Random Shit, Thinking Cap

How I Just Realized That 90% Of My Convo Is Shit.

Okay, so this morning I got an email from my Dad. It’s called the “Triple Filter Test”. It is about economizing on how much you speak and what you listen to. Go Figure. Here it is:

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Here is the Triple Filter Test attributed to the great Philosopher Socrates :

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”

“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”

“Triple filter?”

“That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“No,” the man said, “Actually I just heard about it and …”

“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?”

“No, on the contrary…”

“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?”

“No, not really …”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

*

Alright, so I must only probe into matters which are true, which have some goodness in them and which are useful to me. So that means, about 90% of my conversations are shit. Thanks, Dad.

Just two minutes after reading this mail, I got a phone-call from a friend who was just squirming to share some juicy bit of gossip with me. And how shamelessly I gave in. I thought of the Triple Filter Test but I didn’t have the heart or the courage to subject my friend to it. What would she think? She would probably assume I was being downright sassy or self-important. So how best can you tell people that you’re not interested in their shit without hurting their sentiments or coming across as a mighty snob?

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Thinking Cap

illusions

It is a sad world we live in. We are les miserables.

And very few amongst us can face this world. The rest of us live in illusions. Illusions which make us laugh, give us strength and confidence, and tell us that everything is alright. Each of us has his or her own illusions. And we support each others’ illusions. We tread carefully and protect our illusions like bubbles which might burst anytime at the slightest indiscretion. And when these bubbles burst, everything shall be destroyed.

I, too, have my own illusions. That I’m smart, and handsome and funny. That I can deal with any kind of situation. That I can live alone and be happy. And I’m sure that people around me struggle to maintain my illusions, fearing that if they don’t, someday, their own shall be broken. And over time, our illusions seem like the reality. Except that they’re not.

We create these illusions out of our dreams. We hate ourselves, secretly. But we wear masks of self-assured and self-satisfied people. Exactly like the actors on reality shows. But secretly, and I mean in the darkest and deepest crevices of our being, of our existence, there dwells an intense loathing for ourselves. We despise our anatomy, our laughter, our emotions, our awkwardness, our character. We hate the very lines on our face, and we mock at our reflections. We stare at our reflections long and hard enough and make ourselves believe that the person we see is not us but a stranger. But the hypocrisy of our society insists that we pretend to love ourselves and accept ourselves. But we don’t. Each of us wishes to be somebody else, someone better.

And the person we dream of, we strive to become. While, in the process, we abandon our souls. We lose our identity and then we ask ourselves stupid questions: “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?”

You are yourself and you are here, no why. The quicker you learn it, the better. The lesser illusions you have, the happier you shall be.

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Anger Management, Thinking Cap

I will not get angry

Here’s a thing about anger: it’s powerful. But here’s another thing: when you overcome it, you’re powerful.

Sometimes, I have a sneaking suspicion that the world is cruel, it does all it can to prevent us from attaining happiness, from touching perfection. It makes us see how helpless we are, how inadequate our surroundings are and in this way, it makes us brood and boil about all the injustice done to us and revels behind our angry backs at having stopped another man from becoming superman. In a situation where we find ourselves angry about something, we must stop and think. We must act.

Yesterday, while lying on my bed and trying to get sleep after having watched a horror film, I had an epiphany. Not only do we believe in what we see but we also see what we believe in. Somehow, our minds have an intrinsic connection to the cosmic powers and all of our thoughts can be transformed into reality, if we believe in them. All we need to do is think real hard about something, “I will not get angry, I will not get angry, I will not get . . .”

 

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Thinking Cap

The world owes me a wish

While reading Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, something stirred in me. It was not something overpowering as they show in the movies but a mild epiphany like a gentle, summer breeze. It was the “what’s the use” feeling, that the speaker in the novel goes through after she is back at her country home after a brief scholarship to New York, and is depressed about what she shall do with herself in the future.

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“I could have done so many things, I could have realized so many dreams if weariness, an inconceivable, enormous weariness had not overpowered me for the last fifteen years or so, or even far longer. A weariness that kept me from working but also from resting, from enjoying life and being happy and relaxing, and also kept me from turning more towards others, as I’d have wished to . . . oh, if that ‘what’s the use?’ had not germinated in my soul . . .”

~Ionesco, Fragments of a Journal

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What’s the use in being passionate and having a thirst for life when we are going to end up in the same boat? With a family, a desk-job we hate, and absolutely no free time? No, I can’t bear to even think about it! Since I was a child, I knew I would be different, I would be unique. I was not cut out for mediocrity. I shall to walk off the beaten track. But how? Many a dreamer has hoped to be great and have novel experiences in life, but very few of them have succeeded. Even the extraordinary becomes ordinary in a while, and everything smells like stale, morning breath! Oh, the dreariness of it all!

I don’t wish to graduate, don’t wish to pick up another textbook which cannot teach me anything, listen to elders and wise people say stuff that makes no sense . . .

Every fortnight, while cuddled up under my sheets, trying to get sleep, I have peered up at the ceiling of my room and tried to chase shadows of passing cars which flutter across it through the window and planning my escape. A back-pack with the bare essentials: few clothes, a notebook and pen, some money, a shaving kit (even though I don’t have much hair yet but I’ll probably be shaggy few years into my imaginary life as a tramp), toothbrush and toothpaste (because I’m very meticulous about dental health), and lots of chocolate or granola bars (so that I can prolong my starvation over a few months) etc.

And the escape itself would be no biggie. I would leave in the evening when both mom-dad are not at home, around 6, with the back pack thrown over my shoulder as if I’m going to the gym. Then I would catch the nearest bus to the station, the train farthest from my house and probably hitch-hike late, to the north. In a few years, I’d be in an exotic country, the name of which my parents would not even be able to trace on the map. I would find work on a ship maybe, like Benjamin Button in the movie and lose my virginity to some peasant maiden. My name would be gone forever and I would have a new one: John or Jack or something as anonymous as that. And I’d drink stump-hole whiskey and have a lot of tattoos on my body. I’d drink myself to death and fall off board when the ship is making a voyage across Pacific and no a soul would know that I passed away. A much adventurous life than the one my mom has sketched out for me, anyway.

The point is not to be different but to try things which aren’t cliched but fresh and exciting, and to be happy by living on my terms. The world owes me that. The world owes me a wish to do as I like because we only get to live once. And I’m not going to rebel against the world to get what I need but work right beside it, in harmony with it as I strive to rise above the normal and experience the incredible.

It’s not teenage romanticism but a stolid refusal to succumb to the convention.

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