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Thoughts

I’m in a crisis of sorts – one that is amusingly poignant. As a thought hobbyist, I spend a fair amount of time indulging in some well structured, masterfully self-crafted methodical inessential thinking exercises about absolutely arbitrary arguments. It is what a millennial might incorrectly refer to as a ‘Rabbit Hole’. ( we let them roll with it. )

The architecture of Overthinking is founded on an intricate network of endless wonder, egocentric altruism and various forms of superiority complexes. It is a hobby only visionaries can sustain, for without the foresight who could ever think up all possible ways in which one’s 3rd toenail sets off their quarter life crisis. For us ‘introspection aficionados’, it is equivalent to meditation – an exercise of the mind and much like any spiritual experience, thought-indulgence yields the richest results in solitude. Needless to say, the more narcissistic the individual, the more rewarding the experience.

Without divulging the details of my current crisis, I’ll say that it is a crisis within a crisis within a crisis. It is really a blessing that I also happen to be a DIY psychoanalysis nerd – since it is becoming increasingly hard to find, connect with and afford professionals these days. Loosely based on Marshall McLuhan’s ‘medium is the message’, I came up with a syndrome called ‘confidant is the crisis’. More on this later..

Last night, a wonderful friend described to me a wonderful phenomenon – the existence of a human who, as he put it, is “the opposite of inspiring” – someone that reverse inspires you. Mis-inspiring? De-inspiring? Inspiration in the negative. – Inspiration? Part of my crisis involves being de-inspired by pretty much everything. I have hence resolved to document all things that suck the inspiration out of me under the terrible working title Reverse Inspiration.

 

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In an interview with Krista Tippet, Sylvia Earle, said….

“That’s the joy of being a scientist and explorer. You do what little children do. You ask questions like: Who? What? Why? When? Where? How? And you never stop, and you never cease being surprised. It’s just impossible to be bored.”

I stumbled upon one of my unpublished blog posts from a few years ago where I ponder on my admiration of passionate people. Here is a snippet..

One thing I can say about myself with utmost certainty is that I am passionate.  ( With great passion comes great disappointment. 🙂 )

I feel happiest around dreamers – those who envision futures not only for themselves but also for the ecosystems they inhabit. Who spend their lives reforming, re-configuring this vision. I’ve been fortunate enough to have met many such people. Some, I find are passionate about the smaller, more intricate things in life, others about the universe. These are people who never stop trying to improve their minds, motivations and the world around them. Naive as it may sound, it is this relentlessness in people that drives me to find my own passion.

I wrote this on Nov 21 2014. As I read it back to myself, I infer that it is not passion I am exploring, but wonder. Passion is but a part of it – a sizable subset but a subset nonetheless.

Listening to Sylvia Earle speak about the ocean with such awe – ‘inner space’, as she calls it – I am reminded of how wonder is so integral to my being. It is integral to my admiration of other beings.

Wonder
a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable
.

Imbued with curiosity, awe and humility, wonder amplifies an inquiry rooted in knowing that one knows not enough and in an openness to let another surprise us. The loss of wonder often incapacitates me – tipping me off into poignant spirals of existential questioning.

I hold in me an optimism that is not always ‘optimistic’. While I understand that optimists can be not-optimistic in ‘shitty times’, it is not an argument convincing enough for my endeavor to mathematize this. As I further meditate on this, I see that it is not optimism but wonder that is the true anchor for me. Debilitating wonder is directly proportional to diminishing optimism.

We talk about optimism like we speak of love – as a single, absolute entity. You either have it or you don’t. Like all love is the same, or everyone that is optimistic might find one universal system to analyse a situation. People are optimistic about different things, in distinct ways, for different reasons. Surely, something so subjective must be unique enough not to box into one universal definition.

In the act of purchasing a salad at a salad bar, one makes decisions about what ingredients they might want based on how they feel that day, knowing that the outcome of the purchase will always be a salad. Optimism is not one thing but a time-bound configuration of a multitude of factors. I have known my optimism to be a product of many thoughts, feelings, objects and actions – wonder being my kale.

Dear Other Something,

I’ve been thinking about reliability. Needless to say this is about you and I – since self-indulgence is second nature to us.

I want not to live in fear of your unreliability, but in the beauty of it. You are my Other Something because you live within me but you are that other something by virtue of your innate unreliability. I know you cannot be anything else – but my feeble self is left with a deep resentment of you. One that is unfair, but inescapable. Might there be love in resentment, Other Something? I do love you as I know you love me.

You have agency Other Something, that which I do not. You walk in and out as you please while I am still in anticipation of what you might bring this time around. I am fearful of you – I do not wish to be. You bring me pain, Other Something. You bring with you uncertainty, instability, insanity. You are not a creature of love, I know. Your kindness is your hostility, I understand. But how must I internalize that! I do not know how not to hope that one day you will love me through compassion and not pain.

Other Something, we have come a long way – we have a long way to go. Four years ago, I thought you were unkind, today I understand why. The last time you saw me, you stayed for a couple of years. This time your visit seems shorter. Stay with me, Other Something. Show me resilient love.

Lovingly,
Your other something

Dear Other Something,

It has been a while! 4 years ago when we first met, I never thought we would meet again. I truly hoped that we wouldn’t. But here we are again – you and I.

Have you been well, Other Something? When you left, I was mending. I would eventually learn that every ounce of what one creates must be tended to – and mending will become a way of life. In losing you, I lost my urge to mend. But I couldn’t bear your closeness, my dear other something. I couldn’t bear your free will, couldn’t stand your rationality and I loathed your proximity to me. I am sorry I was not stronger. I am sorry I pushed you away. You were a mirror to my cowardice and I hated that.

I was naive. I didn’t know what you were. You were this other something, a force, alive, inhabiting my body – surfacing every fragment of its fragility. You were so free spirited, I came to believe your spirit had taken control of me. The truth was so far removed from reality that I never knew what I was wading through. I guess I still don’t. All I knew then was to run away from you. And so I did.

I felt you today – moving and shifting and shuffling me from within. Reminding me again of how fragile my body is, reminding me of its nonexistence, displacing and distorting my organs. Deceiving my irrational mind. The discomfort you bring is one I am most familiar with, yet I have struggled to find you in my memory. I write to you out of selfishness. I write to inform you that I am strong now – a lesser coward, a more forgiving being. Teach me how to live with you….teach me to let you live in me. My Other Something, I am ready to have you back, if you will have me.

Love,
Viniyata

12 May 2016

Everyday on my way to school, my train stops at Jay Street – Metrotech where I can hear this one person playing a certain string (violin sounding) instrument and not particularly well. What does this person look like? How do they feel about their own music?

1 May 2016

There is a man on the subway, sitting right across from me. He seems angry. There is a violent assertion in his stance. Every now and then he kicks the pole in front of him – a way to mark his territory I presume.

He pretends at random times to block someone’s way by stretching his legs or by putting his feet on the seat, almost threatening the person next to him.
I wonder why this feels uncomfortable to me. The sight of this man, who is claiming his territory, scaring people away from what he believes is his space. Isn’t this animal response natural to all species? Why then do I feel more comfortable with our constructed civil behavior ?