April 24, 2003

Prose, Poetry and Philosophies …

I’ve actually become kind of stable again – and that’s a scary thought in and of itself :p I’ve had a better night of sleep than I’ve been having for the last few days, realized why exactly my slumbers have been so restless and have also come out with all of that if with no new insights but at least with the confirmed conviction that we have to treat the world simply as with the outlook that "people are people", that each one of us is different and has different reasons for doing what we do and while we might understand the actions of others, that it never pays to try to define an analogue between ourselves and another person and try to define their reasoning that way :p

However, the preceding nights of sleeplessness did allow me to think and during one of those long hours of lying in bed willing slumber to come to me, I began thinking of all those things that have influenced my philosophy about life and I realized that to a great extent my life has been shaped by stories. OK, now I’m mixing things up – at that point, the thing I realized was that there was a lot of poetry involved in my philosophy, the bit about stories came later when I thought more about it but it made better narrative sense to begin with stories :p Ah well, let me do it the way I originally thought it out – to heck with narrative sense :p

Poetry has always had the power to inspire me, to make me think and to define how I conduct myself in life. There is Rudyard Kipling’s "If" which has given me lines such as "walk with kings nor lose the common touch", "make one heap of all your winnings and risk it on one turn of pitch and toss, and lose and start again at your beginnings and never breathe a word about your loss" to follow as axioms in life. I just quoted those from memory since once I knew the whole poem by heart but have just gone back and re-read it and see that there are many more lines but that I might also have fallen down on some of the advice. But the poem is beautiful and it has made a lot of sense to me in the past and it still does. But there are others like James Henry Leigh Hunt’s "Abou Ben Adam" which defined my thinking about religion, God and humanity; Percy Bysshe Shelley’s "Ozymandias of Egypt" (and of course, it’s prose counterpart that I always remember as "This Too Shall Pass") and Robert Frost’s "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" has defined how I try to meet problems and perceive myself and what I do; and of course Robert Frost’s "Mending Wall" which defines my relationship with most people – though I might have taken the words slightly differently than Frost intended them to be :p

I was thinking about all of this later and I realized that stories had influenced my course in life as much as poetry had – stories like the ancient tales of mankind in the forms of Greek/Roman, Norse, Hindu mythology; stories from books that I’ve read, movies and heck even comics – "with great power comes great responsibility" 🙂 This makes me wonder though, when you base your whole life on works of fiction, does your life become a fiction too? :p

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Posted by Fahim at 7:35 am  |  No Comments