Friday, May 12, 2006

Happiness and Amoeba!

Have been (slightly) busy but actually far more confused, so blogging has taken a back seat. Perhaps things will continue like this for a while now.

Just a random, rambling entry (provoked by V's comment on the last post)...

I had an interesting conversation with my flat mate this morning about the "scientific detachment" that I always claim to have towards everything in life, something like "my relationship with this world is exactly that of what would be between a scientist and his specimen" or "I am an anthropologist from some other planet. Other people and their happiness etc for me are just subjects of study, a way of gaining knowledge" or "my job is to see and to understand as an impartial observer, with absolutely no stakes and absolutely no desire to participate in the proceedings".

Of course this is all as stupid as it sounds. I am still attached to so many things (and thank god for that) like family, (few) friends, career etc but yes I have gotten over so many other things... Like money (to an extent, minimum required for a respectable bourgeois life) and more importantly, the omnipresent, the bane of modern life, the status anxiety. Jealousy or envy just doesn't bother me at all. Other people's success or happiness, professional, spiritual, material, romantic, sexual (I am being honest here!)...any kind, just doesn't do anything to me. Stories of those so called successful people (you know, the types who grow from humble backgrounds to become an investment banker) just bore me to death.

I think I am reasonably detached from my surroundings to have a scientific approach towards life and live with it comfortably but it is only sometimes that things get hazy and messed up and that's when it is the time to see "inside" as V asked me to do. Okay, so off to do some introspection now. Bye!


Madhur said...

i think this 'scientific detachment' is akin to schopenhauer's idea of a 'pure concious subject', a pure observer, who has no interest in playing the game or plays it just enough to maintain a respectable bourgeoise life as you mentioned.
when i read a materialist theory on life, like jared diamond, dawkins or gray, its pure horror, it completely decimates my liberal humanist view on life, which i turn to every now and then, because i have invested so much time and energy in it, because it also gives me a reason to get up in the morning, because it's very self destructive to remain a nihilist all the time, so in pure reductionist terms, im just a monkey lookin to create some grandiose meaning, ok so now what do i do?
things will always be hazy, there is no escape, looking inside = take refuge in subjectivity, which is blissful, this is what deepak chopra sells as 'spirituality', you begin to love kierkegaard and kieslowski films, and then this eternal question will rise to haunt you again, ok now what? happy blog bday btw..

Zero said...

I rather like to be the amoeba (specimen) and blissfully submerge in the overwhelming ignorance that I possess, indulge a bit in some quest here and there, and wade/glide through life akin to sipping coffee.

P.S.:- I nodded deilghtfully reading every word of what Madhur had to say. In fact, my blog in it's entirety, talks and talks about subjectivity, "liberal humanist" (whatever that meant) thing and still manages to mean nothing..

Zero said...

Not to mention the foremost reason for my nodding-in-delight act is the mention of Kieslowski!

Qais said...

I didn't think, a conversation will turn you into such a deep introspection and confession.

But on a different note this blog is turning into a diary. Now it appears as reading an autobiography than a novel.

AJ said...

scientific approach to life...detached. wow

Alok said...

Madhur: I don't think there really is any conflict between having a materialist and reductionist view of life and retaining an overall humanist worldview. I, for one, wouldn't want my humanism to be just another version of wishful thinking, just another false religion.

I believe it is possible to live a life full of love etc even while retaining a completely scientific worldview.

and yes i agree, taking refuse in subjectivity just looks like escape... another form of wishful thinking, or perhaps non-thinking. at best it is a temporary escape route.

Zero: you remind me of dostoevsky's underground man. he says that human consciousness is a disease and that we could do well to live with insect consciousness -- live, reproduce, die... and this is exactly how "normal" and "successful" people live anyway, well almost! :)

Qais: thanks for the note. I will take care in future. this blog should remain mostly impersonal as it always was.

aj: thanks for visiting!

Zero said...

I suppose you meant "human conscience." I don't disregard conscience; in fact, I "celebrate" it much as it sounds like a Karan Johar film! Probably, Amoeba had a "conscience" too :P.
What I tend to disregard (and fail as often) is science.

Alok said...

I actually meant self-consciousness. for our everyday needs and to succeed in life as a "man of action" you don't need too much of self-awareness. on the contrary, self-awareness often leads to indecision and paralysis of will. that's why i gave the example of amoeba.

Zero said...

Hmmm.. Then may be I like to be somewhere in that ballpark.
But, "human consciousness" is good too. Heck, I probably meant nothing. Give me a word (except Agnostic) for such a stand (except my "name" :P), now that you like to be the "scientist"!

Zero said...

Ignore my previous comment. I got carried away with the conversation... :)

Alok said...

Ohh no problem zero!! It is just not the best way to have a conversation ;)

btw, pick up Notes from Underground if you haven't already read it. It will clear up lots of things. It also makes powerful arguments against what I wrote in the post, against life of scientific detachment and rationalism.