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.