How To Free Tibet in 3 Easy Steps

Tibet - from autonomy to independence in 3 easy steps
Suraj Sharma
Could all the antagonisms between the PRC and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile be rephrased as a question of who will win in the ultimate showdown between Buddha and the communists? Now that the high-profile special meeting of the government-in-exile and sympathetic parties is over, the international media is all in accord about the downhill battle that the issue has come to be. There is no escaping the fact that the Chinese adamancy against granting the region sanctions of autonomy  is ready to face all pressure that His Holiness can conjure up with. What’s even more debilitating to the further progress of the issue is the fact that the Chinese are right in denying autonomy to Tibetans, making no qualms whatsoever about the “disguised independence” they see it as.  Meanwhile as the eyes of the international community turn to Dharamshala,  one is forced to question whether the 30 year old policy of  the Middle-Way promoted by the Dalai Lama is really capable of producing a solution  to the problem at hand.

Seeing the Middle-Way doctrine as a sort of compromise between establishing Tibet as a full-fledged democracy and living under the heavy authoritarian hand of the Chinese government, it is obvious that what the Dalai Lama proposes is an idea which is not only hard to swallow by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) but is downright revolting to them and their interpretation of the Chinese constitution. To make matters worse the International response to the plight of the Tibetans has been minimum and diluted except maybe on the fringes of the violations of human rights by China in Tibet. The Chinese have blocked all UN resolutions over the matter and are not likely to entertain any interference into what they consider to be a matter of sovereignty (which no country has so far openly disputed). The situation now is more fragile than it ever was because after the failure of recent talks with China, it is plainly obvious that the Middle-Way doctrine is really a kind of schizophrenic excuse which has run out of all utility and can’t really be used by the government-in-exile to buy any more time for it to re-strategize.

The really surprising thing however, is the exiled government’s inability to accept the fact that the issue exists only because of the charismatic stature of His Holiness himself. In a universe where the Dalai Lama is nonexistent, the Chinese have already captured the area by using blatant forces and justified the violence as a suppression of secessionist uprising. There is no doubt that the delay in resolving the problem is all because of the leverage that Dalai Lama’s stature as a political and spiritual leader allows him. But even more surprising is his own adamancy regarding the Middle-Way approach which he stuck to, even after he was given express permission to deal with the issue using his own discretion after the 1997 referendum. The Chinese on the other hand can’t wait for the whole thing to be over with as few of their very ambitious plans rot in the pipeline because of it- like the railway link between Lhasa and Qinghai or their multipurpose river valley projects in the region (which are also a cause of row  with India but that’s quite a different story).

The only obvious solution now is a very difficult one. Not difficult in execution per se, but difficult in its own tacit acceptance and appreciation. For it is a solution that ruptures the ideological base built by the Government-in-Exile as its support system and calls forward a more radical yet methodical approach to solve the problem once and for all. In all its logistical and theoretical simplicity the solution can be split into three steps  as enumerated and described below:
Step 1Kill the Confusion
The first step is always the hardest. It calls for an understanding of the Chinese mindset as one which is not accustomed to be tamed with sophisticated diplomacy or elaborate play of words. The hard truth is that the demand for an independent Tibet is historically illegitimate but is legitimized only by the pressing need of the hour - regardless of the turn of events that have led to this moment. Secondly, those who aspire to be truly free must shake off the illusion of the Middle-Way doctrine - there is no point in playing a game with rules the enemy refuses to recognize. The Tibetans must face up to the fact that if the middle-way couldn’t solve the issue for 30 odd years, the chances are highly in favor of its failure once again and this time, it could be fatal to their aspirations. This debilitating confusion will beget nothing but defeat.

There is no Middle-Way.

