Sunday, February 23, 2014

Musings on the inadequacy of words to define reality....

Unless one starts feeling raw pain, suffering or happiness, without pigeon- holing it into conceptualized compartments, the experience and the understanding of it is often incomplete. The psychological ideation of experience kills its beauty and any direct contact with it. When the Buddha held up a rose in front of his disciples as a sermon, only Ananda kept quiet and smiled without any ratiocination about it ; or when Gertrude Stein wrote : 'A rose is a rose is a rose', she indicated the "factualness" of things that are self evident and needs no further elaboration.

The point is that the process of labeling is merely a socially convenient contrivance , and the moment it takes on the mantle of reality then we are in serious trouble. The other day I heard somebody telling me that she was going through a "Mid life crisis". Now, in one single pithily defined phrase, she has wrapped her entire gamut of feelings and thoughts spread over years into a snug little idea; and now trying to grapple and come to terms with the idea and not wanting to look at the actual root cause of her discontent . She is holding on to a linguistic handle which has no relevance to what she is going through. Spend a minute looking at the numbers of judgments, labels, prejudices that we carry every moment with us, and you will realize what i am talking about. This is particularly visible when parents talk about their Child's upbringing. There is a term for every year of his or her growth : "Childhood", "adolescence" , "teenage blues" - and we expect them to fit into these little, meaningless containers that will result in only making them as ignorant as we are. The beauty of this though, is to know the utility of these terms and leave it at that. Any trained Psychiatrist will tell you to open up and exhume the buried skeletons, and what they mean is to go beyond the labels and look at the actual content of our thoughts and emotions without the distorting mirror of verbalization. Read Lewis Carroll's " though the looking glass" to understand this better. Again, do not dismiss this book as children's fiction , it has a profound theme that many elders have failed to grasp.

So we keep reacting to labels, our actions are always over or under exaggerated , and never to the point ; and each act leaves a residue which compounds over a period of time , leaving us incapable of any fresh understanding or insights. Think about this......

God bless...

No comments: