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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Some thoughts on beating modern life stress with habit formation

Man is a creature of habit  (Photo credit:: Wikipedia) There is no instrument so malleable and adaptive than the human body. Biology may have gone deep into the cells and tissues, yet how much our bodies take care of themselves with a little help from us is an insight known to the few. We know of the timers that are set in us, the ones that make us go to sleep and wake up at fixed times. The same habitual patterns can be inculcated or set by us in other aspects of bodily health and functioning in order to maintain good health. Our diet or what combination of food we take during the day and at night can influence our health to a great extent. Sticking to the combination that one likes and that works best, and then varying it with seasons is a good strategy for maintaining health. Selecting food that does good to the body is a process that we must...
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Living a dual life

The most famous of all notions about man describes him as a social animal. That is to say, it is a part of his nature, an instinct, to form groups and communities wherever he lives, and that man cannot live without society, and ought to do so. However, the term ‘man’ in the sentence ‘Man is a social animal’ refers to mankind as a whole, and not individual human beings. It is the nature of an individual that needs introspection. The contention arises when the individual is described solely in social terms. Does this notion of man really describe an ‘individual’ in his or her totality? Is it a true reflection of his or her real nature? There are times when an individual wishes to interact with others, and there are times when he or she wishes to be left alone. All of us live a dual existence, as individuals and as members of groups and communities. Individuals in human society seem...
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Living a free life

As an individual grows up, he becomes a free person in his own right, begins to rule his life, makes his own life decisions, and becomes independent. He is the sole guardian of his best interests, his own self-protector, and the sole maker of his decisions. This alone makes him responsible for his actions. It is not a huge price to pay considering the ownership rights of your body, mind and soul that come with it for a lifetime! To govern oneself, be one’s own ruler, is to be free in its real sense. This is how children are distinguished from adults, and the latter considered responsible for their behaviour. Guardianship, paternalism, protectionism, coming from outside, remove this distinction, and reduce adults to a child-like state. The strongest blow that can be delivered to an individual is to consider him or her unfit for freedom, and put them under some form of guardianship or paternalism, undermining their free nature, returning them into...
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Living in a box

When one has lived for long in conditons of limited freedom, as in regulated and heavily censored countries, it conditions the mind in such a way that exposure to greater freedom only produces an instinctive revulsion and dislike. The mind gets so used to living in protected environments where there are no free spirits to be encountered, that any change that appears to produce a free lifestyle seems wicked and corrupting. This is probably the reason why a good part of the world where conservative religions hold sway dislikes much of western culture. They find it difficult to come to terms with the uninhibited show the western media puts up every night. A free and open life, which has only recently come to be seen as good for humans, remains as disliked as it probably always was. The condition is much like those of boys in conservative societies who do not interact with girls, and find the whole idea of a free...
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The play of passions

“As for me, my business was his money. The passive jade thinks of no pleasure but the money.” – Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe Freedom is a basic necessity of man. If there is any worth and dignity to be have in being a human being, it lies in being free. So much so that, for all crimes the simple punishment consists of taking away this vital element of life. Constraints and necessities too rob us of this precious element. Yet, freedom itself brings along with it a mortal enemy which, given a free reign, reduces man to a mere animal governed by his own instincts. The enemy is pleasure. The dersire to be free comes instinctively to every one of us, and its opponents are easily identified too, dictators of all types and anyone in a position of authority over others. The control exercised by them comes from outside. Inside us there are forces at work that can have a similar effect,...
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Happiness is a side effect

Happiness appears to be the most sought after commodity other than money, and the contest between the two is nearly settled by the saying, ‘money can’t buy happiness,’ although being happy too can’t get you money by itself. That everyone wants to be happy is a universally accepted fact. Why would anyone want to be sad or suffer? Does this mean we are some kind of pleasure-driven, biologically programmed machines seeking happiness all the time? No one appears to have ever felt ‘hungry’ for happiness, felt an urge to be happy, or suffered when deprived of its pleasurable aspects. One may desire more money, more pleasure, more success, or more power, but never has anyone reported to want more of happiness after once being happy, or as suffering for want of it. Nor did religion ever spoke of happiness as a virtue, laying stress instead on denial of pleasure. How then does happiness enter into the scheme of our life, to the...
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Growing up to be free

Young adults must learn to live on their own, lead their own life, and decide for themselves if they are to be human beings in the real sense of this term. Living under tutelage of parents is harmful in a real sense — it destroys a healthy sense of self-worth and well being, and the ability to look at the world as fresh as one did when one was born. Here is what the mother of Shilpa Shetty, the Indian actress reportedly bullied recently on the reality tv show Celebrity Big Brother said about her daughter’s past life: “”She is waited upon, she has an entourage travelling with her, I travel with her, she is never on her own. Everything is done for her but she thought that she wanted to experience this on her own,” she said. “May be it would also show her something of the other side of life,” she added. In countries like India, parenthood is often glorified...
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Life is like a gift

Children know there is something called death. They see it happen around them, but do not see it happening to them. They know they will die if they were to drown, or fall down from a certain height, but do not see it as inevitable. It is probably a function of time that as we age, as we come closer to death, the very thought of one day being dead and gone comes as a mild shock. No one can claim to have come to the world with a right to live forever. Life was not bestowed on us as a natural right, and death when it comes naturally is not therefore unfair. Is there a healthier way of conceiving the force of life is us, whose presence for a long time within us makes us its slave, such that the very thought of its absence fills us with grief? If we see our existence as a gift that would one day...
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