Step 2: Arise-in-Unison!
Any Tibetan who is right now in exile must free his mind of the clutter and mess of dialogues that run back and forth between the exiled government and the Chinese  - s/he must recognize that if it is freedom that the Tibetans truly desire, they must rise themselves and demand it from the Chinese. All excuses of inability to do this must be rebutted - remember that Leonidas of Sparta pushed back Xerxes’ army with only 300 soldiers. Tibetan Expatriates in India and elsewhere are never shy to debate at length the reasons why their country must be freed from the evil clutches of the Chinese regime but will they actually contribute to a mass movement instead of discussing it over bulletin boards? Now is the time to move ahead of your friends and take the stand. The Chinese are surely still bitter about anti-Olympic protests but they cannot risk another human-rights disaster. This isn’t a call for blatant violence but peaceful aggression that shakes the very roots of all Chinese arguments and causes an international stir of a magnitude far greater than adherence to any paralyzing philosophy might provide. Not the kind of aggression that Gandhi or Mandela used though - they weren’t dealing with the Chinese,  what’s needed here is an aggression that disregards all options which deter it from its aim and posits its claim as an all-or-nothing proposition.

Step 3: It’s a Trap!
Sun-Tzu said in The Art Of War : “One is strong if he initiates the rival to act in response to him; One is feeble if he must act in response to the rival”. A mass uprising is exactly the kind of initiative the situation demands because not only would it be unpredictable at this moment (with the Dalai Lama being on a world-tour) it could also catapult the exiled government into a stronger position. The Central Tibetan Administration should not only support but endorse and solicit this uprising thereby putting even more pressure on the Chinese administration. The idea is to make it an essentially human rights issue and corner China into a dead-end, one it avoids the most. China’s recent economic rise is not without its antagonisms, the pomp of  Olympics has left many with green eyes and the international community would love nothing more than to have something to leash China with. A human rights flashpoint over Tibet could be that exact leash. India, however should watch the whole scene unfold passively as its interference would give the push  needed for this human-rights flashpoint to turn into a full blown war.

But all said and done, the question is not whether or not this three step process is a remotely feasible solution to the situation in Tibet today. The real question is, when push comes to shove - will the Central Tibetan Administration let go of the failed Middle-Way strategy and adopt a more radical approach to resolve the conflicting claims? Which all comes down to their commitment for a free, democratic Tibet where people are free to chose and live the lives they want.

We Really Ought To Just Complicate Philosophy

We Really Ought To Just Complicate Philosophy
Suraj Sharma

Alluding to a famous scene from the Matrix trilogy of movies, the International Philosophy magazine Philosophy Now held an essay competition for college students some time ago. The topic of the essay being - Which pill would you choose? Why? To those unfamiliar with the movie, the protagonist in that particular scene is forced to face an existential dilemma when he has to make the choice between reality and illusion - symbolized here by the choice between taking the red pill (and thereby seeing reality as it truly is) or the blue pill (seeing reality as an illusion constructed by machines). This scene has since become the epitome of pop-culture references to the dichotomy between painful truth (reality, red pill) and blissful ignorance (illusion, blue pill).

Philosophy today, both as an academic pursuit and as evolutionary vocation lies in shambles because of such attempts at the simplification of dichotomies which appear to be binary opposites but in fact are adjacent factors in a complex dialectical. Chaos and order, Yin and Yang,  sanity and insanity, atheism and religion, peace and violence are all perfect examples of these dialectical duals which present themselves as complicated noumenon  - but due to the attempts to simplify philosophy have been de-centered and relegated to the margins of everyday intellectual pursuit. The fallacy which lies at the heart of every attempt to simplify philosophy is that the dialectical process is vacuous, infinite and recursive and therefore should be halted at any intellectual cost.

But the cost is tremendous because the resulting solution is unable to stand in the face of historical processes (which are intrinsically dialectical themselves, by the way). What we need instead, is a “third pill”, a tool which will help us see the illusion within reality itself. This is opposed to seeing the illusion behind reality (as being something apart from reality), which only facilitates a fast-food religious/spiritual experience of there being more to life than what appears but can never actually prove the reality of the illusion it claims exists.  So what is this illusion that structures reality itself and how can we get an access to it? The answer is simply by not trying to simplify philosophy but realizing the true aim and objective of philosophy as being essentially a hermeneutic discipline which concerns itself with not the answers about reality and the world but the questions. In other words the philosopher’s job today is not to simplify (i.e. justify) the ways of the world and lay back and enjoy it as it unfolds but to question the very essence of the answers that are so commonly taken for granted.

