Monday, February 06, 2006

Ruins Build the Dreams You See...

I wonder at times why the things that one seems to want the most never seem to happen, while the ones that one dreads the most, seem pre-destined. On the subject of the latter, I once surmised and still stand by my thought process, that we dread them so much, only because we know that there is a great likelihood of their actually coming to pass.

It’s only logical. Of all the things that you really dread, having an airliner crash onto your head while crossing the street in the morning, is hardly likely to top the list. It’s far more likely to be something much more personal and something that a part of you realises as being somehow likely to happen, however much you try to deny it consciously.

On the getting of things, I started off thinking that perhaps it is similar. Perhaps the things one hankers for the most are the things that you are least likely to be able to get. That actually didn’t make much sense though and it fails to stand any scrutiny from any angle. After all, I know people who seem to have both feel almost rooted to the ground, and yet events unravel in a way so as to deny them something they desired and something that everyone recognised as being immensely achievable for them, even if not their right, so to speak.

It made me question the very nature of desire. The things that seem to make a desire strong or weak. What are these factors? Do they stem from the situation and the likelihood of our attaining these dreams? That’s true for our fears, but not desires surely. Desires, to me, represent you in the most obvious way. If I know your dreams, chances are, that with a little bit of thought, I’d know most facets of your personality. When I think of the stuff that I really yearn for, I know that it tells me a lot about myself.

Why then do we so often fail to attain what we want? If I think about desire the way I described it above, it leads me to just one conclusion. We fail because we don’t really know who we are. And if I look around, it seems to stand up to an initial scrutiny. The people I see who fall short the most, seem to be the people that overestimate themselves the most and vice versa of course.

Now, I speak not just of materialistic things - or MasterCard items as I like to call them - when I say all this. It’s true of the most intangible things as well. There are times when we fail to read a situation properly and start expecting something. There are moments when you are so sure that you know something to be a certain way that you ignore all the signs that point to your being wrong.

That brings me to another point. There are times when each of us passes through a situation wherein you can see what is going to happen to someone and are still powerless to do anything about it. It happens in front of your eyes. And you wonder why the other person did not see it coming. You wonder why despite seeing even more than you perhaps, the other was blind to the outcome that seemed so obvious to you!

That’s where the judgment has come in. You read the situation correctly since you did not have that much at stake. You read it in a more unbiased way and the other person did not. You knew the other person in a better way, because being in a particular situation distorts one’s views, not just of the situation, but also of themselves. That’s what I meant when I said that in every field of life, my belief is that we fail to achieve a desire purely because we make errors in judging the situations and our selves.

Also wanted to say something about fear. I remember mentioning once that fear is perhaps the deadliest emotion that can possess you as it cripples not just your thinking, but every single faculty of yours and ultimately ensures that you lose…no matter what your abilities are, no matter what your mental faculties are, if you’re scared, you’ll lose.

I’m not saying that one needs to be fearless. No human being in our materialistic world can ever be fearless. The battle therefore is not so much to quell it, but to overcome it. You’ll never kill fear, so don’t try. So, then do we all lose because we all feel fear? Yes and no actually. No, I’m not contradicting myself. If you’re scared, you’re sure to achieve less than you could have. That way you lose…so no matter how positive the outcome may be, you could have done better all the time.

A small example of this could be a game of cricket. If the batsman was not scared of getting out, he would chase more balls and perhaps score more runs. He may still score the fastest 100 of all time, but unless he reached that 100 in 17 balls with 17 sixes, he could – technically speaking - have done better. Yes, I have played the game and no, I am not drunk or anything. I just pulled an example out of nowhere to illustrate a point!

The other day I heard of something that happened with someone I know, and I was quite honestly flummoxed at how it happened. It made me look within myself too, for I know that something along the same lines, although in a totally different way, happened with me once. While not saying exactly what, let me just say that it was a case of someone’s fear preventing them from trying to achieve something.

It’s sad when such things happen. It’s even worse knowing that someone’s fear stopped your getting something that you felt was really beautiful or caused you to lose something that was really beautiful. It’s weird. And no, I don’t believe in the theory that everything happens for the best. It’s untrue and you can’t make me buy that…

Anyway, amidst the dreary darkness that seems to have engulfed life these days (what with no rock shows scheduled, exams around the corner and a quiz tomorrow), the bright spot remains that five people who really matter have got things that mean a lot to me. Five down, five to go… Naah! Make that more…

13 comments:

Jayantika Ganguly said...

wow...

Anonymous said...

