Friday, February 22, 2008

Into the Wild by Sean Penn


Ignore reality at your own peril. It is important to strip away the unnecessary in order to be simple. But in a zeal fuelled by books and idealism, it is also possible to go too far.

Reality of the "hateful" world exists at many levels.

Relationships and family: Ignore the emotions of others, and face the consequences of hurt all around you. It is a worthy challenge though.

Survival and Thriving: Ignore or scoff at the means of survival (food, clothing, medicine, protection from weather) and spend your days staving off illness and hunger on your own. Living simply and frugally is different from a complete rejection of what all human endeavour has made possible.

Education: Deride education knowing that the varied skills being taught are useful skills.

Money: Give away your money only to earn it later when you need it.

Identity: Burn it all only to want it when it is required by society.

Technology: At its very basis, technology is the formation of tools to do a task more efficiently. Where does one stop, if one wants to reject technology? Nothing but one's body? Nothing but tools found in nature? Nothing motorized? Nothing connected to the electrical grid? Nothing produced by the MNCs?

To live a life enabled and made richer by frugality and not one hampered by it is the secret of joyous independence.

4 comments:

Susan said...

Hi Harmanjit, my comment may not be entirely relavant in terms of what you tried to convey in this blog but anyways....I have pondered many times upon the need for knowing the reality....as you say "ïgnore reality at your own peril", it makes me wonder once again, whether not knowing the reality actually periluos? does knowing the harsh truths make a person in a better state of mind? may be if you know the absolute truth, the absolute reality, you would be better off...but the half baked truths that you discover with whatever means available to you, can get even more destressing. there is no way you can go back to the world of illusions and you just dont seem to find a way to get to the ultimate truth. you just get torn between the world of illusions and the ever present mysteries that dont seem to be providing any answers whatsoever. A friend of mine once sent an interesting quote saying "the faith of the ignorant should not be shattered by those who know".
of course, it is practically impossible for any person to totally live in the the world of illusions. some of the harsh realities do surface every now and then in everyone's life. but what if one has certain imaginary beliefs that help them deal with these realities...or may be one can simply live a relatively happier life without thinking about these realities all the time. If happiness is the ultimate goal (i.e. if that can be considered so), can striving to find the truth get you any closer to this goal? and yet once you do take the plunge into the vast ocean of unknown, you would not choose to go back even if you were given a chance to....i do not think it is because you are happer there...then why is that so?

harmanjit said...

"but the half baked truths that you discover with whatever means available to you, can get even more destressing."

# If truth is distressing, then one needs to look at why it is distressing, not condemn the very exploration of truth. Once one starts on the journey of exploration, despite one's distress, one cannot stop. There is distress even in the world of illusion, but one blames all sorts of causes for it and escapes the misery of trying to do anything about it. The distress during the journey of discovery is a distress for which, sooner or later, one has no one to blame but oneself.

It can get very lonely there, and one wishes to get back to the world of illusion, but that as you say, is also impossible.

""the faith of the ignorant should not be shattered by those who know""

I agree to the extent that I don't go about poking objections in other's way of life or their thinking. But if somebody asks me a question, or if I am writing something on my own, I like to state my understanding of things.

"If happiness is the ultimate goal (i.e. if that can be considered so), can striving to find the truth get you any closer to this goal?"

# This is a very interesting question. Each person has to answer this for herself/himself if living in a possibly illusory happiness is acceptable to them. I would like to believe that it is not so for me. I don't think I am capable of sustaining any illusions for long, and the pain of illusions shattered is much more than the temporary discomfort at investigating them and discovering if there is any truth in them.

"you would not choose to go back even if you were given a chance to....i do not think it is because you are happier there...then why is that so?"

# Because you recognize that in the journey to the top (metaphorically), there is breathlessness, discomfort and danger. But because one can look back and down and know that one has climbed, even though one might not be confident, or eager, to climb higher and higher into even more rarefied and lonely terrain, there is no way one can consciously go down again.

Susan said...

Thanks for you remarks....i agree with what you say, atleast it holds true for someone who actually has started questioning the "known" and his or her own beliefs.
I do not condemn the exploration of truth but it does get distressing because it completely shatters all your previous beliefs and doesnt seem to give you the answers that you are so desperately looking for....in a way it changes the whole world for you and gets you into total uncertainity. you also have many doubts in your mind when you move away from the tried and tested route and try to travel the "untraversed" or rather not so commonly traversed path. you do not find yourself happier than others or what you were before and your mind starts doubting all the more. the distress that is present in the world of illusions can be covered by fake beleifs or by not thinking about the distress all the time. but again, once you do get a glimpse of reality or atleast realise what is not real, you cannot go back.

Shuchi said...

very interesting ...
Me, maybe not capable of thinking to the levels you guys think .. to think of the illusionary or the real world. I have a baby to take care of, in the real world .. and that doesn't leave me time to think .. just gives me time to manage to catch up with all the things that still need to be done ...
As you have pointed out Susan - "the distress that is present in the world of illusions can be covered by fake beleifs or by not thinking about the distress all the time."
is it that I am so busy that I don't have time to think about the distress in my life ....
and since I dont think about the distress ... I am happy ...
hmmm ... can it be a reason to have a baby .. or to keep yourself soo busy in your life that you don't have the time to think about distress ??? Ultimately,is this what makes people happy ??