Illusion is not some kind of phantasmal construction of the human psyche which provides a handle to reality as a sort of mechanism that gauges progress towards an perfectly ideal state (utopia) or regression towards dystopia; Illusion is that characteristic of reality which provides the framework for progress or regression by supporting reality from within. Illusion is what fills up the empty space (quite literally even in the Quantum physics sense) left by reality and creates a sense of innermost urgency within reality to manifest itself. This is perhaps a truer definition of utopia - something that arises out of true, innermost urgency rather than with a synthetic push of reality or illusion. The kind of urgency referred to here is no different from the urgency which one feels from holding back one’s urine for a long time. Utopia, then, could be equated with the feeling of release of long-repressed scatological urges. Philosophy therefore, should act as a laxative in this sense.

Illusion is what gives reality a sense of meaning and purpose, so much so in-fact that if we take illusion away from reality, reality in itself shall disintegrate. Lets go back to The Matrix for an example of how this happens:  the reality for those who chose the red pill is a completely dystopian world waiting to be reorganized and reordered except that the only means left for reorganization is to return to the illusion (the virtual world of machines) and destroy it from within and without. What happens when this arduous task is finally achieved is beyond the purview of the movie but its not that hard to imagine that once mankind is freed from the clutches of an evil, deceiving demon (the machines), it would need another illusion (demon) to support its reality, which in this case might as well be the illusion of the capitalist utopia where more and more perverse desires to own “stuff” are not only endorsed but even required for progress.

In this sense, illusion is much like authority. Or, one is even forced to say that the only illusion ever is the illusion of authority (forced or consented). For they share a common defining bond which is that they both (illusion and authority) appear to be stronger when they are not explicitly expressed or immediately perceived as being themselves. For example, a parent who beats and physically abuses his/her children has less authority than the parent who just looks threateningly at their children to force them into submission. Likewise, an illusion that explicitly expresses itself as an illusion (like the utopian society all human progress seems to be chasing) is weaker than the illusion that actually presents itself forcefully as reality (the virtual world of machines which only a few get out of). The point is, the more repressed an illusion is, the stronger the reality it structures and to actually repress an illusion we need to complicate our philosophy of it as opposed to simplify it.

Much of today’s problems- terrorism, poverty, hunger, economic recession can be said to arise because of a simplification of our philosophy (or the gradual neglect of its complicated core objective) about ourselves. The blame could lie  with liberal capitalism and its presumably “natural” appearance or it just might be the forces of the dialectical shaping history as such but the fact is, any more effort towards a simplified philosophy of anything would end up in the kind of paralyzing mess Physics is facing today. Where on the forefront of theoretical physics we have reached a point where describing the behaviors of physical systems by extracting out all the “illusion” that creates them has left us with many mathematical equations that work in theory but fail to correspond with reality. Therefore, it is my humble request to budding philosophers everywhere to let go of this hypnotic charm of simplicity that breeds intellectual inaction and delve head-first into the very core of philosophy itself, which was never meant to be a way to simplify the human condition but make it worse by asking insanely simple yet fundamental questions that have and will force us to evolve.

This is a response to an article published in the Times of India (dated: 26/november/2008) under "The Speaking Tree" section on the op-ed page entitled : We really Ought To Just Simplify Philosophy by Yaron Barzilay.

Hopefully Yours

As the faithless freeze in fury
Fireflies flirt up a frosty night
Painted love has but dissolved
Repentance but a cold delight

Alas! Falsely convicted heart,
Why do you only beat when beaten?
You fitfully resonate and echo in the residue
Of sadness that suddenly seems to sweeten

Memories of that someone who twice upon a time
Resisted and insisted you turned to debris
Still you’re hopefully hers innocent heart-
Forever or until the devil runs free.

When we understand

When push comes to shove and the shit
Hits the fan
Tumultuous clouds announce
The Almighty's plan
In the cannon fodder's Kodak moment
Muhammad sees his land
When Jesus was denied and
Jehovah has been banned.

When the story of supply greets
the glory of demand
When the road to Damascus erases
Footprints of time on sand
Or your elisions sliding over
My poetry bland
Hits home, it hits hard as it
Crashes just to land

When hell bent, you bend hell
But heaven's humor stands
When impatience is hollowed out
I have my patient hands
It is then, that light with
7 colors in one strand
Looms the teeming millions of us
Doomed to understand.