Heyy…another smashing post by u..!! You know u tell stuff and yet u don’t and I so love that… ummm…and well wot m gonna write is not in anyway related to ur post…and pardon me for dat…just wanted to get smthn across to u… Well…I have been very much a silent observer of ur blog, mike and have left comments once or twice…I donno u have these thoughts and these opinions regarding just abt everything…and trust me u have some head in there! I donno if I am anybody to tell u this…perhaps I am not…but I am just doin it…look I don’t know u…I just read ur posts and I know that the guy on the other end is someone who I wud so like to knw…Now coming to the point…read ur posts on PG< and smtime bak on ur blog>…Bryan adams…Nirvana…wannabe music lovers… Pseudo rock followers. et al.U detest Bryan Adams,u loathe Nirvana.Agreed. Cant help it if they fail to turn u on…but why look down upon ppl (read kiddos like me)who think it is music to their ears.I like Bryan adams.Heck! I even like Jal !! Well…I don’t care if bryan adams sings something that sounds like a rhyming poem…I feel good everytime he sings 'cant stop this thing we started'…maybe I havent been fortunate enuf to have listened to the kind of music dat u listen to and I really do appreciate ur knowledge of music and genres of music.Wot I am trying to say here…is that maybe u have heard such fine music dat u consider listening to BA a sacrilege…and u very well r entitled to an opinion…just that if I or for that matter anyone else likes the so called downtrodden likes of BA, MLTR, Led Zepp…I wonder y wud u luk down upon us and call us wannabes…Oh come on! Its music for chrissake!! I love my music and u love urs !! I m not speaking for the guy who was acting like a ****head on PG…I am speaking for myself…apologies once again for posting this here.Well….i kinda don’t understand y I even posted this damn thing here and I donno wot u r goin to make out of it…well..Whatever!!

So long…

Darth Midnightmare said...

@Jayantika: Thank you :-)

@Anon: First up, thanks for that load of compliments... I'm hardly a deserving recepient, but thanks. As for the music thing, let me clarify. Yes, I don't like Bryan Adams or Nirvana, but I do not dislike people who like them. I mentioned recently to a friend of mine that there is no such thing as 'good' and 'bad' when it comes to tastes and preferences. Some people think Aishwarya Rai is beautiful, some think she's not! Personally I can't understand why people think Kareena Kapoor looks hot! Who is to say who is right or who has 'good' taste?

I may not understand why people like what they like, but I have no issues with their liking or disliking something. That said, I can't take it if someone trashes a particular genre or artist or group. I do not consider it a sacrilege to listen to anything. I have had close friends who listen to Celine Dion! But I do believe that if someone chooses to deride or criticize a form of music I enjoy, I have the right to return the favour...and yes, I don't believe in half measures...

All said and done, sorry if I offended your sensibilities, as it was unintentional or at worst, retaliatory.

Darth Midnightmare said...

@Anon: Adding to that. I don't consider everyone who listens to this music to be a "wannabe". I do however attach that tag to a person who claims to be a rocker or a rock music lover solely because they listen to the 3-4 'big' names in pop-rock. The moment a person claims to be a rock lover, that person should at least appreciate what the genre is all about. I don't like bands Kiss too much personally, but I know about them, same for Led Zep (though I actually like a few LZ numbers). However a 'rock-lover' who terms hard rock as 'noise' and Bryan Adams as 'rock' is in my opinion a wannabe, simply because these words imply a lack of respect for music and a lack of knowledge about rock.

I often claim that what sets a lover of rock apart from the casual listener is the depth and breadth of knowledge that a rocker invariably looks for. That's all...

Cheers!
- M

Jonas said...

Great post, as usual! :-)

Just to follow up on your thoughts about fear, why brand fear as a completely negative emotion? It does have its uses. It can be what keeps us from being reckless, what pushes us to perform that little bit better, what tells the batsman to offer the occasional defensive shot...coz for every 'fearless' batsman wanting to score a century in 17 balls, there will be a 'fearless' bowler wanting to take 6 wickets in an over....methinks there aint anything like a 'negative' emotion...it's only when we take it to extremes that it turns bad.
So you say, dont quell fear, overcome it. I would say, just regulate it...

Darth Midnightmare said...

@Jonas: True...perhaps the more apt word would be "channelize". In the absence of the ability to quell fear, channelizing is all best option actually. As for negative emotions, I agree...

Nothing is negative by definition as there are no absolutes in the world. Hatred too is not a negative emotion in my opinion. Fear though is a strange emotion, in the sense that it falls into the category that tries to inhibit you upto a point and unless carefully controlled could cause you to back up till a point of no return, after which it turns the person to hitting out blindly.

To stick with cricket, it would be the equivalent of a batsman tied up so much by a bowler he is scared of that he decides to swing wildly at everything. Prime example: Cullinan-Warne. Fear (and the effect thereof), therefore is an emotion that I believe one needs to be conscious of at all times...

