Inaction

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the greatest action is inaction. That is what I believe. People want to act so much that it makes me angry. “Save the poor!” “Save the country” “save the world” act, act ,act.

But really. Try to stay silent for 10 minutes straight. don’t move. Don’t talk to yourself in your head. You wouldn’t have felt more awkward in your entire life. That’s saying something to you. To act is easy. To deny it is hard.

Don’t act. You would be liberated to know that the world would still revolve without your concern.

And sometimes you would see how misguided all your efforts to help others were.

Brothel and the Book store

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What is a civilisation? How do you measure the height reached by the soul of a nation? I say that it can be measured by these two things: A Brothel and a Book Store.

If you ever happen to be in a foreign country and wish to know how evolved its citizens really are,if you wish to see beyond the veil of tall skyscrapers and crowds covered in the latest excesses, go to these two places. Do not go to those culture and language exchange clubs for those are scams, deluding you with historical significance,of how things should be, of how they would like you to see them, but not how they are.

A brothel shows you how they look at sex. Is it legal? Notice the quality of the whores. Are they healthy? Notice the locality of the place. Is it in the dark end of an obscure road or the city center? A truly civilised society rejoices sex in any form, instead of trying to hide it like a sin.

A book store on the other hand. shows the intellectual capabilities of the society. Notice the people visiting these stores. Are they young or old? Young customers indicate a society willing to learn.What books are being bought? If all that most people buy are self-help books you know that it’s a sick society, struggling to survive. On the other hand, an interest in literature, art or philosophy is an indication of a mature soul.

The most civilized state will hence have a whorehouse alongside a bookstore, both filled with people, young and old, right at the center of the city.

 

 

Crab Soup

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One should value above everything else freedom, equality and crab soup’

The crab soup in this Heinrich Heine quote refers to the small pleasures of life. It is to be valued with utmost care since it is what makes life worth living. We live, not for some grand event, yet to be unfolded, whereby we emerge victorious and universally lauded, but instead for life itself.

I find these pleasures in my morning cup of Darjeeling chai and roti.

Nothing beats it. Even a thousand kilometers away from my country, the first sip of tea, the first, soft, bite of a hot roti, dissolves the distance with fond memories,still fresh as the morning dew. The day ahead might be hard. The evening, harder. But the first 20 minutes of the early dawn belongs only to me.

Oh and yes, there is also the morning cigarette, my guilty pleasure.

 

moaning of life

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A second child was born to a family from Laos. People from the dorm were gathering to celebrate with the couple in the park nearby. A picnic-like atmosphere was created in half an hour, with foods and drinks, laughter and songs.

And I think to myself,” Why,this is just fucking annoying.”

What are they celebrating about? That poor sod! The things he will have to go through competing for a share of the world’s resources. Only a group of lunatics would celebrate such a tragedy. Don’t we have enough people already? Why more?

Cities are growing taller with nowhere to spread. People are being squeezed inside bird cages, with walls so thin, you can hear your neighbour’s intimate,midnight conversations.  And yet we are popping babies out one after another.

I don’t get why people want to have children in the first place. Sex, I get. But why reproduction? I find thinking about pregnancy rather revolting.

 

I was looking at news from China and they have this one-child policy.  I read that it has prevented some 400 million births since 1970. Some people have criticised it on grounds of human rights, hefty fines, etc.

But hey! It works you know.

I read somewhere that if all the world’s people were to live the American life, then we would need 4 more Earths. It’s clear that we don’t have the resources to provide a good life to everybody. Then what are we celebrating about? What do we say to the baby? “Welcome kid, to a mildly satisfying life.”

I think we have got this the wrong way round:We should mourn a life and celebrate a death.

I once heard some sort of a buddhist monk telling his followers a story.A child was born and the first thing he said was,

Oh no! Not again!

I believe the kid in the dorm was feeling something similar.

A Weird Dream

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I had a weird dream the day before yesterday. It happened early in the morning and I saw myself eating half-cooked cockroaches. I was there in the first person point of view and could even taste the disgusting flavour of the food. Even after I woke up, it was as if I had an aftertaste leftover from my dream.

I thought,”That’s a weird dream. I wonder why I had it.”But I already had the answer to that. I remembered that only the other day I had come across a quote by one of my favourite humourists, Mark Twain. It went something like,

Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.

