fragile and uncontrollable

This is yet another gyaan-giving post. I just needed to collect my thoughts and clear my mind. So, don’t bother reading unless you enjoy listening to lonetwin baba šŸ˜‰

The fragility of existence slapped me in the face (yet again) recently with the news of the earthquake + tsunami + the possibility of nuclear meltdown in Japan. As of right now, there are a couple of thousand people reported dead or missing but final estimates are being spoken of in terms of tens of thousands. This got me thinking about the illusion of being in control of our lives that most of us seem to suffer from.

Those of us not in Japan at this moment still feel like our lives won’t drastically change in the next 24 hours. We believe, our homes, the people we love, the things we enjoy will still be around. Why ? Is that just a coping mechanism developed by our species as a means of survival ? (after all, what would life be without hope ?).

I read that the people in Japan are taught to deal with earthquakes right from childhood. They carry quake kits that include at least a flash-light, food and documents. They have periodic drills and follow procedure in the event of a quake. Their cities are planned and built around the possibilities of quakes, floods, and other natural phenomena Japan is exposed to. This may lower the extent of possible damage.

However, they hadn’t been prepared for a nuclear meltdown. Are any or us ?

There is the practical[1] outlook that, as far as life is concerned, all we can hope to achieve is to minimize the effect of external factors rather than control the outcome. However, in day to day life, how many of us remember that ? I know a lot of people who live under the constant illusion that they are in complete control of their lives. How egoistical is that ? Worse still, not only do they think they are in control, they also feel justified to control in the best case (for them) or at least be able to dictate in the worst, the way others should live their lives.

So, what are we supposed to do ? My own take is:

  • remember constantly that we aren’t in control. We are all bound together. Existence is fluid. A change anywhere in the world transmits (in whatever minute manner) to us. We need to remember that always. When interacting with anyone. When doing anything. Our actions affect not just everyone directly involved but also society and the world at large …and this is not in a controllable deterministic manner. So lose the illusion of being able to influence anything by your actions — for yourself or for others.
  • remember that we are fragile and so incredibly easily destructible. Each one of us. We and the people we love and the things we love — all fragile.

So, fragile and uncontrollable, that’s what life is. Everything else is an illusion.
Have any thoughts ? Please share, I’d love to know what people who read this think.[2]
Thanks for reading, have a nice one.

[1] wrote existential first, but not sure if am I using that concept correctly. Am I ?
[2] you can post anonymously too, so feel free to make fun of me, I won’t know who you are šŸ˜‰

  1. Hey there
    In India it is also interesting to note the class geo-politics of where the atomic research centers come.
    Poorer/rural areas/states are deemed safer in the name of ‘well-researched-safe’ locations. Would be an interesting study to see on what basis we finally deem them safe. Urban lives have much more stock value – finally I guess when a nuclear leak happens, I hear it is equal to all šŸ™‚ Does not bother with class/creed or other such pigeonholes unlike the nation state.

  2. @Anubha, thanks for your comment !

    Yeah, that indeed would be interesting, although my instinct seems to lean towards the argument that it isn’t so much about the value of urban Vs rural lives as it is about the number of lives that face the possibility of being affected. Not to say that, just because the number of lives involved is lesser, that’d automatically make it ok to put them at risk …but that’s another talk altogether.

Leave a Comment

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>