Thoughts & Reflections

Think beautiful, live beautiful.

Category: Personal

Of Rationality, Conscience and Temperament

Rationality, or the art of acting and understanding according to one’s conceptions of rational (reasonable) arguments is one of the foremost qualities of a virtuous life. Conscience, is the guiding principle, the jury, so as to say, within each one of us that lays the foundation of our rationality. Temperament, defines the innate tendencies (that may either facilitate or hinder) of a human being to act in accordance to his character.

This essay explores the interrelationships between the three guiding principles that act as the basis of our actions. Rationality is assumed to be an absolute, irresolute and unchanging conception guided by unbiased reasons. These reasons are assumed to be independent of time, space or being on whom the concept acts. Temperament is the other extreme of rationality; being the emotional self of any being that asserts its intrinsic and individualistic influence and affect one’s actions. Conscience is an individual quality too; however, it is assumed to be true to one’s nature and heavily affected by one’s character and conceptions that change slowly over time and is a more generalized notion. The conscientious self is aware, awakened, capable of comprehending one’s moral responsibilities, one’s rational concepts and at the same time one’s temperamental flaws. It is essentially the seat of one’s judgement posterior to actions and judgements taken by the self.

Every action that one takes has a primal causal element to it. The categorization of the causes of an action is thus guided by any of the following three views:

  1. The rational view
  2. The conscientious view
  3. The temperamental view

The hypothesis that this essay purports is that for an individual to be able to lead a virtuous and peaceful life, rationality has to be the most essential component that pushes oneself into acting.

The rational view and the temperamental view, in general, tend to be the a priori forces acting as basis of most of our actions. The conscience, tends to mold our conceptions of the results of our actions besides at times being the cause themselves.

Temperament, by essence is temporal extremely dependent on one’s conceptions of the present. Our understanding of the world around us is essentially ephemeral. We harbor myriad biases, misunderstandings. Our inferences are based on generalizations that may be not rest solely on true facts. We tend to be inward looking and are therefore guided more by the ideas that favor our own self. Temperaments tend to be outlived by preposterous results of our own actions triggered by such biased ideas.

Rationality is solidified by reasons and understanding associated with any stimulus. Any troublesome situation has a rational response associated to it. When devoid of any rational view, one should adhere to a moral viewpoint. It would ensure that one’s actions have support of one’s long held conceptions, thereby not being temporal. Thought processes that are built up over a larger period of one’s life tend to be more structured and have better results.

The conscientious view, being all aware, tends to be correct and morally correct. Posterior to our actions, when emotions drain out and understanding seeps in, this view takes note of our actions. Conscience tends to be place that infuses satisfaction or sorrow into the results of our own actions. Thus, the underlying guide to our own satisfaction in life is this conscience which is independent of our emotions in the long run.

The curse of rationality lies in the observation that it is hard to practice. As beings, we are born with an essential desire to be impulsive, guided by the moment rather than an understanding evolved over a larger period of time. Our rational self requires time and effort to develop into a self sustaining being within. At times, it requires extreme patience and belief in oneself to follow the path of reason. As erroneous beings the probability that one would forgo the rational path will always be finite. Emotions tend to be powerful and tend to decline as we grow old giving way to the rational self. Conscience, on the other hand, matures through understanding, learning, experience itself. Conscience is ever present within us, yet takes a large time to awaken from the slumber it resides in. Quite often, we tend to jump to action, skipping the more patient path of rationality. The jump infuses a sense of energy within leaving us with emotions running higher. There are areas where being passionate definitely help and reasons tend to fail. In such circumstances, conscience could be the guide yet the source of strength has to be passion and not reason. Barring, such situations that require an extreme level of outdoing oneself, normal life tends to be better guided by reason and logic.

The wishlist !!

So, I have been reading too many wish lists lately and therefore thought of writing down one for my own self too. It would be great to be able to complete these before I move on to my next life.

  1. Live on a beach for some days.
  2. Run a marathon (10 Km in under an hour).
  3. Go on a road trip to some distant location (something like a trip to Leh).
  4. Go to Tibet, live a monk’s life for a week/month.
  5. Cook a full  meal my self.
  6. Go to a graduate school. Become a doctor (not the one which cures others).
  7. Publish my own book (a book on my favorite poems).
  8. Attend a live concert (preferably Coldplay).
  9. Do volunteer social work for an extended period of time.
  10. Start a social enterprise. 
  11. Find someone who loves me, propose and marry her (try and try and at last you succeed).
  12. Contribute something significant to the open source (yeah, a geeky contributor too).
  13. Complete my wishlist of places I want to visit – New Zealand (for its beauty), Norway (I want to see the sun at 12 am), Switzerland,  Amsterdam (you know why :P).
  14. Have a six (at least a 4) pack abs for a short period of time.
  15. Buy my mother a Honda City.
  16. Learn a musical instrument.
  17. Try sky diving, bungee jumping – getting closer to death.
  18. Publish a top tier conference paper all alone by myself. 

    To Be Continued ……

The year that was 2012 !!

The year that was  2012 – An Intro !! 

2012 was an eventful year, with a lot of disappointments, some success and lot of things to learn. The year started off with a series of rejections, apparently my resume was not competitive enough as compared to other applicants who applied to those schools. So, that went there and I ended up through one of the saddest phases of my life (blog), which ended up pretty well I guess.

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Sometimes in solitude, 
sometimes in loneliness, 
you realizes the powers, 
that lie hidden 
Sometimes in pain, 
sometimes in sorrow, 
in defeat, and anguish,
lie your greatest potential

Reminiscences of my failures

“Failures in life can teach a man more than any success can” – and any failure should never impede your growth in this journey called life. This is a blog of one of the most disappointing times of my life.

The Backdrop:
The story begins from the start of my undergraduate days. As a child I have had a lot of respect for those in academia. Scientists had always intrigued me as a child. I developed a zeal for studies. And so when it came to choosing between a good college and my preferred stream of study, I chose the latter, with an aim to go further into the field to explore my interests. And I joined Computer Science at Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. I was doing well academically (in terms of Grade Point Average – a performance measure needed for applying for higher studies), was doing well in most of the courses and my relationship with my advisers were not bad to say the least.
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From a friend’s perspective to a friend !!!!

We were classmates in standard VIth and then she left the school. We were hardly acquainted with each other. So. I was never reminded of her until I saw on her on Facebook. She looked any ordinary friend from my school. I could remember her ever so slightly. We then became friends first on Facebook. For up to 3-4 months there were hardly any chats, I can recall.

It was in the summer of 2011 that we were really started chatting. I was on an internship in the University of New Hampshire, US. She had a summer break. To start off with, I was a bit reluctant to talk. I prefer to do my own studies and have a limited set (3-4) friends I usually talk on the internet. Yet she seemed to be very upbeat and insisted on chatting. The initial phase was a bit boring. I really had topics to chat on. She gave me topics, asked about what I liked, what I did not, I asked her back too. We talked about relationships at times what kind  of a partner would we like, she asked me about my internship work to which my replies were too mundane to her. I asked her about what they do at law (OK she is a lawyer, I forgot to tell you that). We talked about our friends, our common friends – who had come to what over all these years. And so went on a long series of quite funny and yet interesting conversations for a period of 2 and a half months. Initially it was her who used to ping me, then I started to look out for her pings and then it became so customary for her to ping me at specific time to the extent that I would feel bad if I did not get her ping. Then I started pinging her back and there was no stopping to our conversations. I was quite alone on my internship and I felt refuge in a friend like her who would keep my spirits up when I felt friendless.

My internship ended by about July 2011. I came back to India. I was really looking forward to getting to know of my newly formed friend. From chats the conversations shifted to phone calls which which she seemed surprisingly happy. From calls to frequent texts and over a period of 2-3 months we used to a point of sharing so many details with each other, every problem asking for advice on little issues, leg pulling, much to the amusement.  We were to get back to our homes in December – the semester break (we live in the same city still). So, we planned a lot over a month or so as to how we would meet. It seemed to me that I had started to like this girl, who came from nowhere and coaxed a person like me (who dreads the other sex so much that he gets nightmares in talking to them) in talking and sharing some of the closest feelings with her. Yet I was in denial and I put it up as just attraction and she would just another friend and nothing more (which I came to know was not really the case later on).

Meanwhile, we met in December. We had two meetings. One at a coffee shop (that may be one day I would never be able to forget) and second a lunch. She looked to me like the perfect friend, who understood me the best and was ready to give time to share her thoughts with me and listen to my own views. It was like an unlikely friendship – that entailed only two meetings and yet we knew so much about the other person. It was then that she started to realize that things were going in the wrong directions and she had never intended to be in any kind of relationship with me (but by now the damage had been done). She was pretty clear about it from the start yet her intentions never met with how she went about our friendship and I could not realize that I was so much in love with her that it would take so much time to get over her (FYI – the process is still on). She still wanted us to be friends. I must tell you that I am pretty bad at convincing people (would make a terrible manager) and give in to people’s requests easily and so be it. I tried explaining her that it would too difficult for us to be friends for I knew how much I liked her and would bring pain and nothing else. Still she reasoned that breaking a friendship was never going to solve anything and that she liked me as a friend. I agreed.

