It's a new year! And what better time to resume this sporadic trickle of posts which has fallen through the faucet of this forum for the last 6 years; gushing and ebullient in its infancy and seemingly wise and reserved now that 'I have been through the ropes'. I like, every now and then, to go back to the Archives tab and flip through the pages of personal reflections which stand as milestones in time, revealing the slow and unmistakable transformation that my personality has gone through. In these remnants from the past, I believe that I have a most fascinating and precious lens through which to view the often vague and hazy journey of one's own past but with the unusual brutality and certainty of the written word. All these years in words, all these personalities in thoughts - I treasure this collection more dearly than absolutely anything else.
Don't get me wrong. I do not look back at the past with a smug glow of self-satisfaction or a vain pat on my back. More often than not, it's excruciating to confront one's own reflection in time. One would hope to have grown through the years, to have a better perspective now than one had in the past, and I am no different. It is, therefore, almost by definition true that looking back I feel inclined to dismiss my own thoughts as merely being products of a time and age which I'm wiser to have left behind. And yet this current personality, for better or for worse, is just a sum total of many such times and ages which have chiseled it through the years to produce what has emerged today. I hope that the winds of change are still blowing and that years from now when I look back to today, I would find myself as 'immature' as I find myself now when I read the things that I wrote many years ago. I have an immense respect for change and for the ability to change and I say it with a certain sense of pride that I'm neither sure what I have become, nor am I certain of the trajectory upon which I'm set.
But things used to be different. Certain unmistakable patterns emerge from the chaotic past. I seem to have started, as all young people do, from a state of utter self-confidence. I knew what was wrong with the world and I believed in the solutions which were in fashion. My world view conveniently emerged from the invisible and heavy hand of religion and tradition. Things were 'not right' and people were 'good' and bad'. The bad ones had to be corrected and things had to be set straight and the romantic idea of the way to do it would often be high on octane. There was very little cynicism, which must necessarily be the case if you want to 'do something'. I believe that I was what would normally be called a 'good person'. I believed less in the ideas of the time and more in the ideas of tradition, which is a little unusual for a young person. Had I continued on that trajectory I'd have run the danger of turning into a stupid reactionary like the ones you often hear blowing themselves up for reasons they don' t have the intelligence to comprehend. As it turns out, now I have an intense hatred for such people, not so much because they end up messing other people's lives but more so because of how stupid they have allowed themselves to become. I have come to dislike and despise all such 'cultures of beliefs' but I'm too much of a cynic now to be bothered to do anything about them.
From a young boy who had strict loyalties which were dictated by strong beliefs and sure ideas, I have definitely come a long way. There are no more sureties and far less self-confidence. In a certain sense, there is a lot more tolerance but that tolerance is as much a product of expanded horizons as it is a precipitate of cynicism. There was a time when I was very much against social work but looking back I realize that I had chosen to disregard the utility of the whole field based just on my hatred for the smugness and the moral high ground which often accompanies it. I don't care as much now. A social outlook has given way to a more individualistic take on life and I've come to enjoy and appreciate certain facets of it which I have chosen for myself. But I really do enjoy life, which is more than what can probably be said for most people. I'm now, more than ever, in awe of the amazing variety that life offers. I'm excited, more than I have ever been, to learn from its myriad hues and brilliant possibilities.
In that sense I have become an optimist, all my cynicism and all my apathy notwithstanding. A happy new year to you!