Tag Archives: lifestyle

Freedom: Beyond Rights, Towards Power


To be free is to be political. For we cannot escape the very power constraints which form us, but only transmute them according to our intent.

Unfortunately, we have been made to believe that freedom is something we are born with and need only to protect either by begging to our governments, or merely being aloof and apolitical — isolated from the world which sustains us.

We live in an age where freedom instantly evokes images of outrage and placards.

Incidentally, we also live in an age where states around the world are brazenly constructing precise machineries of surveillance and control — and we aren’t doing shit about them.

Freedom and rebellion have always been twins. It was the French Revolution which resulted in the Human Rights Charter in which Liberty became the inherent, inalienable right of every person.
Using this humanist doctrine all the European colonies kicked out their oppressors – – Gandhi being an emblematic figure of this kind modern rebellion.

This non-violent form of protest, with marches, sloganeering and placard-waving was soon picked up by civil societies around the world.

Although quite effective in the 20th century we see these kinds of protests fizzling out with no results in the 21st century. The Governments now know that a march, or a strike here and there barely dents their international power network.

The Occupy Wall Street, the Gender Equality protest in India, the so called Arab Spring – – all they could achieve was media hype, but none of their practical goals.

It is time we wake up and face reality:

If our Right to Freedom has to be granted by someone else, then that is no freedom at all. Liberty then is a slave to the whims and strategies of the government which rules us.

What the heck are we demanding out on the streets, in front of our parliaments? How is it freedom if it can be ‘granted’ by someone else?

The very idea of freedom as it exists in the current form is delusional.
Freedom is envisaged as this independence from the world which allows an individual to do what she desires.

This is simply a impossible. No one can be independent from the world simply because we are and always will be a part of it. Our food is grown by someone else. Our clothes are created by numerous unknown people. Our houses are constructed by others. We are bound by the laws of physics. Our bodies are made out of the food we eat, the air we breath.

Where the heck is any possibility of in-dependence? We can never be separate from the world. We can never be isolated, self-sustaining units, floating in the universe, powered merely by our free will.

Freedom is not a right. Freedom is an ability. It is a skill. It is a technique to interact, negotiate and mold our surroundings according to our intent.

Freedom is always an active, political act. It is the sum total of our abilities which form us and our environment in a cyclical way. It necessarily has to be a way not only to do what you desire, but to protect yourself, act against forces which intend to annihilate you.

Thus, our freedom, quite simply means acting according to political intent.

It is a fact that we are born into a network of relationships with our fellow beings and our environment.

It is a fact that we form our identities only in these constraints. I am whatever I am because I am no other person and I am also not a rock or a tree.

It is also a fact that these relationships are relationships of power.
Our parents are the dominant forces who decide our initial fate. We live because our immune systems constantly win every war against the pathogens always besieging us. We either mold nature to make it work like we want it to or nature shatters our illusions by sending disasters once in a while.

Thus to be free is necessarily to be political. The trend, especially in this generation, to be fashionably apolitical is something which is destroying our collective freedom.
In our relationship with the world we are either politically victorious or politically oppressed. Being apolitical simply means to be a passive recipient of other people’s politics.

Power has been usually seen as something dirty which intends to annihilate freedom. But it is only through power that freedom can be exercised in the first place. Power is not only domination but it can also be a positive force which results in growth, happiness and productivity.

Power is the medium of our being.

More importantly, it is the only way, in our current situation, that we can ever escape from universal, flawless dictatorship.

Rather than acting as if we already have the ‘Right’ to freedom, we should consider freedom as intent combined with the potential to act on them. Something which is both inherent in us and yet has to be learned and perfected like language, logic or art.

Freedom then is not some Right, but a life skill which has to be practiced, exercised, honed and implemented by all of us.

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The Soul Without God And Theory


How can I explain?

Words can’t make you feel the deep, spiraling well I felt burrowing in my lungs as I stood in my verandah, staring at the clouds and knowing silently, calmly but profoundly that I exist.

No arguments can justify my fervent faith and devotion which I experienced as I sat everyday in front of my own sacred idols and prayed to them when I was six.

Not a single poem has been able to capture that of pain of realizing that my first lover didn’t really love me back. No verse can really explain the suffocating agony which ripped my innards into shreds then.

People will laugh if  I express that devastating feeling of being betrayed when my gods didn’t answer my desperate prayers at a time when I needed them most.

These are the moments which made me intensely aware of my being and that is precisely why words always feel so impotent when I try to express them.

Some philosophers say that language is the house of being. I think that is terribly stupid. Language might be the house of identity which can be communicated, but being precedes words. It is in fact a precondition of language. This is made obvious in those moments when language’s failure is so complete that it simply crumbles — in those events when we become speechless.

