Sartre and the human reality of existentialism

I know it’s a funny topic to write on, when the world around is running after profits, cuts and commissions, jobs and promotions, and cashing in on every opportunity to capialise on every conceivable difference in caste, class and status, and its jealousies and low self-esteem. Human reality – For the poor, it’s two difference concepts – man and reality. To the middle classes, an argument or a joke over coffee. For the rich, another excuse to get richer? No one, I assume, will bother to ever look inside, until they get banged on all sides by reality itself. This is the true world that we can now witness in the making. A vast school for scoundrels, that it always was. So if we are to believe Sartre, man can “exist” before he is anything at all. And where he goes depends on his will and actions. And the paradoxical conclusion of this: that there is no such thing as human nature. That’s...
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In dreams lies a history

The dream is the (disguised) fulfillment of a (suppressed, repressed) wish. — Freud From falling teeth to missing a train, dreams have been our constant night companions since childhood. We may wonder whether babies, or dogs, have dreams. Maybe they do. What else could our mind be busy doing while we slumber away, but fulfilling our own suppressed, repressed wishes! Or trying hard to reveal us the truth through those strange assembly of characters, objects and situations that had never been together before! They have done some great cultural service too. Religious prophets found their revelations in night-long sojourns into the unconscious. Prophecies are born only in dreams.  The connection between irrationality, dreams and religion is hard to miss. And in recent times, prophets of violence have found in dreams a divine justification for war. I had a theory of dreams in my college days – I saw dreams as simply imagination running wild and loose, without the controlling influence of our conscious mind. Imagine...
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Oriental Express goes for a ride

Anyone concerned about the state of conflicts in the world today may pause and repent that the gifts of science, technology, education and healthcare and all the personal amenities were ever brought into the world. ‘It was better to let the world stay in the darkness of the ancient and medieval times. That is what it truly deserved,’ one may think with repentance. A little thought will then reveal itself — if that had been done, not many would have enjoyed the good health and freedom that they enjoy today — freedom from superstitions and ignorance. The biggest threat to young adults today comes from their very own protectors, who know nothing better than the false promises of paternalistic care and medicines. A young man or woman has an ego which is given to us for self-protection. And above all, a Self that guides itself. This idea of personhood, wherever nurtured, leads to freedom. It finds no co-relation or parallel in the...
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Why India has more temples than toilets

‘There are temples everywhere!’ beamed a visiting professor of history a long time ago. He was referring in particular to his visit to the south of India. That may be the case. For the countryside people across the subcontinent, the whole of nature is a nourishing shade to relax and unload. Morning and evening, alone or in groups. It’s a matter of cultural convenience at work. Nor could the eco-friendly benefits of the practice to the performer and recipient be denied. It is sustainable, to the highest degree imaginable. And they do it behind the bushes, not over the Taj Mahal. What makes it a practice to look down upon, and denigrate the country itself, is the association with poverty. But we know it has nothing to do with lack of money. Since all noble Indian cultural practices have mythological stories associated with them, I wonder what story goes with this practice. Which sage’s wrath, or the wrongdoing of a king, denies two...
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In line with the world

(Photo credit: Wikipedia) It is the basic principle of misbegotten people that they do not lend support to those who don’t follow the ‘line’, which is basically the way ‘everyone’ behaves and lives. So no surprises when those who fall out of line do not get calls or friendly visits. But the day you are ‘back’, is the day when surprise visits and calls inundate you. You then belong to the nasty world. Simple methods govern rules of interaction. Yet, truth is always deeper than we can reach. Look underneath the surface of the world, and see how petty divisions rule lives, and how very happy you are who has left it all behind to live a cleaner life, to follow your own line. ...
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