Word of the Week #84:

Paternity

Do you have children? If not, would you like to?

And no, that is not an offer, only an enquiry.

It is just that lately, due to recent changes I mentioned last week, I have been pondering over the challenges of being a parent. Only the challenges, unfortunately, and none of the rewards, because, well, are there any?

I generally like to think of myself as a ‘silver-linings’ kind of a guy, but in this case, I just cannot see beyond the dull greys.

Children are stupid. That is just a simple truth. Sooner or later, they will find a way to put themselves or you or someone in grave danger.

Sure, they may seem cute while they are clean and quiet, but you cannot expect them to stay that way for too long.

Being a parent is tough, it is often said, but there are many who would disagree. In fact, even I would disagree. Being a parent, in and of itself, does not seem all that tough.

However, being a good, responsible parent, one who can strike the right balance between care and discipline and is attentive and neither too aloof nor too clingy on a consistent basis, now that is a tall order.

Interestingly, I forgot to pack any nightwear for my trip to Bangalore. Now, if I cannot even be trusted to be responsible for my luggage, how can I even comprehend being responsible for an entire new life?

On top of everything, we never receive any training whatsoever for what is undoubtably the most important endeavour one can undertake, but thank goodness I spent decades learning how to calculate the area of a cordate.

To be honest, I do not even like this idea of unilaterally creating life and then nurturing it according to our will. It is almost too much power for a single individual. For one, if I have noted anything in the past couple of years, it is that too many people are too stupid.

Of course, it is not entirely a unilateral prospect. Bilateral at the very least, right?

So, until I do not have a willing partner, it is all moot.

And, well, looks like it will stay that way for at least the foreseeable future.

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Word of the Week #70:

Dissent

As a kid, I was usually quite well liked by elders. You see, I have always been nice and cute and smart. People tend to like that in kids.

However, as I grew older and smarter, I found that there were a couple of aspect of my personality that seemed to prick certain grown-ups.

You see, I was always an inquisitive kid. When someone would tell me something, or ask me to do something a certain way, I thought a very reasonable response was, “Why?”

At that age, it is bizarre to think I would not have actually intended to challenge the authority of the aforementioned elders. What kid ever thinks that way?

Now, as a few more years passed, this habit of mine evolved to the next level.

Now, not only was I completely unafraid of asking “Why?”, I was also assertive enough in the face of their floundering responses to say, “No.”

Needless to say, such behaviour was not without its consequences. Some teachers may have been convinced this disobedience needed to be flogged out of me, but corporal punishments were not in vogue anymore, and juvenile attempts at public shaming had to suffice. Some parents believed I was a bad influence on their kids.

I have always hoped people would look at this with equanimity and ask themselves who is a worse influence on impressionable minds: a child who seeks to understand before he obeys, and thereby chooses to disobey if he disagrees, or a supposed ‘grown-up’ who cannot even defend his beliefs to the aforementioned child, and thereby sees him as a threat.

“Inevitably it follows that anyone with an independent mind must become ‘one who resists or opposes an authority or established convention’: a rebel
And if enough people come to agree with—and follow—the REBEL, we now have a DEVIL.
Until, of course, still more people agree. And then, finally, we have… GREATNESS.”
― Nicholas Tharcher, Rebels and Devils: The Psychology of Liberation

The times have changed, since. We are the grown-ups now. It is time for us to shape the world we have inherited.

“Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Do we want our children to stay silent, or do we want them to speak out?

It is now for us to decide.

Word of the Week #67:

Theism

It has always been my conviction that the human mind does not appreciate blank spaces; the ones it cannot fill with truth, it fills with tripe.

And no, I am not talking about haggis…

For instance, the concept of atmospheric pressure was not known to mankind till at least 1640AD, and not correctly understood until 1648AD. How, then, does one explain wind? Why, the answer is quite simple: GOD.

Most ancient cultures attributed a god to every force of nature, with such beliefs being prevalent across geographical divisions, until the rise of the Abrahamic religions and their tenet of monotheism.

Of course, one would expect that, almost five centuries since the Age of Enlightenment, the world would have been long rid of these ancient, and often ludicrous, beliefs. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case.

Now, that in itself might not seem like an issue, until we come to the realisation that the mind, once filled with tripe, no longer has space left for truth.

What is tripe? What is truth? That remains the question.

Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.
—Isaac Assimov