The Unwilling Hero

Hero : Someone who performs an act of bravery in a dangerous situation

World war II ended in the death of many heroes. And the death of heroism. As stable governments arose, supported by strong armies for security, the need for bravery vanished. And one by one, heroes went extinct from the general public. Now, there are no legends. Only their stories exist, to be marvelled upon by complacent men.

But even so, courage still exists discretely; hidden somewhere in meek hearts. And they belong to the unwilling heroes.

The unwilling heroes detest acts of courage. ‘Heroism is mere foolishness’, they say. And to that effect, most of them avoid any kind of confrontation. But how long can a man escape his true nature?

As the life of the hero goes on, his actions though complacent, lead him to dangerous situations beyond his control. So much so that, bravery becomes an urgent necessity. And then the lion roars for the first time. Courage surges through his spine, as if it were instinct. And then he conquers it all.

By some fantastic irony of fate, the unwilling becomes a rightful hero.

In the past, the story of legends did little to inspire people. Legends were powerful, blessed even godly men that waged battle against great evils. Ordinary folk knew their limitations and hence although quite entertained, they weren’t inspired by the stories.

But today, the times have changed. People are not only inspired, but also incited to action by the tales of unwilling heroes. This is because they see themselves in them – ordinary people with ordinary lives called up to a greater calling. And so on, one hero inspires a thousand, a thousand inspire millions and many more. The age of heroes hasn’t ended, my dear folks, it has only begun.

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The End War

Life is full of struggles. But a man’s life is defined by only one – the ‘End War’. It is the war that does one of two things: either it erases the memory of a person or it makes an immortal legend

We all have to fight this war. And the stakes are the higher than they’ve ever been. If you win, you get to rule the world. If you lose, you become a slave to your own fate. Under such insurmountable pressure and breath taking odds, the fighting is a bloodbath. The ‘End War’ puts brain, brawn and endurance to a gruesome test. And the test is tiring.

You’ll keep swinging your sword, slashing one enemy after the other. And yet the horde keeps on coming. The enemy is seemingly endless. It feels there’s no light after the night. But wait. All that terrible, tiring sword swinging has made your body magically stronger. You get so used to the fear that you don’t feel it anymore.

And then it happens. A new light appears. Not from the sky, but from your own heart. Then you realise that the night isn’t about the darkness that you see, it is about the darkness that you feel. And when you find victory over the darkness inside, the darkness outside becomes a friend. Your fear dies out completely and with a fresh surge of valour, you tear through all of your enemies. An endless horde suffers the wrath of one determined man. And is decimated.

After your sword meets no more flesh, you stop the swinging. It is over. And then you climb the hill to plant your banner – to let the world know, that you are a victor. You look to the horizon, the sun isn’t up yet. But it doesn’t matter to you, for you’ve found the light.

Winter is a test.

It is in spring, that most animals are born. And the circle of life begins anew. For a while, all is splendid. Trees blossom with a fresh batch of foliage. The sun shines with its full might. Deers go round grazing on the bountiful grass. And lions, well they go about pouncing on the deers. Everything is as it should be.

But then winter arrives. The sun creeps away from the earth ever so slightly. But the effect is profound. Temperatures drop like a rock and the cold wind starts howling. The lion braves the winter and chases the deer once again. But this time, his lungs are fighting to breathe. The air is heavier. The deer runs with all his might, but only as fast as his slender legs would allow through the thick snow. The prey and predator, both struggle to keep up.

Winter is a criminal of nature and its crime is to cut the energy intake of the ecosystem. And the result is that life, in general, struggles to keep up. The cold air and dimmed sun test the survival of the ecosystem. Those that survive, get to live through to the next winter. Those that fail, have their lives taken away from them.

And that is why, winter is a test. A test of the life force within you. And it comes back every year. So better be prepared than not. The night is dark and full of terrors, for winter… is coming.


 

This piece is dedicated to those ‘Mindfeeders’ who are on a steadfast wait for Game of Thrones Season 8. Hang in there people, Jon Snow will be back. So will the Night king.

Valar Morghulis!

 

Death by Dip Pens

I recently bought my first dip pen. And this is the ghastly image I conjured up with it. Tell me what you think about this sketch. Does it feel real? Or does it feel like I murdered the paper with my pen. Be as brutally honest as you want… even to the point of being blunt.

Death sends its regards-01.jpg

Art must have meaning?

Art has never been so freeing, as it is today. The definition of art is being changed, stretched and overhauled by the second. And yet one defining identity of art has survived ages – meaning.

But will it survive any longer?

