Thursday, 2 August 2007

On Birthdays..

Birthdays are a diabolic invention, i tell you. Birthdays are wrong on so many levels I can't even count them all. Well, I can count a few though, and thats what i think I'm trying to do here. For a start, I just celebrated my birthday yesterday, and whatever I couldn't help but realize during the course of that crazy day is not going to make me refrain from celebrating in the future. Its the same sort of catch22 that happens in so many other walks of life. It usually goes like this : there is something or someone screwing you over, but because a certain part of that whole process of getting ripped is immensely and addictively pleasurable you do it over and over again. At some point if you are lucky you are enlightened to the fact that you are getting ripped off, but instead of sparking a revolution this more likely breeds submission. You continue to get yourself screwed, realize how good it is making you feel in the short term, and continue doing it in at attempt to make it last forever, make it longterm. The intellectually endowed might allow themselves a conversational wank over the whole thing once in a while because that makes them feel good too. Which is more pathetic since they have seen whatever it is screwing them over, seen that it is happening to the world in general, yet all those bastards ever do is sit around a bar table with drinks in hand and engage in intellectually masturbative activities involving the subject at hand. I must admit to my shame that i am an aspiring member of that group as well, and that i am not going to practice what i preach. But i will attempt to wank at a slightly higher level than them. So where do birthdays fit in?
well, my reflections and realizations stem from an analysis of my own birthday celebration. And thats precisely what I'm about wank over. I realized that birthday celebrations are very very wrong. and what did i do? what I've always been doing... hiding behind a curtain of celebrations, enjoying every minute while it lasted, knowing that the ordeal as well the curtain would last only as long as each other. Ordeal, you ask? Let me explain. what do greeting card companies do? they take a random day, dedicate it to something, and make money out of it. Birthdays similarly are a tool for the society in general to let the individual feel special, let everyone have his day in the sun and make him feel wanted, feel good.. the works. The sad part is that for the most part of the rest of the year, the very same society might not give a shit if the poor sod exists or not. His boss might be exploiting him, his wife might be cheating on him with the plumber of all people, his daughter might be a cheap whore but on his birthday they make him feel all different, that everything was perfect, that it was his entry to the world this day years ago that made it perfect et al.. They tell him what a great guy he is when the last week they humiliated him in public, tell him what a great family he has when its crumbling to pieces, let him take the day off when he was refused leave when his own mother had died, and the sad part is.. most of these guys who i am characterizing under 'poor sod' would believe everything is ok, that everyone likes him, and so forth.
The flat monotony of everyday life is a much better torture than lifting an individual out of that monotony, taking him high up where he doesn't belong, and then watching him fall back while you stand and watch from the relative comfort of that very same monotony. Thats exactly what a birthday does. I realized it at the peak of the day. There is a feeling of warmth in the morning, yet as the evening draws closer you are cold. You realize that it will be another year before this happens again, and you don't want to let this all go because you haven't had such a feel-good time in years. Its the return to normal that keeps this cycle together. No one wants to return to normal, and i suspect I'm not the only one who felt cold toward the end of the birthday. And got colder and colder till the distant glow of the next birthday starts becoming something to look forward to, sorta like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel except there is no tunnel if only we would look more closely. This contrived tunnel seemed to be the root of all problems, yet i took a step further. For this was only one tunnel in a maze. I started realizing that there may be something to the Hindu concept of rebirths after all. I am not religious, but i suspect i do have a spiritual side somewhere below all the cynicism, or i would perhaps have not made this parallel. Though i have a slight alternative to offer. Instead of being stuck in a cycle of lives, i think we might be stuck in a million cycles all in one life. Cycles of joy, sorrow, fortune, hardship, birthdays, name it. Yet what pissed me off i think is the fact that there seem to be a few who have mastered the cycles, who are on top of things, who have the key and even though they themselves are stuck in cycles of their own yet have control over vast swathes of human life. And i also hated the ones who profess innocence.. who believe that things are essentially good even when faced with enormous evidence (albeit debatable) to the contrary. Those who believed that they don't manipulate people, that they are not being manipulated, when their very existence is a game and counter-game of manipulation. I mean, what are birthdays if not a huge manipulation of someones reality, a stretch of his personal time-space fabric? there is no real significance attached to the day for everyday millions like him were born, and millions like him are dying. is it a way for society to keep tabs on the progress of someone's life? a subliminal schedule that you are expected to keep? like starting to think about what you want to do in life when you turn sixteen or when to get married once you reach 26, for example? the expectations might not be collective or generic, because i don't believe that this manipulation is being carried forth by a massive central machinery. for he is being manipulated by what might be called as his social circle, which in turn is manipulated by the immediate community above it, and so forth all the way up to those few who are riding these cycles. which is why that the sort of a future vision shown in movies with a big brother watching over will be a failure in my opinion because there are people in this world who may have realized that this probably is a much better way to run the world. For in the eyes of the individual, it is the expectations of his loved ones and friends that he has to live up to. He does this as he is nothing without them, little realizing that these collective expectations can be manipulated and manufactured as well. and the common birthday is just one tool in a plethora. the game is dynamic due to the lack of a central force, it is chaos pulling in different directions yet somehow pulling the collective a little way in the direction that the masters of these cycles want.
These are all theories, realizations, opinions and thoughts. I am not raising questions, i am not starting a revolution or attempting to start one, i am not going to move a little finger against any of these things that i see, for i have submitted to it as well. i may have resigned myself to the fact that such is life. I could fight my way out of my cycles yet end up in further more. i may become the master of a few, maybe many if I'm lucky. but there will still be more cycles to conquer and i wont ever conquer them all even if i wanted to. any break out will lead me or anyone who attempts it into a never ending battle, which i believe may not be worth it. I may change later, but for now i am content in the illusions of temporary satisfaction that drive a cycle of permanent dissatisfaction. I am content constantly picking up nuggets of satisfaction in an attempt to build a castle that never will be done in my lifetime. yet what will happen if i try and break out? the same. the moment one breaks out of these thing, they are either done for, or they become the master of the particular cycle they broke out from. Yet due to the basic nature of humans to remain dissatisfied, he (or I) will go looking for more cycles to conquer and meet the same unsatisfied end on a different plane. like a matrix within the matrix.
so i will celebrate birthdays, give and get gifts, believe that the world loves me, love the world in return with all the effort i can muster, give the boss a high five near the water cooler, believe that the girl i love loves me as well, repeat the cycle till my body reaches the limits of its serviceability and die in a much simpler frame of life, content yet discontent.

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