Thursday, 22 March 2012

Today I Am Wise

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself
– Rumi
(Click on the picture to enlarge and read.)
This post is a culmination of ruminations that can be found here and here.
As it happens often when you open a random page of a well loved and much read book it pithily lays bare the path out of the labyrinth that you had been spending months (if not years) trying to decipher.

In another life I worked in the development sector. It is no secret. Nor is it a matter of pride– or embarrassment.  Like so many other things in the world it just is. Leonard Cohen, in a brilliant interview in The Guardian said, “All I have to put in my song is my experience.” Similarly when I say, I left the development sector and found the path to true virtue (I make no claim to be virtuous though I hope to get there), it is based purely upon my experience.

In an attempt to reach the kernel of ‘why’ I felt discomforted in the ‘company’ of ‘organized do gooders’ I may have written what could amount to a decent sized thesis. Though I could summarize it in these few word– Doing good* for the sake of feeling good about you. Intentional acts of kindness performed in the belief that by being charitable one is not just good but somehow better than other living beings that inhabit this planet. That was something I couldn’t abide with. Because Intentional Virtue is not Virtue.

The picture above is from The Tao Speaks: Lao Tzu's Whispers of Wisdom, adapted and illustrated by Tsai Chih Chung, translated by Brian Bruya.

*The good is italicized because like all value judgments what is good is not only comparative but also established by people living in a particular time and age. That is why morality is a double bind and also one of the fiercest and most destructive constrains devised by man.


Neetii said...

It's been long since I've read something truly wise. :)

Anvita Lakhera said...

Thank you!