The Annihilation of Autonomy

Willy Wonka will die a sad man knowing that the Chocolate Factory is no longer the place where unimaginable magic happens. Actually, it has all been imagined, you should catch the West End play at Covent Garden, London. It’s an absolute must. Anyway, Marketing is the new king in town. The Marketing industry is where the magic now happens. You’re either a part of it, or you’re a product; both being awful choices and worth being judged for. Let the game begin.

He’s watching you. Don’t flatter yourself by thinking you’re special or anything. He just wants to know if you’re watching him. What your vanity does not allow you to observe is that he just wants to know whether or not he is being noticed. Freshly manicured nails, nose hair clipped and eyebrows shaped, he’s looking dapper in the Emporio/Giorgio Armani suit he’s wearing. Or so he assumes you’re thinking. He’s confident, intimidating, alluring…isn’t he?

What we have established till now is that he clearly cannot think because you’re already doing the thinking for him. What he cannot see is that everything has been cleverly manufactured by you- not just limited to his attire, you have created him, his identity, his ideals; everything. You smirk as his eyes linger on each pair in sight, constantly gauging reactions, verifications that he is in possession of all things desirable. He is your guniea pig and he smiles back to what he mistakes as your approval, clearly missing the sinister gleam in your eyes as you watch yet another creation of yours.

You are the creator. He is the consumer. He is your consumer. You have created everything he believes in, you have carefully changed his lifestyle, and the beauty is he will never know that. He believes it’s all him! They say ‘power cannot be innocent’ and one can only imagine the thrill of creating a SIMS character you actually love. That’s consumerism today. You create. You control.

All I ask of you is to be mindful. For, those who identify the pattern, capitalise on the chaos. Be mindful while purchasing items, and observe the identities created by others. What to wear? Where to eat? What opinion to endorse? Whom to date? Which is your spirit animal?

 Think. 

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Assumed Roles vs. Identity

You

“Only in the water of rivers and ponds could he look at his face. And the very posture he had to assume was symbolic. He had to bend over, stoop down, to commit the ignominy of beholding himself.

The inventor of the mirror poisoned the human heart.”

-Fernando Pessoa

You and I, can heal, cure, transform, and inspire. We’re all storytellers. Constantly passing by other individuals, rarely taking a moment out to simply gauge that each one of them has a whole universe about them, consuming them. We’re too “busy” to reflect, to process or to empathise. For all those we do know, we judge. Judging is a relative term, isn’t it? We hold ourselves in a certain regard and in accordance to it do we view what’s around us. We also act in accordance, as we know we are constantly being judged by people around us. Our true nature reserved for when we are alone, not judged thus uninhibited. That is who you really are and that might just be more repugnant than what you pretend to condemn while playing your assumed role.

Why She Won’t Have Coffee With You

That titillating feeling you get when the cutest guy you ever saw walks past and for the tiniest fraction of a second, your eyes meet, the shortest fleeting glance, but it’s almost electric. The breath that follows is always full of anticipation and then, it subsides and your mind drifts to other things and tasks. But that feeling is powerful enough to turn a bad mood around, for a romantic at least. You see him again, you sense him hovering, should you strike up a conversation? Talk about music or books? That would seem fairly cultured, yes? Good thing you decided to grab a quick coffee at the cafe today.

Quite the romantic, though my mind often tricks me into thinking otherwise, I love feeling of butterflies fluttering about in my tummy, how alert and conscious I feel about each and every action of mine and most importantly the whirlwind of thoughts that crop up, sending me into a tizzy and end up increasing my heartbeat; all of this within seconds and from the outside, my body will show no signs of any change ever having taken place. I’ll look as bored as metal-heads would in those extra-large, neon coloured hipster shades.

Taking a look at relationships or ‘courtships’, they are well on their way to becoming painfully futile. Just like the term ‘courtships’, its customs have now become outdated and quaint. Initially, courtships allowed individuals to sail through infatuation and sexual attraction to the more permanent emotion of love and finally towards lasting holy matrimony. However, thanks to Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears, we know is no longer applicable to the world. Assisting them in this annihilation of relationships, are thousands of people who marry for convenience and marry quickly before the birth of the otherwise bastard. The destabilization of marriage is a worrisome topic as unlike failed courtships, it has very serious implications upon the current state of society. There is a separate hall of shame for those who marry as per customs or others wishes and are thus playing Russian Roulette with married life. This happens only too often and being worse of the two devils,  more often ends in ways other than divorce; murder, torture etc.

Thus, fortunately/ unfortunately, we are subjected to various ‘potential mates’ instead of finding one and sticking with him/her. Relationships these days have no common goal like they used to, not marriage nor love. A relationship is now a construct of individuals who decide whether the relationship is ‘working out’ or ‘good enough’ to continue. Couples do not look at themselves as a whole, but instead recognize themselves and therefore their role in response to their not-so-significant other. Thus, relationships are significant only when they enrich the self and therefore are majorly to enhance the self including others. Back then, people courted one another with a common goal being it resulting in marriage, however, nowadays it is quite the opposite, and marriage is now defined by the dynamics of the relationship.

Thus, relationships these days are built on sexual attraction like before but have no particular direction, nothing beats the initial feeling one gets, there is no common goal. Therefore meaning that most of the relationships we have are bound to perish, painfully, usually because most of us do not know what we are getting into since the stakes are no longer defined.

You claim to be in love, no denying that this love lasts for a long period, however when the love begins to become inconvenient and in the dynamic world of today, it eventually does, then it begins to die out. Soon, you find yourself ‘in love’ with another individual and so on. In the end, the emerging pattern of courtships/ relationships/dating is solely to satisfy the self. 

