Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Proper Self ........

Read "We are many" by Pablo Neruda. He is one of my favourite poets. I have been long haunted by his surreal love poems. But this one is about our elusive self; our image of what we hope we are against what we actually are.


Lines from that touched a chord somewhere.

All the books I read
lionize dazzling hero figures,
brimming with self-assurance.
I die with envy of them;
and, in films where bullets fly on the wind,
I am left in envy of the cowboys,
left admiring even the horses.

But when I call upon my DASHING BEING,
out comes the same OLD LAZY SELF,
and so I never know just WHO I AM,
nor how many I am, nor WHO WE WILL BE BEING.
I would like to be able to touch a bell
and call up my real self, the truly me,
because if I really need my proper self,
I must not allow myself to disappear.

I am also waiting for my Dashing Being to show up when I ring a bell, instead of the Old Lazy Self, which keeps popping up, ever so frequently.

1 comment:

Sachidanand Mohanty said...

Yeah. It's strange what makes some people become such superachievers.

What makes a Napolean want to be a conqueror? What made Alexander who he was? What made Hitler want to create a world empire?

Perhaps, a desire to transcend death. Become immortal without actually living forever.

Oh, Neruda has achieved immortality too!

People create stuff for what? Why did Shakespeare create all that literautre? What made Picasso paint? What made Neruda write? What motivated Bach and Beethoven?

I think it was their way of achieving immortality.

What makes scientists look for new laws of science? Of course, they say that they want to understand the working of nature. Feynman, Einstein, Chandrasekhar, Heisenberg, Bohr, Rutherford, etc.

Whatever their motivation might have been, they have surely acquired immortality through their work.

Inventors too: Edison to Henry Ford. Wright Brothers to George Eastman.

Then, there are the wealth accumulators: Bill Gates to John D. Rockefeller.

Well, it's great fun to be one soul out of seven billion and reflect about these things.

And it's quite curious that for some reason, we humans are wired, it seems, to mostly worry about the everyday stuff. We don't as a matter of course worry about the fact that for hundreds of millions of generations before our time, the universe existed without us.

Similarly, once our time is gone, the universe will go on for hundreds of millions of generations.

Yet, we mostly are bothered about some everyday issue ... about being extra hungry or the food not being quite tasty or the weather being too hot.

What a strange concoction we are as a species! Just marvelling!