Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Relationships are yucky, and must be so.

It comes as a big surprise to me that we, the human race, are the worst at the things that we should probably be the best at among all kinds of species in the planet - relationships. Basically being the stuff of life, over this many years of existence, we should at least have some hold over their hold over us. There should be a mandatory class taught in schools about their nature and how they work. But, so far, it's our biggest fail.     

They have a natural design - one that works itself out in context of the needs that need to be served. So if A and B have certain needs that play out between two people over time, they form a relationship that serves that need. That context justifies it. There is no great handbook of relationship formats, but there is a universality to most basic essential needs of people that specifically include people in our lives over long periods of time. And there is no great handbook of values of the sacred values we need to keep over these relationships unless they are based on how we would like it to be for us on the other side, and we all have certain basic lines we draw at respect and other such things.

With these two sets of rules, which there is no handbook for, relationships make themselves, and, yes, all relationships have motives (those needs I talked about earlier) without which they wouldn't even need to exist. When they don't have motives, it's called courtesy. Courtesy is driven by being nice, which, again, is based on the principle of what you would have done to you if you were on the other side of the interaction.  These are usually interaction you are not as familiar with. It serves those values which if violated end in hurt and rudeness. It is a good fallout of civilized interaction. It is temporary. It doesn't serve a need. Usually when it outdoes its course, it starts to get dry, something that becomes painfully obvious.

Now, motives are necessary to purpose and don't have the pseudo-moralistic stigma that is attached to them. We can't be all that charitable for reason of lack of that many resources to be charitable with and just plain wastage of time on over-courtesy. All long term and default relationships are based on need and can't exist without it. A relationship is not the cherry on the cake. It is the cake itself. With a good, well, baked cake, you don't really need any cherries on top. And a bad cake with a cherry on top is just a bad cake, nothing more.

A relationship is also strained when there isn't enough resource to meet needs symbiotically, economically, emotionally or just physical energy wise. Yes, it's as cruel a system as that. When it can't flow, it won't flow. A lot of times when that happens, we romanticise it but that won't do. We take loans of these resources sometimes when there is nothing to take from, and dig ourselves into the ground even further and then blame relationships, or the people in them, or life, or fate - but the fact is that relationships are yucky.

They are yucky because they are about allowing people to bloom, well, because people are bloomworthy - all of us, each one of us. No seed knows what it will be like till it makes it way up from the top soil, out towards the sun. It finds itself both in its very intrinsic nature to be what it is (and nothing more than it can be) and in how it gathers strength from its surrounding (sun, nutrients, soil etc.). The irony here is that we have a sorta-kinda great rule book already for these things which doesn't take into account the dynamics of what I've mentioned above - all the complexity of the seed blooming along with other plants and seeds, blooming themselves as well.

In this case, as opposed to a seed, blooming is an always-state. You don't stop blooming. You don't bloom and die, like a flower. The irony rings in when we think we bloom and die, and that when have, we deserve the upper hand in it all like some sort of status thing. The great leveller in a healthy relationship is when we don't assume this bloom-and-die stage. If we do, something inside of us has died for which we want one way support. That means our own lives are out of our own control.

The non-assumption of the bloom-and-die stage gives very relationship its life. It's not a drip-like support system. It avoids over-courtesy. Its instills confidence. It truly builds relationships to something that actually uplifts us and makes it into things that we do more stuff with. We won't be keeping relationships so that we can live on handouts of over-romanticised love and concern. Relationships will always be as strong, or weak (read life support inducing) as be the sum of individuals in them. The ones that are give us rock solid stability, which is what we need, rather than those handouts. Our self-identifying blooming selves are the only contributors to this stability, and, when so, we'd be on a journey of constant self-discovery together that makes none of us a pain in the ass to anyone else in our relationships. We'll break those boxes that we have and the world has set for ourselves to where we can remove the weird life support system logic they're built on.

Let us embrace relationship yuckiness because in it is what relationships have the best to offer. There is no rule book. We make the rules as easily as we break them. The only rule we need to follow is that we don't yank any of the rules back and forth according to convenience, or so much that we abuse them (both or either adding to the same effect). Any rule must have a yanking limit. We should create to sustain, build, progress and feed, something that we can build off after we're doing building that. Yanking rules at convenience doesn't help that. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

All these people, all these things that we please

*In the neighbourhood people watching me
Got to move to protect my sanity
Anonymity is all I want you see
You may think it's mediocrity, but

But this weight is just bringing me down
It's never satisfied every time I go to town

- Van Morrison, This Weight Which weight you say? 

The weight that you choose. There are two possible weights.  Everything must weigh something, if it has to be something, if it has to be anything actually. One possible weight is the weight down. The weight that only pulls down. The other is the weight that attributes free, soulful existence of anything. One can we compared to a permanent anchor. The other can be compared to a feather, which really has no real weight, but since everything must have some weight to be something, it has one. 

The thing with the two possible weights is that they are mutually exclusive. One can weigh like this, or one can weight like that.  You can't have anything weighing like both. This is the choice we have, and which is usually inbuilt before we can choose for anything to be weighed like the other.  

Then there's another weight. The actual weight. The weight that, even if you don't talk about, you feel anyway. The weight that's actually a part of the structure of things. If you'd like it, it's physical weight. The sum of all its structures. It's inherent weight. Even if you don't put it on a weighing scale. With real, fake or made up scales. It will still weigh as heavy. And that's a part of the game. It's a choice hazard, and usually one that you make the choice for. It comes along with a thrill that really doesn't feel as heavy. The thrill which is the weight. The thrill which is the weight like a feather, which is hardly any weight at all. The thrill which is like a feather that flies with the wind, and probably meets with other feathers that other winds bring.  I'll skip any obvious metaphor here.