Honk - Honk

Buried under sands from an hour-glass and separated
by hours and hours of desert in between
we feel as if the moon runs parallel
to a horizon we chase but cannot see

its the night that honks like a drunken taxi-driver,
who knows the serpentine road chases tales left behind
by all those running against the tide of time-
following signs left by long lost lonely lovers

oh the trail is long and twisted,
convoluted and the signs are only disguised among and as stars
few and far in between; 
just as intermittent is the sound,
indistinct from the nightly noise

indifferent to the terror and joy it brings to our hearts-
the sound of the drunken taxi-driver honking
as if to remind us that the journey's just begun

its the sound of the night singing
honk-honk honk honk-honk honk-honk honk - honk

bellowing out just for the two of us.


"All our mothers were already fucked, son"
my father intends to say
as these wall that have enveloped me so lovingly all these years twirl
into a claustrophobic grey - the color of his hair
seems to remind me that
there ain't a lot calendars in this house we call home

The poet kills the liar

The moon is young and nubile still
cicadas all sing in chorus
the night is pure and so sublime
my perfect muse is porous

the whispering winds and willows conspire
a plan the stars concur
tonight the poet will kill the liar-
bury him under the silver fir

let quietly into the naval of hope
the dagger of truth be cast
be gentle as the moon, dear poet,
lest the night be left aghast

the elm, the birch and the mahogany lay still
as the horrible deed is done
for the poet's only weapon is the quill
and the liar is a friend of the sun.

Poetry, Politics and Poverty

Poetry, Politics and Poverty
Suraj Sharma

Let’s face it. Poetry today resembles the medieval art of alchemy. Not by the vice of being an exotic, esoteric practice reserved for a chosen intellectual elite but by the virtue of being one of the many arts nobody is interested in anymore. Poetry therefore, serves two purposes today, firstly as the benign indulgence for subversive minds who care not so much about the medium than they do about the message, especially when the message is their own; and secondly, as mild recreation for the mildly intrigued. Either way, it ends up on blogs, bulletin boards and so called “art-oriented” websites such as where users believe that Poetry is now a “vocation” rather than an art.

Politically speaking, the condition is even worse, liberal democracy and its faithful sidekick – Capitalism, have done much to assign predefined roles for everyone including the poets. Their job is now to act as those delusional beings who entertain their counterparts by engaging in romantic discussions of revolutions which are never going to take place and the slow pace of country life afforded by a few people in this day and age. Poets, then, are little more than television sets who are very much a part of the very system that allows them to write and publish their anti-establishment views because that is the role it has assigned to them. Think about it, when was the last time a poet was censored/banned in your country?

Little wonder then, that the interest of the public-at-large has been slowly dwindling down when it comes to poetry, and deservedly so, it doesn’t achieve anything, so why bother?

Marx said capitalism is “nothing if not ductile”, and within this ductility lays its self-perpetuating elixir. Still, there are poets today who, unaware of this ductility, pour out their views in hopes of “expressing themselves”, this is a redundant exercise for their views are already informed by the world around them, so what they effectively end up doing is expressing the views of the system through them, instead of truly expressing themselves. What results is some sort of subliminal literary drivel, which nobody is really interested in, for it’s really not saying anything new. Hence the blame (if there could be any) for the lack of interest in poetry today, should fall squarely on the shoulders of so-called poets who write with honest intentions but end up polluting the mildly interested minds of amateurs. This is the reason why poetry is unable to “achieve” anything today because, as I once read somewhere, “if you keep on doing the same thing, you will get the same results”.

