Better Than False Ideas…

The above quote has perhaps never been more relevant than today. In the age of continuous media propaganda, where it’s difficult to make sense of what is true and what isn’t, it would do us good to remember this. We should think twice before blindly believing whatever bullshit we are fed.

The thing with having false notions about our environment is that it biases us against the truth. Once we think we know something, when information to the contrary presents itself, we try to distort that information to fit in with our preconceived views. This leads to more confusion and moves us further away from the truth.

It also leads to frustration and animosity, because we are continuously faced with opposing views that require efforts to accommodate to our world-view, and sometimes, because of such a continuous onslaught, we might get a feeling of antagonism from those around us, when they actually may only be trying to tell us the truth.

That’s why I think it’s important that not only do we do our best not to get seduced by wrong beliefs, but also that we remember that no matter what we believe, there’s always a possibility that it may not be the most accurate picture of the truth, and a better explanation of the facts could still be out there.

It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong.

– Thomas Jefferson



The Art & The Artist

So, there’s this artist that I follow online. I think he’s good with his “art” (web comics). However, some time back, I came across some of his views on certain topics, and I found myself disagreeing (sometimes, quite strongly) with a few of those.

This made me wonder if I should continue visiting his website for the comics, and thereby, encouraging him (in an indirect way). The comics, BTW, are totally independent of his views that I had objections to.

And I realised, this is not just about this particular artist and his art. It’s a common issue that we face each day of our lives. We have all heard of brilliant artists and other celebrities indulging in drugs, violent and racist behavior, crime, etc. We have leaders talking bullshit, organisations flouting norms, and closer home, we even have friends and family members, with whom conversations about certain topics invariably end up in arguments.

These are not ideal situations to be confronted with. But what do we do in such cases? Do we continue engaging with such people?

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Stormy State Of Mind

Storm clouds gather.
Some with silver linings.
Some with darker tidings.

Flash of lightning,
Sprawling across the sky.
Straggling ideas that stupefy.

Thunder at night,
Reverberating in the clouds.
Echoes of faded memories too loud.

Clouds of lead.
Draw close to the cliff’s edge.
To dump out what’s been dredged.

And rain they do.
Drop-by-drop, at first.
Then, in fits and bursts.

The rain pours n’ lashes.
Entire worlds, it could sink.
From eyes that do not blink.

But winds never stop.
Clouds drain away, move on.
Get up! Keep trudging along.

The sky changes colors.
Beings return to their flock.
Time resumes on the stopped clock.

The scent of wet soil,
On a breezy night stroll,
Reawakens the soul.

N’ when you see the moon,
Peek through and shine,
You know, everything will be fine.

A Wondering Wanderer

Image credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters

Serenity, Courage, Wisdom

Now this is a kind of prayer I can get behind! I find this quote a good reminder that, sometimes, acceptance is the only way. There’s only so much time that our short existence on this planet allows us, and sometimes, it’s not worth fighting the things that we can not change – it’s simply better to devote that time to more fruitful and fulfilling activities – like writing, or reading my blog 😉

There’s not much that one can do about those indulging in office politics, neighbourhood gossip, social media trolling, etc. The more you engage with them, the more they spew their filth.

But that doesn’t mean that we give up on everything, entirely. The trick is to pick and choose our battles wisely. There’s so much to do in this world, so much that we can achieve. But that can happen only when we channel our time and efforts in the right direction.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

– Reinhold Niebuhr

How Free Are We Really?

We have all heard the word “freedom”. One might define it as the ability to move around freely, to be able to say and do things one wants (assuming no rules or laws are being broken by such things). If asked if they are free, most of us would probably say that we indeed are.

However, apart from the physical manifestations of freedom, I think the mental aspects of it are equally as important, if not more. To be truly free, I think one must have freedom from fear, experience, conditioning, self, and knowledge.

Let’s talk about each of them and see why they are important, and how we can deal with them.

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I bow to thee,
The great sands.
‘Gainst your power,
Who are we?

Born high or low,
Everyone cowers,
When winds howl,
And sands blow.

Inch by inch, day by day,
You keep crawling along.
Slowly, steadily, stealthily,
You bury kingdoms away.

The secrets you hold,
May make men mad.
Or bless ‘em beyond belief,
With riches untold.

Grains unfathomable,
The world and beyond.
For an eternal life,
Just a few, be ample.

Yet, we kill, we fight,
Lost in the parade.
You blind us much,
By clouding the light.

In this barren wasteland,
Keep moving, keep hoping.
Many have been consumed,
By this deathly quicksand.

When I feel you slip away,
From within my grasp,
Sometimes, I am glad,
Sometimes, I wish you’d stay.

When Sides Are Already Taken…

Came across this article the other day in the newspaper. Have to say, the author, Amulya Gopalakrishnan, has made a very acute observation into human behaviour here. And she’s done a great job putting those thoughts into words.

The gist of the post, which I strongly encourage you to check out in detail, is that there’s only so much that we can do to convince people who already have quite strong convictions about the things that they believe in. They may be wrong, and you can provide all the facts and proofs in the world, but it’s unlikely that any of that will have any significant impact in changing those people’s thoughts.

Instead, the author suggests a different approach:

We all protect our identities; to detach a belief from a person, one needs to sever the link between the attitude and the holder’s self-image. We need to tell the story differently. Point-scoring does the opposite, it makes people descend further into their trenches.

Do check out the complete article here.

Belief, In The Face Of Experience

Recently, something happened, and it brought to mind (again!) an old conflict that I’ve never fully been able to resolve. So, I thought I’d talk about it here, in case someone comes across it, and can provide some additional insights into it.

I think we all have some beliefs about life – how things are, how they should be, how one should react to and approach life, etc. And the thought that I’m struggling with is this: What happens when your beliefs conflict with what you observe around yourself? Do you change your beliefs and approach to life? More importantly, should you?

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Real Integrity

Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s ever going to know whether you did it or not.

– Oprah Winfrey

I couldn’t agree more with the above definition of “integrity” by Oprah.

Integrity is not just about doing the right thing – it’s about doing the right thing for the right reason. One might be tempted to do the right thing for fear of what people might say if they knew she didn’t do something, or she might do it expecting some sort of reward or appreciation. But to do what one truly believes in, irrespective of what others may think or do, even when doing the said thing can cost one dearly, that takes true integrity. And courage.