Wednesday, September 21, 2005

understood

"I can’t sleep…" he says.

He has called me "his unknown entity".

He says he wants to understand me so that he can "understand himself better through me". I suspect this is his way of saying that he does not yet understand himself sufficiently well to know what he wants. And if he does not know what he wants by now, then how can I be what he wants? Perhaps I am some temporary placeholder between states of lesser or greater self-understanding on his part - a convenient means by which he seeks to become what he wants.

Every now and then, a contradiction appears in his explicit articulation of what he wants, and when I point out the flaw, inconsistency, contradiction, he immediately agrees:

“You are absolutely right, but it's only natural that I reflect the contradictions in the ways and practices of the culture we live in. I am aware of them, but I cannot completely reject them -- to reject them openly, i.e. to announce this rejection from the rooftops, is to apparently reject the culture as a whole and risk physical alienation from those around me; to reject it privately is to remain a hypocrite, but to somehow better 'manage' my alienation, or 'contain' it, so to speak."

I don't like his explanation or his alternatives, and say:

"One way of dealing with your problem is to find common ground with similar hypocrites or conformists, find those who exhibit similar patterns of contradictory behaviour, similar asymmetries.

Another way is to try resolve these contradictions and come up with a well-formed and internally consistent belief-structure. If you do this, you can then decide to keep these ideas to yourself or expose them to the public. If you want to keep them to yourself, then you will have to resort to a kind of personal pragmatism; otherwise, you can release the generalized version into the wild and entertain criticism until the structures become resilient and strong, better able to acquire a life outside the confines of one’s head."

"Look, I really don't have time to figure this all out right now. I really have to go to bed as I've got an early appointment tomorrow..." is his response.

I can’t sleep.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is an internally consistent belief structure the most that we can hope for? The African tribe called the Nua have a very consistent belief structure: everything was explained by recourse to magic and witchcraft. If people die it is because they have had a curse placed on them, if you trip over a root it is because a demon has placed it there. The system is internally coherent and explains every aspect of their lives and experience - i.e. it really works for them - yet it seems there is something lacking, something like an external yardstick (e.g. reason/ science) by which the system can be evaluated. So, my point is, it is not enough just to be internally coherent. Do you agree?

11:50 AM  
Blogger Alia K said...

Of course. I agree it is not enough to be internally coherent, that one needs the 'external yardstick', as you put it, of 'science/reason' to maintain our sanity and connections to reality. I just wanted to entertain the idea that sometimes a person proceeds forward with an (action / pattern of behaviour) without having sufficiently considered whether the underlying belief structure is coherent. But even if proper time is devoted to develop its coherence, this never obviates the need to examine and judge whether its assumptions are consistent with the world around us, and whether it survives whatever criticism is applied once it is 'published'.

3:48 AM  
Blogger muzammil said...

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HOPE U R DOING WELL BY THE GRACE OF ALLAH(SUBHANAHU WA TA'ALA)

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12:52 PM  

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