Posts Tagged ‘life’
I am a war child, in a manner of speaking. When I came to this world, there was a world war inexorably grinding down to its bitter end. Short of everything that made life easier, the wartime austerity left its scars on me as with all others of my generation. At home a meal was not just a meal without being told we ought to be thankful whatever was ladled out to us. ‘Consider the millions who are orphans elsewhere and you ought to be thankful..’ while the spinach and rice were served, leftovers warmed for the occasion. The parents prided on their duty and knowledge they did it with their sweat of blood. It was thus our meal-time, it was tantamount to a moral issue every time. A clean plate at the end equated with a clean conscience.
Now that I am on my own (I for one eat indifferently) while my siblings and I have learned to put our ghosts behind us. We have no excuses and we dribble a little with our conscience when we splurge on food we have brought from far corners of the earth. Did we not filch with our colossal capital reserves from those who are economically less endowed? We call it free enterprise that they must deliver at our terms. Africa, Asia and Far East we know as country of origin when we survey the overstocked shelves in our supermarkets. Fishes from their rivers feed us and their grains we import wholesale, in cereals, crispies cookies and what not. We supply the cunning to make their produce palatable, We bar code their sweat to make it sell. Moral issues are dismissed with the click of cash register. When we cart our weekly grocery we are only conscious of the parking place and not of some rain forests cleared for biofuel. We of our generation have distanced from the burden of our parent who made both ends with hard cash while we do it on credit. Our families were raised on future promises by living beyond our means. Plastic credit cards opened doors at High Street shops and our children knew branded items gave their childhood pleasures a shine. A pair of Reebok shoes made them forget the boredom of walking to the school bus. Our consumerism dulled our conscience from harsh realities of global trade and commerce unduly. Children learned to appease theirs.
Moral issue of now is made more abstract, since our children have no time to listen to us anyway. They are all into the sweet life of virtual reality, of their consumables and privacy of their own den. We are made to feel more as intruders at home since our economic clout is becoming fainter and less constructive to be providers for all. Of course children have their own means of which we are least in the know. We have our own worries: issues of pension funds to sort out than of children whose worlds are on fast tracks. Our world wherein we lashed ourselves to work ethics and burnt incense before family gods for prosperity is gone; those corporate heads whose appeasement was chief concern also have gone; and so are pension funds.
Coming to think of it we have only ourselves to blame.
Posted in Aesop, fables, history, Aesop and the Ass, modern fable, tagged Benny Thomas, China, Confucius, efficiency, fable, life, philosophy, pioneers, time wasters on July 23, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
“What is the meaning of life?” one asked Confucius. They were passing through a hill country. It was spring. As they climbed down the philosopher said,” It is in the spirit of that old man down there, in his gaiety…see him on a spree, with the butterflies overhead and worms stirring about his feet..”
“I don’t believe your eyesight is sharp enough to see all that from here.” The man was skeptical.
“Perhaps you are right. But my spirit could move into that of the old man and know.” Confucius replied. “Still it doesn’t explain the meaning.” The man murmured.
Next they moved through the plains. They came across a large crowd weeping about a dead body. The widow was almost a child and curiously enough the philosopher thought her smiling inwards as if death came as deliverance; later in the evening the man who was with the philosopher asked, “What is the meaning of life? We were among the dead today.”
Confucius said,” Life holds mysteries and death is merely letting the youth free from the yoke of the old.” The man again asked the master, “What is the meaning of life?”
Confucius pretended as if he didn’t hear him. He said,” I have to go to the City on an urgent business. You may come if you want to.” He nodded.
Before they entered the City they had to pass through a village, which was almost deserted except for the womenfolk and children. Upon enquiries they were told that a great prophet had come to the nearby village holding sermons about the life after death. Meanwhile a man came into view. When the philosopher was told that he was the only one who stayed back, he wanted to speak to him.
Confucius asked if he weren’t interested in the life after death? The man said, “First things first. Being poor I must look after the needful things first, my family needs me. Who will look after them in this life if I were to run after a life which neither the prophet nor anyone else has seen, let alone lived it?”
Turning towards the man who was constantly pestering him as to the meaning of life, the philosopher said, “If you really want to know the meaning, here is the man for you.” With these words he pressed on towards the City.
