Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Path of the mystic - I

Happiness is the primary need of conscious existence. To exist without being joyous is to be in a rut. However sensory pleasures are evanescent and too often, pain and absurdity vitiate the song of life. Besides, the realization of sure death haunts mortals. Ordinary human existence is too constrained to be a harmony. Limited by a material body, random thoughts and sensory stimulus, consciousness feels encaged and suffocated. The desire to find happiness amd fulfillment leads us to distant places, makes us explore the unknown frontiers of science and dives us into religious speculation. From recreational drugs to chanting of mantras, all have happiness as the motive. Yet, is the momentary bliss gained through random means worth the effort if it does not last?
Deep within himself, even a sinner knows he doesn't deserve the unpleasant state he is in? Even a street urchin or a beggar knows deep inside that he deserves happiness. Howsoever crushed we may be by calamities of time and the painful memory of unrequitted love (my personal pang) , the strong conviction that life wasn't meant to be such a futile chaos never leaves us. What is the fountainhead of this eternal spring of hope? Post world war II and the holocaust it entailed, Freud introduced the concept of Thanatos or 'death wish' to account for the destructive energy of mankind which was displayed on such a large scale. He held that mankind is haunted by death wish as an extension of the tendency of matter to be inert. Thus he held human consciousness to be material along with body. According to Freud or materialistic philosophers, consciousness must be an energy rather than matter because of its subtle character. However as Einstein's famous equation expresses it, even matter can never be destroyed but only be transformed. Matter and energy can be transformed into each other while the sum total of universal matter and energy remains constant. Thus the proposition that human misery would necessarily terminate with bodily death is bad logic.