Thursday, October 01, 2009

Fortunate But Ungrateful

Life is unfair. Life is unjust. Life also has a way of balancing out the positives and the negatives. Sometimes, it becomes so arduous a task, that living itself is a cumbersome process. But, if you are to ruminate on a leisurely evening all by yourself and try to figure out whether life has been kind to you, the answers might throw you off-balance - completely.

This post is a product of such a ruminating and illuminating evening.

I have heard this many a time that we take the very obvious things for granted in life. We do. Like having the privilege of access to a sound education. Having the resources to pursue your dreams. Having a support system in the form of our parents. Almost getting everything that we have aspired for. Maybe not in time but eventually.

We forget that the absence of any one of them might create a situation which could have hampered and altered the course of our lives beyond imagination. We are not expected to win always. We should not. Or rather we cannot.

There are 2 ways of looking at our present state. What could have been if we were born in a better situation and likewise what could have been if we were born to the opposite? Just the harrowing prospect of the negatives of one compared to the opulence and comfort of the other will lead us to the conclusion that we are not that worse off in life.

So, when we think of our seeming failures or unsucessful attempts at many things in life which seem to be futile now, we curse our inability to make it happen. For we have in many cases seen people, who we think are undeserving, to have nearly got away with everything in life. The fallacy of the argument lies in the fact that we are no one to judge whether they are undeserving or deserving or whether what they have is what they wanted in life. Even if they did want and get them, it is only probabilistic that such aberrations will occur.

We should, ideally, judge by what makes us happy. More often, we judge ourselves by our peers. And even more, by the standards or parameters of success which our ever beloved society has ingrained in us. Owning a house, a car and a beautiful wife to name a few and in that order!A good life does not necessitate any of the above.

As typical humans we should try to find someone to shift the blame upon and crucify him. Once that is done and we have had our conscience satiated, we can safely go home thinking we have solved the problem, hardly realizing that we have only had a brush with the symptoms. Like all problems, the problem with aspirations, starts with the upbringing. Once you teach the child to work around the system and ask him to perform at every level, with minor considerations for what he wants, you have sown the seeds of near maniacal competitive spirit which stinks of a rat race.

The only thing we can and should teach our children would be the value of freedom and to be responsible for the consequences of the choices they make. For that, we first need to respect their choice. For that to happen, we first need to respect our own. For that, we have to have a liberal and fearless mind. And therein lies the problem. We are so sucked in, we are so self-congratulatory, we are so obsessed with being 'successful' that we are almost paranoid of failure. We do not provide for sufficient leeway for our children to fail for we know that in the final analysis it is going to hurt us more.