Musings for a responsible society

Amidst the dark and grey shades increasingly engulfing, invading and piercing deeper and deeper, let me try to enjoy the little smiles, genuine greens, and the gentle breeze. Oh! Creator! If you don't exist, my vain!
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A letter to myself on this birthday!

Dear Sibichen,

Wishing you a very happy birthday!

Congratulations for your journey through the road less travelled. I read ‘Tomorrow is my birthday’ which you wrote two years back and ‘Today is my birthday’, you wrote last year. But already a few days have passed since your birthday, and still you have not posted anything like that this year. Don’t lose your way! You are on the right track. Follow the calling.

You are now confused! Whom you should listen: the freewill or conscience?

Freewill and conscience need not necessarily be in two distant realms where there is no mutual reproach or approach.  I know your question: Whether freewill should be subjected to the dictates of the conscience? Can the conscience issue prescriptions and proscriptions subject to the cultural and structural predispositions, if not biological and emotional predispositions? Freewill cannot be assumed to be a licence to act in response to the cathectic interests. Similarly, even when the inclination to act in a particular manner is guided by cognitive stimulants, it would not be necessarily justified. Thus there is an inherent dissonance between freewill triggered action and reaction and conscience triggered response.

Human, being the superior creation, has been given the power to act according to his freewill, of course within the parameters and boundaries set by immediate kith and kin, social networking circles, and the state. But it is a fact that there are enough areas in one’s life where none of these boundaries put up any restrictions or obstructions. Your thought processes are totally out of bounds for any external regulation, convention, norms, mores, or proscriptions. May be you would argue that ultimately action and behaviour would definitely be characterized by the above thought process and there could be restrictions at that level. It may also be argued that the thought processes triggered by freewill rather than conscience, very subtly influences the outward actions, though the true nature and dimensions of such action may not be very apparent to others. But the truth is that, the intention and character can be very obvious to others, may be almost immediately to those who are more intimate and to others if they are exposed to the person for a fairly long time. I don’t say that this situation is always an embarrassment. It can be an embarrassment only when the freewill and the conscience are positioned at rigidly and mutually exclusive realms without being complementary and supplementary to each other.

By this, I don’t mean that conscience is superior to freewill or vice versa. This depends on
what your conscience constitutes. Is your conscience characterised by intangible traits built on you where you hardly have any control? Or is it characterized by the early childhood experiences? Here also, I should say you rarely had any serious involvement, though I won’t judge that you were immature, because I strongly feel that even when you were a few months old, you were sufficiently mature and adequately responsible for your behaviour and responses.

Your conscience also has been influenced by the voluntary and involuntary learning process and experiences you were subjected, mostly when you were 18 or 19. The conscience continuously evolve and the evolution was substantially complete by age 19, while you completed the second year of the chemistry degree. All subsequent experiences were only made incremental influences to the conscience. Thus let me tell you that all your further academic adventures at post graduate and higher levels in the areas of sociology, economics, research, public finance, management, public policy, technology, corporate governance and law have had very negligible influence on your thought process and behaviour which were triggered by conscience rather than freewill.

However, in contrast, your freewill had much more significant influence in the twenties and the thirties. Undoubtedly, all those formal and informal learning processes and experiences have a definite bearing on the freewill and the patterns its manifestations shown in inner convictions and everyday responses.
This does not mean that conscience was static since the age of 19. Though freewill is a dynamic entity constantly in the process of updating, amending, reinforcing, and unlearning, the items in the repository of conscience get strengthened by drawing on these learning and experiences. Thus, most often the innate and early age convictions proved to be justified and vindicated. Therefore, I feel that your conscience though apparently conventional, conservative and more or less static, holds and claims to hold a superior vision within you.

This position may not mean that all your academic ventures are misadventures. But these qualifications have not created any concrete value addition to your personality and have had no bearing on the way you respond, react, retreat or retract in varied circumstances. On the contrary, the formal learning processes and the consequent institutionalized outcomes have contributed only pains and not pleasures in your life. You tend to become intolerable and get confused over the real life happenings and when you get exposed to apparently contrasting attitudes, views, and behavioural patterns of people and institutions around you. And you tend to hear, ‘Relax..Relax..’. This is, in fact, a universal phenomenon. There is an inevitable tension associated to formal learning.

You tend to brag that the formal learning process has indeed deflated your ego. Is that really right? Has the intolerance, on the contrary, inflated the ego or if it put rudely, the pride? All these formal knowledge lapels are just window dressing and may be suited for a society that judges and markets such artificial achievements.

What is that makes you lose your temper? Is it really coming out of your intolerance to actions and attitudes you feel contrary to your actions, beliefs and convictions? Or is it an unhealthy response emanating out of your own selfish and weak thought processes and consequent behavioural pattern? Anger cannot be justified either way. Anger can produce only harm all around.

