>Sahu has asked me for an explanation for the previous post “Fallacy of Work”.
I think it is too much of stuff for a blog. It is more like a book material. Not a thick book but a small one. So, I won’t try to be complete in my explanation. I would rather drop a couple of hints and leave it to you to build the story.
First, let’s say you are screwing a screw. Is it correct for the screw-driver to think that it is the screw-driver that is screwing the screw? No. Screw-driver is only an instrument.
Let’s say, you are hammering a nail in the wall. Is it correct for the hammer to think that it is the hammer itself that is hammering the nail in the wall? No. Hammer is only an instrument.
Let’s say, you are typing away an email. Is it correct for the keypad to think that it is the keypad itself that is typing away the email? No. Keypad is only an instrument.
Let’s say, … forget it. Move on to next set of more complicated examples.
Let’s say, you are chasing a hare on a horse. Is it correct for the horse to believe that it is the horse itself that is chasing the hare? No. Horse is only an instrument.
Does a gun kill people? No. Gun is only an instrument.
Does a police dog find out the whereabouts of criminals? No. That dog is only an instrument.
I think we have adequately established the notion of an instrument.
Now, next step.
For the remaining post I assume that you are comfortable with the concept of Causality especially as per Vedanta. These are huge topics and I am not going to touch them here. Oh by the way, if you are extremely comfortable with Causality, you already know what I am going to say.
Step out of your mind. Observe yourself doing something. What are you doing? And how come you came to do that? Let’s say, you are washing cloths. How come you came to wash cloths? Because you wore them some day. Why did you wear them some day? Because you had to go to a party and they were lying clean in your cupboard and there is a social custom that you wear cloths at least when you step out of your house. I leave the rest of the exercise for you. Keep going back and finding out.
This is a crude and practical example of causality.
So, causality is a web of actions and reactions (or cause and effects). We all are just caught in this web of cause and effect.
All the while we think that we are the doer (just as the horse might believe that it is the chaser or a hammer might believe that it is hammering the nail). But we all are just instruments in this causality.
Now, you might argue that you might choose to wash cloths or you may not. However, all that it means is that you can add further causes to the web of causality. The horse may also choose against chasing the hare but that doesn’t mean it is not an instrument anymore. It is still caught in the web of causality. Because after all there is a reason why you choose or do not choose to wash cloths and that reason is not outside of causality.
We, human beings, have come to believe that all actions emanate from us as if we are completely independent of everything else in the universe. But we know that we are not 100% independent and hence, there is nothing like free will. Will by itself means bondage.
Now coming to the stuff about taking one month leave from job to realize this. When you are in office, you are doing so much of work. And it would seem that “you” are doing all that work. However, if you take one month leave, you’ll realize that all the work that you were doing found another instrument for getting done and has been done very well in your absence. It just goes to show that you were only an instrument for doing that work.
>You don’t do any work.
You are only an instrument that work uses for getting done.
[If you don't believe me, take one month leave and realize it yourself.]
>A heated argument at the lunch table.
Dissection and criticism of reservation policy, labour policy, democracy and what not.
This should not be done. That should be done. Oh no, not that but that.
Charged up atmosphere.
Passion in the eyes and fire in the belly. Arguments, counter arguments, friction and heat.
Conclusions, predictions, allegations.
Action Items: None.
Words, o words,
How empty you are.
You carry a thought,
A spark of energy.
Taking birth in one mind,
Dying in several.
Not transmuted into action,
You carry no life and have no significance.
Oh, empty words,
I renounce thou!
>There is a thin line between self-respect and ego. You decide where your self-respect ends, and others decide where your ego begins…
>So, you want to know the purpose of life?
Before I delve into the question of purpose of life, I would like to talk about why the question itself arises. Why is it important to understand the nature of question before answering it? Because just like your stomach, your mind also has a digestive system. Whatever ideas enter your mind, your mind must digest them in order to accept them. Otherwise, if the mind considers an idea as foreign, it stands as a solid wall and denies the entry to that idea.
So, it is important to understand the state of mind in which the question on ‘purpose of life’ arises. Then only we can make an answer acceptable to the same.
Usually, in your life, you go around sipping Bacardi (figuratively) and making merry. And then sometimes, you are so sad that you don’t even want to be alive. Between these two extremes of happiness and sadness, lies your life. Everyday, you wake up. Perform your morning rituals, go to college/office/golf-course or wherever you happen to go everyday. You do one thing or another thing or yet another thing (doesn’t matter what thing you do). Perform some physical gymnastics, some intellectual gymnastics, some indulgence and some restraint. Overall, that’s what your life is.
The most important thing is that every moment, you are doing some work. Yes, every moment. Not a single moment goes when you don’t do something. Yeah, I mean even while you are asleep, you are doing something. It doesn’t have to be something concious. You might be doing it unconciously (like your heart beating, your blood rushing through your veins, thoughts crossing your mind). All this is work. For the sake of argument, you may argue that you don’t beat your heart conciously, it just beats on its own and hence it should not be considered work.
For the same argument sake, I would ask you to consider driving. When you get from one place to another place, you say that you drove down. But out of the whole distance, how long were you driving ‘conciously’? Most of the time, the car was just getting driven and different parts of your body were automatically doing it without your conciously attaching your mind to it.