These are the times when life acquires a depth previously unknown or forgotten. It may not exactly be a moment of unbound joy (pain and sadness are just as adept). It may not even be a moment of uncontrollable emotion (people who practice mindfulness will know how calm observation has a silent profoundness to it).

I think these are simply the moments of intense awareness — the point when existence refuses to be ignored by consciousness. This is when we realize that the experience of life has a value independent of any more explanations.

You might have heard something similar from the New Age gurus and spiritual enthusiasts.
When they tactfully evade the use of ‘God’ to explain the meaning of these experiences, they often use words like higher consciousness, the divine, the supreme consciousness and so on.

What I found common in most of the explanations I’ve encountered is that theses moments are theorized as events when the individual psyche ‘connects’ with someone or something larger, higher, placed above the individual in the spiritual ladder.

I not only think that these explanations are absurd, improvable or unnecessary; I also think that they are an insult.

It is to say, as if, the experiences aren’t worthwhile in themselves. That you have to construct an elaborate system of theories to give that experience some meaningful value. And these constructs are ultimately equally unable to ‘explain’ the cause or logic of any value whatsoever.

What is this special higher consciousness which makes us feel like this? What is this god-like divine and from where does it derive this powerful energy from? If these ‘higher’ beings and energies don’t need anymore explanations then why does the experiences of depth need to be justified by theories?

These explanations merely transfer the experiential valence of the events of depth into something else. It’s the same old religious trick in the garb of spirituality.

Their hypocrisy is often revealed when they themselves admit that words can’t explain the spiritual experiences and then go on to create fun, often cliched theories of spirituality. (Putting faith or intuition above reason is perhaps their favorite one as it allows them to bypass science and gain a few blind acolytes.)

I think that the moments of intense awareness, the moments when life acquires an unspeakable depth are preserved and relived the best without any words or gurus.

I think its time that the spirit reclaims its independence from the shackles of God and theory.

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The Gypsy In The Sewer


Cub

Metal bars stuck around the hollow of his stomach since the day he was born – it never went away.
The nomad was abandoned, his mother was the drain. Everybody knew the stranger from the underground.
The gypsy roamed the international sewers trading a part of him with the merchants from the surface.

If you were to be one of them, you would definitely ask, “Where is his gut?”
And there would be none.

Let your name be Alice.

A louse crawled in his flowing, gray hair and Alice ignored it, pretending to be disgusted by the sewage instead. Perhaps she wasn’t pretending after all. Alice was genuine.

A leash held him in. The jail was made up of metal pipes filled with the black bile from the surface which their citizens couldn’t stand. It was made to prevent the traders from stealing the nomad.
The Gypsy from the sewer smiled from the enclosure.
He could stand us. He could stand anything.

The people liked him because he was the only one to ask, and they wanted to tell.
His eyes would gleam with the sheen of dreams, as if his tear ducts collected your stories.

He remembered each one of them.
He remembered the time when the two towers fell as the bird went blind in the middle of the city.
He remembered the boy who left tears on his shoulders when he told him about his brother who left.
When that girl gave him daisies, he asked her how she found them and he still remembers the garden in her backyard where she played with pythons.
He hasn’t forgotten the wall which fell when the cold years went away.

When he slept it all came back.
He walked through the garden, breathing the dust from the towers, looking for the brother who was lost past the broken boundary wall.

In his sleep he lived on the surface, amidst the part of the lives the people left behind.
He worked the hardest in his dreams. Breaking and mending the weak, creaking parts – making a whole which functioned.
He found the answers to the questions they didn’t even know they will ask.

When he awoke, the answer was found in the cage of his stomach.
Each time it was different.
Once, it was the bonsai tree with thin, paper leaves.
The merchants took it up to the surface and planted it in their cities. The plant grew into a metropolis.
Then he made a red star and it made the wall which crumbled.

A tiger cub sat curious in his stomach when Alice told the nomad about her cycle which broke. The cub’s piercing eyes searched her face, maybe looking for the tooth which went missing when she fell, or imagining the white fluid dripping down her lips and eyes. Her stomach was yet not fat.

His pupils dilated, its throat vibrated – its purrs called to you, Alice.

When she finished telling her tales, the other merchants handed him the money.
The cub was squeezed out of the cage.
It trembled with hesitance. Its tiny claws dug into the metal of the pipes.

Alice picked it up; the tiger’s licks left wet, red trails on her neck.

