It’s My Birthday!


As implied, today is my birthday.

While I’m not really one for celebration (if I am going out tonight, it’s probably what I would have done anyways), I thought this an interesting opportunity to reflect upon the idea of a ‘birthday’ itself.

First of all, it is evident to me that more people are excited about my birthday than I am. Given, you can’t really call it excitement, but I can’t help getting the feeling that the world in general seems to place significant attention upon this event. Why?

Nothing is really different about today. From a high philosophical standpoint, we’re still apparently sentient beings caught up in a flux of constant change, living in the prison of time-space and their interaction as causation.

But even from a more accessible standpoint, there is nothing really different about me today. I didn’t wake up with superpowers available for one day only. My physical, mental and intellectual powers seem unaffected, besides by the usual flow of a ‘day’ happening around me.

It follows then, that ‘birthdays’ are something which exist purely in our minds, folks. We’ve made them up. An agreeable fantasy, if you will. Even the progression of years is not perfectly cyclical (consider the need for a leap year), and so it strictly shouldn’t even be my birthday *today*.

It seems then that birthdays are a nice reason to feel good about life, and for the people around you to feel good about life. Great, right? I’m tempted to bite, but I’m afraid that this is a little hard to swallow. If I’m feeling so great about this one day, what about the rest of them? Are the they that unacceptable, that we *need* this day to celebrate? It reminds me in a way of the sick excitement with which people look forward to Friday, making the rest of their work week toxic and unbearable. 

It seems to me, in all seriousness, that each morning we are born afresh and should meet each day thus. Perhaps, then, there would be much less emphasis upon birthdays in our society as we would live in the knowledge that every day has been the best day it could possibly have been:

From good to better daily, he lived each day self-surpassed
  - Unknown (said of Swami Rama Thirta)

That’s possibly a paraphrase, but you get the drift.

What do you think?

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Tags: birthday rant

Stop Vomiting


This post is the evolution of what started as a simple Facebook post.

I don’t usually comment on things like this, but this is becoming a trend. Sadly, those of you who read this post probably understand the problem already. Classic chicken/egg.

A few days ago I read the following status on my beloved news feed:

never confuse commitment with exclusivity, love with ownership, nor sex with intimacy.

Sucker that I am, I bit. Rather, I engaged. I used FB like the social tool it’s meant to be. Tentatively (i.e. with all due respect) asking the poster for an expansion of their views yielded the ghostly silence that most of my comments do. Oh well, gotta work on that:

Is that just a quote or could I trouble you to expand a tad?

Credit, however, must go to the poster. They *did* reply — but to my inbox:

Hey :)  I actually saw it as a friends status and it stood out to me because I understand it from a personal point of view.
Take care :) x

My reply:

Ah. Almost all understanding is personal, so just wanted you to expand your views if you had anything more to add. After all, that’s what social tools are for, right?

Their reply:

Yeah I agree but I prefer not to share my views :) sorry love!

Gee thanks, love.

Given that you already posted your views, I think the rat that I smell is not in fact a rat. It’s bullshit.

But that’s not the point. What’s going on here?

People have stopped thinking. No, really. The random fluff that wanders in and out of your head is not thinking. It’s more like mind-wandering. The problem is deeper than just a quick ‘post to Facebook’. Facebook and our interactions therein are merely symbols of something greater: the state of our minds.

The irony is, I really enjoyed the original post. Upon reflection, I believe there is something to be learnt there. But it pains me that the world has become a maze of people vomiting up undigested thoughts, resulting in less signal and more noise.

Perhaps, collectively, we can engage and improve each other and the way we think? Just a thought :)

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Tags: rant facebook