Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sin City, World and Life

It is 4 o clock in the morning and I have just finished watching all the episodes of the first season of SMALLVILLE in a marathon session.Prior to this I saw a documentary called Zeitgeist(an awesome thought provoking watch about which I intend to write a post soon). If anyone of ou has seen both of them then you would know the stark difference, one a teenage supernatural drama while the other a documentary on mindboggling conspiracies!

While watching Zeitgeist it dawned on me how much we don’t know about the world and how less we try to find out. And then I spent 24 hours watching all the episodes of a thoroughly mediocre television series(Season 1 that is,I plan to start the season 2 marathon tomorrow). And now, finally before I call it a day I decided to just jot down a theory that crossed my mind after this watching spree.

I think at the end of the day, people just do things to derive satisfaction out of it. And this would primarily be based on how we are brought up.For example, Lex Luthor in the series derives pleasure from doing things to prove his Dad wrong while Clark Kent does so from saving people’s lives. But at the end of the day it is the same motive everyone has.

Ethics is based on moral philosophy.It has many definitions and branches but the gist of it is that people must do things that are socially acceptable. Hence, by definition they depend on how the society is at that time.

Today it is considered good to work hard, concentrate on studies, go up the ladder and become something in life. But I don’t think that is actually true. It would be equally acceptable for a person to just get an ordinary job and have an ordinary life as long as he does to derive pleasure from being really successful. I think this is what actually is the cause of why some people are really successful and some people not.

I do not think it is mere coincidence that successful people’s kids generally end up doing decently well. They would be brought up in such a way that the thing that gives them satisfaction is to be successful.The same goes for people who are self made.They are generally brought up in such a way that there is a thirst to do something to change things. It is what satisfies their craving.

So, technically being successful, as the term is used socially does to necessarily mean going up the ladder and becoming someone. One could actually live a successful life by just being normal and living an ordinary life as long as they are conditioned and brought up to be satisfied that way.But the problem nowadays is that it is considered socially unacceptable to have limited dreams and achievable targets.

Coming back to the satisfaction theory, wouldn’t this mean that at the end of the day all of us are just looking for our own kick? Some guys work out and get their six packs to make themselves feel good, while some eat a dozen hamburgers. Some get into drugs, while others get into social service. Yet some of these are considered “good” while some “bad”. This definition of good and bad is obviously dependent on the social environment. A classic example would be how Human Rights were considered sacred in America until the twin tower attacks after which now Homeland Security has the power to arrest, search and torture any person without a warrant. This is a classic example of how “bad” can become “good”.

I do appreciate the fact that we must have certain rules to be followed for a society to become civil. But the basis of these rules has thus far been purely experimental and very bloody ( from whatever history we know). But finally at the end of the day, does it all really matter? I frankly cannot see any purpose in life other than making myself feel happy, whether to me it means making others around me feel happy or just watching a TV series alone in my room. A logical question from here would be that is it is all about satisfaction, then why do we actually even bother to go through anything that causes the opposite.

You are going to laugh when you read where I actually got a lead to the answer to this question – The movie THE DEVILS ADVOCATE (yes, I do watch a lot of movies).See, I believe that that man identified the primary things that actually satisfy him classified them into seven categories namely lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. The primary cause of why we do go through situations which do not give us pleasure is simply that we want to continuously experience all these sins. But this is where we reach a problem. It would be very tough to balance an equal amount of “sin”. For example, if one indulged in gluttony too much it would affect his indulgence in pride accordingly and hence he would stop and go through the trouble of hard work to rework his pride level. So in the end our entire life would be a task of attaining this equilibrium.

Consider a hypothetical situation where a person is brought up in such a way that the only way he can derive satisfaction is by helping people. Then that will be what he would do. Similarly,if it is by killing people. My point is not how people can be shaped so easily into doing things over the long run, but that either way why would it matter. Both would serve the purpose to the person who is doing it.

This is one of those random posts that are just supposed to be food for thought and has no conclusions. Can’t think of anything more to comment so all I’m gonna say is Good Night.


Kedar said...

Hey man,
Quite a topic. Though I would really berate you for seeing Smallville, in the end if it made you happy its cool. Yeah, even I have gone through the mindfuck of a documentary (if you can call it that) Zeitgeist. And I would strongly recommend you read The Fountainhead (and other Ayn Rand works), if you havent yet, no matter how controversial.
And about personal satisfaction, it really is 'personal', if one chooses to live a average Joe life and is happy with it, though how unnatural it may sound, is quite cool. And thats how it works in most of the places apart from India, where for some reason, the ratrace is too big a deal; aspirations, oneupmanship, 'class' etc. I guess its more due to the societal patterns in India, where a high population lived in poverty for years (thanks to the British and then the corrupt babus), and now with the private sector and education levels, opportunities are opening up, but then again there can only be so few. So there's a fight for those. So yeah most people want to get/grow out of that 'low-level' life and get somewhere.. But makes you think, does everyone just want to do the same thing for some monetary gains regardless of the nature of the work. Does it not matter, that the work one does should be enjoyable, or just the paycheck at the end of the month counts! So there, you have more levels of satisfaction: monetary, and another a bit philosophical related to your work. Lol.. even I went into a big rant. Sitting here in my office at 1am trying to motivate myself to start the homework which will be due soon.. Haha..
Hope you are doing well..
Take Care.

Dez said...

good try.

people have different definitions of success, and each definition suits the degree of success each has had.

so, for example, if success means a lot of money but i do not have a lot of it, then my definition does not equate money with success


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Xorkes said...

read the post.. nice one..
will comment more later