Monday, January 23, 2006


Have you ever felt that you are living in a solitary confinement of sorts? Have you ever felt completely unrelated to the world and everything in it? Have you ever felt that everything around you is running just because it is supposed to - much like a program with billions of entities in parallel? Do you believe that we all live in a 'matrix'?

What we enjoy as freedom, is nothing but a greater - pervasive - confinement. We eat the same food everyday. We see the same things everyday. We meet the same people everyday. Occasionally get ourselves sanitized. But continue to live in it. Most of the times content and sometimes, happy.

Often we take so many things around us as 'ours' – our locality, our city, our nation, our world – our thoughts, our ambitions and our dreams. Step back and think "What would have been different if you were to be replaced by someone else?" Or "What difference would it have made to anyone in a locality next to yours when you die?" The answer is a cold - Nothing! Surprised? Welcome to the real world.

Where do you fit in the grand scheme of things? Try to move in a corner of your room. But try to keep your body at this very place, in this very state. And look towards yourself from that distance. Spotlights on, environment dull and everything else silent. Visualize how familiar does this look to you. Aren’t you just another guy in another setting?

Now step further back. Try to look from outside your immediate locality. It becomes difficult to identify yourself here. There are thousands of people working just like you. Each of them has a dream. A set of handicaps. And a set of commitments. How different are you from any one of these?

Now take a step further backwards. You see a blue ball called Earth in your hands. Peep in. It is difficult to even pinpoint the city you live in. Leave alone your house, car, neighborhood, locality or your friends'. And it is so quiet out there. So captivatingly beautiful homogeneity. And we all pride ourselves on being unique!

The truth is that we are mere programs running on huge parallel processors. Each entity has a few specific properties from a fixed set. Each one is aware of its existence. And is happy and possessive about it.

In this perspective, all your pains and complaints, your joys and desires seem gibberish. And you experience an eternal peace of mind. The question now is “Why do I perceive things the way I do? Why this cloak of uniqueness?”

Just like in any computer program, everything that happens around you is due to a reason. You have parents because you have to come into this world someday someway. You have relatives for the same reason. You have friends because you need their company and help. The same is true for everyone around you. Everyone lives in this small world of theirs. And outside this world no one cares about them. Just like nobody cares about me outside my world.

But if I am so insignificant, why is it that my body was designed with so much perfection? Where does my existence fit in this grand scheme of things? Honestly, I don’t know about mine. But so doesn’t anyone else. Some try soothsayers. Some go to spiritual gurus. But no one can conclusively say "Ki MAIN zinda kyun hoon (Why am I alive)?" The answer perhaps lies inside one’s self.

We always fail to realize the power of concerted thought – the power of dreams. When you know your aim in life, your every moment is spent planning and laboring towards that end. And when you are about to rendezvous with your destiny, everything just falls into place. More often than not, you get more than you ever dreamt about. What is takes is to make his sense of being – as ‘The Alchemist’ says – WANT it more than anything else in this world.

I know I am insignificant in this world. Each one of us is. Within months after we die, memories about us will start fading. Even in minds of our closest buddies. This makes me feel so lonely that I feel unrelated to everything around me. To that beautiful lady that just went past me and to the big buildings and trees I see along the road. I look towards everything with awestruck amazement. What is even more incredible is that though you may not find all reasons, but one thing leads to another just as in a sequential clock-work.

I don’t think I will be able to carry this state farther. Perhaps, I am not strong enough to live through the challenges that living in this state might pose. But I would like this blog entry to serve the purpose of a time-capsule. If ever I would return to my normal state, this will serve as a reminder of how, for one moment, things seemed so crystal clear – so blatant. The moment of enlightenment!

[These thoughts pervaded through my mind while I was watching the movie ‘Zinda’ at a city multiplex. The protagonist was put in a solitary confinement for 14 years by the villain, for a small childhood gag which snowballed into an innocent girl’s suicide. The girl happened to be villain’s elder sister. The protagonist then prepared himself for the fateful meeting with the unknown villain every moment of those 14 years, eventually killing him battling all odds.]

