Sunday, May 14, 2006


One of the most comforting things in human existence is the feeling of belonging. Belonging to a family, circle of friends, relationship, community, culture and so on. The simple explanation why we gain comfort from this feeling is that it allows us to connect and feel we are not alone in our journey and lives. Life is unpredictible and turbulent ride but maybe worse its a lonely one because thats our nature. Our individual experiences are just that OUR experiences, it is nigh impossible to convey those experiences to others. Our words can't do them justice, in fact it is only a rudimentary approximation of our experience. For example, when someone licks a scoop of ice cream it is a totally different experience from another person. Why, since most if not all of us might have had chocolate ice cream? When each of has some of the ice cream we all have a history with it. Someone's first experience of ice cream might have been with their parent who is no longer with them, so that taste of ice cream triggers that memory and emotion in them aside from the simple taste. Another person might have a memory with their lover and suddenly that same ice cream has a sensual element to it. How can we convey that to each other? Well, I don't think we can, if we can't convey our full experience of something as simple as ice cream how can convey those parts of us that are so much deeper and fundamental to what makes us, us.

I'm not saying that we cannot connect with each other, quite the opposite, I think most of us can connect very strongly with each other in a very surface level. Most people find the least common denominator to make that connection. Hence, the cultural connections or community connections but most of these connections are superfical at best because people don't understand the background or the basis of that connection. For example, what does it mean to be American? Freedom, liberty, love of america, democracy? Or how about Indian? bollywood, religion, one of the thousand languages of India, indian ancestory? People don't ask these questions to themselves because they fear what the answer will be: that they don't know.

Whats even funnier or sadder is that many people that don't question this part of their own identity are the strongest to defend their "cultural" superiority and impose upon themselves restrictions based on these cultural factors. For example, many Indians align themselves along caste, linguistic or religious lines and refuse to cross it when it comes to marriage, even when they don't know anything beyond the base level of those distinctions. A gujarati hindu patel will only pursue a gujarati hindu patel even when they don't know anything besides the gujarati language, as if language cannot be learned or a culture adopted. (yes, i am speaking in generalities but one need only look at any of the thousands of matrimonial ads that are spread across all indian newspapers and my point will be shown).

To be fair, the problem is not that these people who stick to such rudimentary connections are fundamentally wrong, rather it is they are ignorant and as we all know ignorance is the source of fear and fear is the fountainhead of insecurity and when people are insecure they cling to whatever they think will make them feel a sense of comfort. People with a wider and more diverse experience of the abundance that is human existence coupled with an inquistive mind will more often than not be open to expanding their identity beyond what they know or feel comfortable in. What is my point in this long monologue? I guess what my friend is trying to say is that true love is blind....(an Old School reference) . j/k. My point is this, our base identity should be something that is inclusive and allows us to genuinely enjoy and experience the splendor of all human culture, and if I may make a grander jump to experience all of the natural world's cultures of our animal brethern, instead of viewing them as something we lord over. Once we gain a larger and more "universal" identity, other people's experiences will start to become yours, you'll be able to empathize and at some level understand them better. Or maybe the other alternative is to nullify our identities and just be, as is the goal of eastern thought and that ends this session of the Mukunda Monologues....

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