Then there was a period of retrospection where I could not understand (and still have not) as to what went wrong. Why was I not able to interpret her feelings ? What could I do to go on with my life ? How could I forgo of my feelings for her ?
Well I have realized that it is hard for one to forget someone you have true feelings for. If  your emotions have ever been true for someone then it takes a very long time to realize the separation. And now whenever I look at any of her pics, messages etc. it reminds me of that beautiful period, of those pristine memories and yet wonderful emotions that our friendship had evoked. I have tried my level best to let go of her, perhaps a fight would have served the purpose but you cannot not hurt the heart you loved and therefore I remain to linger on with a pseudo-friendship just so that she does not feel bad.  However, the sad part with such a friendship (where you still have feelings deep down your heart) is that you cannot do anything about it. It cannot end and there is no path for it to proceed. It stopped half a year ago and you remain stuck up at that place.

I think may be the fault was with me that I had become over eager to be with her. May be I should have not expected too much from her and may be she was right in saying that we are just friends (I cannot accept that how much I try). I realized my feelings not when things were fine, but when it was all over – strange is life and yet stranger are human – human relations !!!!!



Life Vs Death

Answer to a question posted on Quora –

Everyone has a right to choose between life and death.
Living is meaningless, painful, tiresome and requires effort.
There are no gods, no spirits, no souls, no afterlives, no reincarnation.
There is no pain or effort or tiredness involved in death.
Why should anyone choose to keep living?

The answer would vary from person to person, for the understanding of life is a personal conception. There are several reasons why people choose life

1. People are scared of dying, because we are not sure what will happen to us after death. 
No one really has the answer to the question as to what really happens to us after death. Religion provides us with some answers. There is no sure proof. Besides, death has an in-built psychological connotations that make us afraid. It is regarded as a negative term. People are afraid of being alone too. Life is perceived as a blessing.

2. Emotions bind us to our the people we know.
For most of us, love is such a binding force that keeps us alive, provides us with energy, meaning and takes way all the tiredness from our lives. Death means a separation from those dear ones. Some have responsibilities too and they want to fulfill them before their lives. Some live for their love ones. Hence, emotional bonding with our dear ones is an important factor that keeps us from dying. Or lives evolves in a society and society has evolved to support our lives. The foremost factor must be the society that keeps us from dying.

3. Human race is essentially pleasure seeking.
We are a very optimistic race. We spend our lives unconscious of the inevitable death that looms large on our life. As we live, we understand that there would be pain. Yet, there are moments of pleasure too. We keep working towards those moments of pleasure. We learn from others. Achievement of our aim leads to an increment in the zeal, that propagates our will to live. It is a cyclic process. Ever wondered why do we actually feel jealous when others are happy ? For the exactly same reason. We live to be happy. And a moment of happiness becomes a sweet memory that motivates us to live. We are essentially a material seeking lot, and there is material once you are dead.

4. Humans build up aims, meaning to their lives.
We are very intelligent species. We have attached so much meaning to our lives that we have hardly any time to think up on death. We have so much cognitive knowledge. Our mind has evolved to learn facts. The dearth for knowledge, money, etc. pushes us to live. The lack of satisfaction is one quality that contributes to our will to live. We are a very competitive race too. Hence, we want to be the best. Theoretically only one can be the best and so you see every one keeps trying.

5. We are monkeys following each other. 
Since, people do not believe in death no body attempts it. We are followers of our society. If a person has no meaning left in his life and life becomes too painful then death could relieve him. However, since nobody is dying he would not attempt that too. Emulating our peers is a very common habit, since that is considered a stable state of life. So once had people been popularizing death, you would actually be asking the opposite question as to why do all die off so quickly, why do we not try to live ?

Some other reasons are:

6. Some are just not bothered about their lives.
7. Death is seen as a state of powerlessness.
8. The pain of death brings fear to the human mind

December Chills

Amidst all the end semesters, placements, holidays, birthday pranks and the dropping temperatures I got to learn a lot of lessons from life, this December.

One was never to gauge yourself from the point of view of others, courtesy the placement experience we just had. It has to be one of the most stressed out time of the undergraduate studies. Companies looking to select the best of the lot, some resorting to  stress tests, some to advanced interview questions and some to simple no mistake acceptance policy. One wonders what companies expect from students.

Once you get placed life becomes a little more peaceful. For those apping the winter still brings more challenges with uncompromising professors from whom getting recommendations becomes more like stealing a prey from a lion’s den.

Then comes the sweet journey back home, where friends present to you a whole new perspective of life that life still can be beautiful without too much of money, that intellectual achievements are not the only parameters you judge a person with. Life has much more to it than just superficial numbers we keep on running after in our college life, wherein we lose out on  some of those very precious moments spent with our dear ones, and all those smiles and cries, wherein we become more and more machines churning out solution to mathematical problems and yet never trying to understand life itself.

The journey of life has much more than just money and we never realize that easily, spending so much trying to achieve what others could not and never for a moment thinking  up on the motive of our actions or its repercussions. May be some day we would be able to grasp some of these ideas and understand ourselves better.

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