Skip to main content

The perceptual spectrum of life

Ever so often, we come across diverse interpretations of the very same reality that it shocks us beyond measure. I marvel at how people appreciate/depreciate the very same object for entirely different reasons.
A case in point is my complete inability to read lengthy pieces of literature. I often used to wonder how come people are able to read such voluminous books which appear to prolong till infinity. I was convinced that beyond some eccentrics there might be few who venture into these. Until, one fine day it suddenly hit me that if everybody really thought like me, these books should be out of circulation. That, we find such books everywhere is proof enough that there are many others who buy them, who like them.
Likewise, the existence of many things which we personally find bad/repulsive is testimony to the existence of people think vastly different from us. Why, even an issue as mundane as this very blog demands that I make some choices regarding the template, colours and perhaps font too. That others design their blog differently implies that they perceive some other things to be cool.
Too often, we mistake disagreement with enmity and thus many times we tend to neglect the other side of the coin. Difference of perception is all too natural because each one of us is unique and different. Our understanding is shaped to a very large extent on our own upbringing, environment and our very own attitude towards world in general. To expect others to think in the same way as ours is to believe that they share similar passions and feelings as yours. Na├»ve as this appears, I’m assured that we all are guilty of this mistake. How many times have you listened to your friend and tried to judge him, evaluate him through his talk?
I mean if you offer your “valuable advice” even before trying to fully understand his position, it does as a rule trouble him. You in fact are trying to convey that he’s being watched, being adjudged rather than being understood. All are aware of the words sympathy and empathy, and yet I’m not sure how many get them right. Sympathizing with your friend means that you’ve indirectly communicated to him that he’s fundamentally wrong, that he requires kindness which you’re giving out of your “infinite” charity. On the contrary all he needs is that others understand his motivations and to offer to him that under the circumstances even we possibly couldn’t have done any better. This is empathizing with him, telling him that he won’t be evaluated and that he will continue to deserve our affection irrespective of his deeds.
This is not to say that we shy away from being responsible and don’t correct his actions and identify his wrong actions as such. A wrong action deserves condemnation and we would fail in our duty as friend if we don’t help our friends improvise. And yet, it’s also our duty to understand him first, before seeking to be understood. It’s premature to prescribe before diagnosing. Even before being aware of his problem, it’s highly disturbing to give out our own judgments. It’s not sensible to volunteer our unwanted advice without realizing its exact value in the eyes of your listener.
Perceptions are meant to give a coherent and meaningful picture to an individual. This means that he has to rationalize some things which are not in line with his thinking to suit his general understanding. This also means in order to provide consistency to his picture; man avoids certain things & highlights others to reinforce his own concept. Possibly, this makes us different. And yet variety is the spice of life, its precisely because others are different that we enjoy their company else it would as good as speaking to oneself. For all the problems people give us, without them there is no life at all.
{ PS: This is my attempt to imitate my friend’s style, unconditional relationships being a continual reoccurrence in his writings. I’ve tried to give it my logical & impersonal shade in contrast to his intense and forceful argumentation. It’s not possible to compare myself with him as he’s already an adept writer with a remarkably strong force of character which is thoroughly perceivable in all his writings. And yet, it occurred to me that I should try to give his works my interpretation…..ala Sholay’s remake as Aag. Whether or not it shares the same fate remains to be seen!!!!!! Hahahaha }


  1. u hijack thoughts? ;) i have been thinking in the same lines(the sympathy vs empathy part) for some time now.One can feel for someone & stand by them-but by being sympathtic,you are infact crippling his spirit.

    And also I believe (again,it's just my perception), no one ever needs an advice- especially on the personal & moral fronts.Coz it's not that people can't's that they choose & prefer to be blissfully blind.


Post a Comment

All-time Hits

The Controversial Caste System of Hinduism

Imagine concepts like feudal system, slavery, capitalistic exploitation and anti-Semitism being used to define the core of Christianity! Christians will be outraged at this inappropriate mixing of the core universal values of Christians and societal & historical aspects which merely existed in a Christian world.
Now this raises the question – why is caste system defined as the core of Hinduism? Especially as “caste” itself is a western construct. Sounds irrelevant?
Okay. Now imagine concepts like slave-trade, war on infidels, brutal subjugation of masses, temple destruction, and forceful conversions marking the core of Islam.
It is considered sensible to first understand what the core scriptures speak about the religion and its universal values. The ills of the community & its societal aspects are differentiated from its core philosophy.
Now, this brings us to the most interesting question – why is Caste System (caste based on birth) propagated to be the defining feature of Hindu…

Chetan Bhagat : His Literary Style and Criticism

Chetan Bhagat’s (CB) recent column created a furore, chiefly because of his audacity to speak for Muslim community and what many people conflate with his support for Narendra Modi’s Prime Ministerial ambitions.  
But what interested me most - and what this post would focus on - is questioning of his literary merit (or lack of it). Many journalists ridicule CB’s style of writing and his oversimplistic portrayals of characters sans nuance or sophistication. But I suspect this has more to do with the fact that his readers alone far outnumber the combined readers of many journalists - a point that many don’t appear capable of digesting.
No takers for layman’s language!
When Tulsidas rewrote Ramayana in Avadhi (a local contemporary dialect then), many conservative sections of society came down heavily upon him for defiling the sanctity of a much revered epic (originally written in Sanskrit). When Quran was first translated in Urdu (by Shah Abdul Qadir in 1798), it faced intense opposition by …

The concept of Dharma in Ramayana

The concept of Dharma is not adequately understood by Hindus themselves, not to mention others. Dharma is not a set of do’s and don’t’s or a simplistic evaluation of good and bad. It requires considerable intellectual exertion to even begin understanding Dharma, let alone mastering its use.

Is Dharma Translatable?
Few words of a language cannot be faithfully translated into another without injuring its meaning, context & spirit. English translations of Dharma are blurred and yield words like religion, sense of righteousness, discrimination between good and bad, morals and ethics or that which is lawful. All these fall short of fully grasping the essence of Dharma.
Every language has an ecosystem of words, categories and grammar which allow a user to stitch words together to maximum effect such that meaning permeates the text without necessarily being explicitly explained at each point. Sanskrit words such dharma, karma, sloka, mantra, guru etc., now incorporated in English, lose thei…

Trending Now