* Riddle of your life no one can solve but yourself. If you have succeeded you may be pointed out by many as a pioneer. There are so many ways of doing it. To be a pioneer it must be self-evident and can throw light on many knots people needlessly make. Don’t take my word it. Try it yourself.
The Secret Of the Rainforests
In a rainforest the ground cover receives only filtered sunlight. Whereas plants in the middle growing from branches of trees get more share of light. They get light but not as much as trees at the crown. These tree canopies receive sunshine directly from sunrise to sundown. If the ground cover and plant life on the middle were to survive they would require the wind to do its job. The wind has been at work for months and years striking the canopies together gradually wearing away here and there, letting more sunshine in. In time it so does, by a gust of wind some trees shall be sent down, clearing the way for the ground cover to survive; fire also does its own bit. These are not disasters but Nature’s way of clearing the old and useless so the rainforests may still flourish. Do we call the wind as cruel? Or blame the trees for denying the ground cover adequate sunlight?
Nature’s way of things in this instance can be applied to life of every man and woman. Change is a secret. It has its own rules. But rules apply on physical realm where everything changes. Our youth is no guarantee; much less can we crow about our material possessions. Happiness is that state of life and keeps itself whole and impervious to changes. It is in fact an higher state of life of working with Nature. We did not came into being by exercising our will; nor will we prevent death from sweeping us away. This too shall soon pass but happiness is placing ourselves beyond the Rule of Changes.
Happiness of trees is regardless of age or external circumstances; we humans are no less special.
Posted in history, philosophy, tagged Benny Thomas, historical narrative, history, life, narrative, non-persons, Seige of Stalingrad, shifts in focus, simplification, the enemy at the gates, Vasily Zaitsev on June 1, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
During the bitter struggle for Stalingrad in the Second World War the Germans had the initial advantage but the element of surprise was worn thin by the indomitable courage of the Russians who were fighting for the Motherland. The Russians would not give up and were reduced to fight for every street. In this close combat snipers were an essential part. Vasily Zaitsev was a hero who killed some 300 Germans. He was awarded by the Party for his crucial role.
If one reads German invasion of Soviet Russia the siege of Stailngrad is reduced to a few pages and the role of Vasily may be told in a line at the most. Suppose we were to look at the whole WWII the role of Vasily, most certainly will be left out. In simplification some shift in focus is necessary.
It is like reducing the earth to the size of a golf ball. There shall be no Grand Canyon or the Himalayas. It will be smoother than the golf ball. We are all players in terms of history. Only that we don’t get written about. Our waking lives we may not have place for anything else but of ourselves. Yet we have become non-persons in the human narraive of time and place.
In a couple of weeks I hope to celebrate my birth day. Should I treat it as a day of sorrow? You see I am coming into the wrong side of sixties. But incurable and hopeless idiot I am for a good laugh, I could celebrate it for another reason. You see I am still on the good side of seventies.
On looking back I see the moments of panic and shudder in my life and see nothing I feared did really happen. Fear of parents,teachers who breathed fire and rattled rulers and imposition are all gone. Faces of martinets and House rules are out focus. A nasty marriage divorce, and the fearful step unto the unknown are equally behind me. From where I stand clarity of life as I imagined and how it has been give me a new insight. Clarity of life as a whole, places emphases elsewhere; the reality is much more significant since I can see many chain of events that I had merely treated then as coincidence connect and a few others disappear as of no consequence.
My trust in grace of God and in the mysteries of life has been vindicated. Love as an experience I find far more important and satisfying than a life of ideas. What are sparks of ideas without the reality of life? What is love but the nature of life given the wick to burn? I hope my wife and I shall be warmed even as old age is about us.
Least of These ©
The gods were sure the leech was a mistake: an animal that somehow got out of hand. How well they had thought to the creation of lions and the like! But leech was clinging on to each as though it would solve his problem. The gods were in a fix. He was their creature.
Atlas holding up the earth developed DVT and somewhere a vein burst. He had his hands full so he asked the leech to do something about it. Of course he stanched the flow of blood and the vein closed itself as by magic. The gods who watched it were unimpressed, ”There is nothing to it. A beginner’s luck.” It was Hera who said, ”Just the same we shall keep him around. Accidents can happen.”