I like what Barcelona is doing. This city almost perfectly combines its natural advantages with cultural attractions, IT parks and first-rate educational opportunities. The same applies for Dublin, which manages to achieve a blend of complexity, tolerance and artistry and makes a point of not devoting every part of the city to the tourism industry. Sometimes creativity also means forgoing short-term profits and simply saying no.
Forgoing privacy in a quest for absolute safety is as harmful to a healthy psyche and life of an individual as it is to a healthy political culture. For the individual, safety first means a life of paralysis and fear, never entering a car or airplane, never engaging in an activity that entails risk, never weighing quality of life over quantity, and paying any price to avoid danger.
Maybe you think you'll be entitled to more happiness later by forgoing all of it now, but it doesn't work that way. Happiness takes as much practice as unhappiness does. It's by living that you live more. By waiting you wait more. Every waiting day makes your life a little less. Every lonely day makes you a little smaller. Every day you put off your life makes you less capable of living it.
Some people create war and misery, some create wealth and money, and some create ideas and art. But we all create our own deaths, fashioned out of our lives. Nobody will remember how you died, if nobody remembers how you lived. Forgoing freak accidents, we all choose how we die by how we live. Suicide, old age, AIDS, Cirrhosis of the liver, our deaths tell of how we lived. And even in a freak accident, if we are worth remembering, our lives will overshadow our deaths. If Henry Ford had gotten run over by a Mercedes, people would still remember him as the driver of the hit and run that changed history with his automobile assembly lines.
GUIL: It [Hamlet's madness] really boils down to symptoms. Pregnant replies, mystic allusions, mistaken identities, arguing his father is his mother, that sort of thing; intimations of suicide, forgoing of exercise, loss of mirth, hints of claustrophobia not to say delusions of imprisonment; invocations of camels, chameleons, capons, whales, weasels, hawks, handsaws - riddles, quibbles and evasions; amnesia, paranoia, myopia; day-dreaming, hallucinations; stabbing his elders, abusing his parents, insulting his lover, and appearing hatless in public - knock-kneed, droop-stockinged and sighing like a love-sick schoolboy, which at his age is coming on a bit strong. ROS: And talking to himself. GUIL: And talking to himself.
The dominance panacea is so out of proportion that entire schools of training are based on the premise that if you can just exert adequate dominance over the dog, everything else will fall into place. Not only does it mean that incredible amounts of abuse are going to be perpetrated against any given dog, probably exacerbating problems like unreliable recalls and biting, but the real issues, like well-executed conditioning and the provision of an adequate environment, are going to go unaddressed, resulting in a still-untrained dog, perpetuating the pointless dominance program. None of this is to say that dogs aren't one of those species whose social life appears to lend itself to beloved hierarchy constructs. But, they also see well at night, and no one is proposing retinal surgery to address their non-compliance or biting behavior. Pack theory is simply not the most elegant model for explaining or, especially, for treating problems like disobedience, misbehavior or aggression. People who use aversives to train with a dominance model in mind would get a better result with less wear and tear on the dog by using aversives with a more thorough understanding of learning theory, or, better yet, forgoing aversives altogether and going with the other tools in the learning theory tool box. The dominance concept is simply unnecessary.
The greatest book in the world, the Mahabharata, tells us we all have to live and die by our karmic cycle. Thus works the perfect reward-and-punishment, cause-and-effect, code of the universe. We live out in our present life what we wrote out in our last. But the great moral thriller also orders us to rage against karma and its despotic dictates. It teaches us to subvert it. To change it. It tells us we also write out our next lives as we live out our present. The Mahabharata is not a work of religious instruction. It is much greater. It is a work of art. It understands men will always fall in the shifting chasm between the tug of the moral and the lure of the immoral. It is in this shifting space of uncertitude that men become men. Not animals, not gods. It understands truth is relative. That it is defined by context and motive. It encourages the noblest of men - Yudhishtra, Arjuna, Lord Krishna himself - to lie, so that a greater truth may be served. It understands the world is powered by desire. And that desire is an unknowable thing. Desire conjures death, destruction, distress. But also creates love, beauty, art. It is our greatest undoing. And the only reason for all doing. And doing is life. Doing is karma. Thus it forgives even those who desire intemperately. It forgives Duryodhana. The man who desires without pause. The man who precipitates the war to end all wars. It grants him paradise and the admiration of the gods. In the desiring and the doing this most reviled of men fulfils the mandate of man. You must know the world before you are done with it. You must act on desire before you renounce it. There can be no merit in forgoing the not known. The greatest book in the world rescues volition from religion and gives it back to man. Religion is the disciplinarian fantasy of a schoolmaster. The Mahabharata is the joyous song of life of a maestro. In its tales within tales it takes religion for a spin and skins it inside out. Leaves it puzzling over its own poisoned follicles. It gives men the chance to be splendid. Doubt-ridden architects of some small part of their lives. Duryodhanas who can win even as they lose.
Tarun J. Tejpal