Category Archives: philosophy

Religion, Atheism and Faith

This post is a result of multiple dialogues I have seen between my father and his friends/acquaintances over religion. My father is a staunch Atheist and hasn’t been inside a Church expect for the occasional marriages of cousins/relatives (in those instances for never more than 5 minutes). Most of his friends though are staunch believers (or claim to be so). I am an Atheist by choice, thanks to the attitude of “question-everything-even-if-you-believe-it” that my father and some very special teachers cultivated. I dont strut around saying it to everyone I meet but most of the poeple that know me, know I dont talk about religion or faith. This post is supposed to list the reasons why I dont.

As the Heading indicates, the three things above are very different from each other. I was born a christian, I will most probably die one. But I dont believe in Christ. I dont believe in any of the multiple names that have been created and are still being created for that invisible hand that people claim exists out there.

Religion first. Religion was set up as a method to create moral guidelines for the people. I mean when you move from hunting gathering to a more neighborly system you needed to lay some ground rules. The Gitas, the Bible, The Quran were all byproducts of years of refining the rules and regulations. It is pretty evident too that they have been altered as time moved forward. That is because as humanity and countries evolved, some of the rules had to change. New religions evolved too making moral guidelines that were easier to follow in the present time. So the question most people ask me is “Do you really not believe ?” most of the times with something bordering on shock rather than surprise. I tell the more intelligent ones that ” I believe, I just dont believe in God.” , an answer that leaves most people perplexed at best. Am hoping this post will shed some light, if any of them reach this far.

Atheism defined as a belief that God does not exist, is pretty close to what most people today understand atheism as but there is a big school of agnostics that get clubbed in. For all the so called agnostics that get here somehow, make up your mind. Grow a pair and pick a side. Unless you are a politician, in which case your party most probably will help you with it. Being an atheist does not necessarily mean you question everyone’s faith, make loud statements in public renouncing God, priests and other god men, or that you need to explain your stand to someone else. Atheism takes balls, the open admission that you have not external power to depend on, no magical being to blame, no hero to worship makes it a tough living. Which is one reason why most people prefer the cocoon of religion. Moral dilemma  are easily solved, right and wrong defined. Please note that it is this definition or the permutation thereof that is used by various activists – left , right, hindu, muslim, christian for their own particular agendas. Not subscribing to any of them makes it no easier to watch what happens. It is just as hard. So why am I an Atheist ? I like to be held responsible for my own actions. I dont need someone to blame for my failures (not God, not my family, nobody). However my success does get shared. It is my effort, but it is the recognition that gets me the success.

Faith. Now this is a totally different ball game altogether. Having faith in something or someone is easily the closest I come to any form of belief. Faith is necessary. Faith is sibling to my other favorite Hope. Together they make life a lot easier, a lot brighter and a lot more fun. Faith keeps me going day after grinding day. Faith that someone will read this, hope that someone will understand. Faith that somebody else feels the same way, hope that I will meet some of them someday. Faith that someday religion will transcend boundaries set by its creators, hope that it happens in my life time.

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Define Life

Everyone who has ended up here has for sure one time or other pondered the meaning of that simple four letter word to which there is no real definition. Everyone has their own ideas or beliefs attached to it, making it all the more bearable.

I have my fleeting ideologies too, more often than not residing closely to karma and dharma, i have no belief in athma though which makes my beliefs not have the weight they normally carry. Anyways, i have heard some interesting ideas and wanted to letit out into the world, hear similar ideas or contrasting emotions..

1. The Higher Purpose Principle: We are born to serve a higher purpose. The days we are alive, merely a web of interlinked events, aimed at delivering one final act, one powerhouse performance, one stupendous event that we might never realize even happened.

2. The Evolution Principle: This I found hilarious but maybe more true than any of us are ready to accept, we are just another of natures experiments, a part of the evolutionary chain, that will be discarded sometime in the future without a second thought as a better, faster, smarter species takes over.

3. The Nonsense Theory: The whole idea being that it makes no sense and thinking about it makes no sense, discussing this makes no sense either and writing about it is also just to prove that it is total nonsense.

4. The Me theory: This one is awesome and something Barney Stinson should adopt. The core idea being that everything that happened was leading to me being born and everything thats happening after is for my personal entertainment or education (the tough parts as Calvin’s dad puts it ” Builds Charachter”)

5. Karma / Dharma: The cause and effect principle underlying Hinduism, Budhism and Jainism, it has variants in all religions. Simply that everything that we do has an after effect, which means I am headed to a terrifying end that is getting closer. Cant wait.

6. All this made me make up The Tito Principle, which sees its very first expression here and now: Any discussion or thoughts on this topic is moot. Noone has a clue and the conversational arguments are getting stale.

 

PS: In case you haven’t noticed, I avoided the word Life in the text above. But always wanted to start and end a post with the same word and so lets see who can life define ?

No Free Lunches..

There are no free lunches in life’s long lanes..
Help comes at a price, often measured in pain..
Every stranger is a possible friend..
Most fraud, some true from above are send..

