Jan 1, 2010


Emptiness.. to a remarkable degree of certainty, is my favourite topic to talk, write and think about.(as well to pontificate on!!) Hopelessness.. to an even greater extent has been the leitmotif of my life of late. They together fill up all the space there is to accommodate my experience of being alive. Its the remarkable combination of the two(hopelessness and emptiness), which lends itself to making the journey through time, space and consciousness that we call life, particularly worthy of intellectual focus this moment.

Now a few disclaimers, I'm not trying to establish anything here, nor i am attempting to make a case for a particular view of life. What follows is a preliminary, over-simplified description of my first encounters with "Emptiness" which shan't be understood to be unctuous.

As i reconstruct/recollect my memories , with the benefit of hindsight, it now seems that my whole meaning of life, my view of the world and my place in it, my whole purpose of existence were just condemned inheritances which i assimilated into my personal constitution without any resistance. Always so caught up in the everydayness of life that could never look at it from an observers perspective. Did good at school, operated fine with women, got through the best colleges et cetera. There was pleasure to be found in other peoples' companionship, in establishing or at least extracting an acknowledgement of the superiority of my worldview, in reducing the whole world to a inherently prejudiced picture of an interplay between circumstances by principles that i had seemingly already understood, in being the perfect creature in the Darwinian sense - content with adjusting, reactively and in the least possible measure, to all the minor shifts in the your experience of life and maintaining your set of biases nonetheless.

There was a powerful undercurrent building all along. As a consequence of hiding, ignoring & denying every little insecurity that confronted me, as the aftermath of every lie i bred, as to every incomplete concept of life i built there were, undergoing an ontogenesis, the mental equivalent of tectonic faults. I did perhaps realise but presumably ignored that behind or underneath my supernormal (taken to mean better than normal but in the normal/normative sense) development i was like almost everyone else i ever encountered, was loosing touch with the truth of my existence, somewhere in the micrological intricacies of life. My concerns were undividedly limited to matters such as would describe 99 % of contemporaneous humanity - chics, money, ego. Wasn't tough i would now argue, to infer the engine powering my life and, sure enough, that of most people around me was Insecurity. Each and every little movement, little thought, little precept and concept had somehow been a way to deal with it.

By providence or otherwise there occurred a moment of epiphany when i first read an article by a person whose effect on my life has been, albeit indirectly, monumental and superabundant - Jacques Derrida. One casual skim through a few lines of an article proved plenteous to evince my immanent love/lust for philosophy. My native curiosity proved plentiful to steer me onto the likes of Socrates, Kant, Descartes, Nietzsche, Camus .. so on , so forth, so was it. I'm not going to write an expository piece on what each one said or for that matter what i understood of what they said but posolutely my whole conscious experience of life as it was happening, my cognitive interpretation of it as it had happened, my surmises of what it would happen in the future and most significantly my supposition of how it ought to be underwent and are still undergoing a massive reconstruction.

In trivial terms, the reluctance to, or perhaps just the sheer lack of the occurrence to me of the otherwise, ever truly know what is the whole point/purpose/possibility/nature of life caught up to me and screwed my conception of life at its very foundations. 

Today, all that i once knew was good, all that i once knew was right, all that i once knew was meaningful, all that i once knew was what a person ought to do in life, my whole composite integrated meaning of life has been, by my mental actions acting like blows, hammered out of all shape and form of which it was once a impressive embodiment. So have i wiped the slate clean ? Have i absolutely been able to unlearn all that i did or have i been, accompanied by a fair measure of success, been able to re-conceptualise my self , the world and my place in it ? No. Absolutely Not. Here i am today, this moment, having lost all my once-strongly-held notions, my perceived knowledge, my accumulated wisdom, my supposedly verified assumptions, my cognitive inferences, my customary morality, my sense of purpose, my direction in time,space & consciousness, my vulgar urge to defeat the one in front, my drive to prove myself to the other.. in brief.. all little bricks that housed, neatly in perfect order, my experiences in life and associated meanings have been deconstructed. Seems like, by just the sheer count of it, that i've lost quite a lot. In real, practical, everyday social life it meant that i became reclusive, disinterested in companionship of fellows around me, disregardful of the expectations of the systems that encapsulate your life ...be it the society, family, education, profession... so on. I may safely say that for a while I assumed a cynical misanthropic outlook towards life and all those who embodied it around me. Dis-illusioned in the truest sense.

What did i gain out of it though ? What was in it for me to adopt a nihilistic, plain existentialist view of life right after the peak of a phase filled with hedonism ? Well here is it, in my mindscape where there were once falsely constructed certainties , there were now magnificently perceived possibilities. Where there was a reliance on strongly rational reasoning, there was now a love for unrestricted imagination. Where there was a strong urge to just impress, there was now a desire to truly express. Where there was the safety of an incontrovertible purpose to life, now there is the comfort of life not compromised by it but waiting for me the 'experiencer' of it to give meaning to it. This is in short the story of me and my emptiness. This is how it came about and as i hope i've been able to describe with sufficient accuracy this was how i changed my whole conscious experience of and my emotional reaction to, being alive.

Hopelessness of the Emptiness is a slightly more challenging-to-describe fact of life. I will do it subsequently.


Sgt Pauper said...

Wow Siddharth, you've finally found your place under the Bodhi tree!!! Your deconstruction of everything - even the very act of writing the piece - is an absolute relish. Plus, your candour is quite comforting - to know that there are other people who're also trying to make sense of the world around them. Even if we're relying on our inadequate sensory equipment to do that. But you seem to have zoomed far out to get the larger picture. Hope to hear more about what all you can see from that perspective!! Brilliant job!!
However, I have just one question, complaint rather. Why doesn't this comment box allow the use of the arrow keys? I have to use the bleddy mouse to navigate around here...:)

Siddharth Kaushal said...

thanks a lot! the first thing that comes to my mind is again a sense of comfort when i hear what you have to say about it!! I hope this undertaking that we've began proves to on a satisfying path even if there is'nt a logical conclusion to it.

i will see what the problem with the comment box is? hopefully i'll be able to sort it out.

keep posting your comments.. they are always welcome.

Siddharth Kaushal said...

*proves to be

saurabh dobriyal said...

hi dude,i think this is one of the best written by u ,so honestly said.....i think people know this but deny everytime becoz they are scared of coming out of this game of name n fame.........happy in percieving illusiory world n then...u know the end very well....may b people r not appreciating on ur face but then they know it.............this is awesome ,believe me.

Siddharth Kaushal said...

thanks Saurabh. i too believe in what i wrote. but i also understand and accept the brute realities of everyday existence which force all of us to deny or suppress such thoughts. lets hope humanity as a whole moves toward a more honest, more naturalistic, more life-affirming socio-economic order. tc

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