I’m not a leftist, neither am I a Marxist nor a Stalinist, but I believe that poetry is a profound tool that helps prevent stagnation and rigidity in a culture. This essay itself, I must proclaim, is a product of the very ductility I mentioned above. You must have downloaded it through Facebook or Google, it was written in Microsoft word, converted into a PDF by Adobe Acrobat reader and so on until it finally found its way to your computer. There is nothing wrong with capitalism or the ductility of it per se. What is wrong, however, is taking it all for granted. What is wrong, is the Kal-Ho-Na-Ho (Tomorrow may or may not come) attitude that seems to have caught our generation like a pandemic that inspires apathy and self-centeredness, because, believe it or not, there is going to be a tomorrow for the 40% below poverty line families in the world, and for those suffering from AIDS in Ethiopia, there is going to be a tomorrow, perhaps far more painful than today. So, poetry is obviously not the panacea that they need, it’s the catalyst that we need. We need to wake up from our hedonistic slumber and find that it’s high time we reinvented hedonism, and poetry- if anything- could serve as an alarm clock.

Mired in our naiveté, we have learned to relegate the truly profound means of social change to the backseat, disguising it as some kind of undesired ends. Have we forgotten the role played by poetry in the Russian and French revolutions, or how about the Struggle for Indian Independence? Almost every literate Bengali was writing something or the other at the time of the partition of Bengal in 1906. So the utility of poetry in times of political struggle is obvious, but what about other times?

The utility of poetry, in ordinary times, was explained by American Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky thus:
"I presume that the technology of poetry . . . evolved for specific uses: to hold things in memory, both within and beyond the individual life span; to achieve intensity and sensuous appeal; to express feelings rapidly and memorably. To share those feelings and ideas with companions, and also with the head and with those to come after us"

Essentially, therefore, poetry is a matter of evolution. Poets exist not because greeting card companies are running out of monkeys willing to work for bananas, poets exist because evolution is nothing if not the “naming of complex ideas”, and isn’t that exactly what Poets do? Plato banned poets from his utopian Republic because they concocted imagined worlds, yet one is forced to question: Isn’t Plato’s Republic based around an entirely imaginary word of “Ideas” or “Forms”? In this sense, Plato was a hypocrite. But we are on the verge committing the same mistake.

If the state of technological evolution of society could be measured by the kind of toys it makes, then surely, the level of cultural evolution could well be measured by its literature. Strangely enough though, we never bothered to ask ourselves the utility of toys, how then, do we have the temerity of asking ourselves the utility of Poetry? Utility is something that the evolution creates for us, not the other way around, we just go about seeking pleasure, not just any pleasure, but newer kinds of pleasure, for being so ahead in the evolutionary race has given us the curse of boredom, and hence if we’re not bored easily we’re not really human. I’m sure, J.L. Baird didn’t really wonder about the “utility” of television while he was inventing it, and who knew ARPANET would offer someday the kind of “utility” it offers today? Or look at it this way: who says “uselessness” is a vice? Utility is overrated. Let it not befool us into an immobile and decaying culture.

Ultimately, poetry is a tool that will help us evolve. Yes, it’s difficult to do something we hate but then, who said evolution was a painless process? To put it in terms of Gandhian philosophy: If I am to beat the crap out of my enemy, I must beat the crap out of myself first. So, if our enemy today is a mechanized, stagnant society, then all we have to do is quarrel with ourselves to show how wrong we truly are about ourselves.

The contemporary poet Adrienne Rich wrote:
“Poetry wrenches around our ideas about our lives . . . Poetry will always pick a quarrel with the found place, the refuge, the sanctuary . . . Even though the poet, a human being with many anxious fears, might want just to rest, acclimate, adjust, become naturalized, learn to write in a new landscape, a new language, poetry will go on harassing the poet until, and unless, it is driven away.”

But what is this “found place”, this “refuge”, this “sanctuary”? It is the now, the here. The idea is not to grow too comfortable in your environment, not to become too comfortable with yourself, for remember “pacifism is not something to hide behind”. So kids, do try this at home: pick a fight with yourself, see if what comes out is anything but poetry.

[Download A pdf version of this essay]

The battle against Existential Anxiety

The battle against Existential Anxiety.
Suraj Sharma.

