Different priorities exist. Broadly, Maslow established them at a high level, and I try to think about them at some level of granularity that might or might not fit into his framework.
Partition of India, the Holocaust, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Corruption in the corridors of power, Organizational Behavior, Poverty, Administration, Political Science, Computer Science, Logic, Formalization, and various other aspects of my world hold me captive. These affect me deeply. But this is almost always restricted to the intellect. I get depressed or elated when I am reading about them, when I am talking about them, when I am writing about them. But rarely have these affected me from within – Deeply.
Emotionally, I am much more troubled by close death, lost love, nostalgia, scary social embarrassment, great effort leading up to nothing, strained relationships with loved ones, and so on, and in no particular order. With limited success, I have tried to intellectually rationalize the pain which these bring. This reasoning works – but only during the reasoning period. Then, there is some peace; everything is not actually over; desperation is not at its peak; hope has not hit rock bottom. But as the reasoning period fades, as friends with whom I am talking go their ways, as the bottle becomes empty, the intellectual rationalization disappears, and pain almost always re-appears. Only time heals these wounds. Slowly, and hopefully, surely.
It seems that the earlier priorities that I mentioned, which are global, both in time and scope – never seem to hold emotional water to soothe the emotional pain. There is this phase of rationalizing which has to connect these, to give me the big picture, and console me to some extent. Why is it that the big priorities of life never become emotionally so close that they actually take care of the almost trivial emotional pains even before they begin? Why do I have to go through the rationalization phase every time?
To give an example – say I am screwed in an even imperfect relationship, it’ll take me ages to recover emotionally. But at that moment, when the emotional pain hits, there needs to be this emotional feeling for the burgeoning Indian Population that puts it all into perspective, and the relationship pain just doesn’t seem important at all. This is not instinctive. As of now, there are many sessions of rationalization that are needed to get here. This is the elusive reconciliation I am looking for.
It will bring its own problems. I might end up being perpetually sad, emotionally, about all the problems facing humanity. I cannot comprehend that situation right now. But well, if it ever happens, I’ll have to see how to handle that.
4 thoughts on “Reconciliation of the elusive kind”
As always, Great post. Could not ‘rationalize’what caused this significant post to be blogged. Matka Exams have ended, right??.
With Great Power comes Greater responsibility!.
Also to add :-
With great chicks comes great headaches.
Great chicks. Touche. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
As for causal relationships – well – some other time maybe.
You need to realize that you are a man of flesh and blood before you expect too much outta urself.
In my utopia, I’d visualize a setup in which the global and the local have profound effect on each other. I’d love to see a world in which if you do good to the society you end up rich, emotionally content, happy in family life and vice versa.
Capitalism, in some ways implements what I said. The logic goes like this. If you do good to a good number of people, they will do good to you in return for your service. In the simplest mechanism, they might choose to pay you. And you can buy most of what is on sale, with money. If you want to get paid more intangibly, you can ask for love, goodwill, respect…. as payment for your service.
Let me give a colloquial sounding example. Let us say, you take up the cause of fighting India’s population explosion. And let us say that you have the skills to implement something in that direction. It is not impossible to come up with an action plan and sell the idea to a few likeminded people. These likeminded people can pool in their brains and efforts and it is feasible to see some action on ground. With this much, you have a platform ready to approach businessmen, politicians and the media. These are people and organizations who have a stake in social good or who stand to make gains from social good. You are free to network with these men who matter and use the network for your personal benefits. And no. This is not in conflict with your ideal to serve the community. You are just getting a few friends to help you. Period. And you have the right to do so regardless of whether you are a social worker or not.
However, capitalism does have a big hole. You can profit by serving others. But you can also profit by ruining others. For instance, IBM profits by serving Walmart. IBM also profits by paying its people well. But, regrettably, IBM profits by snatching business from HP! So, if we can come up with a system in which there are no win-lose games, we can dream of doing good globally while we do good to ourselves