Friday, April 21, 2006

Vague introspecting

Just back from a short trip that’s been emotionally exhausting but also fulfilling and therapeutic in many ways. And quite an eye-opener; I’ve had to do a lot of introspecting about some of my beliefs, or the things I thought I knew about myself. This was a strange experience because I never thought I had anything like a fixed "worldview". I think of inconsistency as vital to the human condition and I’m always a bit taken aback by the confidence in people’s tone when they say things like "My philosophy of life is such-and-such..." And oh, that old chestnut: "If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s hypocrisy" - when said quality is in fact one of the biggest requisites for being a social animal and interacting with others on a daily basis. We’re all hypocrites to some degree or the other, every day of our lives. (Of course, if you want to nitpick about what manifestation of hypocrisy you dislike, that’s your business.)

Bottomline: I’m usually so fluid and inconstant in my beliefs myself that I never expected anything to come as a big revelation. But it’s happened now.

And yes, all this is very nebulous but I don’t yet want to get into the specifics. Might blog about it at length sometime but the post would be obscenely long, and it isn’t something I should just sit down and type out - would prefer to spend some time over it, get my feelings in order etc.

These days even a two-day break from work means an enormous amount of catching up once I’m back. So blogging might slow down a bit, or be restricted to some of my offical writing.

More later.

P.S. I know it seems contradictory to claim I don’t have very firm beliefs - people often tell me my writing is very opinionated. But then writing is, in the final analysis, a very limited mode of expression, and certainly inadequate as an indicator of what a person is really like. Even the most honest, searching writers tend to be much more confused, ambivalent and inconsistent in their everyday lives than their writing would suggest.


  1. hey it's cool. that's why i like your blogs. there's a feel of honesty & spontaneity to it. but, do tell, what seems to be bothering you???

  2. i couldn't agree more on romantic polarity. do tell us about your out-of-body experience. cheers!

  3. Don't be surprised. At the risk of sounding cliche, I would say nothing is permanent. Anyway, it was an interesting post.

  4. Actually, I don't know that being opinionated and not having firm beliefs are necessarily contradictory. Having firm beliefs only speaks to the consistency of your opinions, not to their intensity. Saying you're opinionated but don't have firm beliefs is like saying you like all sorts of music but like listening to all of it really loud. If you're truly ambivalent, it's not surprising that you would try on extreme views to see how they would work. Besides, being opinionated is so much fun. It's pretty much the only thing I firmly believe in. :-).

  5. Eh?! *affecting village idiot stare*
    This is the kind of thing that comes from a very specific context. We want back-story!

  6. Well agreed to a certain extent..I would say beliefs are essentially variable....they seem to get refined with experience...

    to begin with say when I am introduced to an idea I would have a constantly shifting stand point but it will eventually converge and I would say this is what I believe because I have found a reason strong enough to... the thing is, I dont know if tommorrow I would not have a stronger reason to believe otherwise...

  7. Hi Jai.

    Although I don't visit your blog often (but then the only blog I visit often is my own, to post) but whenever I do, I enjoy the way you express yourself.

    I've been in lots of fixes due to this "beliefs" thing. My views change on weekly basis and I find nothing wrong in that, although it perplexes my friends, and sometimes even my wife. I believe (this is something I've always believed in) some beliefs constantly change and some remain the same all throughones life. Some beliefs -- provided they are not changing an honest man into a scoundrel -- should be changed without a second thought if you don't feel comfortable with them.


  8. Come,

    Tell all. This is not fair.

    Atleast drop a hint.

  9. ah. this explains your sms this morning. don't fret too much--opinionated statements are usually 1) entertainment value only 2) loaded with bagfuls of implied qualifications that can be swiftly uncovered with a couple of simple questions. They only work if your reader doesn't challenge ideas or or is in the mood for the same kind of fun the writer was having.

  10. they say a cat has nine lives. they also say curiosity killed the cat.
    idiotic question:
    is it like a video game? a cat loses a life everytime it gets curious and the 9th time it dies for good?
    or does it lose all nine lives the moment it gets curious?

    anyway which way thres been a genocide here... will it be too rude or impolite if i said i dont care much for your epiphanic moment and say that no new book reviews have happened out here in a few weeks time?

    and i agree with falstaff, being opinionated and being open to changing them can co-exist quite peacefully. infact its a preferred state...

  11. As you have very rightly said that "writing is, in the final analysis, a very limited mode of expression" could be inhibited due to various factors out of one's control.

    "And certainly inadequate as an indicator of what a person is really like."

    Couldn't agree more on this. My views verbatim !!

    Profound post..

  12. What is vague? Who is introspecting? Is he introspecting vaguely? Is he introspecting about vague moments?
    Is intrsopection itself a vague activity?
    Why? Where will this lead? Who knows? Can he seize a vague moment and look inwards, not backwards, nor forward?
    All food for thought.

    Cheer up!!