So there. You have two kinds of weights. The inherent and the attached. The attached can be the yanked-only-downwards, or can be the feather.  The feather like a weight loss program that actually works but doesn't slim into oblivion, but freedom and confidence.

When you converse, act, share, be, conform and do everything else - what are the weights you allow? Are you really putting forward a self that is a feather, hoping to meet another feather that the influx of breeze has bought in? Or are you basically making an attempt, one that you're probably innocently aculturised to do, to weigh down and seek conformation to norms that you weigh down with. And in case those norms aren't reciprocated, sometimes almost immediately, does it trigger a threat to your mind, and start to act like the whole world started to fall apart because someone didn't conform to the weigh(t) down.  The weight down that everyone in the world confirms to because it'll upset the system that we've been following so far. It will ruin years, centuries and maybe generations of stability that we've achieved - that we, so fearfully and weigheddownly, hold fort because the world cannot fall apart. It will set us into a crazy imbalance. Even if we're bound in that stability, we should remain stable *at all costs*. Because below from stability is an unending abyss of doom and chaos which we will fall into.  Fluttering in the breeze like a feather is simply unacceptable, even when it offers much more freedom - individually and together. 

We are reputed and recognised by the increasing stakes that we carry on our shoulders, and more by how we manage them. We, all, so goes the rule, deserve cub scout like badges when we've managed not to tip the balance of a ridiculously expensive we strive to keep. It is the hallmark of our pride, respect and privilege in community and society. The moment we lose that control over our stakes, ironically, we get banished out of those positions, out into the club of the unprivileged. 

The question we usually refuse to ask, even if it comes to the tip of our tongue though is,  who are actually serving? Or what we are actually serving, for that matter. You'll find a huge straw man in the corner. You can poke at him if you please. Take a giant picture and throw darts at him as well. Or if you're thinking what I'm thinking, burn him down!          

* The verse from the Van Morrison song is taken because it fits into what I'm  saying. It may or may not be the actual meaning of it.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The confessions of an introvert

I was scrolling through TED's Youtube channel and I found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3yqXeLJ0Kg and I was slowly inspired a bit write the rest of this post. That guy is right, we way undervalue mental health- even the kinds that are rarely dangerous but which make our minds oppressed and a pain to deal with every day. The larger proportion of people who engage with their own minds less, because that how's their mental make up is (not something that's supposed to be in anyway condescending), don't and won't ever understand the plight of the rest. It's hardly expected that they will be inclined to at all. Such is the stuff of life for this minority of people. What effort we make from both ends is the next topic of discussion.       

For about a year, upto sometime ago, I was undergoing enough of that stress to write this. It left me, excuse my french, postively mindf#&%*d. I was in a house that was a screamfest, in addition to being a fussfest and an obssessfest for most part of the day. Many things were unveiled about myself that I hadn't seen before but they weren't totally surprising. This was being pushed to the hilt, literally! I realised that people like me, probably due to the vulnerability our minds have to get used to ever since, build little rooms - like chambers in chambers in chambers in chambers in our heads... as vulnerable as we end up being till we reach some point where we are aware of it it, regardless how successful we end up being at managing and adapting to the larger louder, noisier and activity fraught world around us.

Like how we see offices of rich successful men (eg. Batman included), we just slip in to the next one when our minds get weary of what we end up being exposed to. We do this reflexively. Given our circumstances we have zero protection from incessant noise and activity, be it head noise or actual noise. And as expected, as we do this often enough, we end up having to ensure our sanity which leads to our partiucular (or peculiar) habits being built.                    

What happened with me is that I had to change inner chambers so often that the very point of having them was defeated... to a point that there were none left to resort to. I was crucified in my own little end-of-chambers secret chamber, right up against the wall most of the time.What's the point of a inner chamber if it's not respected?

Now that it's all over, coming back out is like an ordeal in itself. It's like you are in a long, deep, dark cave and you can see the light at the end where the cave opens out. And you're taking one step at a time towards the light, freeing yourself from your own prison - something that is not the result of your own doing, but something that is the result of someone else's privileges being rightfully taken. The question that remains to be asked is who set those privileges in place, and who apportioned the entitlement? Was I to pin a badge around me that asks people to be as sensitive, or was I to go around asking people whether they want to check their efficiency of their own actions on themselves and their goals and purposes?

I'm reading a book by E. Stanley Jones that says that when we abandon God, and we pursue lives in gay abandon for long, when we realise we need to come back, we find an absence of God Himself. The same analogy here. That I've been locked in my little inner chamber for as long leaves me both vaguely familiar and unfamiliar with the world that I am reacquainting myself now. Presumed decisions to converse and communicate with people with whom I would otherwise simply do so are multi-prethoughtabout affairs. Most of the time, I want to be sure I have the mental energy to support an interest to carry the conversation through. And most of the time, I don't. It's become scary territory to step into. Decisions to "get down to business" (once again, in this case) have a prerequisite of buffer zones that go way beyond the actual activity. The effort it takes to actually create them in a today's real world means it's a big step to make even a small step of even the smallest significance and progress in life.

Some people act from their head and their heads need to primarily be in fully working order for anything else to follow. While some people aren't so, a reasonably large bunch of people are so. And it's like denying them to the right to a happy life, all this ignorance is.