Thoughts & Things

Three cheers/thoughts for 2019

December 31, 2018

One major difference between man and other animals is that man has an idea of his past, present and future. This gives him the possibility to introspect, correct and move on with hope to the future. This also makes his life an improvement from the lives of his previous generations in most aspects. ( Of course, the idea of improvement may be debatable!)  Perhaps there is no better time to mix this introspection and hope like a new year. After all who won’t like the idea of a fresh beginning? Another chance to begin all over again and another shot at life.  That is why perhaps a lot of people opt for new year resolutions which for many people appear more tempting to break than adhere to. In this season of resolutions and wish lists here are my thoughts for the new year.  For so many people, life is absurd and bereft of any meaning. But still, none of them takes a gun and shoots themselves. And that’s enough reason to raise a toast for 2019.                                                          

It all begins with the individual

The world  doesn’t need more noise . Don’t complain. Set an example.(Zat Rana).

It is easy to rue the system and wait for revolutions and redeemers. It is also easy to become a firebrand activist in social media. We have no shortage of opinions and no dearth of collective fault-finding.  But now the question is where shall we begin the revolution?  As we step into a new year, the question in everyone ’s mind is who will take the lead in delivering a better world for us and our children?  The answer is we, each one of us. This is easier said than done.  Ultimately it all boils down to the individual action.  In our families,  in our workplaces, in our surroundings do we act as agents of change? Is there a gulf between what I do and what I desire? This is a time to introspect about our individual acts of initiative, courage and compassion.  A  collection of responsible citizens make a responsible nation.  A collection of compassionate individuals make a compassionate country.   Take the simple example of pollution.  This is a menace which is going to affect us the most in the coming years. What am I doing?  Am I responsible for my behaviour? Or take the case of utilisation of resources such as water, electricity or various natural resources. Do I use it recklessly?  Do I waste food?  This is something we can extend to almost every activity.  How do I drive my vehicle?  Do I  bribe and prefer to jump the queue and get things done ? To sum up, as we begin the new year this is the only thing we can tell ourselves. The change begins with the individual and every revolution begins with an individual filled with firm convictions. Don’t worry if you are able to take only a small step. Every significant change is the sum of such small steps.  When everyone sets an example it will change the earth.

Attention is everything

Do stuff. be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. stay eager.( Susan  Sontag)

Except small children almost every human being realises much early in life that, human life is limited. We are mortals. We  are not here for an eternity  with the luxury to do everything  leisurely.  But at the same time, a continuous running is not the best way to spend life. Attention towards  the life before us is very important. The life of modern man is much more complex than his predecessors. The hunter-gatherer had only limited concerns.  We have an overwhelming number of things to experience now.  But every day is still 24 hours and life expectancy is unlikely to change much.  Now the question is how much we pay attention to our everyday life, to the people we come across and to our responsibilities.  How much time we spend to relish the finer things of life? Are we running so fast missing may things on the way? Perhaps this New Year is one occasion to pause and reflect.  This is the time to  pay utmost attention to things at hand.  What ultimately matters is the quality of life and not the quantity. Being mortal we have only so much time to do everything. We have a duty to pay total attention to our job, our family and all things that matter. Do we find quality  time to talk to our children?  Do we find time to listen to our aged people? Sometimes all that they want is a  pair of ears to tell their stories. Are we spoiling the beauty of many of our experiences  by doing many things  attime.  Our attention is the most valuable asset and we are called upon to use it to the best advantage.  Perhaps the most important skill we need to teach our children now is to pay attention.

Know your neighbour

Why do people have to be this lonely? What’s the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?(Haruki Murakami) 

One of the ironies of this age is the way we are connected and disconnected at the same time.  Technology has brought mankind together unlike all previous ages. Everyone is a click away.  But at the same time, people are also experiencing loneliness in their own way.  Are we missing our neighbours in the whole connectivity game?  When I say neighbour, it means a wide range of people.  How connected are we to our family,  our spouses,  our colleagues, people living next door, travelling in the next seat and so on and on. Technology has made it possible for us to connect with people thousands of miles away. But it has also made many people lead a life far away from their neighbourhood.  Another area of concern is the way we create artificial divisions among ourselves.  Often we find it difficult to understand someone holding a different opinion. Many countries are becoming exclusive and many are finding it difficult to embrace a different language or a religion or a culture. Perhaps this year can be one to reach out to others. A time to know people more.

Darkness of the womb

The future is dark, with a darkness as much of the womb as the grave. (Rebecca Solnit)

The most important four-letter word on 1st January 2019  is HOPE.  It is this four-letter word which sustains life against all odds. In the midst of all gloom and despair man hopes that the new year will be better than the previous ones.  As Solnit says let people bet on the darkness of the womb. A darkness which contains the possibility of a new life.  On a personal note,  this Blog was born towards the end of 2018.  I remain indebted to all my readers for the overwhelming support towards my writings here.  That’s reason enough for me to do more experiments in this space during 2019.  Before closing this post, let me wish all my dear readers across the globe, a very warm and prosperous New Year.

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  • Reply
    siby john
    January 2, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    a very apt piece for a very new year.

  • Reply
    Tony Zacharia
    January 15, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    I like the positivity of your writings. All the best as you strive forward and wish for your perseverance and discipline to keep your planned schedule of writing this blog.

    “What ultimately matters is the quality of life and not the quantity”Liked this comment as I too sense some of the truth in it,but its a challenge to accept that human beings are imperfect and are work in progress.

    A quote i like much as I start on the door steps of 2019…
    Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it. Blaise Pascal

    • Reply
      Boby George
      January 19, 2019 at 3:45 pm

      thank you for those nice words.

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