Even in the present era of outside-the-box art, an intended meaning is quintessential to any piece. Every installation and painting has to convey a meaning. And to that effect, a meaning must be intended by the artist. So if I, by pure chance, happen to drop a bottle of ink on a paper – the blot of ink so formed can’t be considered art. Because there is no meaning to it, neither was any intended by its artist.

So it is settled then. Art must have meaning. Or should it?

Unlike other professions, Art is a viewer’s medium. The success of an artwork depends upon the viewer. This makes it entire impossible to create something that is truly meaningless.

Consider this. I fancy myself as an artist. Say, I choose 3 random colours. And then I go on to selecting 3 random shapes. Then, with my eyes blindfolded, I compose these shapes onto the canvas with the predetermined shades. After I open my eyes, the image in front of me wouldn’t make a penny worth of sense. But show the same to a random viewer from anywhere around the world. He might find meaning in the random arrangement, even if the artist did not intend any meaning. This is due to the human tendency to conjure up connections between unconnected objects – much like people discovering the face of Jesus in a cut potato. The human brain finds it difficult to process the concept of coincidence – it has to find meaning in everything.

And if art is a viewer’s medium, then there’s meaning even where an artist doesn’t intend meaning. This means that art can be meaningless and even accidental.

In my personal opinion, a logical path to understanding the concept of art can only lead to a dark forest without a moon. It is best that we leave art to grow and change as it sees fit.

In ceremonious conclusion,what Churchill said about Russia, certainly qualifies for art – “A riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”

It is time to hunt.

There is a tradition, in nature. When a cub is born, the mother cares for it and feeds it. This happens until it comes of age. Having a fully matured body by then, it is time for the cub to start hunting.

The human tradition is something else entirely. After birth, the mother cares for and feeds the baby. This happens until it comes of age. The baby has now turned 18. But the baby doesn’t start hunting on its own. It still too fragile to do that. So the baby starts getting fed by a different mother – the alma mater.

This system of dependency isn’t a recent habit. It has been ingrained into the human society over the passage of time. So much so that we’ve accepted the system as a given. There is nothing better and more efficient than it, we assume. And amongst all of these assumptions, if anyone so much as attempts independence – the attempt is tantamount to crime, and the revolter a criminal. The cubs that express the wish to hunt are remanded, corrected, reprimanded or even persecuted at the hands of feeble mind, minds that cannot comprehend independence.

I’m not against tried and tested methods. Formal education as it is offered today, is quite efficient. It creates highly competent individuals ready to take on the world. My only concern is that some people acquire learning through a more unconventional route. To them, a formal education is only a barrier. It is like building a dam onto a river. Yes, a dam is quite useful. But it draws out the one thing that makes the river a river – the force with which it flows. A raging force of nature at one end of the dam, is converted into a feeble stream at the other.

It is for this reason, that I urge my fellow cubs. If  you don’t feel like getting fed, bring out your claws and hunt. Take a stand for your beliefs. I am not saying that going against the flow will be easy. Actually it might be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. You’ll face enormous obstacles. You’ll be completely exhausted all the time. You’ll be fighting alone, a horde of enemies. But in the end, oh brave hunter, you will be independent.

So wake up before the sun, sharpen your arrows and make sure the bowstring is taut. For it is time – the time to hunt.

Bacon is good for the mind.

There is no other philosophical work that has astounded me as much as Francis Bacon’s Essays.

Francis Bacon was an 16th century English statesman who served as the Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England. Besides engaging actively in governance, Bacon was a prolific philosopher. And it was in this pursuit of higher thinking, that he penned down philosophy’s most valuable work, titled ‘Essays’.

Essays is a collection of 58 essays, each on a different facet of knowledge (eg. Truth, Death, Revenge etc). What makes these essays stand out is that they’re much more relevant to modern society. Each essay is a fine specimen of logical wisdom, hand-carved to inculcate in the reader, a concrete sense of the world around him. And if I may say so, having read it, the essays are an excellent guide in thinking. They teach you not only how to think, but also how to measure and weigh one thought against the other. It isn’t for nothing that Francis Bacon is also termed ‘the father of the scientific method.’

I urge my readers to pick up ‘Essays’ by Francis Bacon and let one of the greatest minds of the 16th century take over and lead you into a brighter tomorrow.

For those of you who wish to buy the book from Amazon, here’s the link :

Francis Bacon’s ‘Essays’


 

It’s been a long while since I last wrote. And I can’t refrain from blaming my absence on the rigours of life in the University. I’m not able to write as frequently as I used to. But I promise my readers that I will be pushing to adopt a more predictable and routine schedule. So don’t give up on me yet. And as always ( shout out to Vsauce, the most awesome Youtube channel on planet earth.) keep mindfeeding.