Some days the monotony of life is unbearable, it is too much to handle, you scout for experiences that break the monotone, for conversations that imprint the memory where the words exchanged are impactful and resonate through your mind for a long time. They leave behind a mark and make you mull over your way of life.
But if this were the case, why wouldn’t we be indulging in them more often? Why live the monotone when we can break it?
When people say think free, think different, they are encouraging a questioning approach to yourself and your life, mostly the abstract regions of life. I recently talked to an old friend of mine, about a common question, I have answered atleast a hundred million times since the day I was born but never gave it much thought really.
We were talking about religion, boring, I know yes, but she said she believes in god because it makes her fearful and that makes her pursue what is morally right at all times. I would have answered the exact same had anyone else put the question to me, but arguing is in my second nature so naturally, I pulled back – “Doing the right thing because you’re fearful of god isn’t a very good reason to do so.” She said a little more reluctantly this time, well there doesn’t seem to be any harm in it. I looked at her blasphemously and said – “If you’re going to be doing what is right according to you, atleast be armed enough to accept the blame and consequences as your own. Atheists are not any more immoral than believers are.”
The point I am trying to make here is not conversion to atheism but the fact that I’d have naively answered the same as she did without really questioning my thoughts, had it been my question to answer and this struck me, right when I was arguing back against it. I suddenly reflected on my hypocritical being and wondered why I had never really bothered to bother.
These philosophical questions, as soon as you start tending to them, draw you in deeper and deeper, yes they are confusing and unsettling and there is a booming voice in your head which shouts the exact opposite, it says – GET REAL, QUIT PHILOSOPHIZING. So eventually you do start thinking and then throw up your hands, leaving the trail somewhere in the middle.
Call it Dodging skepticism. Where you abandon or dispose off the reflections by saying to yourself – who am I to figure this out or what a waste of time when there’s always geometry or physics or hell, your basketball game to be focused on – something more REAL. So focusing on the real parts, let the imaginary calculus (of your life and math) take care of itself.
What these conversations do, as you dig deeper and deeper is examine the presuppositions you’ve been holding so far, hone your judgement, keep you on the look out for wandering ideologies that lodge into your brain without conscious thought. So essentially it’s a good thing, uhh is it? What it also does is awaken the restlessness of skepticism, because now you are no longer sure of anything, your conventional beliefs won’t last under the examining eye and this gets you all harried up and IMPOSSIBLY CONFUSED. What you believed in, in a complete rock solid manner just got torn apart and suddenly you’re looking at life in a whole new way and it’s scarier because now you’re not sure you’re doing it right but but but (the big painful but in the butt now) you’re already into the conventional belief system too deep to instantly endorse the new one. More than once this happens and more than once, I let the phase roll over and let the normalcy of life take over. I go back to the world where only what I can see touch and explain makes sense, restoring the mediocrity of everyday life. This is the first time I am putting into words the monstrous and pitiable understanding that no such heavy realization comes without it’s woe.
All those of you with no fits and frustrations and woes of self evaluating lows, leading a stable quiet life probably do not grapple with these abstract questions and instead lead a very focused life, I really do envy you guys sometimes.
I, on the other hand, keep shifting tracks.
It’s all tempting but dangerous because once it’s been thought, it can never be unthought.
[There are many other powerful conversations not the questioning ones I am specifically talking about but I don’t really want to think about the topic so much, so neither should you.]