Curse of Thinking

“… Amongst the saints, who are the truly great men of action, for they act with all their emotions not just some of them, this sense of the nothingness of life leads to the infinite. They garland themselves in night and stars, anoint themselves with silence and solitude. Amongst the great men of inaction, to whose ranks I humbly belong, the same feeling leads to the infinitesimal; feelings are pulled taut, like elastic bands, the better to observe the pores of their false, flabby continuity.”

Fernando Pessoa

There are no words that can explain the predicament of having been born with a desperately ambitious heart yet with no courage to stand to its own promises that it invariably makes, promises that it doesn’t even know it has made; only because it belongs to this great man of inaction, who does nothing practically but think, with a minimal or least awareness of his physical surroundings. Such a fateful man, with such a vast and complex network of his mind’s tentacles, whose replicating thoughts often get entangled with his past experiences, whirls and often loses itself in the labyrinth forever. By this, I do not hint at a man’s absurd position with relation to the ever pervading war between his personal and absolute reality, I am here to hint at the utter misfortune of such men who think. Before we proceed to understand the minds of these ‘cursed people’, the word ‘thinking’ must be seen as a symbol of ‘over-thinking’ while the word ‘creation’ understood holistically as ‘creativity’ or simply ‘any act of doing’.

Two kinds of people and two kinds of results produced

Having just called thinking to be a misfortune of the cursed lot, many of you might counter-argue considering thinking to be an ambitious faculty that any man of reason must feel privileged to attain. Yet my observations suspect that nothing makes a man’s resolve weaker as his faculty of thinking does. Although the opposite of it in terms of probability may promise authentic results, yet many times we refrain from the exercise of thinking either because the situation doesn’t really command it or when it does, we generally lack the time to be risked away in thinking. Consequently, we either act or runaway.

Excusing the very few balanced minds that the world has; if a binary is thus to be established between people with respect to the use of this faculty called Thinking, one could broadly categorize people into two kinds. People who don’t think and people who relentlessly always do. Although the absence of thinking, in the first category might suggest ignorance or even arrogance in a man, yet this ignorance but with a man’s awareness of his simple set of responsibilities makes him deliver better at whatever cellular status he retains in the hierarchy of our civilized societies, a loose example could be taken of say a bus driver whose thinking doesn’t investigate universe but is focused on avoiding accidents on the road. This thinking which we can conclusively term as ‘caution’ sometimes manifests also as ‘concern’ when the same person is, say, too responsive to his domestic responsibilities, that make him a less philosopher but certainly a great husband. On the other hand, arrogance mixed but with a tinge of consciousness of ‘the need and necessity’ can surprisingly again yield results that shall forever be only dreamt of by a thinker, drugged by his vain addiction of over-thinking. His ideas forever remain in the zygote stage that never matures into action, while the only available time, in all its poverty, lapses.

Fernando’s saint in making

Far beyond such minds that exert less in thinking, let’s now imagine a capable thinker, on the other hand, who is completely divested of his capacity to create or do. This fortunate man is neatly condemned to a locked closet of failure, far away from the eyes of the demanding world. Generally, the absence of expectations from such a man, however tormenting, grants but a peaceful pleasure of a man’s loneliness or even solitude, to him. He takes refuge into whatever he deems fit and self-sustains for as long as he can, suffocated, withdrawn and certainly depressed. This feeling of alienation can however promise a consequent positive outcome too. The withdrawal and emptiness can lead such a man to the infinite, and can alchemise him from a scrap to an enlightened or Self-Aware being, a saint in the metaphorical terms. We may safely assume that when such a man is left to fend for himself in his ‘silence and solitude’ liberated from the expectations of the society, he either drowns completely (suicide) or rises valiantly (awakening) depending on how true he remains to his Spirit in this period of abandonment. By speaking today about such a saint, in contrast, we now want to focus more on the opposite ‘men of inaction’ who suffer from a suspension not lack of will, to complete the otherwise simplest or even mundane tasks, while being continuously a part of everyday society unlike such ‘saints in making’.

Curse of thinking and a man’s impotence

“marte haiñ aarzū meñ marne kī

maut aatī hai par nahīñ aatī”

(Ghalib)

In addition to such people who are complete ‘failures’, there are men hanging between the desire to succeed and the overshadowing dark reality of their failure. For such people generally obsessed by the utopian feats of perfection, morality or happiness – the three prime objectives any creative person seeks; the on ground result or the end product of his exercise, a substratum of all his efforts, becomes rapidly a theoretical enterprise as such minds keep on looking for ‘just a start’. Too much thinking without the botheration of being into that primal act of ‘creating’ or ‘doing’ for that one second generates whirlwinds with whirlpools, while he, swooning in between, is forever condemned to drown by the curse of his unyielding yet fiery passion.

It is in fact worse that some of these men are sometimes hailed for their power to take a decision or create, which they know they otherwise accidentally did. Men, acknowledged and celebrated, for some accidental or even genuine past accomplishments that except for this fateful man, the whole world celebrates as his innate power; who simultaneously sits saddled away in the vicissitudes of his unknown Self, marveling at the process by which ‘it got created through him’. He starts setting up benchmarks for himself, through people’s opinion of him, people that even don’t belong to him. While the world aspires new creations through him, he still stands lost wandering in the ruins of his own palaces. He thinks, how did it create by itself at all. And because then, the world full of the first set of people who don’t waste time in thinking, brands him as a creator as it has no time to check for the man’s Creative Authenticity, the poor soul is taken back to a man within him, seeking completion through his false identities or alter-egos. He seldom objects externally to this grant of honour for he anyway fails to conclude anything.

He thinks how he likes the false honour. With no Conscious control over this process of Creating, he falls into a circle where he initially thinks about how could he assume the power to create in the face of his discovered sterility; and later finds himself spinning to defend the same honour of creation. As a result, he chases the creator in him, someone he inherently knows he is not. Thus, begins a self-assumed confidence, the pretense of an expected countenance, a faith that internally eats away his bones because of its ‘false flabby continuity’, but that which is perceived as ‘awakening’ by others, who still do not stop to think and investigate the reality. While he seems absorbed in the sole act of creation for months and years progressively, he but only continues exhuming the reality of this ‘utter confusion of the entire process of creativity’ while his competitors, the great men of action, continue delivering things and products one after the other like industrial goods.

NON-CONCLUSION

If only he had the courage to look at the act of creation as a little more humanly (based on the presumption that a conscious mind juggles inspirations into creativity) or even as a by-product or a cross-breed of the human and the divine; in all probability, it is fairly possible that such sterile minds could have helped produce a little more than otherwise. Any creative product, we can suitably argue, could have been fairly attributed either to his own intellect or understood as permutations of his well-received inspirations. But does such a simple explanation justify the otherwise complex code of creation, which once understood could blast the reality of the entire universe, to such a man. And if that be the case, would he still be even desirous to continue creating? Would he even survive that truth in the first place?

One continues to wonder why cannot such minds cease their quest of these codes, and more importantly should the quest be ceased in the first place despite the unproductiveness it might entail? In sheer confusion, or let’s call it mystery, one part of this man lingers in stinking inaction while the other continues rowing towards that ‘perfection’ (that he seeks to achieve) or ‘creation’ (that he just aims to receive) in a journey that often soaks away conventional from one’s life, while the entire drama on a world stage is glorified as ‘eccentricities’ by the sober ones, or adjudged as ‘cowardice’ by the realists.

The writer is a practicing architect at INTACH, also interested in Visual Arts and Literature.