It is not the fear of death that grips a thinking man and paralyzes his mind to the point where even the execution of routine tasks becomes painful and has a sense of profound meaninglessness attached to it. It is, in my opinion, the fear of life, that eats his soul alive. This fear, I believe, is ludicrous and absurd and has the potential of turning into a perpetual anxiety. This fear insinuates, in it’s attempts to convince the person, that the life he’s leading is meaningless and without purpose, what’s more, it suggests that even death is not going to be the end of this infinite injustice. His soul shivers at the thought of going through this random experience labeled “life” by the very people his mind considers to be “ignorant fools”. Although he reckons, that it won’t be “his” problem if he kills himself, even if he’s somehow reincarnated, the physical equations would change so substantially, that the burden would fall squarely and literally on someone else‘s shoulders. Someone who’s in a different situation. A different situation. A new start. Slowly and gradually, his vision (both of the future and of the past) narrows down until this new awakening remains as the only aperture open for hope. This is where he gets anxious. Existentially anxious, to be more precise.

Existential Anxiety is the fear of nothing itself and is therefore, the mark of lunacy. It is triggered by what Paul Tillich referred to as “The trauma of nonbeing.”. An oversimplification of which would be the very idea which, though vastly accepted in the annals of psychology (and in the common mindset), but is strongly refuted in this essay, is that it is simply, the fear of death. Another assumption that pops up in most debates about an existential crisis is that it mostly appears in cultures where one is not required to use most of his mental and physical energies to figure out ways to ensure his survival. Several people believe that a person suffering from existential dilemma has more often than not, lead a life of moral relativism or even nihilism. Others might argue that when looked at from a certain angle, existential anxiousness is just another manifestation of depression, which probably has it’s roots in the afflicted person’s childhood and/or a recent traumatic experience. These assumptions and generalizations, while not completely untrue, painted a bleak, semi-innocuous and incomplete picture of what the author believes to be “a man’s greatest enemy“.

It is therefore, that this essay was written, as a testament of personal experience and a record of judgments that the author arrived at after spending some time reflecting over his own condition (starkly similar to the condition at hand), the constructs that defined it, the situations that created it and the beliefs it instilled to finally arrive at a point in life where basic survival tactics and a thorough understanding of the problem enabled the author to leap out of this quagmire and to rid himself of the shapeless phantoms of meaningless thought. It must be understood, however, that the author is not a psychologist or even an amateur psycho-analyst. A mere dabbler in philosophy and psychology, the author is obviously in no position to assert the validity of his claims. Readers are advised to keep in mind the fact that this essay is what an endeavor in self analysis and some research has brought to fruition. It is not intended to be a serious whitepaper on psychology, nor does it pretend to be one. What it does attempt to be, however, is a manual of sorts for overcoming such anxiety and making sure that it never takes control of one’s life again. It was written in a hope to understand one’s own mind, and is published here with hopes of offering a helping hand to anyone who might consider his problems to be similar to that of the author.

The battle against existential anxiety, like all battles, begins with an understanding of the enemy. Where does anxiety come from? The answer to that is simple, it comes from an analytical mind. It begins with an over-curious attitude towards life. An attitude that seeks to destroy all precarious notions of understanding. This attitude however, generally and gradually fades away as life progresses (most children are more curious than most adults) for various reasons but we can witness the birth pangs of anxiety in the cases where this analytical mind is fed on rations of reason and logic to create the infantries of skeptical thought. When this skeptical thought intermingles with more curiosity (in a psychosomatic process that can perhaps be described as almost orgasmic) it upgrades itself from being the infantry of skeptical thought to the cavalry of false belief.

Judging only by personal experience, the author would say that this “up gradation” takes place somewhere between mid to late adolescence. The period where we often draft the constitutions of our lives. The role that social value systems play here is crucial and akin to the training nets employed to safeguard the life of amateur trapeze artists. It is not totally unfair, therefore, to say that this phenomenon is more common in cultures where the role of such social “nets” as religion and a strict moral codes has diminished over the years to make room for the pre-requisite confidence for evolutionary thoughts. However, nothing could be farther from truth than the assumption that societies with rigorously implemented morals and ethics, or social systems deeply rooted in religious beliefs are somehow invulnerable to these negative side-effects of a curious consciousness. Religion and morality may provide societies with check-nut like mechanisms to enable the masses to discern between order and chaos, but these are exactly the kind of contraptions that an analytical and curious mind seeks to reverse engineer.

