Tag: Random Musings

Rebooting life

Rebooting life

Most software programs allow us to undo a deed (by clicking ctrl+z) if we change our mind. Since I work a lot on computers, I sometimes have tended to do the same in real life. I know of some others too who have had similar experiences. Too bad, there is no such option available in real life.

There’s another thing that windows-based computers allow. When a certain program stops responding, we use task manager to shut that program. But at times the culprit program is rather adamant and refuses to respond and even causes the entire system to stop responding. Nothing works. Then the option left to bring the system back on track is to press ctrl+alt+del to reboot the computer.

In life too we encounter such incidents. Some programs stop responding. No matter what we try, those aspects of our life simply don’t react. If only we could press ctrl+alt+del or, in other words, reboot life. Imagine how nice it would be. When something stops working, simply restart life, and everything gets solved. All programs start working again, as if nothing ever went wrong.

Trust and vulnerability

Trust and vulnerability

“We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone — but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.”
~ Walter Anderson

Prayer discussion
Most people find it difficult to trust others. When it comes to trust, there are two basic philosophies:

1. Trust everyone until they prove they’re not trustworthy
2. Don’t trust anyone until they prove they’re trustworthy

IMO, the second way is not about trust. By definition, the moment you need reasons, then you are not trusting…you’re simply trying to hedge your risks. In contrast, genuine trust is an act of faith. Trusting means we are confident that the one we trust can do no wrong, because we’re sure of his/her intentions and integrity. This confidence is not a result of any past experience or other reasons but of an instinctive knowing that is not, usually, rational.

Trusting is the easiest when we love someone. This is because when we trust we know we are vulnerable. And in love we’re willing to be vulnerable. So the ability to take the risk of being hurt is the cornerstone of trust, and, as Anderson puts it, of love and joy.

But it is not trusting others that is the most difficult of challenges…it is trusting the self. We ought to love ourselves to be able to rely on our instincts and our intentions to guide us. We can then trust ourselves enough to be confident of our feelings and emotions.

Perception can be deadly

Perception can be deadly

My recent experience at my workplace corroborated what I have known all along: a seed, if it’s poisonous, should be weeded out as soon as we discover it. If we let it grow into a deep-rooted tree, the fruits will be poisonous too.

Perceptions too begin as seeds and, if not dealt with early enough, grow into deadly, poisonous trees that threaten to destroy the consumers of their fruits. The problem with perception is that it is just that—perception. It’s not necessarily reality. If it is possible to verify the accuracy of the perception—in others words, its closeness to reality—then it must be done as soon as possible, perhaps when it’s still just as tiny as a small seed. That’s because it’s easier to weed out a small seed than it is to uproot a full-grown tree. Besides, a poisonous tree is more likely to spread its kind, because each fruit would have several seeds, each capable of blossoming into a full-grown tree and so on.

High Life

High Life

They are beautiful. They’re rich. They are famous. But the similarity doesn’t end there. Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Nicole Richie have other things in common…like being booked for drunken driving, doing drugs, serving prison terms and going for rehabilitation.

To common folk, these girls have a dream life: looks to die for, good fortune, wealth, fame, fan-following. Or do they?

Having to go to rehab at 20 is not exactly the kind of life anyone would want. But maybe I am old-fashioned, conservative, or even downright boring! “High life” is about taking the risk, get on a high, and indulging in all that is proscribed — after all life’s nothing if not adventurous. Going by this logic, these girls are living their lives to the fullest, aren’t they?

To me, life is a constant high. Unlike what abusing artificial stimulants and substances produce in us, life’s challenges produce a genuine high. Its varied trials, tests and hardships make it adventurous. Its unpredictability makes it risky.

Perhaps the irony is that these are the very things that are missing from the lives of these rich and famous girls. They get everything on a platter. For them, life is easy. They have lived, and are living, a life of utmost comfort. No worries or challenges whatsoever — at least not the kind we common folk have. They have nothing to look forward to. If life is simply great all the time, it becomes monotonous. Much like, if there was only happiness, it would quickly lose meaning because there isn’t anything to compare it with.

The following extract from Tao Te Ching (The Book of The Way) by Lao-Tzu sums up the irony:

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad

Being and non-being create each other
Difficult and easy support each other
Long and short define each other
High and low depend on each other
Before and after follow each other

So, essentially, opposites define each other. And, too easy a life loses definition. I suspect that Lindsay & Co have too much of a good thing going for them — so much so that they get bored of it and therefore “manufacture” worries and challenges to make their lives interesting. When I ponder on what makes celebrities do drugs, indulge in outrageous acts, or break the law (à la our own Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Fardeen Khan), I am tempted to veer towards thinking that they create their own problems to keep their lives exciting even though they may be doing so entirely unbeknownst to themselves.

