How Good is the Bad 

“It would’ve required a supernatural intervention for him to have your morality given his environment.”

Methods of Rationality. 

I spend a lot of my free time battling my own mind. There are many questionable things crammed up in there, exploding without warning and pulling me into bouts of deep, unnecessary introspections at inconvenient moments in an otherwise easy, typically privileged life.  I always end up being unbearably lost in the crevices of my brain with questions about very fundamental things that never have satisfactory answers. Later, realizing how fruitless it is to wonder in metaphysical loops, I encourage myself to think a certain way for the preservation of my soft sanity.

But even though I try, or rather aspire, to be open-minded and accepting of all things morally right, I often find myself confused and astray in a labyrinth of highly contradictory thoughts and misplaced sentiments.

Due to my own inadvertent reluctance, it tends to get very complicated. When you put your own beliefs on a high pedestal, you tend to unconsciously belittle everyone else’s, ignoring the basic courtesy of granting at least the benefit of the doubt to the supposedly close-minded and by doing this, you paradoxically become a narrow-minded person yourself. Your open-mindedness becomes restricted to only the things you can comprehend and articulate. You become forever doomed to be blinded by your own self-gratification.  You become judgemental and preachy. You see in black and white, and you fail to forgive genuine mistakes.

In these scenarios of intense moral crisis,  the dilemma of what is good and what is bad takes center stage more times than not.

Consider this question: Is it okay to kill a man?

Now as a righteous, kind human being, you say of course it’s not okay to kill a man. I believe in Atticus Finch and Disney tropes. Shounen manga and teen fiction trilogies have taught me that taking a life is the ultimate ethical ordeal that is always overcome with successful self-restraint by the harassed, optimistic protagonist.  A hero simply doesn’t kill by virtue of being a hero.

But then you watch a Mafia movie, where underhand murders happen like spontaneous brunch plans and men casually cheat on their wives like there was hardly any moral consideration involved. Here, in a complex world where things get gray, your degree of morality evolves to another, more complicated plane, where you now root for the one who kills the bad guys only.

Then you watch a war film, where killing the opponent is survival, and here you just hope for the protagonist to kill as many enemies as he can to ensure his own safety.

You pause, step back and think, eventually allowing your brain to melt.

Of course, in real life contexts, things are hardly as exciting and conveniently direct, but it is undeniable that they are definitely as blurry. Furthermore, we don’t have any protagonists to read. A serial killer is as much a main character of his own life as a Tibetan monk is of his. We can’t just rationally answer if anything is truly okay or not. We can only believe whatever feels like it’s right.

In the end, it’s always about instinct. Screw the law. You can’t deny your prejudices, you can only work on them.

Sometimes you might want to support the infidels, the other times you might love the drug dealers and sex addicts. Everything is dark and the gray area of reality spans almost the entire spectrum of uncomfortable situations.

Having morals while claiming to be open-minded can be extremely difficult as well. An unchecked liberal mindset can lead to moral hypocrisy in certain circumstances and stubborn moral self-righteousness can make you blind to dubious possibilities.

Before deciding anything it’s imperative to consider the context and the settings. The Mafia, the Ordinary man and the Shounen hero- all have chinks in their armors. They have as much a right to make a mistake as you do.

You should not guilt yourself with your own half-ripe ethics. Let yourself decide about things, and stay true to your own thoughts above anyone elses.

As Albert Camus said, “Those who prefer their principles over their happiness, they refuse to be happy outside the conditions they seem to have attached to their happiness.”

So then what can we do to calm our desperately high-strung conscience?

Well, we can catch the winds, hold the grounds and absorb the words and the ways of the world. We can think in relatives. Weigh out our options. Embrace the ambiguity that is life. Open our minds.

Consider shades. And, above all, give chances.

Advertisements

Little Thinks 

There are many things I love on this good ol’ blue green planet of ours, like say breakfast buffets, ice-cubes, books, thick milkshakes, leather jackets, Disney parades, artsy Instagram accounts, science fiction, frozen yogurt, meat, beaches and Doodle Jump.

The list is infinite, incomplete and absolutely imaginary. I do not know what I’ll come to appreciate or when. But when I do know, I know for sure, with everything I have, that I love something.

And I won’t pretend like I am not waiting for these moments all the time because when they happen, in spite of everything else wrong with the world, I become completely fascinated, mesmerised, happy, taken.

I am not talking about real people here. Love, different from the kind one has for family, close knit friends and attractive celebrities, is a concept entirely foreign to me. The more I have read and watched of it, the more skeptical I have become. It’s a beautiful notion but I do not have the experience or the clichés to talk about it with a flair that will touch you or impress you or change you. I know only of my little detours. And with those considerations I will proceed.

