Monday, 20 October 2014

Chaos - Opposing the Religion of "What Will People Think"

"If everyone would stop caring what people think. The world would be a much happier place."
My friend has some moments of deep wisdom alternating with moments of craziness. But for some reason, these words stuck with me.
Sure, they've been said again and again so many times that they seem to have lost their meaning. But that doesn't make it any less true. Our whole life is built on the philosophy and dogma of "what will people think".
Even those of us who try to follow this quote occasionally go against our own philosophy. Point in focus: the labels of a teenage girl.
If she talks to boys, she is a slut. If she doesn't talk to boys, she is a wallflower. If she shows skin, she is tempting for rape. If she dresses comfortably, she is a slob. We all claim to stand for gender equality, yet often in the same breath say things like these. 
The way we walk, the way we talk, the way we dress, the way we think, even the way we eat is decided by the collective consciousness that make up our social etiquette, the scripture of the religion of  "what will people think".
Once, a person's career was chosen by birth. Those days are said to be behind us. Yet even today, our professions are chosen for us by our birth or by what the majority of the people say. Any attempt to break out and choose our own paths is a rebellion against the social order.
We are blind and proud upholders of a pointless tradition. 
The world would have us believe blindly and devoutly in this religion of "what will people think". They think that doing what we want will upset the peace and civilisation created by our forefathers. The chaos would destroy us. Our whole way of life is built on creating and propagating order and quashing out all chaos.
 Yet chaos is an integral part of nature.
Every single being born on the surface of the Earth has at least one strand of chaotic DNA. It is this chaos in our very being that is responsible for our continued existence.
To understand this better, let's take the example of a string quartet. There will be a violin, a viola, a cello and a double bass. These four instruments combine in perfect order to create sweet, beautiful and simply perfect music. Now throw in an electric guitar.
You may say that the order has been destroyed. The perfection has been blemished and the beauty marred. It is not how it should be. The social order has been overturned.
Nothing could be more beautiful.
And so, like the chaotic strand of DNA that controls our destiny, like the electric guitar in the string quartet, and as my genius of a friend said just before passing gas in my face, if we all would only live our life as we wish, if we would only stop following the religion of "what will people think", the world would be a much happier place.


Sunday, 5 October 2014

3 tales

Recently I read Steve Jobs address at Stanford. It got me thinking, what would I say if I were to give an address like that? Why not a speech to my juniors? This is what I came up with (quite obviously I was influenced by what I read):

Good morning everyone.
Seeing you all here makes me quite happy. I have been asked to speak in front of you and, honestly, I have no idea what advice I can give you. I am not even close to being the model student, forget a model human being. So I am going to tell you three stories:

The first story happened years ago. A boy not very different from you decided to try for engineering. He studied hours on end, preparing for the fateful examination. He didn't go for any form of coaching or special tuition. But when the results came, he cracked the exam with quite respectable marks. People were all quite astonished. His brother understood the message. Determination will get you places. But the boy's brother didn't follow that message. He didn't follow what he knew was right. So that is the moral of this story: Knowing the right thing is useless if you don't follow through
The second story is about pride. This story begins with the FIFA World Cup. A boy supported four teams, but on the fateful day when Germany played against Brazil, he was on the side of the Brazillians. As the first goal came into the net, then the second, then the third, he kept wondering what was going on, stunned by what he had thought impossible. Eventually the fifth came, and the sixth. By the time the seventh goal was netted the boy cam across a message: Pride will bring even the strongest crashing down.
The third story is about funerals. A girl ( I don't want to be a chauvinist) once went to a funeral. She noticed how many people cried for the death of their beloved friend and relative. But as she grew up she saw people on their deathbeds asking loved ones not to cry. The greatest surprise was when she saw people crying for the death of truly bad people. She learned three things: a)Funerals are for the living, not the dead. b)No man is truly evil and c) a single tear shed on a man's grave can wash away more sins than a hundred confessions.
So my advice to you is this. Live, don't just survive. Find out the right thing, and follow it. Follow your heart. Always strive to keep pride far away. Love freely, get your heart broken. Break the rules, because it's better you break them than you let them break you. Find a cause and fight for it. Above all, live in such a way, that every tear that falls on your grave comes from a heart you touched. 
To all who heard me out patiently, you're awesome. And to all of you who are sleeping after my boring speech, sweet dreams. You're awesome too. Thank you.