Of course, this is just my hypothesis and I may be entirely wrong. But it’s worth thinking about…it makes me wonder whether our hardships and difficulties are a blessing in disguise?



Years go by, unchanged. Then life changes, suddenly. What seemed unthinkable for years happens, without warning. This unpredictability is what gives life its character.

That change is imminent is universally accepted. But incremental change doesn’t affect us too much. It’s those sudden, discontinuous, changes that are disruptive. To be sure, disruption is not always negative. It simply ensures that the way things were done or the way life was lived doesn’t remain the same.

Technologically, we have seen many discontinuous changes that have changed our lives forever. It’s easy to think of a tech example. For instance the Compact Disc introduced by Philips & Sony in 1980 suddenly changed the way we listened to music. Prior to that, tapes were the gold standard. CDs disrupted the music scene. We had to now buy CD players because CDs couldn’t be played on tape players. Similarly, digital cameras (still photography) have changed the way we click pictures. Films for still photography are almost extinct.

A discontinuous change also disrupts the invisible realm of our personal lives. Such a change can be a voluntary choice or something inevitable that we must accept.

A career switch into unexplored territory is a voluntary change. It’s planned and its consequences are anticipated. I made a conscious decision a few years ago to be a full-time writer against my original career choice of advertising and marketing management. This was a discontinuous change that changed my life forever. It also disrupted my life…and ensured that it was never the same again.

When we fall in love, most often it produces discontinuous change. Falling in love is involuntary, not a choice we make. But we still have a choice whether to follow those instincts. Of course human beings are not always rational, least of all in love. So love, even though it’s not, appears to be involuntary.

Finally, bereavement is an example of a discontinuous change that is involuntary and in which we have no choice. Such a change is perhaps the most difficult to come to terms with. When someone we love dies, life changes forever. It’s irreversible.

Change, incremental or discontinuous, is an indelible facet of life on planet Earth. Yet ironically, we find resistance to change equally common.

Intelligence and humour

Intelligence and humour

“All religions deserve equal freedom of worship and practice, but none deserves the right to freedom from criticism.” This brilliant comment is of Rowan Atkinson a.k.a. Mr Bean, quoted in Reader’s Digest’s May 2007 issue. The comment proves that Atkinson, besides being a superb comedy actor, is also a very wise and intelligent man. Wise, because he comes across as open-minded; and intelligent, because he is able to hold two seemingly incongruous thoughts in his mind.

I have always believed, for some strange reason, that humour and intelligence are linked. Sorry, I don’t think there is any scientific research to prove this — that’s because I do not necessarily allude to conventional (read MENSA-type) intelligence. Though I did find this page that links humour with creativity.

Also, I differentiate between being humourous and a sense of humour. The latter refers to a having a funny bone, an ability to respond to humour, while the former is the ability to be humorous.

Coming back to humour and intelligence, I think it takes an enormous amount of intelligence to make people laugh, and even more so, at one’s own expense. In fact, self-effacing humour is also a sign of wisdom. It shows that the person is willing to be laughed at, because it matters little to him what others think of him. Such a person seems to know the eternal wisdom of Les Brown’s words: “Other people’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.”

True intelligence is about understanding the limitations of life on planet Earth and therefore realising that it ought not to be taken too seriously. It is no coincidence that Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman were humorous. Sample some of the quotes attributed to Einstein:

  • “The wireless telegraph is not difficult to understand. The ordinary telegraph is like a very long cat. You pull the tail in New York, and it meows in Los Angeles. The wireless is the same, only without the cat.”
  • “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”
  • It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.

If intelligence and humour are allies, then shouldn’t Supreme Intelligence that flows through us be the foremost source of humour? Perhaps it is — imagine looking at this delightful planet from outside, and seeing its inhabitants fighting with each other, killing each other, and most frequently in the name of their creator. Then you would laugh and think: Why on Earth did God put dumb, self-destructive, humourless species such as humans on such an exquisite planet? Perhaps French philosopher Voltaire did get an opportunity to view the world from outer space when he said, “God is a comedian, playing to an audience that is too afraid to laugh”.