When they say live in the moment, do they consider that maybe the day they want to live so completely is just an inherently awful one? You know, the kind of day when it feels like everyone and everything is out (with their savage dogs) to get you? When even your tragedies are so trivial that they seem almost comic but they really aren’t at the time and you promise yourself that someday you’re going to look back and laugh at them? I’m sure you know.

Sometimes, mildly bad things happen during very dull spans of time and we don’t have enough reasons to complain because we aren’t completely miserable. We reason that people are probably starving and dying and hey at least we have a roof over our heads and food in our tummies, right? It isn’t too bad, is it?
Well frankly speaking, it isn’t. But it will drive you crazy anyway. People who stubbornly reason don’t have it bad even when they do.

And that is why i believe in escapism. What’s so great about living in a day that is being so persistently unlivable? Or, if you are chronically unlucky, a life? Nothing, is the answer if you hadn’t guessed. Sure, your tolerance levels go up…along with your blood sugar. You develop rock- hard resolve and determination…with permanent frown lines as a stunning reward.

Stress is entirely subjective and in order to prevent becoming an absolute, unbearable cynic, you must have my moments. You must search and find little things that make you fall in irrevocable love. That get you so obsessed that reality just becomes one of the many worlds you belong to.

When there is no concrete problem and there is no perceived, unachieved goal at the end of your pointless frustration, you need to be taken by the little things. Acknowledge the annoying situation and how bad it could be by all means, but then turn your back to it and walk away towards rainbows and green things. Basically, refuse to take stress until things make sense and your sanity awakens from its temporary hibernation. Just don’t do drugs in the process, thats never the answer. (Think more art and books maybe?)

There is nothing worse than boredom and the awareness of not being on an adventure. When you have a bad day, you need ideas and concepts and happiness in your head to fall back on. ‘Thinks’ just waiting for you in the dull monotony of the god awful day.

Us puny, little humans with our giant, crazy brains aren’t half as strong as we pretend to be. We need our own worlds if we wish to survive in the real one.

Here is how I see it: The secret is to keep yourself utterly distracted. I know it sounds bad, but it works wonders when it’s done right. A sense of purpose can be derived from the most bizarre things and when the world decides to neglect you, your interests must shine in all their glory and make you realise that there are always reasons to just be. Don’t neglect your responsibilities, but never be convinced of your worthlessness.

For instance, when  you spill food on your favorite dress, think of power ranger theme songs; When you lose your last pen, weigh the credibility of vampires and zombies in real life; When you have a fight, doodle butterflies. When a peer insults you, read fan fiction. Embrace your short attention span. Consider problems when you are full of strange, happy stuff.

Don’t let your head be empty of supposedly useless things. Fall back thinks are a necessity when things are grey.

Trust me, I am in law school.

Lost ball point pens.

I came up with a cool new metaphor for life.

Considering the theory that history merely repeats itself (“its all been done before, nothing under the sun is truly new” -pessimistic thoughts  along those lines) I’m pretty sure the metaphor is neither cool, nor new after all. But this is my blog and I reign supreme here.  I can talk like a douchy philosopher all I want and get away with it. Anyway, you are only a proper teenager if you think deep and then feel proud about your supposed insightfulness. ( and then promptly feel pathetic for feeling proud about it later on but thats another story altogether.)

So. Given the occupational hazards of my current life stage and associated identity conflicts, I’d like to vent out my adolescent contemplations, all in good faith, sans pretentiousness. I hope.

Here is what I thought of- You know how in the middle of an important phone call, when the addressee is about to give you some very  important information which you need  to note down, you inevitably fail to find a single one of your reliable ball point pens and then you scramble around in the room in a flurry only to discover that you were sitting on one all along?

Well, at the risk of sounding like a total cliche, that is life.

When it matters the most, when you finally get your “calling” (I love puns) there is no hope or reassurance in plain sight and so, of course, you feel utterly lost. But the cool part is that, more often than not, its with you all along. Its just lost under the weight of all your insecurities and fears (in the analogy, your butt.)

I think there is something to this idea. Its is essentially what all these YA books are all about, right? The treasure lies in self discovery. The flurry of panic is unavoidable but then its also the fun part. You get to run around the room like a loony searching for your pens and instead find a hundred other things that you forgot about with nostalgic surprise. A quest for meaning.

In the end you laugh at yourself for being so ignorant, finally note down the all important information and swear to carry a pad of post-its and pens at all times.  In essence, all is well that ends well. (Well, unless the caller is an asshole and he hangs up but lets stay optimistic here.)

What I’m trying to say  is that we learn from our mistakes and we grow. We fumble and we laugh. 

So panic all you want, you’ll probably figure it out in the end.

This especially applies to all the confused almost-college students like me. And to everyone else who bothers to read this. 

Thats it. I think. Cool and new right? Told you. I’ll now do math for CLAT because its a nightmare.