• Jeresh Charles

Of 2 AM Thoughts,

The world moves on, it never stops.

The sun rises and sets.

The moon waxes and wanes and yet those caught in tragedies are abruptly stopped just to witness their entire lives crumble. Nothing stops for them, they are left in a microcosm of their own grief and never is their grief truly validated. They hardly have anyone who will mourn with them. We move on as well, when tragedy strikes, for that is the nature of survival - adapt or be lost to the vagaries. It is an important trait and promotes a conclusion that those who handle grief better are stronger than those who cannot, for only in moving forward can we escape the pull of decay. I bring this up in the context of evil, not moral evil that exists within, rather the kind that brings disasters and accidents, heartbreaks and the like. But is it really true? Are we only defined by the strength we display in tragedy or is there more to the resilience of humans as a species?

Fundamentally, every culture can be defined in terms of what they worship. Some worship the storm, the sun and the stars, the forces of nature. Some worship the pantheon of gods while others worship the One and some worship none. Our culture, speaking globally, has birthed a peculiar form of worship.

The worship of the self.

We have self-help speakers, self-motivation, self-reliance and as the ultimate icon of narcissism, the selfie. We promote individual rights and define subjectively what appeals to us morality for an individual and then to our utter dismay find that it never was about us. We shun responsibility because it’s easier to hide the wrong than repent. Without accountability, we count ourselves free but is that freedom?

Is there a point to the rant above?

Yes, there is, for sometimes it's in the abstract that we find beauty but soon the novelty wears off and we pull the mask off to reveal the old within.

The familiar stench of failure assaults us, the failure to set our sights on better goals, removed from our baser instincts, as we find our depraved selves craving more, to satisfy the deep hunger that besets our souls.

The hunger to run after what the self desires, that seemingly satisfies us and ignore all else. The strange and false comfort of the familiar, while it may have been an important survival tool for the caveman, it is hardly suitable for a life where everything around us changes fast, maybe even faster than we can adapt. And yet life calls for us to move on, to move on from ourselves to see the world through the eyes of another. To witness reality from a different observing point of view.

This image taken from Dante's Inferno shows the sin of gluttony, the greed of mankind depicting in a brutal fashion what humans are capable of doing to each other in the pursuit of their desires
The sin of GLUTTONY depicting what the greed of man is capable of doing to another in the pursuit of his desires

We want to satisfy ourselves, in tragedy and in happiness, in life and in death, in beauty and in ugliness, in poverty and in riches, in sickness and in health, in love and in apathy. We are engines devoted to the worship of self, the I, me and that which the mine. We build altars to commemorate our achievements because it gives us a sense of peace and security. The knowledge that I have something to fall back to when all else fails. And then when we have satisfied our cravings we find ourselves wanting more, the law of diminishing returns kicks in, the old doesn’t do it for us any longer, we crave the old but wrapped in new clothing which appeals to us. For what is man but a creature given to his senses. He was created as the pinnacle of creation and yet he falls below the level of all living creatures. the knowledge of morality hardly does anything to stop him. It pricks and pricks and then falls silent, seared as if by a hot iron silenced forever.

I started the article with the question of strength in grief and followed up with an abstract train of thought depicting the descent of man into the yielding onto selfish desires.

How do these two relate and what is that bridge that is missing?

Imagine with me, a life where I was replaced with us. The individual functions not as a singular unit but as part of a unified whole, where we care for another, where we love another as we love ourselves. The sense of community, the sense of having someone or many such someones as we face tragedies in life. A community that will support us when we fall, cry with us, laugh with us, bear sorry and pain with us, grow with us, learn and share with us.

How beautiful it will be where no one just thinks about themselves but is concerned about the neighbor! Man is weak and frail and broken, but as a community, we can grow; as a society we can learn, if only we present a unified front against the problems that besiege us. Even in abject failure we will find meaning for there is someone besides me to help me bear my burden as I will help bear his. The solitude of loneliness is hard, the vanity of the self is evident, and yet we find in the midst of all our tragedies we look inward rather than looking outwards. It is the relationships we build that sustain us in times of evil accidents. They give our lives meaning as we stumble and fall. And yet, we focus on the material and ignore the real treasure. The people around us. If only we would meet and call and talk, if only we would forgive and start anew, if only we could be magnanimous, how beautiful then shall the world be.

I ask once again, what is it that makes someone strong in the face of tragedy?

Is it the attitude they display? Or is it their past merit? Or is it even their innate nature in handling grief. And my answer is none of them. While they may play some role, the primary source of strength is another, the relationships they nurtured. For what is bound by love is hard to break even in the most evil of times.

This isn't an article per se, but rather what we call here at The Heptade - Musings. Basically scribbling our thoughts, musings as they fly across the window of our minds before they vanish. Even before they end up in an Arijit Singh’s song or Nolan makes a movie out of them.

If you want to read another musing I wrote the other day - on indigo, click here.

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