(Zinda)*=Alive (Hindi)


Anonymous said...

You made a fleeting comment about looking inside your self. Continue on those lines, pal.

abhay said...

If you think that a person is just an unimportant being in the larger scheme of things & can be replaced by some one else, my friend, think agian...

or better do not think, ask those others around you....
they will tell you that what you believe is untrue. you have created a difference in their life and they in yours.

just imagine if you hadnt met a particular person by chance do you really think everything would have been exactly the same?
you would have been totally different, not that you would have been aware of it but I bet you that if you could see these two different world, you would settle for the current one.

Would the world be same if some other person would have stood in place of Gandhi? Einstein? Alexander?

Arpit Agarwal said...

What you see as your life today is the sum total (and slightly more) of all the fortunate - unfortunate event in you life, including important people. If an event did not take place, your life would have been different but then you would not have been you.

People and events are just like a variable in computer program. The value that this variable takes at a particular point is pre-determined. But the variable is not the value. Its significance would change if another value was supposed to be assigned to it by some other process/event.

Humans always mistake value to be variables. If there wasn't a MK Gandhi as Mahatma, there would have been an 'Abhay Saraf' as Mahatma - or someone else. Someone had to do this task. Irrespective of name etc.

In everyone's life around you, you own a special position because you were supposed to do so. If you weren't there, somebody else would have been but certainly they would not be the same (as we see them today).

What say?

Abhay said...

The idea you suggest is a philosophical view on life. It does not matter on a personal level wheter or not an event happens, the rest of the drama keeps progressing. If Gandhi wouldn't have been there & say India would not have had freedom due to his absence then it wouldn't have mattered one bit due to the Anthropic principle. It doesn't matter to Sun wheter there is a too much pollution on Earth or a nuclear bomb is destroying humanity.

A dictator does not care about how many people are dying due to his idiosyncrasies. It does not affect his life but it matters a lot to that person who suffers. To us millions of people dying due to cancer, AIDS, TB are just statistics.

But there is a difference in knowing this and believing in it. I know that this is the fact but I don't believe in it. If a person goes through the life with this belief, he is betraying the people around him as he does not give importance to their presence. The bigger fallacy is to compare inanimate variables in computer programs to human beings.

What say you?

Arpit Agarwal said...

"But there is a difference in knowing this and believing in it"
- I agree completely.
"I know that this is the fact but I don't believe in it. "
- Me too... I wish I could. But I am sure I don't do it. We all are too bound with the things we know about and the things that happen around us to break free. Human beings are too complex to be 'treated' as inanimate variables. However all those who dont reside in our 'personal world', are nothing but a just that - inanimate variable or a statistic. Right?

This debate can go on forever. But for all of us, the need to find out a better way to live is more important. And for this reason, even if we know this reality, we don't wish to believe in it. Who wishes to go out of the matrix anyways? :)

sushanta said...

there are two ways to look at it..
U can say u r just another variable in the ever so complex matrix of this planet....a variable which by itself is all so insignificant and ever replacable...
But to see it with ur heart's eye...u r the matrix of ur life...u realise that u
no longer constrain urself to being merely a variable...u infact decide the heart and structure and all that that makes up ur matrix...we choose our friends, we choose our enemies, we choose our ways of living and everything else that make up what we are...
true , events occur in our lives over which we have no control most of the times....but that doesnt diminish our roles even faintly...we have the final say in deciding how these events would affect our lives, if at all need be...
at the end of the day , it is we who decide how to shape up our matrix of life for the next day and all the days to follow.....

jassi said...

I completely agree with the thought that we are just like small dust particles when observed from far...and a heap of dust when put together...difficult to decipher how we are different..from one another..

Arpit Agarwal said...

Absolutely, Jassi! Very well said!

Spectator said...

I agree with the thought that how lost we are in the universe. If we look at super-expanded universe, i feel we are nothing but an accidental perfection, which holds no value otherwise.

I also thought on the similar lines from from a different philosophical perspective. you may have a look at it: