Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Communism, Ambition and the Poet

I hardly know anything about Communism. In fact, the only things I know about it was what was taught to me at school and college. However, that knowledge led me to observe, what I am sure many others would have done ages ago anyway: That it is tough for it to work unless the entire community embraced it. If some didn't believe in it, communism would be powerless to stop itself from being trampled by them, and that would lead to its decline. Hardly did I realize that this observation which I have had for quite some time would share a thread of analogy with my life..

I had a trait which I knew was quite striking in my life. Right from the days at school, when I would read portions not relevant on the day before the exam, to coding something for fun when an assignment loomed large at college. The overpowering nature of my instinct over reason. Of joy over purpose. Of doing something because it was beautiful rather than the mindset to achieve an end. Of driving to enjoy the sight of outdoors by the side of the road, rather than reaching a destination. A way of life which I later reasoned out as more of a poet rather than an businessman. For sure, this attitude did create difficulties, but it never discouraged me. For the difficulties were practical, but it was a win at a philosophical level.

The poet's reasoning is simple. The biggest picture of life which he possessed was made of many moments of it strung together, and he saw little reason in depriving it of too many such moments to keep reaching a goal. If he lived the moments of his life, he would have lived his life. Of course, this reasoning is flawed. You would need to sacrifice many a times to end up being happier in the future. He did acknowledge that, but it never got out of his mind that he shouldn't end up sacrificing too much of his life, to ironically, have a better life. So, he had priorities, but they were very few, and loosely defined. A poetic life is dangerous, it exposes you to risks, leading you to periods of sadness. You need to grounded by a few solid principles. I had a couple of them, optimism, and God.

However, it turns out that the world we live in is not that tolerant of this approach. This first hit my hard months after I started to work. Quite reasonable, since work life is the first time you are thrown open to this world. One thing which started becoming clear was that atleast at work, priorities were needed. Goals had to be present. Corporate world has no place for the poet. What followed was quite a bit of turmoil, and finally a state of compromise where I started having goals, but treated work as a sandbox and remained a poet outside.

Time passes, and with each passing day, the poet realizes that the workplace was just a mirror for the rest of the world around him. Much of it, on both professional and personal fronts, is based on goals, ambitions, ends to be achieved, and well defined priorities to achieve them. That is what hits his life deep at heart, just like what hit communism. In an ambitious world, the poet has to start considering priorities if everyone around does, or else the very reason for this approach, happiness in life, starts taking a hit. The poet doesn't give up though. The conflict between reason and principle continues. It might subdue, but it remains with him for life. Talk about paradoxes...


  1. Paragraph 2 is so true with a lot of people I think. I'm still doing a lot of such things :)) romba deep-a poaitta apparam... I'm not a 'real person' to realize such things yet..

  2. Agreed that a poet's life is risky. But I don't think it is filled with sadness altogether. It is normal with the common undulations of sadness and happiness. It is just that he sees more in a moment than the rest. These days poetry does not buy lunch. So we got to do something other than that to counter starvation. The "Sandbox" approach is perfect. I can't help but agree about the dichotomy ( that you call paradox) in the life of a poet.

  3. @turkey Yeah.. you are still a grad student :D

    @3nath True.. My point was that a poet's life becomes tougher when he has to coexist with businessmen :)

  4. well conveyed -- can connect to it by virtue of personal experience

  5. @Author:
    Your post is indeed a thought provoking one;The whole world as you realize is darwinistic(pardon if word not in dictionary) and anti communistic.
    What if the poet's profession makes him survive?
    What makes a person's profession give food to him?The answer is when it brings something to the benefit of the people around him.But sadly,people don't feed you if you make them happy alone.You have got to ask and then take.
    So What can be concluded is : Don't make yourselves happy alone;Strive to make others happy at the same time. As the joker says :" If you are good at something,never do it for free".
    Conclusion : Follow your heart;Survive.If this balance exists,then there ll not be the question that you say certainly till the end of your life.Period.

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