Monday, November 06, 2006

Of Existentialist Angst

I think existentialist angst is part of growing up. It is the second teenage that no one told us about. While in teenage, we could take solace in knowing that everyone else is also suffering. And there were a lot of other distraction - strong hormonal activity, career related anxiety and a thrill associated with the wonderful discoveries that you make during that time. Teenage triggered the first massive disillusionment wave. But we traded one set of illusions for another. It was just a transition from one comfort zone to another. Social support structure for a lot of people changed from family to friends.

One is slightly befuddled at the sudden discovery of existentialist doubts. An unexpected guest at an inopportune time! A forced realization of the recto absurdum of human life. A cheap freebie handed over by life. Something that cannot be put to use or be thrown away. Existentialism has been richly chronicled by philosophers and authors like Satre, Kierkegaard, Camus, Kafka and others. My personal favorite is Camus (Recommended reading: The Outsider, The Plague and The Myth of Sisyphus). Kafka is also good with The Trial and Metamorphosis. Regret the digression. This is the journey of your own. An overwhelming majority of our age is on this journey. The soul searching and the hunt for the meaning of life are there for everyone you know. Different people have different triggers. Loneliness, soured relationships, job-dissatisfaction and other random events account for most people. People manage it in different fashions. This ailment plagues everyone but there is no panacea for this. We should stop waiting for that ultimate high. It is not coming. Personally, I believe that a certain level of dissatisfaction is healthy. I think this is again a classic case of wrong expectation management. Our parents/influencers-main thought that if they make us do a certain set of things, we would have better lives than them. So they drove us in a particular direction. Meanwhile, our expectations from life soared! We thought that this is an engine that works at more than 100% efficiency. It does not. Its time that we accept this and move on! Probably life is just a mrig-trishna!



Thought I would end-up there. Mrig-trishna is such a beautiful word to end such a note. Mirage sounds so inadequate as compared to it. But as usual, I have this urge to add qualifiers. This problem bothers the Atheists/Agnostics more than the believers. Believers have their doubts but take refuge in the belief that their god has planned all this for them. Some of them actually believe that this is a big conspiracy (plan) hatched to increase their proximity to god. As for the acute non-believers, Only God can help us ;)

8 comments:

Mo said...

Mareechika.

And you already know my take on the rest of it.

Anonymous said...

I really do not know what to say. Felt like it was me writing some of those lines with a better vocabulary.

Prateek said...

Mo, Mareechika is as beautiful a word. Thanks for reminding me of it :) Origin: Maricha taking Deer form (Mrig) to lure away Ram and Lakshman. Again something that does not exist but something that people lust for!

Jeev, which lines do you relate to?

Anonymous said...

These ones Parle...

"The soul searching and the hunt for the meaning of life are there for everyone you know. Different people have different triggers. Loneliness, soured relationships, job-dissatisfaction and other random events account for most people. People manage it in different fashions. This ailment plagues everyone but there is no panacea for this. We should stop waiting for that ultimate high. It is not coming."

Anonymous said...

And you know what when your wrote "We should stop waiting for that ultimate high. It is not coming".

These words hit you, give you the same feeling as when you watch the movie Fight Club.

Prateek said...

This is the best compliment I have received on this!

RICK SHAH said...

Hey prateek,
Im making an animated short film on teh theory of existentialism as my final project at my college. And it was a startling coincidence, to find this blog entry. because it runs parallel to my script right till the metaphor of mirage. and it was even more striking as mareechika and mrigtrishna are few of the names i had in mind for my film. if you want more info on the film, visit my almost dead blog, http://tran-smit.blogspot.com/
I would certainly like a word with you, please drop a word at smitenator(at)gmail.com

Sazz said...

Beautiful piece and penwork...

My take? "Life's Mrig-Trishna itself defines life"... What would satisfy and push an environmentalist to work towards the green world if he did not really believe that he can make this world a greener and better place to live (and make it the ideal smog-free-plastic-free place?)?

So then what's wrong in cultivating this thought, "our expectations from life soared! We thought that this is an engine that works at more than 100% efficiency. It does not. Its time that we accept this and move on! Probably life is just a mrig-trishna!". I always keep asking miself this!!


Mrig-Trishna is the basic essence of Existentialism and it is wht drives a person to define the meaning of his life... I guess this is what Shah's (prev comment) movie talk about