Print Edition - 2018-05-17 | Oped
All things must pass
May 17, 2018-
It was 5:30 pm, and time to go home. I sat down at the dusty bus terminal. Right next to the terminal on the jagged footpath were vendors selling anything from knockoff Head and Shoulders shampoo to Indian gooseberries. As they hustled for customers with their handheld Chinese lamps, I turned towards the right to observe the incoming traffic. I grew up in Kathmandu to these sights where chaos and crowds are no strangers. Thus, while I stood there patiently waiting for my bus, I wondered about the fragility and intricacy of life as we claim to know it. Who am I? Certainly, the way we view our lives can be challenged and debated till our bones perish with no correct answers.About four billion years from now, the sun will expand into a red giant which is expected to engulf our earth in its fiery rapture. On such a day, we will lose all of humanity’s worst and finest. We will lose all of Beethoven and Tolkien, but also no longer will there be fragments of war to haunt us, if we ever remain to see it. Given such an ultimatum, it seems life is rather a cruel irony, a pointless carousel of endless birth and death with no purpose.
From a materialistic perspective, we’re made of matter, and all the effects we observe are born out of it. Metaphysical surrealisms such as souls are thus nothing but a figment of our imagination, born out of our materialistic consciousness. What is the ultimate truth behind our doted lives, then? If naught comes to prevail in the end, then does anything matter (no pun intended) anymore? Nihilistic thoughts loom over my head, questioning the very purpose of existence.
If our existence is nothing but figuration, then morality is a subject of relativity rather than absolute. Is it possible for a societal being such as humankind to live in objective morality where no one is right or wrong? I wonder if in such cases one can objectively decide whether murder is right or wrong. It is definitely wrong, one may say, but only because the larger society has unequivocally condemned the outcome. If nothing is wrong, what stops me from committing a crime?
The philosophical entity of morality may be objective, but the agony and the consequences are certainly absolute. As a human being, I would not yearn for such despair. As I writhe with the susceptibility of the meaning behind our existences, the bus finally arrives with people packed tighter than a can of sardines. I hurriedly queue up amid the chaos. We all have our lives which may perhaps be devoid of any intrinsic meaning; but in the end, it is one thing that will stick with us till we are a part of the mortal realm. Who am I? I think I finally have an answer. I am me.
Published: 17-05-2018 07:33