Now that we have established that you are (as a matter of fact) doing something every single moment, we should move on to the next step.
Usually, most of the things that you do will have a common alignment. It could be your inspriation/aspiration of a specific period. Let’s say, your aspiration is to become an engineer. So, everything that you do starts getting aligned towards that goal of yours i.e. to be an engineer. When all your activities start getting aligned towards one goal, a very interesting thing happens at a psychological level. To understand that, I’ll have to digress a bit.
Our body has a rhythm which is sum total of the rhythm of all the parts of our body. Similarly, our mind works on a rhythm which is the sum total of the rhythm of body + nervous system. If every part of our body has the same rhythm, our body experiences a harmony (yes, it’s music if you can be concious of it). And when our body and our nervous system works in the same rhythm, our mind experiences a harmony.
This harmony is experienced as a state of high. Look at any person who has been phenomenally successful in his domain, you will always that person in a state of high. That state of high does not come because of success. Success is just the effect of that harmony.
Now coming back to the main topic, when you work towards a goal, your entire system is in harmony and you experience a state of high. Note, this state of high does not imply high on pleasure or something. It is just a state of high if you understand what I mean.
So, you are in a state of high when working towards a goal. In due course of time, that goal will be achieved or you’ll declare it non-achievable. What follows is interesting. Once, the goal-orientation is gone, different parts of your body will start getting into a rythem of their own. Which means, the music that your body and mind were playing stops playing and from a state of high, you come down to a state of low.
From this state of low, you define another goal and then again your system is music. So, from high to low and back to high, your life goes on in cycles.
It is in the gap between one high to another high, that you ask yourself ‘the purpose of your life’. So, you really don’t want to know the purpose of your life. You just want another goal so that you can get high once again.
You might argue that you have asked this question not only when you were going through a low but also when you were going full throttle towards your goal. I will urge you to retrospect and introspect to find out if you were really feeling high when you raised this question. On retrospect, you’ll realize that for a tiny period, you had felt that it was all meaningless to pursue that goal OR that the goal was not aheivable. There would have been something that would have disturbed the harmony of your system. There are highs and lows not only between two different goals but also while following the same goal.
So, now we have established that you don’t want to know the purpose of life. You just want to know how you can get to the high note that you experienced a while back. We can now look at the purpose of life. Your asking the-purpose-of-life is just a way to ask for a goal.
So, the purpose of life is …. well, nothing. Yes, there is no purpose of life. Life just is.
Don’t feel that I have disappointed you. Give me sometime to establish what I say.
What is life? Life is conciousness. Because I am concious, I am said to be alive. Even when a person is in coma, part of his mind is concious. That’s why the heart keeps beating and the breathing continues. Let me put it another way. If the heart beats of a person stop, why does he die? Beacuse the blood supply to brain stops and the brain dies. Brain is the center of our conciousness. It is the conciousness because of which we are said to be alive and that’s why a computers and cars are not alive.
So, when we ask the purpose of life, we ask the purpose of our conciousness. But only something bound by causality (law of cause and effect) can have a purpose. Beause purpose by definition implies cause-and-effect relationship. Conciousness is beyond causality. Conciousness neither exists nor non-exists.
Cause is an effect concealed and effect is a cause revealed. These are two states of the same thing. If something has the state as the cause as well as the effect, the effect is the cause and hence that thing is beyond causality. So is the case with our conciousness.
And because conciousness is beyond causality, it doesn’t have a purpose. Hence our lives don’t have a purpose. So, don’t ask the purpose of your life. At most, you can ask how I can get that high note once again.
You might argue that at least our body is bound by causality and hence it must have a purpose. My answer is that our body without the conciousness is just an inert object. What is the purpose of a block of steel? If you still believe that your body has a purpose, don’t forget to ask the purpose of nitrogen/hydrogen/oxygen that fill our atmosphere. And also the purpose of iron, magnicium and calcium that fill our earth. And the purpose of so many other things that you have not seen, heard or even imagined. Because if your body has a purpose, all these must also have a purpose and the purpose must be the same!
I’ll reiterate, neither yours nor mine life has a purpose and we don’t even want to know it…
>Ripple and myself were trying to see what all languages in the world have phonetic script. To at least my surprize, we couldn’t recall a language outside India that has a phonetic script. Whereas, the scripts of each and every language of India are phonetic ones.
Is anyone aware of a language outside India that has phonetic script?
>As children, we all go through a phase when we claim that our toy is the best. My spiderman is better than your spiderman. My toy car is better than your toy car. My t-shirt is better than your t-shirt.
Of course, as we grow, we learn/realize that it may not always be the case. On an intellectual plane, (in principle) we agree that your toy could be better than mine.
But that is only “in principle” and “on an intellectual plane”. In practise?
My music system is better than your music system. My cell phone is better than your cell phone. My car is better than your car.
And what else? My opinion is better than your opinion!
In reality, we only grow in intellect/reasoning but we never grow out of our tendencies. Hence, with adulthood, “my-toys” change but they always remain better than the “your-toys”.
Getting more philosophical now…
How about saying that there is not a thing that is better than any other thing. Everything just is. “Better” is a context-specific tag. If A is better than B because A is bigger, B is also better than A because B is smaller.