I am oft described as being “a 12-year-old”.
My 21st birthday approacheth.
And I have finally learnt my lesson. Or so I hope.
Years of social isolation (people believe I exaggerate this. Trust me, I do not. The things most people take for granted about youth and adolescence and even one’s teenage years are closed chapters to me. I have learnt my lessons late. I am perhaps a “social dyslexic”) left me with perhaps the biggest misguided notion since “30% of all scientists at NASA are Indians”. And the notion is that it is good to believe in certain abstract values and guard these beliefs against the scrutiny of society. I see now that it is bullshit. I took my parables and fables and “life lessons” too seriously. I never quite outgrew them and have faced the repercussions. And now, at 21, I have finally realized that they were quaint little things one tells children and are not only untrue and inapplicable in the real world (note the lack of quotation marks), but the attempt to apply them in the real world can be detrimental.
Books lie. Philosophy is rubbish. Philosophers don’t apply their own philosophy. The ones that do, we never hear of. Because they end up like me. People with great “promise” who do not “realize their potential”. This isn’t a rant. At least I don’t feel like it is.
I have a fault. It is my beliefs. And to clarify, I’m not talking about religious beliefs, or lack thereof. It is my belief in things like “So what if the world around you is fucked up. You live life the way you want to.” Or “Have a dream. And follow it despite what obstacles come your way. Despite how far-fetched it may seem. Have a dream and follow it.” These things sound great but are utter rubbish. The heady idealism I have lived with my entire life is vanishing. And it is perhaps all the better for me. I am sick of being the iconoclast. Sick of being the “indifferent rebel.” I am just sick of it all. You come to a point in your life when you look back at it and realize how stupid you were for not following the crowd at some point. Every single time, you wanted to be different. Even at the times you were forced to integrate your desires with the demands of the world, you never could. Nothing stopped you consciously. Just this unnatural inner wall that somehow never let you do that. Never let you compromise. And even though that got you into the situation you find yourself in, you couldn’t help but feel proud of yourself for sticking to your beliefs over the prospect of immediate gratification. You hoped that since you were actually putting into practice the lessons you were taught about virtue and crap and were actually imbibed with the values society extols so vigorously and yet violates so rampantly, you would win the war at the cost of losing a few battles. But that isn’t really how the world works, is it?
The payoff for being so ridiculously bookish that you do not witness how the world doesn’t believe in a single word it says. The payoff for being what you want to be or what you believe you ought to be over what you should be is not nil, but negative. And that, my friends, is my birthday gift this year.
The idealism is gone. The will to change whatever the hell I wanted to is gone. I wanted to experiment with being a member of the human race, but I know very well that this experiment is going to extend indefinitely. It is time to stop being what you wanted to be and become what you should be. So what if a part of me dies in the process. It wasn’t a very good utilization of my time in any case.
I guess the only thing I will do that’ll hark back to my days of being a “rebel who didn’t know he was one and frankly wished he didn’t have to be seen that way” will be to tell any progeny I encounter to be absolutely terrible human beings. To not possess any virtuous quality. To never dream and to never do anything that goes against the zeitgeist of their age. That is truly the best way to get forward in the world. Be as horrible a person as you can and the world is your oyster.
I’m done now.