The merchant group walked away – ready to fuel their machine of civilization with dreams that they would distort and promises they couldn’t keep.
This one would be good for a decade.
After which the merchants will return to buy a part of the nomad again.
It’s best for business.

Alice glanced back towards the gypsy again. His cage lay hollow, his eyes caved-in.
He will never see his cub alive again.
The surface which thrives on his organ implants bars him from living his own dreams.
Or does it?

Alice strutted away.
A leash has its way.
A louse still hangs on his silvery strands which may never shine with Sun rays.

The light awaits the nomad.

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The New Charter


We don’t find anything as self-evident. But, it is through the laborious and painful experiences of millions of people throughout centuries, that we have discovered 5 values which are necessary for a healthy society which helps all its people in their pursuit of happiness.

The New Charter

Fluidity

We have found that the capability of change is indispensable in order to adapt to life .

Throughout history, ideas, facts and ways of life which were thought to be eternal have been wiped out abruptly and with astonishing ease. The world which was flat under our feet for hundreds of eras has turned out to be round. The Sun which was universally seen to be moving has turned out to be stationary and the earth which was our point of unchanging existence has proved to be rotating and revolving. The triumphant physics of Newton which was able to explain almost the whole Universe has been trashed by the new physics of the Quantum.

To blindly believe that the Truth of our age will never change is naive.

We know that a human being has to change according to unique situations. We believe that every human being should be psychologically adept and ready to be fluid like water and change the form, function and abilities of one’s own being without any resistance from within. Mental stability can never be found in permanence but in fluidity.

We also believe that structures and models which mould our social institutions should have this fluidity inbuilt in them. Institutions are meant to help us live our lives better. If they can’t change according to our ever changing lives, then we regard them as defunct and futile. It is vital for any institution to have the ability of spontaneous change in-built in their systems. The present systems also undergo change but it is only through modifications and amendments. Such systems can never be fast enough to adapt to the hyper-fluid world that we see looming in the horizon of the future.

We also reject any knowledge system which has the necessary self-delusion of being permanent and eternal. We do not reject the probability of the existence of such a system, but we have seen that everything can be doubted. Every knowledge system should embrace this doubt about its base beliefs and should not only strive to prove them right, but should always check if they are wrong with equal zeal. If such a system is indeed eternal, then it will be unaffected by such a practice.
For instance, Science bases itself in the presumption that there is an objective world outside of the subjective perception of different human beings. Moreover, they seek to find out laws which are universal and don’t change. These are all presumptions. The world might be a RESULT of our perception. We don’t really know that does our perception perceives an object which already exists or does it CREATE it? Also, we haven’t been to all the parts of the universe and are not omniscient beings who can see the past, present and all future at once. The rules that physics or chemistry finds out may not be universal. Or they might change with time. Or they might not. We don’t really know.

We believe that the true pursuit of knowledge should always be aware that its base presumptions can be wrong, and hence should always keep the question of their validity OPEN.

The validity of every knowledge system should be judged if the reality it claims actually happens. Or in other words, REALITY is simply what works. The system of knowledge should be judged according to its ability to fulfill the claims that it makes. This negates any OUTSIDE structures or systems of judgement or validity criteria.

We also think that the leadership of any social group should be fluid and decided by a specific purpose. When the purpose is achieved or someone else proves to have more ability than this leader, then the position of power should be immediately abandoned. The leadership systems which give a small group of people massive amounts of power over gigantic populations are by default flawed. Kings, Presidents, Prime Ministers and Dictators can never create a truly efficient social organisation simply because the purpose and their reason for power is too wide (administration of whole countries), they can’t possibly know the individual needs of each person they rule and their period of holding power is far too stretched.
And there is no need for leaders where leadership is not required.

 

Liberty

We have also discovered that the enlightened ideal of Freedom has endured extreme attacks against itself. We believe that freedom which doesn’t take away the liberty of others should be allowed to be exercised by individuals.

Liberty means a freedom from oppression, suppression, exploitation and violence. It also means a freedom to fulfill our dreams, desires and reach the epitome of our abilities. This is a precondition for Human Happiness and for innovation, along with fluidity — all of these are inherently helpful for adaptation and progress.

Perhaps the strongest argument for liberty is derived from the experience of people living in societies devoid of it.

The societies under dictatorships or ravaged by fundamentalism stand as prime examples.

It is to be understood that a lack of liberty means control which isn’t designed to hinder harm or is made to suppress people’s abilities. This control is always exercised by a group (usually a small group) and is never interested in the well being of the society as a whole but cares only about its own power position.

 

Heterogeneity

Through our exploration of the world and  history, we know that heterogeneity and multiplicity is the essence of the universe.