StupendousMan said...

mike,
fear to me is something that keeps me attempting something. its not what causes failure. incompetence in its milder and harsher forms are responsible for failure. fear can really be a driver, as some candidate just mentioned above. but the same's true for being fearless and confident.
since we are built differently (read mental make-up), we approach situations differently. the problem with fear, as i know it, is that it acts as a balm for failure... for instance, for someone who's afraid to take a quiz, and does take it, and flunks, will say to himself, 'i knew i shouldn't have picked this course.'

music - hmm... i'm a lil apprehensive to say anything here... don't wanna be labeled as a 'wannabe'... heheh...
Cheers.

Darth Midnightmare said...

@SM: Umm...that's actually what I meant my channeling fear. Fear can incapacitate. That is the first instinct that is brought out in a person. If channeled properly though, it can serve to drive yuo further. That said, I would still say that if you felt no fear at all while attempting something, you'd be far more likely to succeed. For example, I tell everyone that asks me that the 'secret' to cracking CAT or GMAT is not the preparation, but the belief you carry while attempting the paper. More often than not, the person that took the paper calmly is the person who will beat the fearful person who slogged for 2 years!

And trust me, it's not confidence here. When I first took CAT, I took it believing firmly, that without having prepared at all, (not even 1 minute of study) I had no chance at all of clearing it, so I had a beer party the night before CAT and went to the hall with the feeling that I was just killing time... There was no fear of failure in my mind. I was so confident about this, that after exiting the hall, I actually tore up and threw away my admit card. Results showed that I had aced the paper and I had to take hasty action to make an excuse for that 'lost' admit card :-)... So you can't label it as self-confidence as this case proves. It's just the lack of fear...

StupendousMan said...

mike,
this might be a bit late, but in light of your reply, congrats for having made it through the CAT. i totally envy you... :(

but then, on careful consideration of what you've said here, i think i would like to discuss this a bit further -
i think that the lack of fear, in your case, stemmed from the equivalent lack of expectation. the latter, in itself is an admirable quality, one i would kill to possess. but then, is it really true of the other situations in life? do you deem it suitable and more so, possible, to view and act upon situations without any expectation? i tend to think not.
Being fearless to me, is 'knowing' that even as failure could happen, there is a chance to win, and that deserves its best shot. being fearless is having the courage to know that sometimes, you shouldn't play in the next match. being fearless, is accepting yourself, and fairly measuring your potential. The last point is relevant here, because typically, we under or over sell ourselves to our conscience.

i do not contest that there exist fearless people amongst us. What I do contest is that people who do feel fear, experience failure more. What I do contest is that fearless people do not fail, or face a lesser probability of failure. whaddya think?

Darth Midnightmare said...

Lack of expectation and accurate judgment of situations and ourselves, in my opinion are impossible qualities to possess for people like us. I have stated that even in the post, when I say that being truly fearless is impossible. These are all interlinked in a very complex chain that occasionally seems recursive (to me at least).

Fear may stem from expectation. When you expect a lot, the mere thought that you may not achieve it, does cause fear within. Same for the loss of a possession. What is that force that pushes you on to desprate measures? Some romanticize it calling it 'inspiration', but truth be told, I think it's merely the person channeling his fear into spurring him on rather than the other person who would lay down and die due to the same fear in the same situation!

True fearlessness is unattainable given our lifestyles, the simple reason being that we have too much to lose due to our desires and weaknesses. This is further complicated by 'judgment'. Who among us can claim to truly and accurately know his/her own capabilities? None of us, is I think a fair answer! So, fear can actually stem from the subconscious knowledge that you don't really know! Then again, throw in game theory for real life scenarios and you have the fact that your actions do not solely determine the outcome of a situation.

Fear is therefore inevitable. That's the reason people believe in God (made a post earlier on this I believe), it's the reason that we believe in 'luck. Fear goes by many names, inspiration, love, desire...there are a lot of forms it takes. The way I see it, the very inevitablility of fear is what causes the need to know how to channel it properly.

PS: I like your analysis of it. Perhaps we can go deeper over a beer sometime ;-)

Darth Midnightmare said...

Oh and yes, I contest that there are actually fearless people among us. There aren't really. This fact therefore renders meaningless any attempt to see if the fearless fail. Like you pointed out, true fearlessness can only stem from a deep self-knowledge and an ego willing to see things as they truly are.

it also requires a person to have no desire or attachment. The moment you have any of these, fearlessness is unattainable. Therefore, by the very nature and definition of humanity, fearlessness is unattainable...

StupendousMan said...

mike,
over a beer(s) it is then; see you in amchi mumbai. i trust that placements at L will turn you back to your hometown.
cheers.

Zarine said...

Profound indeed. Enough to make me post on the similar lines on mah blog. :)

Yeh,though that post is on a much lighter note.Ya know,in no mood to delve deep into matters :D