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9 May 2010

Shining Goddess

Posted by Oblivion in Philosophy | 2:05pm

Having just passed out of college, he had a few plans for the choice of his career. He needed a book and dropped by to check if I have. When he opened the bookshelf, he was almost amused at finding an exclusive space for philosophy. An exchange of a few questions and answers later, the invariable suggestion came up - "...but philosophy is for the old!"

I have heard this, from young and old alike, so many times that I feel almost apologetic to the subject. It's perhaps the fixation with livelihood that is imposed on the young that has rendered such image for philosophy. Slog, succeed, achieve, plunder, earn a livelihood first; understanding of life can wait! This prevalent view is, to my mind, utterly insane and nonsensical. It's akin to a lover seeking to understand the beloved, whom he has lived with for decades, when she is on the death-bed, when he himself has no life left to feel that zeal in its total flowering. It's like doing just for the sake of it. It's absolutely ugly.

If one loves someone, understanding should come at the beginning. If one loves life, one must understand it at the beginning and not pretend to do it at the end. Philosophy, the love of truth (nothing to do with the cliched term that we use, as opposed to falsehood and in connection with lying), should come first. It is meant for the young.

There were some great souls who fell madly in love with life, gave their entire lifetime to understand it and shared their insights, and we are lucky enough to read them. Notwithstanding this fact, philosophy has nothing to do with books. Philosophy is not cynical contemplation or a research topic. It's about the spirit of inquiry. And understanding is not a momentary task. It's a perpetual exercise. So it's ridiculous and vulgar to put it for the last few days of life. For it's not something that one can accomplish by reading ten books and finish with it. It takes a lifetime. For, truth is not something static that one can find and hold or that can be shown by another. Neither is it a concept, an idea or an ism that can be construed in one reading. It has nothing to do with ethics. If you are reading to find some divine secret or add to your knowledge or as a gesture of tokenism for life, you got it wrong. It should be the other way round - you love truth, you would die to find it, and so you read. Reading is secondary and insignificant.

Russell's quote fits perfectly: "Truth is a shining goddess, always veiled, always distant, never wholly approachable, but worthy of all the devotion of which the human spirit is capable".

Another question usually accompanies - "what's the use of philosophy? Does it land me a lucrative job?" My take is - if one really loves, such question never comes up. And the one who asks such a question has already moved away from discovering anything, for he has already reduced it to utility. When one loves, one just loves. It is thought that plays with questions; love doesn't. It never occurred to Mozart what his compositions would get him. He just composed. He loved music. He died in abject penury. Thanks to such souls we can still talk of passion in the real sense of that word. When Siddhartha wanted to find truth, he just walked out. Without a plan, without a care.

When you love someone, you would listen to her, sit beside her, and seek to understand her with all your being. You would be sensitive to her emotions, receptive to her every word and gesture. Every moment. Till you die. If one hasn't loved life like this, how else has he loved?

Philosophy has nothing to do with books or scriptures. It is to be in love. Love for truth. As long as one is alive.

Love. And let truth unfold itself.

Truth is truth, one, alone; it has no sides, no paths
- JK

1 Comments | "Shining Goddess" »

  1. By Terminator: Shining Goddess

    12 May 2010, 7:41pm [ Reply ]

    Hey what are you trying to convey to the user through this post?
    May be the fault lies with me that i am unable to realize the essence of the post.
    Anyways nice post!.

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