In some cases, this stage is characterized by seemingly harmless tendencies that lean towards social rebellion. Teenagers often see themselves as exiled outcasts who are somehow above the norms of society. Upon finding no answers in the deconstructed ruins of religious philosophy, they bang about hither and thither like charged electrons in hopes of discharging themselves of the building storm of anxiety. At this point, most outcasts choose their false beliefs. Having completely destroyed the possibilities of accepting conventional false beliefs (e.g. religion, morality etc.) they venture out into newer arenas such as sexual deviance, self-infliction and narcotics etc.. The numbing down of sensory perceptions works out (for better or for worse) for the fortunate ones, but the truly analytical ones seek not to disengage from their senses nor engage them in forced beliefs and utter lies. They seek what they think is the truth, and end up being the loneliest of people in the universe. For junkies find other junkies, bisexuals, nymphomaniacs, zoophiles and pedophiles find release in fornicating with the “objects” of their desire, emotional “cutters” find interventionists to reinforce or reconstruct their false beliefs, but these ‘seekers of truth’ remain aloof, lonely.

Two things need to be said here. One, that these seekers can never be compared with nihilists, moral-relativists or hedonists, for they do believe that the ultimate truth exists somewhere and that it‘s not relative to anything, that it‘s the purest thing there is and hence the object of life. They believe it’s attainable, only that they’ve been unsuccessful in finding it so far. Two, what they don’t realize is that their loneliness is in fact, the last brick in the wall. Emile Durkheim said, "Man is the more vulnerable to self-destruction the more he is detached from any collectivity, that is to say, the more he lives as an egoist.". And egoists they are, so much so, that their ego fails to recognize itself, it’s garbed in innocent and idealistic convictions. This leads them to the point where it becomes impossible to discern between what’s true and what’s infinite. What they fail to realize is that the truth itself is the infinite, it can never be achieved, yet it’s right in front of their eyes and slipping between their fingers. But these sorry souls have already started having visions of looking at the world from the other end of the telescope and the only thing that remains infinite now, is their downward spiraling journey towards an ever absurd universe.

It is not death they fear now. They fear the very truth they sought because it‘s staring them in the face so they must run away from the very thing they‘re chasing. Such a condition, as one can notice, leads to an addiction to (trying to look beyond) moral paradoxes, which is much more worse than sexual deviance or drug abuse because it fails to define itself, yet defends itself with all the brevity that a human mind can conjure up. Chasing this recursive infinity can be daunting, especially when you’ve got nothing to believe in but the recursive infinity itself. The fine line between insanity and creativity starts to blur, allowing all the demons of a sickly mind to creep in. This is where moral-relativism and nihilism might actually enter the person’s mind. It cannot be ascertained with precision, whether a vast majority of victims accept nihilism or similar notions as the end of their journey or whether they try to take it apart as well, and frankly it doesn’t matter. Nihilism, once rooted deeply enough, is self perpetuating, taking it apart only reaffirms the non-beliefs it has to offer. One understands now, with painful accuracy, what Plato meant when he called religion a “noble lie” but can do nothing about it because, logic, reason, cynicism and skepticism all focus on the “lie“ and not on the “noble“ part of that aphorism. The welcoming committee for existential anxiety, ever ready to bombard everything that stands in the way of it’s esteemed guest. Including itself, if it has to.

A man suffering from anxiety will deconstruct every assumption of the physical world with such astute thought-play, as to convince himself that his anxiety is a controlling parasite which deems that it’s own existential perpetuation is far more important than the survival of it’s host. When it does happen, a man is forced to jump ship and abandon life itself. At this stage, visible signs of depression emerge from being dormant character nuisances to active physiological symptoms. Breathlessness, for one, was a major problem for the author. One feels acutely claustrophobic even in open spaces and the feeling of being hopelessly trapped obviously follows. In that position, the victim realizes that there’s nowhere to run, the war-horns have been blown into. Armies of doubt, ruthless, pragmatic and idealistic at the same time, threaten to devour all semblance of sanity. This is where one must not loose hope. Hope is everything.

