Thursday, November 6, 2008

Vicarious Lives.

Have we been living a vicarious life?

Before I say anything, please consider going through the following. This is from one of my favourite movies 'Good Will Hunting':

So if I asked you about art, you'd probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I'll bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you'd probably give me a syllabus about your personal favourites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can't tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You're a tough kid. And I'd ask you about war, you'd probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, "Once more unto the breach dear friends." But you've never been near one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I'd ask you about love, you'd probably quote me a sonnet. But you've never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn't know what it's like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn't know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms "visiting hours" don't apply to you. You don't know about real loss, 'cause it only occurs when you've loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you... I don't see an intelligent, confident man... I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you're a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my whole life apart.
A beautiful union of words, but you would ask what relevance does it hold? Well, this beautiful piece of work has definitely made me think. Think about what we are actually learning? Learning from books? Its definitely true that books are the only means through which we can look at the world through the eyes of great humans. But where is this vicarious learning taking us? Quoting from William Shakespeare,

"If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this,
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth the rough touch with a gentle kiss."
We read this and know what love is, what it is to lay in our beloved's arms, how divine it feels like to sit near the one we love and secretly wishing that the moment never passes away. But how many of us have actually felt love? how many of us can describe how it feel like to hear the voice of ones beloved after days which seem like eternity? How many of us have actually felt their knees getting weak when we meet the person we could give our life for?

"When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate."
We learn what pain is, what it is to cry at the heavens. We know everything about pain from the sonnets the poets weave. But how many of us have actually felt their hearts ripped apart when the person we love is taken away from us and the separation is termed destiny?
Emerson describes friendship as,

"The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand,
nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship;
it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when
he discovers that someone else believes in him
and is willing to trust him."
True. Friend is a special relationship which transcends to a spiritual level. But have we ever considered looking up for that old friend from school? Making that call to that friend we used to share our lunch with? Have a walk down the memory lanes and share the nostalgia?

We presume that we know everything and have our judgments ready for every occurrence and quote someone hence labelling the judgment correct and the actions follow. So often i have read opinions and comments by many of us who don't have the slightest clue about what we are judging. And this starts a rippling process known as word of mouth hence preventing others from experiencing the same before coming to an judgment. And we call this learning. We call this living. Vicarious living. But if we have to start living life,a life experienced first hand...and this will not be possible is we are not ready to take the first step...listening to our heart...not fearing failures...obviating opinions made laws by others...and starting to believe in ourselves...

But are we ready to take the first step?

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