Friendships of convenience are all that exist today..
Ties that bind are broken, when truth has its final say..
We all pretend and smile as if nothing is wrong..
A smile not reaching our eyes, with the rest going along..

Sympathy is a word without meaning today..
It doesnt really matter whatever you say..
Someones pain is seen only if nothing else is in the way..
Noone wants to be the shoulder to cry on, not today..

Finally Free

A wounded heart bled too long..
Over someone long since gone..
Nights and days in stoned numbness..
Countless moments of self despised craziness..

She over me had such magical hold..
Never before and never again will anyone else with ease mould..
Ears longed for a silent word..
That never came ,that was never told..

Ages of solitary confinement i went through..
While friends around me i ignored like strangers new..
Hoping against hope for a comeback act..
A stupid heart couldnt understand obvious fact..

Finally, somehow light has broken through..
Freedom beckons, i am long overdue..
Rhyme or reason ask not of me..
I am just singing, happily free…

The Choice of Options..

The thing about life is that most of the constraints that we set are created by us. There are a hundred things i can think of where i have been my own biggest setback.. Actually its not just me , most of the people around me knowingly or unknowingly are their own biggest obstacles.. The human minds capability to think, has in a way been the reason for this. Given the usual state of affairs, there is not much to think about and so we spend mroe than needed time on thinking over and over on the little things we have on our minds.. And almost always, the positives start getting out numbered when u pass a certain limit ( the actual time you should spend on anything).. Then the negatives start piling up (the extra time being one in itself).. and once it reaches a point when u have exhausted yourself of all possible negatives (because the positives are obvious u dont dwell on the idea that there might be more), u usually decide that the idea isnt worth executing.. Try doing something just like that and you might be labelled reckless.. Why  coz someone around you finds it unnerving that u can come to a decision so quickly.

In the end , the wide arena of choices we have end up being two or three which are usually the same thing in different shades (or as i like to say colors).. Sometimes , just sometimes these decisions are made due to some external influences (most often people close to us).. We feel that it might hurt them if we do something and then dont bother asking.. People, you might feel that way , but if the people actually care they might let you have your way coz thats what YOU want.. I dont claim to be any different. On the contrary, i usually avoid all decision making totally.. But recently this one person has got me to question that.. And it is scary , because the answer is obvious.. That maybe all i need to do is ask (myself or whoever else it is) not for permission , but for consent. The scary part is that if they say yes, then the decision taking will lie entirely on me, and then i cant keep from making it.. Having options is frankly unnerving, because then the choice you make is truly and totally your own ( and u can blame noone else for it) , u have to live with it for the rest of your life… For better or for worse..

Invisible People…

Its amazing how schizophrenic people can be ( me included..). We see things only as we wish to see it, and we dont actually care even if someone else is willing to give us a better perception (because for us it is someone elses reality).

We happily ignore our faults, or try and downplay them when they gain unwarranted attention.. We blatantly advertise our strengths, usually in the forms of stories that the other person is usually not really listening to and get the much needed emotional pat on the back from ourselves.. Sometimes when this feel that this isnt working we find others very similar to us and then sit around and share similar stories, each basking in the afterglow of having now spread a part of himself to some unsuspecting people just as they have to you..

Sometimes we get so engrossed in our lives and those around us that new entrants are shut out.. Soemtimes even old people we always knew become part of the crowd , a face that is visible but not distinct enough to recognise, because trying to recognise that person might take time away from getting ourselves recognised.. Sometimes these people totally disappear, and then are forgotten.. What have they done wrong? Nothing. Why did they disappear? dont know. How could we let it happen? because we were a little too engrossed in other stuff (our stuff)..

This is a rant at myself rather than anyone else, an almost desperate plea to change.. To see a little more, to listen a little more, to be a little more.. So that i too dont one day become invisible..

Tough Decisions..

This is one thing Indians are adept at handing over to someone else.. We just cant take a decision as long as it can be handed over to someone else.. Its a professional curse on one and all of us.. I agree there are exceptions but then, in 11 billion they are just a rounding error..

The thing i realised recently is that it is a byproduct of our inherent social system.. We are brought up in families where husbands make the decisions for the wife, the parents for the kids and more often than not even personal decisions are in the end made by a group of friends and what they think about it.. I agree to the actual logic that in most of the above cases, it is done because the husbands, parents and friends think it is in the best interest of the person who has to make it.. Sadly it leaves a person highly inefficient at decision making when he finally has to do it for himself..

Although i first noticed it on the prefessional front, it is increasingly making its presence felt in personal areas too.. If not for me ( coz my personal scope/horizon/areas are currently stable for atleast two more years) and funnily people are just letting it happen.. Example, one of my best friends who wrote CAT thrice has decided that she should get married and not go to a reputed institute when shes finally made it.. Another one has decided that its time to get married, not coz she thinks shes ready (but because in both cases parents say its time, and tired of fighting it , they have NODded).. Another friend had all decisions taken for him when his parents set him up a business and then showed him the girl they had selected for him..