However, there exists a small percentage of people who are able to beat the cultural shift, get married and stay married too. We look upon them fondly, call them ‘lucky’ etc, this in turn proves my point all the more. There was a time when all relationships had this outcome and it wasn’t “impossible to think of it”. Come the changes in law, economy and technology, you say the global warming is the worst thing to fall upon us as a result? The implications on society are far worse.

So, if you’re wondering why your relationship failed, and whose fault it really was, I hope the article answers your question. Personally, I don’t claim to have beaten the tragedies of a relationship but simply find it easier avoiding them and thus being selfish, just like those in relationships, but without the tempting poisonings of one. (I think)

Also, an afterthought, don’t strike up a conversation with him, just feel satisfied with the warm and fuzzy feeling you were left with after the whole “..and our eyes met” moment till another one, inevitably, comes along.

Scrutinising Society- The Aftertaste of Introspection

NOTE: The following note is on a slightly analytic refection, the genesis, however, was more..chaotic.

Since childhood, one is taught to differentiate between the ‘right deed’ and the ‘wrong deed’. The lessons and morals are countless and manage to include everything; be it countries, religions, past experiences, fairy tales in parallel universes and paranormal deities etc.

Thus, since childhood, we are conditioned to be able to make the choice between, what always is in black and white, the right path and the wrong. However, in reality, it is never so. They say ‘Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.’ Like beauty, one, in all fairness, presents the same opportunity between what he/she thinks is right or wrong. Citing an example to explain the above clearly, your decision to stay home on a weeknight instead of going for a movie may differ from your roommate’s. However, both think they are taking the ‘right’ decision and the other, for whatever reason, is not. 

Experiments conducted by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences revealed that our decisions are made approximately seven seconds prior to our conscious self being aware of the result. This was done by monitoring  micro patterns of activity in the frontopolar cortex while the participants of the experiment, decided whether to use either their right or left hand to push a button at free will. Max Planck neuroscientist John-Dylan Haynes, who co-authored the experiment, had the following to say, “By the time consciousness kicks in, most of the (decision) work has already been done.” This goes on to reveal that the unconscious mind is very powerful and is relatively stronger than the conscious mind whose functioning in limited. Thus, we do not actually control our decisions; they are already decided by the largely unexplored science of the unconscious mind.

We are also taught to meditate and ‘collect our thoughts’ at the end of a stressful day to unwind, reflect and thus unburden. The process of stress relief involves a key factor, introspection. Defined as ‘exploring one’s own conscious thoughts and feelings’, it allows us to examine our mental processes and emotional state. To allow our conscious mind to scroll through our activities and pick out the viruses, i.e., what our conscious mind decides is wrong.  It is said to relieve us of stress as once we have picked out the ‘wrongs’, we begin to slowly eliminate them in order to cleanse our mind and be at peace with ourselves. They say, introspection helps us win half the battles, however, is merely the process of introspection enough?

The world we live in is one filled with all kinds of criminals and fiends. The naïve fool themselves into believing all the evil in the world is far away and somehow will not enter the bubble or the façade of surreal reality created by them. The remaining, are cautious and even paranoid. Although, wouldn’t you be too? The media is bombarded with a plethora of horrific stories of homicide, suicide, rape, international fraud, discrimination and cold blooded torture. Governments, involved in criminal conspiracies of monumental proportions, noticed but ignored.  We must keep in mind that these are all the reported stories and that the ones which unfortunately cannot be brought into light for whatever reasons are far more in number.

The above makes one think, where is the introspection? What of the need to cleanse the conscious mind? The half won battle remains defeated because a large number of people now are able to live with their inner demons. The key process which is eliminated in order to allow one to do so is to follow up after the introspection. Identifying the problems is not sufficient as it does not magically abhor them. Not that people do not reflect upon their actions, we are all social animals, what differentiates us from animals is our ability to think past our basic physiological needs. Thus, the area of worry is the fact that most of us have processed our wrongs, we have done the needful introspection, day in and day out and the mind, instead of working towards eliminating the wrongs begins to find alternatives, begins to accept the wrongs as ‘a part of one’s nature’ and thus begins the slackening of our conscience.

The major gateway is the process of introspection and failure to comply with it and sincerely work towards personal betterment. It leaves us vulnerable and susceptible to all kinds of evils. This is clearly evident in the society today, along with greed and selfishness. The two having always existed, focusing on selfishness, altruism is not only rare but in itself a paradox, for one almost always has a selfish motive. Religion, till a large extent has helped people be altruistic under the masquerade of an omnipresent and omnipotent presence watching over all their actions. The fear of hell, the fear of the unknown, is so impactful that millions of people think twice before doing a wrong deed and agree to go out on a limb to help others. However, is this altruism? That is for the reader to decide.

The society is in shambles today. The very moral fabric is ebbing quickly and in a frantic attempt to save it, people are losing their minds. Be it the media propaganda Imageor a government which considers 18 as an appropriate age to get married but 25, appropriate to consume alcoholic beverages, rash decisions taken by people who realise the potential threat of a mind which lacks empathy. An interesting fact is that people are slowly beginning to overpower guilt. Once guilt has been locked away, the conscience now lacks any selfish motive to pluck at the mind and thus the person becomes capable of lying, cheating and worse. Studies done in the field of criminal psychiatry have shown the two main characteristics of a psychopath are his/ her complete lack of empathy and the ability to ignore guilt completely, thus, a malfunctioning conscious mind. I shall leave the reader at this note, to introspect.