You have the birthright to be happy and free. Both happiness and freedom are the ultimate rewards that we all chase lifelong, through anything and everything that we do or pursue. However, our happiness and freedom, and our visible expressions thereof, are morally subject to us exercising them with civility and utmost care against any infringement – deliberate or inadvertent – of similar rights of other people.
In no case, we must stray and trespass. So long as we exercise our rights responsibly, with civility and within the framework of law, we have the right to remain happy and free by pursuing any available means regardless of how ridiculous and absurd those means may appear to be.
If your idiosyncrasies and beliefs help you to lead a relatively happy life, cherish them dearly. Those who judge you as delusional for your inherent beliefs and differing lifestyle, which don’t hurt them materially or otherwise, may also be possibly delusional. Your nonconformance with general social order may look threatening to some. Don’t worry if your friends or foes burn with jealousy and turn sadistically against you for being a happy and free person.
It is true that if you don’t like someone or some people or something — idea, food, place etc. — no matter what anyone does or says in their praise, or highlights their good qualities or health benefits — you will not change your mind unless, of course, you experience their good qualities first hand, in particular, in times of your calamity when you are left with no other option but to lean on them.
If a seemingly happy and contented person’s belief and optimism seem delusional, is it wise to shake and wake that person up if his / her beliefs or (delusional) optimism do not hurt anyone except challenge our ego or ideologies? Why should we challenge a person’s beliefs if they make the person happy and contented, and not really a public nuisance or threat. Why should his / her happiness irk us? Doesn’t that speak of our jealousy and / or sadism if we feel unhappy due to that person’s happiness? Of course, in his / her defence, the person has not consumed any intoxicant (alcohol, weed or drugs), which many people use for achieving a particular (ecstatic) state of mind, that may bother us.
What good is that intelligence if it helps to undermine not only the happiness of other people but our own happiness too? Is knowing higher than being? No, definitely not! Being is wisdom. And, for that matter, how much do we really know? Our knowledge is limited to the bounds of our experience or the transmitted experience of other people whose works we read or know of. In any case, our scant knowledge does not make any of us eligible to judge others.
Agreeably, our idiosyncrasies create strange perceptions about us, some totally misleading. Similarly, our peculiar ways of catharsis also tend to distort our public image. Proverbially, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Human nature is not devoid of inherent biases, prejudices, likes and dislikes, personal ambitions and material interests, jealousy and, of course, a deeply sadistic disposition. People judge us with what they are, using their imperfect tools and wearing tinted glasses. But how can our imperfections allow us to judge other people? When each one of us is a work in progress — as reflected by our ageing, experiencing, learning and evolving — how can we be so audacious but arrogant in judging and highlighting the weaknesses and imperfections of other people?
The core reasons for growing strife on the planet (due to human-created divisions — class, caste, religion or ethnicity) and, therefore, the human suffering are our ignorance, fear and material greed, all intertwined with our intrinsically sadistic disposition and ego.
None of us is perfect, we are all work in progress. One imperfect being can’t judge other imperfect beings with precision or perfection. Imperfect tools mustn’t be used to gauge imperfections; one needs a perfect tool to measure and, as we speak, that perfect tool is non-existent. If we were ever able to detach ourselves completely from our ego and rid ourselves of all our ignorance to achieve a perfect state of mind, we may be able to realise our own limitations and imperfections.
What good is that truth if it makes one miserable? Aren’t happiness and contentment the ultimate state of our mind that we constantly seek? Figuratively, we drink, dine or dance for just being happy. We travel and explore new places, eat new cuisines and delights, wear new fashionable clothes, show off our new electronic devices and toys, socialise for recognition and attention, throw and attend social parties for networking, and shamelessly brag about our achievements or that of our kith and kin, all for happiness.
Why attempt to strip others when we ourselves are vulnerable. By trying to dwarf others, we don’t become tall, we actually fall and dwarf ourselves much lower than them. Large fruit-bearing trees gift their fruit freely to one and all, without bias or judgement. The more loaded the trees are (with fruit), the more they bend with humility. Sun does not judge us before giving us its lifegiving warmth and light freely.
Proverbially, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Pity is that we don’t even know or realise how little we know anything about anything we tend to judge. We hardly know ourselves. Lack of gratitude and humility, combined with our intrinsic jealous and sadistic predisposition, manifest in our ugly and arrogant behaviours. We don’t spare those who work for us incessantly. We even try to replace gods whom we seem to worship.
Living a relatively wealthier but enslaved life is much worse than living a relatively poorer but a more autonomous life. Life (span) is measured only in terms of time, which is finite. The extent and degree of freedom and autonomy that one enjoys during that limited time actually defines one’s true wealth. Freedom and autonomy mean happiness. Don’t let your material greed or ambitions fetter you to virtual slavery.
Try to be autonomous and be your own master; moderation is the key to your happiness and patience is the needed virtue and a way to go.
… Bill Koul [30 Sept 2022 (Perth, Western Australia)]