Note here that most often the decisions are fine , if u base them on our skewed social and moral principles.. On personal fronts where it actually counts ( thoughts like compatibility, adaptability etc come to mind) it just isnt taken into consideration.. Emotional cajoling (and blackmailing play a big part here) and suckers for bollywood movies as we are, we fall for it..

Maybe there was something fundamentally wrong when our parents said that we should learn to take our own decisions , because most of theirs was done for them by their parents, which were in turn handed down over generations..(Dont believe me, look at how gujratis love being businessmen, why its inherent, look at how keralites travel the globe and they are everywhere, why some mallu decided that kerala was a lil too small for his liking).  We are living in a ever changing world, claiming India is a to be contended global power, while still using decision making systems taken out of times when Laxman thought he would tag along with his brother on an extended honeymoon.( Note here that noone ever told him that they would like a little privacy).

On Secrets..

Recently i was asked how manyn people would i share my deepest darkest secrets with, and i could come up with only three names.. I dont know if thats too much or too little.. but the point of this post is not the numbers but about trust, or rather what makes someone eligible to know and keep a secret.. I always thought that for me it was just mutual understanding that made the difference and a lil bit of trust.. But after some thought , i somehow see that it isnt actually just understanding or trust alone.. Its about judgement.. I wouldnt tell a secret to soemone who judge me as good or bad ,rather i would tell it to a person who wouldnt judge me, but i wished had.. It would not just be understanding but rather respect, for one another, for feelings and for circumstances that makes a person eligible for it.. It wouldnt be just about trust either, coz we all trust different people to different degrees.. But unshaking trust is set aside to an elite few in everyones life.. And that unshaking trust was, is and will be bestowed only based on judgement or the absence of it..

And this might not even be the better half of your life, often it isnt (sad though the idea is, that ur better half will not know u as well as someone else does..)

As for me, i have 3 now and that will do just fine.. Till someone else comes along..

Scribblings-11

My scribblings are back. Once again random ramblings seem the only way to vent out so many thoughts that are buggering to get out..

There are people around who go through life in a sad , i-can- never-be-happy-coz-i-have-a-lot-of-problems-noone-can-solve and then there are people who have a never say die attitude and grin and bear through the worst phases of life.. I dotn sympathise with the first set, i pity them, most of them who are not attention seekers are merely too pessimistic about life to see that there is a lot to be happy about all around them.. The second set i admire and am a lil jealous of.. I cant pull it off myself.. Like most of the people in between , things around me affect me too much, or too little to care..

The first set in addition to being the sad lot they are try to mkae you believe that theirs is the saddest sob story ever.. The problem is unknown to them there are always atleast two others who have better or worse (depending on what ur take on sob stories are) stories to tell.. They have a deathwish to be sad and getting them to smile is like finding a needle in a haystack, tiring and pretty much useless.. Their smile lasts all of two seconds and then they feel they shouldnt be smiling because their life is too sad to be happy about..

The second set are the stars of all occasions, they cant be put down come hail or storm.. absolute optimists that they are, they will also be a lil eccentric due to their strong belief that anything can be done.. For them the impossible is just another word for something that has not been done yet coz someone didnt find a way to do it.. Sadness may hold them down for a day or two at the max (that too in cases of dire consequences or when something they really care about went wrong..)Then they are back to their normal self, these people find it hard to explain to others (like me) how do they do it.. Its inborn to them (sometimes i think its genetic).. These people usually are fun to be with , though sometimes they innapropriately blabber out jokes in situations of high tension.. They can also be a pain sometimes because they wont let anyone around them have a silent moment of contemplation or to just sit.. 

On Commitment..

This is one issue and post i have been skirting for quite a while.. Frankly the word scares me.. It implies so many things at once that a person has to think twice before using it.. It is a lil more than a promise , a lot more than a man’s word (or a woman’s) and pretty deadly in its failure.. To make one and not keep it is as good as signing your soul to the devil, coz u lose not just your credibility but also a part of yourself.. Delivering on it brings immense happiness i agree but sometimes the effort it takes is tasking..

There have been very few occasions when i have taken the plunge for good or for bad, but luckily ( or unluckily ) for me, they have ended on mutual understandings.. Sadly it is only for personal stuff that people think twice before diving headlong into it.. When it comes to professional life though , we make it without thinking.. Very few people seem bothered , and some very experienced at that , by not delivering.. It is scary, i wouldnt want to end up like that.. All around me i see others doing it and somehow i feel that a code somewhere is being broken.. that one day soon it wont matter again and the world will be a worse place then..

On the personal front i see people who are willing to do it but not able to, others who are not willing to but do it anyways (mostly due to peer pressure).. Rarely do i see able and willing together and then it is always heartwarming.. And i feel maybe the code will stay – a word will hold, a promise will be kept and a commitment will be delivered ( completely and absolutely)

 

PS: In case u havent noticed.. I have used the word only twice, once in the heading and then in the last line, because i am that damn scared..