Friday, November 16, 2007

What are we, if not our pride?

Sometimes I despair of existential conversations and those that are held in quest of answers to universal questions.

What is god? Should a benevolent god demand worship? Is the concept of a personal god self-deception? Why do we live? What happens after we die? Existential angst cannot withstand such relentless persecution. We think, therefore we are. We are, so we know not what to do but think. What is the purpose of our meagre existence? Isn't it good to live in a hedonistic fashion rather than look for some ultimate purpose in everything? Isn't happiness all? Quests eternal.

Not that I despair of futile quests. Just of the futile quests that aren't my own. :)

What I said initially isn't true. I don't really despair of existential conversations. The despair is directed solely towards the notion that the conversation needs to culminate in some divine consensus, or an unarguable truth. The ultimate truth is that there is no ultimate truth. The quests are pointless per se. It is what you draw from them, that makes all the difference.

You could staunchly follow Nietzsche's ideology. Or perhaps subscribe to Kierkegaard's less-nihilistic views. Or dogmatically to a self-concocted mixture of ideas. Or keep yourself flexible and modify your theories about the world at large with time and the number of wiki pages read.

Doesn't matter. Not to me, at least. I like getting involved in existential conversations not because I think I will get some new insight into life, the universe and everything (which I may, on rare occasions. Besides the point,) but because they tell me about how minds other than my own work. It is an opinion, an idea, that is far more beautiful than the truth. It just so happens that the idea appears even more so when it coincides with the truth.

I am essentially an introverted person. Not introvert in the sense that I keep to myself and bad in starting conversations and am very shy (albeit not necessarily in the coquettish way). That's only in part. :) But in the sense that I draw most of my conclusions and arrive at most answers by thought directed inward, rather than by listening to someone or something. And yes, I am more concerned about my own mental life than anything else. Which, again, is not the point I am trying to make.

What I am trying to say is that I delight in discovering ways or patterns of thought wholly alien to my own. And express even more delight when an apparently alien pattern turns out to be similar to my own. The same information, the same object, but a refreshingly different point of view. It's like the thought about colours - Does everyone see the same colours in the same way? Will you see the world in exotic new hues if you happened to see through another's eyes? After all, colour lies only in the eyes of the beholder. If mere colours could be different, imagine the thoughts!

A hundred billion neurons. More than a quadrillion synapses. Three odd pounds of greyish goo. The human mind.

What are we, if not our pride?

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