The Alchemy of Life

Greater Kashmir

The intriguing and the exciting canvas of life have had the attention of thinkers from Hellenistic to the Oriental thought. What is a life and how it has become the ubiquitous point of contestation across the timeline of human history. The oscillating turns this ‘lively’ theme has traversed and scratched the societal vocabulary definitely marks a paradigm leap. No two societies are similar when it comes to embracing the pattern of life temporally. Have you wondered how nostalgia keep on buzzing around the social interchanges we enjoy around? Why has the constant of change atrophied the harmony of this integrated whole of social events vis-à-vis an individual orientation called life.

The agents of the change that have withered away the riveting and beaming charm of the then life were the same pathways which resulted in the zenith of sociability and liveability of the life. The pattern and perception of living and discerning of the mundane affairs certainly has severed the essential reality of our lives. The emptiness and burgeoning uncertainties we are grappled with has disoriented the common bios (way of life) as Pierre Hadot calls it. Are we floating in the realm of ‘extremes’ and is it the nature and intrinsic ingredient of life then. Can we not appreciate the ultimate human alchemy and the flow of life without the haze of absurdities?

Life is but a permanence of transitory moments we feel and struggle through. You are happy but for a moment and correspondingly sadness is a ‘fleeting’ sense of missing the ‘purpose’. What remains ‘permanent’ are the universal morals and values of cherishing the slightest of wonders a person experiences.  For millenniums  we have been finding it hard to navigate through the ‘ravages’ of the times accrued to the existential void or the rush of ‘success’. Most of them have confined themselves to the continuum of asphyxiated and truncated model of looking at the things thereby getting swamped in the ‘bubble’. How concerned is this linearity in their thinking that phases of life are but a changing of calendars. So where is the problem then? If the current age kids are going virtual at the cost of blurring the real social space, the seeds of aversion and indifference towards life are sown there. The reasoned and prudent use of technology vis-à-vis social obligations and morality is what holds the balance firm and stable.

We live in a reality which is cyclical frequently, starting from the ideal node and finding the end at the same stage again which Nietzsche calls ‘eternal recurrence’. We have prioritised ‘progress’ more than ‘accommodation’ and ‘association’. If there is not ‘order’ in our lives we invent one.  The pseudo templates of social hierarchies have too affected the structure of ‘community’ spirit which forms the quintessence of any evocative ‘life’.

With life comes the compounding of dilemmas and series of predicaments. We suffer and we feel disconnected at the same time. If everything being same why have the agents of new-age burdens trampled us into the quagmire of wasteland? We feel estranged and in the queue of people we are associated with often bear the brunt too. Society is a ‘web of fragilities’ where a feeble miss can wreak havoc. These vulnerabilities and fragilities have empowered and sometimes unleashed the ‘toxic’ affairs to support. Weaknesses are mocked at and the constructed ‘strengths’ valorised. It’s not far off the fact that our lives have descended into ‘vacuum’ which has enabled the juridico-politcal structures to cash in.

It’s time to be alert and ready ourselves for the failings to overcome and not the fissures to be outsourced for the designs of disciplining. Why is the political ‘color’ of life so important? We are awake in the one instant and slumbering in other tick. We are amnesiac when it’s time to remember and it’s the same ‘remembrance’ which has kept societies afloat and resilient from the historical traces of our forgetfulness and escapism. Ann Farmer rightly fits in here ‘It isn’t about being right. It’s about getting it right’. It is the high time to right the wrongs and not come under the sway of ‘illusive’ rhetoric

Life is a mystery warped into a multitude of mysteries and yet it gravitates towards the ideal of egalitarian spirit. Wishing same for everyone as they wish for themselves definitely would lead to a cohesive ‘whole’ where parts are equal and happy altogether. We live in the world where reflexes determine our existence not the power one possesses. The truth lies is harnessing the power of ‘now’. The fantasies we have been nurtured like the ‘dreams’ and ‘aims’ are the mere cravings and the ideational castles that are never there. You reach to the ‘dream’ which one aspires; the question is does life starts there or it’s just constructed imaginary. Reality is nothing happens there only a life straddles to another ‘test’. Whatever happens the trails of life never go on a holiday, they keep on throwing the puzzles into our jig-sawed conditions. Lamenting/complaining is never the answer only by questioning the ‘questions’ we reach to the answer. Nietzsche sums it up rather exquisitely in his book ‘How to Philosophize with a Hammer’ as “If we have our own why in life, we shall get along with almost any how

It’s time to rise up and reflect on how the ‘we’ feeling can be instilled into our mainstream lives. Life is an enigma to be hugged and chasing the mysteries sometimes opens the doors of ‘higher planes’ of what it means to live. Every human being is marvel of universe and by realizing that we can imagine a society which symbolises ‘life’ in the true sense.

Mir Sajad is a Researcher, Department of Geography and Regional Development, University of Kashmir