Prisoner of desire
I am restless when for a moment I
don’t do anything. I get restless when I do the same thing over and over again.
I get restless when the thing I am doing has no value in it for me. I get
restless when I don’t learn anything new. I get restless most of the time. I am
in fact restless most of the time. Sure I am to be blamed for feeling restless
instead of something else, perhaps something more cheerful or merrier. But it
occurred to me, the world itself is a restless place of which deceit lies;
tricks, wishful thinking and senseless ambition dominates. What more can I
expect of this world, if not restlessness? I am one with it. Ironically I have
to separate myself from it and still live in it?
What is this? Everyone so
unhappy, unruly, in a constant hurry…putting on a ‘game face.’
It’s as if I am at one moment, in
a cheery state of mind, protruding my cheeriness by giving out a smile and
taking deep slow breathes enjoying every second of it. Walking in a beautiful park
inhaling the cool fresh air surrounded by pleasant greeneries. But then I
abruptly step into a dark black hole and fall so deep down that it seems to be
going on and on endlessly. After sometime I then make life out of it, in the
darkness only to bump into the surrounding walls that confines me. Even after
carefully coming out with a plan. My life now revolves in this dark hole, where
I constantly look for meaning in it.
The eyes now burning from
fatigue…sleep deprived, filled with melancholy. The longer he stays awake the
more he feels it. Lying on the floor in a dim room, staring at the ceiling,
hopefully awaiting, struggling to find solace or peace only to be greeted by
angry stares and awful memories.. He then covers his eyes that were already
closed. His palms clasped tightly on his face, desperately trying to stop
things from entering in.
There was an old man a wise old man
as how old men should be, these days I rather be a child who is thrilled and
always excited in learning new things than be an old man who is empty inside. I
look at my surroundings and am overcome by fear that I’ll turn into one of
these men, unlucky, shallow and obnoxious yet still so busy and ever
The wise man said, “Most men
these days are of the lowest level. The type that gets their thrills and
happiness from material and cheap pleasures.. Intrigued by small pleasures,
unaware of a higher purpose or the importance of knowledge and what is
attainable from that.”
Freud stated, “We can cite many
such benefits that we owe to the much despised era of scientific and technical
advances. At this point, however, the voice of pessimistic criticism makes
itself heard, reminding us that most of these pleasures follow the pattern of
‘cheap pleasure’ recommended in a certain joke, a pleasure that one can enjoy
by sticking a bare leg out from under the covers on a cold winter night, then
pulling it back in. What good is a long life to us if it is hard, joyless and
full of suffering that we can only welcome death as a deliverer?”
“The quotation above is quoted as
a reference on the pettiness of men and only that unless you want to wholly
believe what I just quoted.” With that he paused for a while. Taking a breather
and studying his pupils.
He started again, “I am sick of
people, its not like I just got sick of them, I always had my doubts when it
came to people. Disappointment after disappointment that’s what they are.”
“Always acting selfishly and the
mind never for a moment cease to think of itself. So dumb and conceited, but
they don’t stop there, no they don’t” he shook his head as he said that.
“Unaware of their ignorance they
look down at us in their stupidity of not being able to grasp or see the
importance of what is and what is not. I guess that too is a form of belief,
perhaps now we have a battle of beliefs and evidently one that they have won
because their ultimate test is one that can be seen and worldly.” He stopped
briefly and continued.
“We are after all selfish
creatures told to behave unselfishly. See the irony? Heh” He gave out a small
The old man, was pretty simply
but neatly dressed. He wore a loose white shirt and had brownish slacks on. His
hair was grey and white and reached his shoulder. He had a gentle, kind face
that makes one feel comfortable in his company. However, he also had a sharp
feature about him that somewhat brings out his appeal.
He was now talking about his
writings, “Back then when I used to write, though I cited and quoted from other
prominent scholars in order to support my beliefs and my points for a
particular subject that I was working on. Although I quoted them and saying
that it was from prominent scholars, what I didn’t do was mention their names
at the end or the beginning of the quote. Not because I wanted to make them
mine or not wanting to identify the origin of the quote. But for the simple
reason of wanting to remain discreet and for people not to misconstrue and
support the subject merely because of these well accomplished names.”
He looked at us, his pupil all
looking and staring back at him as if wondering what this old man was going on
about. Not to worry, we were all
considered adults and are already quite used to the old man’s complaining and
knew him well enough to derive his sayings. Occasionally if he had something bugging
him he would start to express his dissatisfaction. Normally he was focused on
the topic of study. We as his pupils in order not to disrespect him just
listened to him and what he had to say.
“But then people didn’t even
glance at my works, hence after a few years I realized that this wasn’t going
to work and in order for my works to be taken seriously, I had to change my
methods. After that I stated loudly in my works of the authors I was studying,
that I admired and each time I quoted I had their names written after them.
Immediately people started to look at me as a scholar, someone who studies the
renowned philosophers. These are the types of people who do see names and fame
before values.” But he raised a finger,
“on their defense and also contradictory to what I just said, I think naming
the people that I quote is far better than not naming them. For instance I can
quote something really harsh and use it as an example or a form of expression
without having to take the blame.”
“Back to the topic of acknowledgement
and again contradicting myself, a person is acknowledged when everyone else
acknowledges him, to what extend does acknowledgment holds true?”
I was trying to get the meaning
behind of what he just said. Often, the old man, although totally unrelated
with what we were discussing about, tells stories that have something that
could be valuable to us. Sometimes he conveys them through actions and
sometimes by telling us stories and expecting us to derive his hidden messages
which I think he make obvious for us to grasp.
The Old Man
I myself sometimes feel so empty
and pointless inside. As if my existence, clayed by circumstances were to live
a life of pain, shame and of barely surviving. Like a caged animal without any
sun and given just enough food to stay alive.
Yet the pain so sharp and its
sting so significant and its stab so remarkably accurate, that it makes me feel
weaker and see who I really am, Fragile and sensitive, so vulnerable to pain,
in distress and ever restless.
I asked and complained to my old
man, he told me, “be grateful and believe for this is a test.” It’s always a
test, a test in dire and in pleasure right? I sighed.
I feel no peace even in sleep; even
in my dreams my life is played up, almost teasing and mocking telling me that
there is no fleeing.
I asked myself one day, what did
I really want, my dreams and goals. Behind these goals and dreams…what was the
true intent behind them? To impress others, Impressing and gaining respect,
acknowledgment and material wealth?
To live a life that is called
successful? Success too is determined on how the majority sees it. We as a people
are beings constantly living with a sense of pressure. Our whole lives are a
reflection of how others would perceive it as. Dreaming about how doing this
and that would impress people and earn their respect and their envy. I ask
myself, what is that I really want? What is beyond this impressing part? Pride,
acknowledgement, to attract attention and the feeling of superiority…pretty
shallow, not very noble nor sincere I said to myself.
How can I not want be one with
them, in their thought and actions? For me not to do so would mean to cut
myself off from society and live a life that is despised and looked down at.
There has to be a balance, one cannot cut himself off from a world that he
Tabataba’i in one of his book, of
discussing about human civilization said, “If we consider the facts that give
rise to human societies in the past ages, it grows clear that man seeks nothing
else in life but happiness and of course happiness is not possible when all the
necessities of life have been secured”
Cutting things short and rather
abruptly, in the end it’s up to the individual to choose the best set of belief
suitable for him. But it doesn’t end there; it is then put to test. Its outcome
then as a result to his belief, materialize.
Be it pessimism, optimism, utilitarianism
or any other ism one chooses and live by according to what he sees suitable. Hence
the result of this test will be a definite answer to their faith and one that
is not judged by man.