The other day my friend cried her heart out while bemoaning the fact that she should have taken the right decision. Her 20 years of marriage has given nothing but tears and anxiety. While listening to her I was thinking what made this intelligent, well-educated and employed woman to cry over a relationship which is as painful as ever. Neither can she let go nor live with it. The only thing I could do was patiently listen to her every time she chose to call and cry. She was not searching for any answer.
At this time, I was reading the book ‘Homo Deus’ by Yuval Noah Harari. Though I am in the midst of completing it, the contents of the book and my friend’s predicament made me write this post. The author extensively deals with the evolution of Homo Sapiens. He traces the progress of this species which is phenomenal and in the same breath poses questions about free will. Doe man choose his desire? To quote Harari, “In reality there is only stream of consciousness, and desires arise and pass away within this stream but there is no permanent self that owns the desire, hence it is meaningless to ask whether I choose my desires deterministically, randomly or freely.” He then writes “If I am indeed master of my thoughts and decisions can I decide not to think about anything at all for next 60 seconds?”
While reading the lines, my mind started tracing the words of Om Swami, in the book ‘A Million Thoughts. At present the only way to achieve it is meditation. This is the road that man needs to walk to heal himself. As I said, I am still in the process of completing the book by Harari where he throws innumerable questions at the reader and speaks of how human mind will be completely replaced by algorithms. The day may be far away or just a corner away, it may make our life simpler and by then we may not be needed at all. At this stage we do not know how future is destined to be but one thing that we need to learn is to slow down. Enjoy the taste and let the flavors of tangerine burst into our tongue. We cannot make the best decision but we can live the decision and make it better. Otherwise we will have to hand over our ability to make decision to machines and technology who may make far better decision but will not allow us to shed a tear in happiness or sadness. So, let us put our mind over matters. Life continues to be beautiful………. My friend sure has her moments of happiness, humans will still find a way out of this maze of madness.
My gratitude to Swamiji for showing us the path to better ourselves.