i used to be wiser

I started writing a journal when i first went to college, back in 1995. It started off as a way to deal with homesickness and all the new experiences. While in college, there were occasional times of misery, but i was aware they would pass and that i would fondly reflect upon those times one day- and for that, i am thankful. Originally it was written in a leather-bound notebook. Some time, about seven years ago, i painstakingly transcribed it all onto my computer – initially in the form of doc files.

I haven’t really been writing journal entries for the last couple of years. It has more to to with the severe lack of any interesting happenings in my life than any thing else, but the old journal is a good record of times that involved the self-coined terms “experience overload” and “instant happiness”.

Recently, i was up to some figurative spring -cleaning (look at the weather outside) – backing up my files and so on. So i flipped open the journal (figuratively), and went through it.

They say age brings wisdom and all that, but i think i have gone downhill over the years. Most of my hours these days are spent listening to music that only i care about, figuring out the next meal, and working on bullshit research that nobody ever cares about. But if i were to believe the record, i was a lot more profound several years ago. Check this out, an entry made in Nov. 1998. I have no idea what prompted it, but i seem to have referenced it again three years later when I was going through a personal crisis.

One of the curses of being human is to forever lead a life of paranoia: Just when things are better than they could possibly be, we get the feeling that something is about to go wrong, but we cannot put a finger on exactly what it is. And then life does its usual act of turning things upside down. Many of us get tempted into believing in fate. The cold unforgiving voice in my head, on the other hand, says: its all got to do with the decisions YOU made, things YOU chose.

Life eventually teaches us that the outcomes of our choices are not under our control. Some choices just turn out wrong.

I am not a fatalist, though i do believe in the concept of “luck”. Fatalism means that the course of our lives is charted out by a “higher” power that makes our choices meaningless. Luck (as in X is “lucky” and Y is “unlucky”), on the other hand is simply a statement about past experience. It tells you nothing about the future, which continues to be determined by a combination of ability, effort and, to a large extent completely uncontrollable events.

We have to reconcile ourselves with the fact that our lives are not fully determined by us. The lack of determinism is *not* because of divine intervention. It is due to sheer randomness. And hence, faced with setbacks, we must move on.

I’m not sure i get what i was saying, or even why i said it. But it sure sounds deep, and to the present-day-me, somewhat comforting.


6 Responses to “i used to be wiser”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Drain cleaners..Lol lol lol

  2. Anonymous Says:

    calvin and susie? :p


  3. Heh Heh Says:

    anon: thanks

    priyanka: naah. not even close.

  4. Brown Magic Says:

    the thing about posting twice in one day is that some of us don’t scroll down enough and now i feel i missed the “commenting window” on this post which i otherwise would have commented on. now you shall have you live your life not knowing what charming little insight i had to share.

  5. Anirudh Says:

    This was enjoyable. I remember I used to write my own reports of cricket matches, inspired by the cliche-ridden ones that appeared in the newspaper. It wasn’t a good report if it did not have the cliches.

  6. Anirudh Says:

    The connection being that while the reports aren’t profound, I sometimes read them fondly even now.

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