The Morality Mirage

The morality bandwagon. Everyone is on it these days. Everyone is running for causes, standing up for a belief or two, raising money for charity, sharing pictures of the down trodden. It is indeed fashionable for a child to donate half his coveted birthday monies to ‘charity’ ( thereby installing in him from very early on, a distinct distaste for the word itself). Schools trumpet their community service programs. High school kids feverishly volunteer at soup kitchens, sew care blankets, shelf books at the library and log in hours.

As if this were not enough, one could get onto a higher plateau of ‘righteousness’ by proclaiming an undying loyalty to the color green, by buying organic, by touting a reverence for ‘environmentally friendly’ products. We stand on our plastic soapboxes on our carefully manicured and weed free lawns or the local park and espouse the need to denounce the very things we are enveloped with in our lives. Yes, please stop spewing carbon dioxide into the room with your respiratory processes, you are increasing your carbon footprint!

As if this were not all, one could possibly attain the next level, or nirvana, by standing up for the soon to be extinct animals, for the poor creatures used for science and cosmetic research and pulling a puppy or two from certain death in some railroad track. All the while chomping on your favorite grilled chicken.

Yes, it is fashionable to be on this morality bandwagon. The more vocal you are on twitter and Facebook and other assorted media on these and other carefully selected ‘issues’, the higher you morality index. You can demand to be revered and clock yourself with a ‘Look how noble(er) I am’ shroud.

Yet, truth is, that is exactly what all this is . A shroud. Whom are we kidding? Really?

It is the basic survivalist ego in humans that propels us to “save” the earth and to elevate those who proclaim to do on a elevated, nobler plane.

All these moralistic stand-ins, die-ins and hand outs are but basically but an attempt by humanity to save….humanity itself. If it were not for the belief  that the environmental changes caused by our overconsumption, would in effect obliterate us in the far future, would we even bother? Or would we continue to over consume and pollute if, hypothetically speaking we remained unaffected by it all but everything else were to die? Seriously? If it were not for the abject horror that our grandchildren ten generations down may not recognize a tiger if one were staring at them, would we bother to ‘save’ them?

To be naked, is to see the deed for itself. What propels one to help a fellow human or to save the earth for the humans? Immediate gain in terms of publicity or the perception of some moralistic or spiritual gain now or in after-life? Is there any altruistic behavior untouched by either? Would there be any altruistic behavior if not for one or the other?

Altruism obviously evolved with the evolution of the multicellular or colonial life forms. As long as there was a lone bacteria, a lone amoeba, fending for itself, it did not need to worry about its fellow brethren. But once the cells realized the advantages of living in a colony, or even as a multi-cellular organism, altruism was necessary to keep the organization running. Team work can only be accomplished with give and take. For any advantage living together gave the cells, they had to also give up some of their individualism for the common good. This they did, without much aplomb, in the early sponges and even the early amphibian. What the heck, cells even had to completely specialize and commit to one function such as the kidney or the heart for the entire organism to survive optimally.

So when did this simple survivalist phenomenon take on a nobler aura? With the evolution of consciousness perhaps? When the thinking brain had to rationalize the individual’s sacrifice for communal good. With the evolution of the consciously thinking brain, there was a danger of the individual reverting to well, individualism. For thinking brain is not clairvoyant (yet) and is often shortsighted. Hence the evolution of morals to safeguard communal good. In recent times, this seems to be going towards its peak with altruism sparking off glossy headlines and rather pompous facebook posts with guaranteed likes.

A single individual set out to (pre)serving himself or herself is deemed selfish. However, an entire species, namely humans striving to preserve themselves is deemed noble. Go figure.

The Duality Dilemma

Light. Is it a wave? Or a particle? Electrons, are they energy? Or matter? The duality that is apparently ingrained in all things material pervades the ethereal as well. We live in a constant dilemma of duality. Consciously or subconsciously. The soul tries to free itself of its physical coordinates, succeeds, but slips again….as if tethered to the coordinates by gossamer strands…like a snake slithering out of its old skin but never quite getting out.

The duality of the self as manifested physically and the identity of self as a formless singular idea within, coexist in all of us at all times, consciously or otherwise.

We react to events, to ideas, mostly as we have been preordained genetically and trained environmentally. What if we never had any external influences shaping our thoughts? What would then our reaction be? Is it even possible to be so untethered? It is hard to answer that question since even imagining such a situation ultimately relies on our pre-existing thoughts.  A predicament much like Schrodinger’s cat.

As one keeps up with the thought processes, the strands of duality do seem to disappear, albeit for few staggered moments and then snap back. This cosmic dance of duality and singularity will go on, as long as we inhabit this body, and as long as our brain is doing the thinking.

The thinking mind oscillates between the two entities, the boundary between them but a hazy mist. To categorize the visible, palpable present as mundane and the unseen and/or theoretical as profound is a tempting fallacy. Pondering over the present, this world, these surroundings is just as profound as pondering over the before and after, over the infinite.

Even as the mind grapples with the fact that we are not dissimilar to the person sitting next to us on the bus, or the bus itself, all but manifestations of the same energy, in various forms and energy levels, and strives to imbibe this oneness into the core of one’s being, the mind still snaps back to being who we are, a passenger on the bus, distinct from the next person on the bus and the bus itself. For as long as we live this life.

This blog is an ode to this cosmic dance. The dance between one’s journeys of the mind and journeys of the body. It acknowledges that the present is always here, either in plain sight or in essence, even when we have travelled far in our thoughts. For it is this life we are trying to decipher, the here and now.

The Identity Crisis

Who are we? No, really, who am I ?? The daughter of so and so, the father of this and that, living in such and such? Did I choose to? Did I decree to whom I would be born, when and where? Afterall that practically decided my entire fate – being born or rather encompassed in those particular coordinates. I am thenceforth jailed in the persona with this name and THAT is my identity. Really?
Is it even possible to break free of the identity you are born with? After all, your very being, your very cells, your very neurons… Your thinking is decreed by your genes and the environment you are encompassed in and the influences you are bombarded with.
So the dilemma of the naked soul. Shedding off of the layers is harder than it seems. There is always that ingrained note from the past, that bigoted view enshrined through generations, that song in the head that just doesn’t go away. But the soul rallies on, to shed them all. To be naked.