Increased tolerance to people and their ideas, opinions, attitudes, and action, does not mean that you need to be always in a race to please people. You need not participate in a popularity contest. It is quite an achievement if you succeed in getting the regard and admiration of people. But that need not be by showcasing a behavioural style that pleases others. By taking calculated attempts to indulge in conversations that are soothing to others or that are aimed at entertaining them, you seem to hold that you are rendering a productive service. This emanates from a mistaken impression that all people you come into contact like conversations that make them laugh or that which give them information about others that they would love to hear. One category of such conversations in common parlance is called gossip.  You indulge in such conversations where others are subjects, where there is no net value addition to anyone, just to maintain your status in a virtual social network or to strengthen an actual relationship structure in face-to-face real life situations. There is no creative contribution to your overall wellbeing!

Updates, inputs and forwards in the social networking platforms are many times repetitive, irrelevant, artificial, orchestrated and thoughtless and there need to be optimum time devoted to such effortless interaction.

You know very well that it is foolish to go with the flow, though enjoyable, comfortable, and carefree. Do you need to be a Roman in Rome? Even when the most talented, most privileged, and the most resourceful people move ahead in such seemingly successful, innovative and enterprising activity, that does not mean that you need not think twice before following their path. Here your conscience concretized by the age of 19 will be a handy tool to evaluate the option rather than the intellectual, emotional and social responses substantiated by your freewill continuously shaped over the last several years.

You are not caught yourself in an inescapable den along with several wide mouthed lions pampering and luring you to carnal enjoyment. It is quite a miracle to come out of the age old obsessions and you proved that it is not impossible if there is a will that disregards the so called freewill. I don’t deny the fact there is a strong genetic predisposition to think and act in a particular way. But I don’t think you are inescapably prone to fall into such deep overcrowded pits where people chill out. ‘Why not! If it gives me so much fun and excitement?’ They shout!! ‘If you abstain from such indulgences, you will be called as a boring creature.’

You talked about the aspiration to become a world class citizen. Where have you reached in that journey? Don’t you think the word ‘world’ in ‘World class citizen’ is a misnomer? What is the real ‘world’?

Now, what is your road map ahead? How do you gain strength to swim against the wave? Why you are so confused at times and think that such a journey would make you less popular? You are clear by now that there is no inherent tension between freewill and conscience. The journey is indeed tough. But as you progress, the dissonance will definitely reduce and there would be greater peace, happiness and sense of achievement. But you still have not mustered the confidence to declare to yourself that there will never be any U-turn? Also, still you are scared to advocate the truth you discovered to many others. I understand your inclination to continue not to be overconfident (may be because of your fear). But your pessimistic expression gives an impression that you are on a shaky ground because of poor convictions. If you are guided by truth and faith, I do not think you should be scared to share what you are convinced about and have experienced. Such unsure positions would not facilitate reaching your goals and I would warn you about the self-fulfilment prophecy. You know that you can’t do anything without the Spirit. So why not pass on your burden to those hands. Take the yoke which is easy and light.

May you become richer this year, with gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and the right fear.

                                                                                           With love,




  1. Very nicely put up... A letter to uplift Life. Liked it. thanks for sharing

  2. I've seen people put to test by God to reward them with unshakeable faith and trust in Him. But it is rare to see a person undergoing self retrospection in the fire of truth, before his fellow-men and exposing his inner conflicts and fear. Hats off to your brave soul and your brave path! The Bible says, "Perfect love casts out all fear" and it defines perfect love as God Himself. May this year be a constant walk with God and His love, so that you will bring us some happy news about your journey through the path you chose..God bless! Sindhu

  3. Seems like a very honest letter , st from heart ! May all your dreams come true and you get what your heart truly desires ... Ans ATB for the contest as well

  4. Too good, I love the idea itself.

  5. Sir, how the above post lost in the race/selection of your TOP -10 blogs of 2012 ? Question worth self-introspecting ? The letter written on your birthday's eve is : SELF OBSERVATION, SELF EXAMINATION & SELF REFLECTION' all rolled into one. Your letter reminds me of Aristotle's quotes 'KNOW THYSELF' and ' THE UN-EXAMINED LIFE IS NOT WORTH LIVING' Lewis Carol wrote in Alice in the Wonderland: 'Who in the world am I ?...Ah that is a great puzzle" Sir, you have attempted to crack your own code with 100% non-biased mindset . C.G. Jung stated 'Your visions will become clear only when can look into your own heart.: WHO LOOKS OUTSIDE DREAMS, WHO LOOKS INSIDE AWAKES' ..........The letter is a VALUE ADDITION ADVICE, to yourself on your own road map to become 'World Class citizen' . .....sir, on many unsolved issues that are haunting/bothering you I quote Rainer Maria Rilke's quote ' Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your in the question'

  6. How one can reexamine life and to know what we are capable of doing ? How a common persons can introspect ? It is not an easy task for them..Be the guide to perplexed how one can go about it . .....your post will have the potential to examine the way one views their own behavior to bring out the change you (the social scientist ) desire !!!


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