"Faster", I tell myself. C'mon run. Move, move.
Shaken and stirred- very random. They begin to settle, forming a familiar pattern. Need to run. Increase my speed, faster, don't let them settle. "Don't forget to breathe", it is of course, important. The pattern is disturbed again. Good.
I slacken momentarily. The pattern is back again, brighter and more conspicuous. I run with an added burst of speed. Push my limits- Keep running. My muscles begin to scream in protest.I have to ignore it. Keep moving, it is important.
A new thought germinates and takes shape. I stop abruptly, gasping for breath. Away or towards?
Of late I have been given reason to contemplate human nature.This post is a result of a melancholic Sunday spent sipping a lot of tea and pondering over a lot of questions. Why do we do what ever it is that we do?
Modern human history is a story of the rise and fall of many ideologies and systems that boasted of fervent followers and contemptuous disbelievers, usually simultaneously. Powerful ideologies have the distinction of being able to spur people into action- to rise up in arms, to stand up and fight, to protest. A powerful image comes to mind.Ironically, it is the image of a feeble looking old man in white loin cloth spinning cotton. His ideology, non-cooperation, humbled the greatest imperial power of the time and gave the world a shining example of democracy.How did this little man accomplish a seemingly impossible task? Was his idea that powerful? But then there is nothing tangible about an idea, it is after all, a ghost conceived in the mind of an individual. What then, pushes people to be able to die for, or worse, to kill for an idea?
Passion. A very important word among us humans. Inspiration is not inherent to the idea. It is the passion of the preacher that inspires action. I believe that some people are burdened with more than their share of this intoxicating feeling. Their lives are driven by a quest, no, a thirst for passion. It is quite impossible to be passionate about a lot of things at the same time and there in lies a great risk of tragedy. What happens to that passion-driven individual who picks the wrong thing to be passionate about? Despair lurks nearby, ever ready to claim more for its own. But then, great happiness can come out of great passion too. It seems to me that it is the choice of the object of passion that defines the destination. Pick your subject wisely and you might be rewarded with great joy.
Detail. Detail is of paramount importance for self aware and intelligent life. Abstraction tends to blur out details, and too much abstraction can be demoralizing. If all of humanity was divided into types of people based on their life choices, I think the largest group would consist of those who chose to be significant and relevant. Detail is important to these people, and abstraction a great threat to their happiness. Because, if you blur out the details, what are we, but irrelevant specks of insignificant matter in the vast emptiness of the universe. Too small, and consequently too insignificant. Generation after generation of human beings, with all their stories of glory and treasures of knowledge are nothing but a speck on a blue dot on a huge black canvas.But when detail is added to this speck, there is great significance. And a large number of people can be made happy.
Then there are the artists. Humans moved by beauty and aesthetics. The dancers, writers, painters and musicians. One question plagues my mind. Why is misery associated with the creative type? Of all justifications that have floated into my mind, the most concrete is that misery is an empty feeling. Happiness is filling. Emptiness creates a vacuum that begs to be filled. And most times, expression comes to the rescue. And thus art is born.
Human actions are endless and therefore this piece can be endless. I choose to stop here. Take a breather. Some more for some other day. But before I stop, to all those critical thinkers, I would like to say something.
I do not believe that I have an insight into human nature. Nor do I think that I have found any reasons for our actions. I do not know if there are any answers to be found or any reasons to justify our actions. the more I try to find answers, a greater number of questions arise. I am but a humble novice attempting to answer one of the biggest question humans have ever asked : Why do we do what ever it is that we do?
He perched high, among the cliffs and surveyed creation with an eye of disdain. It greatly amused him to see land dwellers scurrying about on the ground. To him, they were his prey , nothing else. He enjoyed the hunt- it was ,of course, a game he had mastered over the years. His senses heightened, especially his sight, he spotted his prey from high up, locked it in his vision and swooped down quietly. He was an Angel of Death- swift and dangerous. His powerful talons formed an iron grip on the hapless animal. He always felt a surge of power as his prey struggled in his grip and then profound pity as its weak heart finally gave up. He knew nature intended him to be superior, Her masterpiece and the Great Hunter.
He felt the familiar stirrings of hunger and the thrill of the hunt began to consume him. He took flight and stretched his powerful wings. Flying exhilarated him, as it should, he was after all, the King of the Skies. He scanned the Earth for his next victim. He did not have to look for long; an unsuspecting hare was out foraging for a bite. He started his descent, slowly but surely. As he gathered speed , he could not help but smile to himself. It was almost too easy. He was just a few feet away from his prey. He could almost feel the soft flesh in his talons...
... The bullet came out of nowhere. The great eagle faltered in his flight. Unbearable pain filled his being. He felt his heart rate slow down and the energy seeping out of his body. He tried flapping his wings but could not hold himself up. He began to fall, confused. In a moment of clarity, he saw a creature on 2 feet holding a long metal thing. He saw the creature's face, took in the expression of triumph. He knew that expression and that feeling all too well. Understanding flooded his mind- He was hunted down.
The daemons are coming. I felt them before I heard them. I knew what they wanted; I knew what they wanted to do to me. I shudder. I look around -desperate to hold on to something. Anything. In a daze, I begin chanting. It works for a while, buys me some time. I start planning a distraction. Reality kills my plans. I know that those plans will never work. I still try, mostly because of a lack of options. I think they can sense fear, the daemons, I mean. They gather courage , edge closer, cautiously at first and then with increasing manic energy. I don’t want them to come closer. I pray. I hear laughter in my head, praying? Really?, I wait for an escape. The daemons are closer now, I can feel them in my skin. Pain. Fear. Anger. Where is my escape? “Go away, you are not welcome” , I beg. More manic laughter.
I give in. They consume me. Agony. Rage. Tears.
And then comes my escape. I embrace it eagerly, It fills me. Creeps into my veins , quietly. Takes over my consciousness. Bliss. I breathe evenly, unconsciously. The strain seeps out, little by little. I feel secure. Oblivious.
Then they awake, the daemons. More vivid and dangerous. This time, I don’t have a choice. I let them ravage me, unable and unconscious to put up a fight. I hear laughter, the manic kind. Silence.
There is no escape.