Our family has a lot of music enthusiasts. My sister-in-law (my older brother’s wife) is a trained vocal artist. Their oldest son (Avyay) has taken training in Mrudanga and Advay has sat around him during his practice sessions several times. My cousin brother, Sujith, plays the Guitar. Another one of my cousins, Suhas, plays drums.
Advay (my 7 year old) has developed a fascination for the written form this year. It started with the need to read his favourite story books and then with the need to capture his expression in words.
He was doing a good job expressing his ideas & thoughts through drawings. For instance: after he came back from a trek that he went with his mother, he spent some time capturing what he saw on the trek by drawing it on paper.
Nandini recently found out about “Open Day at IISc”. She was excited to go with Advay (my 7 year old) for that event. On Saturday they both got on the Metro and reached the IISc campus.
Through the journey, Nandini explained to Advay what Open Day was and the opportunity that would be available to him. That he would get to see a lot of “science-stuff” and it would all be very interesting. Advay was very keen to check it out.
Tight rope walking is scary because there are no rails to hold on to while walking on the tight rope.
So, it causes an obvious anxiety about walking on the rope. Anxiety stems from the fact that, without support, one might fall off to the left OR to the right OR forward OR backward OR slip from both legs and crash land on the abdomen OR many other possibilities. If only there was a railing that one could hold on to, walking on the tight rope would be much easier.
Exploring something new feels like taking two steps forward only to take one step back and not necessarily in the same direction.
Each and everyone of us have at some point in our lives paused to ponder over questions like “Who am I?”, “What is the meaning of life?”, “What is the nature of reality?” and so on. Continue reading “On Authenticity”
Pardon my cheap shot at free publicity. I couldn’t resist naming this blog post after Stephen Covey’s magnum opus “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“. It was one of the first “real self help” books I read in my life. Up until then I was mostly reading books on personality development, which taught me techniques for manipulating myself and others in an effort to produce results. This was one of the first books that boldly spoke about getting real and genuine. I loved the book. It helped create a lot of value, substance and results in my life.
Having said that, I dont like the idea that there are 7 or 8 or 20 or any finite number of ways in which people can be effective, or authentic in the case of this post. There are plenty of ways, perhaps a lot more than we can discover in one lifetime. Each person striving to live an authentic life can and for the most part does invent ways to be authentic. In this blog post, I share some of the strategies I have learned from books, seminars, other people and also those that I have invented for myself to live an authentic life. My excitement about sharing what I have learned about Existentialism comes from the very real possibility of learning from others about the strategies they invent (or adopt) for living an authentic life. Knowing that no one can ever simply be authentic, offers unlimited opportunity for personal exploration and growth.
Sartre and others carve a phenomenon called being-for-others, that leaves a human being with an experience of being an object along with other objects in a world of objects, with fixed properties, labels, behaviour etc. Given that people are seldom, if ever, truly alone these days, each person constantly confronts the existence of other people, not simply as objects in his world, but as subjects who see him and judge him and reduce him to an object in their world. To be an object for the Other is the meaning of being-for-other. My being-for-other is the awareness I have of my own objectification in the eyes of the Other.
In this post, I want to explore being-for-other by enumerating common being-for-other experiences.
Bad-faith, or inauthenticity, is living a lie that we dont have freedom to choose in the face of situations and realities that we encounter in life. Existentialists, Sartre in particular says that as human beings we are condemned to be free. Our fundamental nature, he says, is to be a free transcendence of our facticity, for which we are required to willingly take responsibility.
In a previous blog post I have shared ways in which one can slip into bad-faith. More recently, I have also shared about an inquiry that I indulge in as to whether bad-faith directed at another, is my own bad-faith or not. In this post, I want to explore anxiety & commitment and how some amount of bad-faith is healthy and even necessary to live in this world.
According to existentialism, authenticity is living life with willingness that who I am is a free transcendence of my facticity. Therefore, I willingly own-up my facticity and make choices & take action by being fully aware of my freedom to do so. I also take note of the fact that my choices & action lead to consequences that I must willingly take responsibility for. The key here is willingness.
Inauthenticity (or bad-faith) refers to modes of being and behavior that has me not being a free transcendence of my facticity. Basically I am inauthentic if I am not willingly owning up my facticity, or willingly take responsibility for my choices & actions, or crib about my lack of freedom and so on. In a previous post, I have shared my understanding of bad-faith and also enumerated a few ways in which people run project(s) of bad-faith. I strongly recommend that you read that post, if you haven’t already.
In this post, I want to explore the question – “Is bad-faith directed at another person an act of my bad-faith?”