We find that every society has diverse individuals and every Human has diverse aspects inside their being which can be complementary or even contradictory. A person has both love and hate and anger and peace coexisting inside them.

We believe that it is inherently good and is needed to live fruitfully in the world — to react to and exist in diverse situations that the world invariably provides us with.

We thus reject any force which seeks to kill or exterminate this diversity — both internal and external — through direct coercion or implicit influence.

It is observed by us that the dominant trend throughout the world to bond people together is through an insistence on sameness and a rejection of difference. We believe that this is a self-deflating method as people are heterogeneous both within and in comparison to others.

We believe it is a superior way to bond people in diversity, both in terms of similarity and difference. No two persons are the same and eventually every social group which is based on sameness cracks from within because it is based on a fiction and will inevitably fall apart.

Also, we believe that the difference which is so often suppressed is in fact enriching and helps an individual grow, change and is able to have diverse viewpoints which helps it in adapting to a diverse universe.

We also observe that diversity is often talked about in social groups. The affect of this is people INSIDE the social groups are often encouraged or forced to destroy their internal diversity in order to mould themselves according to the image of their group.

We believe that an individual is the basic unit of human existence. The heterogeneity inside a human being is the only diversity which really matters in practical terms. Social groups are abstract entities which only have meaning when it refers to individuals. We believe that a person has heterogeneous identities, we believe that this is inherently good and we also believe that no one identity of a person should be given prime importance in order to subordinate or reject the other identities that individual possesses.

We maintain a micro-focus on individuals and refuse to talk in terms of homogenising groups.

We also believe that social institutions should not only preserve individual heterogeneity, but should also encourage the multiplication of this internal diversity through the exchange and cross pollination of identities so that an individual is able to reach and exist in ALL the different identities that a person can possibly achieve.

We plan to explore the limits of the range which nature grants us in terms of being, in terms of thinking, feeling, sensing and existing — a simultaneous nuclear explosion brought about by the eternal fusion and fission of identities in ALL individuals.

 

Justice

It is observed that Justice is a human need. That people should get what they deserve. If a person does harm, s/he should be harmed. If a person does good, s/he should be rewarded.

The main problem which arises is in defining what is good and what is bad. It is an ever going debate. But we firmly believe that a lot of things become clear and simplified through a direct experience of the event. The intellectual reasoning seems hollow without it.

However, we also accept that there are no universal rules of morality like there are the universal rules of physics. It is based on the people involved in a situation, the context and the subsequent outcomes. An element of subjectivity will always prevail, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that ALL of them are justified or right.

People have made flimsy arguments that things like violence, starvation, rape, poverty and so on are not necessarily bad, and their value judgement will always be subjective. To such people, we recommend that they EXPERIENCE such events and then tell us if their value judgements should be based on mere opinions.

We don’t yet have an answer, but we acknowledge the fact that the current systems of justice have severe shortcomings and need to be either revolutionised or replaced. However, we also acknowledge that they aren’t entirely defunct and until some bright alternative is found, we should continue with the same institutions while trying to reform them.

 

Uniqueness

We believe that every human being is born unique. They are not equal. They are not unequal.

We reject any universal standards or measures of judgement.

We know that each person has his or her own unique traits and hence, a unique path of progress.

We believe that preserving this path for every individual and the attainment of this path is good for the society as a whole.

The value of every individual is inherently unique and priceless, as no individual is same or born again.

The destruction of this uniqueness for some imagined and accepted model of value or goodness is a loss which can never be compensated.

We believe in hyper-customization of every institution, especially educational ones, in order to cater to the needs and desires of every Human — a necessary micro-focus on every individual.

We envisage that the very space and streets of the society will instantly transform and mould themselves according to unique needs of every person.

 

 

This is our vision for a perfect society which is like a womb which nourishes every individual, helps them find their own path of self-fulfilment and derives priceless benefit from their unique achievement.

We stand by our values and reject any enemies who threaten them. There is no tolerance for the intolerant. There is no freedom for people who threaten freedom.

We are not plagued by indecisiveness or directionless-ness as the era which immediately preceded us was.

Many great philosophers have predicted an end of History — as if it is a problem which only needs resolution and hence an end.

We don’t think Human History has even started. Until and unless all the societies of the world have achieved this womb-like state which we mention, all that happens is of no consequence in the wider arch of grand History. The majority of the Humans are struggling to survive — reaching the epitome and peak of their being is a distant dream.

History will begin with the New Charter.

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Something To Live By


Image

Existence is Fluid;

the Universe is Multiple;

Each Life is Unique;

A Human is Born Free;

Justice is its Need;

Happiness is Holistic;

God is You.

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