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Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Importance of being Fickle-Minded

"I have opinions of my own -- strong opinions -- but I don't always agree with them"
- George Bush (Sr.)

For as long as I have known, I have had a malleable mind. I am sucker for good arguments, and will completely agree with anyone's opinion, as long as it has a shred of logic in it. For instance, reading Ayn Rand's wonderful portrait of Howard Roark and John Galt, I remember thinking that the pursuit of one's own happiness must indeed be the purpose of Man's life. This view was shortly reversed by reading (only partially) Fyoder Dostoyevskey's The Idiot, whose protagonist Prince Myshkin is the very definition of saintliness. A character diametrically opposite to John Galt, he attracted my sympathy towards himself, and his way of life. My latest views on life have been shaped by reading Somerset Maugham's semi-autobiographical novel On Human Bondage , which I believe (probably wrongly), derives its philosophy from Spinoza and Schopenhauer. I have little doubt that my views - to paraphrase Douglas Adams - on the answer to The Life, The Universe and Everything will be influenced by the next well-written book I read. I find even Ram Gopal Varma's views on life (follow his infamous twitter account @RGVzoomin to get a first-hand experience) brilliant at times. 

Should this indecisiveness on opinions worry me?  I don't think so. Like Phillip Carrey of On Human Bondage who toys with a myriad ideas - both on philosophy and his career, before zeroing on his own brand of philosophy (and a suitable career), I am ready to take ample time on shaping my opinions. It is also my belief that a World filled with people having only extreme opinions will be boring at best, and catastrophic at worst. Moderates are essential for civilization. So, I may write about the benifits of democracy when the World goes gaga over China's achievements in Olympics, and the  necessities of an authoritarian Government when the country aims its guns at Kapil Sibal. I might write about the importance of pessimism (which I firmly believe in) today, only to write on the uplifting qualities of a Wodehouse novel tomorrow. In short, I would try to play a minor - often insignificant - role in buffering the public opinions. 

In case you have survived reading the first two paragraphs, and you are still not wondering about the purpose of life and other such metaphysical questions, you must atleast be wondering about the purpose of this post. I am writing this just as a disclaimer to all further posts, and this whole blog in general. When freedom to have an opinion, and to express it is recognized in a large part of the World (and is used, and even exploited by every Joe in the internet), I also reserve the right to alter, or even reverse my opinions. For argument's sake, I will write blog posts on opinions I may not agree with, and highlight their merits. It is just a personal exercise, something that you might find as a self-indulgence. But, I intend to carry on with it. Any help that you can give in the form of discussions will be accepted gratefully. 

Finally, in a tribute to my essay writing school-days, I have begin and ended this post with a quote. I once again draw the assistance of Douglas Adams, who succinctly sums up my dilemma in maintaining a blog.

"The history of The Hitchhiker's guide to Galaxy is now so complicated that every time I tell it I contradict myself, and whenever I do get it right, I am misquoted"
 - Douglas Adams

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