has been breaking down.  Every day. Every year. Every Century. We fix this side of the system. It starts breaking from the other side now. We go out there to fix that end, now it starts breaking from the middle.  Goddammit. The system is never completely fixed nor does it ever stay that way. But the good news is that system is always never completely broken too. Apparently, the system has infinite breaking capacity. To hell with the system. All this analysis is too complex. And ruins my pleasant day. I don't have the time or the energy. Besides, my feebleness in face of these problems and our total lack of any control over the system depresses me. Do you know how much you have to read to merely "understand" the system? All that reading is extra from the coursework required to get a degree and find a job. Why would anyone read something extra than what they are supposed to, and later get depressed makes no sense to me. Besides, depression is an emotion and all emotions are enemies of true detachment. So, I spend no more energy learning and understanding the nonsense going around the world and I am a happy guy. You know something? I always felt that whoever said "Ignorance is bliss" was not being entirely sarcastic.  He probably meant something deeper than we credit him for.

To summarize my argument so far : 
(1) Grand cosmic star stuff, Exo-planetary matter - DON'T CARE ;
(2) Intra-planetary "big picture" systems  - WASTE OF TIME OR ENERGY OR BOTH.
That brings me to the last remaining portion of the total materialistic universe. Welcome to the small personal world. The little world that consists of my close family, friends and I reside. I love this world and detachment towards this is the hardest. I have to confess something. Remember I said, I am almost there but not completely at the nirvana junction. This is why. There are still some parts of my existence I am very attached to. At this point of time, I find myself very attached to me and my world. I care about having good looks, good career, excellent health, a lot of money, maximum fun and guiltlessly indulge in some personal vices.  I love the wonderful people in my life - family and friends. I love shopping. I love checking out new mobile phones, buying branded clothes, flirt with good-looking girls and take them to the movies, keep my enthusiasm about latest cars, and hope to one day be in a position to hire an interior designer to suggest some quality artwork for my mansion. I do realize I need money for all this. So, I have to care about my career, my status, attend parties, network with important people, be good at small talk, make connections, gain some status in life, have a beautiful family and live comfortably.

This self-verse, this world with I, me, myself is the part I have some affinity left and probably need some adjustments. That's why I said I was "almost there". Since today is a day of honesty, let me confess something one more thing as well. I know I love my family and friends and God Almighty knows that I will try to help them whenever I can and all. But deep down, I still care very much only about me  - that's all. My health, my wealth, my freedoms, my fun and my self-indulgences are my true priority. But sometimes, if I keep them happy, I get a lot of care and love which makes me feel good. So, there is that symbiosis. I wilfully admit that I still have someattachments remaining. Sue me for not being made perfect.

Now, I know what you are thinking? You are probably going, "Dude, you are the shallowest, worst, selfish  person in the world. You think only about yourself and don't care a damn about anything else in the universe." I expected you to rush into that judgement. But you are completely misunderstanding me. The way I look at all this. I have managed to detach myself from everything else in the universe but me. Look at the vastness of the universe. Now ... look at me !!! I am but a miniscule blot, an insignificant pimple on the face of this grand cosmos. The ratio of "things I care" to "Total things in the universe" is nearly, nearly zero. That’s why I said I am "almost there ..." because I have disciplined myself to stop worrying about most things in the universe (in fact, everything else but me). It seems that it takes only basic arithmetic to realize this truth:
C'mon ... you got to cut me some slack. Just teeny tiny fraction of total possible attachments are remaining to be resolved. And once I am done, I will have made it ... I will have attained salvation ... I will be one of the Buddha-types ...

Besides, my advertising friends keep telling me constantly that if everyone follows my path by replicating  the slight interest I have in my own world, it is actually good for the economy and capitalism. Now I know that a person aspiring for Nirvana shouldn't really care about the economy but I am glad I am of some help and am doing my bit for humanity at large. 

This is a little toast for me being "almost there ...". Let's raise a glass and drink up.

P.S. Dedicated to my fellow consumer zombies and our paths towards the 21st century nirvanas ...



Twilight Musings said...

Um. Excuse me. But how do you know how big is Universe/system/planet? Did you just read somewhere or heard someone say it?

Was there any part of you knowing about universe where you(+ your issues) weren't also there?

That just means your stuff > your knowing universe. Don't inflate your denominator by someone else's knowing stuff (like who actually went into space or looked through telescope).

Sorry man, but I think your nirvana ratio is > 1.0

P.S. You don't care about disasters and destruction? That is the only awesome thing about our line of work. :)

Sash! said...

damn it ... that's the "flaw" in my logic ... the observed universe should be the denominator not the overall universe ... as i was writing this, i was thinking if anyone would point it out ... awesome ... thanks for that ...

anyway ... this is just a failed experiment ... while this is written in an autobiographical tone .. it clearly doesn't describe me ... i love the universe, i love the systems and to be honeset, not so about the little world :)

i guess this is a lame attempt where i wanted to describe the typical consumer zombie who has no curiosity, no interest ... and just is happy in his own world not wasting time being amazed about how he is part of a larger phenomenon ...

better luck next time ...

Sash! said...

also ... i wanted to point out about our littleness of the world, we have create and indulge in , all the time ...

oh! well, anyway ... :)

Twilight Musings said...

Sorry to be the first comment on pointing it out.

While I agree that in objective sense we appear minute compared to the Universe, our mind is the only thing we know the most about. So, it appears more important than any other thing I guess.

I agree with you on all fundamentals. But I am little bit behind in catching on hyperbole or sarcasm. system error eh? :)

Sash! said...

oh! puh-leeze ... what's the apology for ?

the sarcasm is not that evident and poorly executed ... besides, no one pays me ... so I slack once in a while to make a point to the establishment ... :)

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