Why the roaches instead of the frog? That’s because I am scared of roaches. Scared and disgusted by them (And I am a man. I hear the distant,tragic moaning at the demolition of the image of the idealised “Man”). But there was more to it. I have a habit of listening to podcasts while going to sleep. Mostly comforting discussions on various topics, ranging from philosophy to psychology, which I enjoy. A couple of nights before the dream I was listening to a discussion on the topic,

What is the nature of the unconscious and Carl Jung’s “Man and his Symbols”

It says how our unconscious mind is a world without language, trying to weave messages through pictures and symbols. But since we live in a world dominated by words we find it hard to decipher them and often neglect it as non-sensical. So. I decided to make sense of the dream. Did it mean anything? Or was it just a restructuring of Mark’s quote? Since I consider myself to be a skeptic, I wanted to be careful of trying to find meaning where none exists. But then a thought hit me. The quote. Yes! The quote. What is the one precondition for truly enjoying the brilliance of the quote?

You have to be already living in a situation that makes you feel that your day would indeed become tolerable if you would only follow the advice.

And I did follow it,didn’t I! In my dream. So what does it say about my everyday life?

Oh.

Cartoon by Lev Yilmaz


Featured Image: http://opiniaocentral.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/carl_jung.jpg

 

 

Mediocrity

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What is mediocrity? It is the vast majority of humanity. It is you. It is me.

Mediocrity is the absence of greatness.Being completely unremarkable.

It is contrary to what we are made to believe we are, not realizing

That giving in to such delusions is also pretty mediocre.

Read the works of those towering philosophers,

Upon whose wisdom our civilization stands, from whose arguments, we discover, justice, laws and ethics.

Or listen about the lives of souls like Buddha, who attained enlightenment,

Or the great scientists, artists and poets, who guided our perception about the nature of the world.

 

Where do you stand amongst them? Do you stand there, up high where they rest.?

You don’t. Most don’t. But then again, why should you?

The question is not what have you done but, what is being asked of you.

Nothing. Nothing at all. A civilization asks nothing of a man.

A man is simply born and has to fend for himself, or die.

So he does what is necessary to survive. Does the job that gets him by.

To be mediocre is to survive. The rest is mere ideology, makes little sense.

Excellence and greatness are like illusions that few men would reach,

For the rest, there is futility,that is the only reality

when did man ask from anyone to be condemned to these gallows?

So walk on, there is no shame in mediocrity,no better can even be demanded of you.

 

 

 

 

 

Things Joe hates about his daily commute

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Joe hates his daily commute. He finds it simply excruciating, harrowing to go through this monotonous loop of “inaction” (because technically speaking, the train does most of the moving business for Joe), over and over again like a lunatic.

Joe hates the fact that he has to get up at 6:30 in the morning to reach his workplace in time, which opens only at 9. The actual distance from his apartment to his office should be about 12 kilometers. But some genius working for the city-planning division, decided to lay down a rail-route, so twisted, that he is inclined to believe that it is part of some deliberate and grand conspiracy to sabotage his unwavering focus on his work. It’s just pure evil. It takes him, over an hour, 4 line transfers and 12 stops to reach his destination. Well, that’s the cheapest transit he can afford. So everyday, Joe wastes around three hours of his day in this transit.

A rail route so twisted…

Then there are the passengers themselves. Passengers are weird people. Joe has been keeping an eye on them and he had noticed that they tend to do either of three things;sleep, get into a trance-like state with their iPhones or read newspaper or book. But rarely do they talk to each other or look out the window. On rare occasions, he had seen a few women putting on makeup or a drunk man uttering gibberish, but that’s it. It’s almost like they are all dead,disconnected.

Co-passengers?

It is thus a big relief for Joe, when a bunch of chattering,young schoolkids walk into his compartment.

“They are still uncorrupted. They remain pure, for now…….”,thinks Joe.

The trains are air conditioned.The window panes, never opened.  This perturbs Joe a lot, for every time he gets off a train he is hit, either by the unpleasant, hot breeze of the summer or by the biting cold wind of the winter. And speaking of winter, people wear thick overcoats at that time and this makes life even more horrible for Joe, being stuffed in the tiny aluminium box  with hundred other passengers.

Packed as a Cattle-truck

  • Why do I have to travel so far to work?
  • Why are there not more trains?
  • Why do I have to stop at 11 stations when I get off only at the 12th?
  • Why is the planning of these “modern” cities so inefficient? 

Joe is too busy with his work to think of a solution to these problems, so he just goes back to his laptop, grumbling like a disgruntled old man. .


How to Build a Better City

For a more scholarly study on Mixed-Use Urban Planning: Click here