In battling such panic attacks, the most common defensive measures often bleed into the beginnings of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders. But that’s quite unnecessary, it would be the logical equivalent of calling in elephants to chase away the mice. If one has enough hope, there is no need to induce changes in one’s character as means of self-affirmation. Resorting back to religion is also not necessary, but is highly recommended to those who do not have problem with it. Befool yourself into believing anything, that is the cure. It isn’t easy, especially for the smart ones, but it’s the only way out. “Once you stop believing in god, you can believe in anything”, goes the saying. One must invent one’s own god, if the readymade solutions invented and tested by generations past fail to measure up to one’s satisfaction. If we’re able to look beyond the mythos and the mysticism, one can find that religion does make us all saner for it defines the “good use” for madness (or what kind of madness might be considered as beneficial for the greater good) , thereby converting it into sanity.

But this definition needn’t come from religion. It can come from believing in anything but only by believing in it religiously. Western liberalism has failed in the past in this regard, giving the society of neo-conservationists a chance to rise in democratic regimes and push forward powerful myths such as nationalism and national chauvinism (not to mention, religion itself). Similarly, the Islamic world is torn between varied interpretations of it’s own beliefs, giving a chance to fundamentalists to try to coerce the timid into their strong beliefs even by using force. Mankind has yet to invent a healthier kind of nihilism and until then, religion can provide for a very efficient scaffolding like structure to give support to all other the myths we choose to believe in. In eastern cultures, people understand this. They do not ask for the literal proof of god’s existence because they know that religion is just a mythical tool supporting the grand illusion that is life. That is why eastern religions have survived brutal attacks from almost everyone else in the world. It is when these tools are seen not as tools to define the truth, but the truth itself that problems arise.

The battle against existential anxiety can be won. And fairly easily at that if one understands the nature of the affliction. The search for truth and meaning should begin and end inside one’s own head, for if it moves outside of the person, it tends to approach the dangerous realms of recursive infinity and the disorder therein. Irrespective of the tools that one employs, a strong belief in something can give ample courage and confidence to anyone who seeks to live a meaningful life. Not just belief but faith. Faith in one’s own self is the ultimate religion. People with faith will eventually come to be respected and loved and working out your own salvation can be much easier when one is respected and loved.

Traces of Misanthropy

Just because I’m boxing shadows
Doesn’t mean I don’t consider men worth fighting with,
Or fighting for, or dying for, or living with

I was never more misunderstood,
Never more cunningly condescended,
Never more humiliated or humbled or heartbroken

But since my lackluster love has failed you
Since my brazen blood is all white to you-
Injected with traces of misanthropy

I shall stay here no more, you can
Replace me with automatons,
Remember me by numbers

I forgive the viziers who have poisoned your mind,
But my queen, pray hark this shadow-boxer’s dying wail-
I only fought with darkness to enlighten my brethren.

Way of Chance

The hidden fermatas swelling under confiscated breaths
Heaving secret signs of serendipity soon
Shall all lie naked in their surrogate tongues,
When they sing through my gibberish and my muse jejune

And Nonchalance, How I envy thee!
And the Paris-green ennui of they unheeding retinue
And how those teenagerks and wannabe managerms
Wish they had the courage to be a little more like you

So they've enrolled in what I might call
"The benevolent indecision of an indifferent romance"
But I know its only just a crash-ing course
In the chorus of chaos and the chiding way of chance.

The time flies

Doom, to the dog of the goon, my friends,
Doom, to the death of the wise
Doom, to our efforts and amends,
Doom, to paradise!

Death, to the fog over moon, I said,
Death, to her innocent cries,
Death again, to the one who puts,
A death to our disguise.

Or our disguise to a death, I mean,
Or his confidential lies,
Or our lust for the color green,
Or the way the time flies.

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The games people play

And how I wonder, how I yearn
And how the movie stars burn
And how this magic taciturn
Keeps driving you a w a y

This is not confusion dear
It mustn’t be known for mustn’t we fear?
When the stadiums and auditoriums clear,
It’s the games people play

The rest is all up to you now
The universe ascends on you somehow
Asking: “to whom do you pledge your vow?
What then shall you say?

This is how the plot twists
Your angry fistula and slit wrists
My angry fistula can beat your fists
Decide, fool! Yay or nay?

Better survive than sink or kneel
Better avoid the pain you can’t feel
Better is the adjective that makes people steal
Better is what you get when you play.


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