Do you always have to have purpose? Do you always have to be damn serious? Can’t you ever do things without reason, just like everybody else? You are so serious, so old. Everything’s important with you, everything’s great, significant in some way, every minute even when you keep still, Can’t you ever be comfortable and unimportant? – Peter Keating to Howard Roark in ‘The Fountainhead’ pg 89.
I have been the recipient to few of the above questions by some of my close mates. Does that mean I’m comparing myself to Howard Roark? An emphatic NO. The purpose of bringing up this conversation is to throw some light on a line which follows the above conversation between Keatings and Roark where Keating goes on to say, “Its not what you do, but what you make others feel”.
In our everyday life we often experience such acts. A few examples that come to my immediate help are ACCP (After Class Cabin Performance) a case typical in colleges and “Yes Boss” a case typical to office scenarios. One can argue that the above 2 cases arise from selfish motives of individuals. But then the question, can anything be selfless in this highly materialistic/competitive world where the concept of being selfless either resides in the moral science textbooks or the pravachans of babas!
Actions of individuals lead to formation of judgments (Law of physics even boil down to psychology). Every one of us goes through this. Some ignore the matter while some do a heavy contemplation and are often taken aback by the action.
Recently a close friend of mine during our chat was ‘cribbing’ to me about a particular instance where she felt bad about a certain action of her colleague in office. After listening to her it didn’t take either of us to conclude that it was such a silly/trivial issue where this colleague (who was being pestered to wear a kurta for a function in office) outsmarted my otherwise very smart friend by playing with verbiage (trying to evade wearing a kurta, which he was not comfortable wearing), which appeared to be a promise for wearing kurta, but was not. The key here is how the action of the colleague transcribed into a feeling which was termed bad.
What could have the colleague done differently in terms of his action that others didn’t feel bad about it? There could be a possibility, that an upfront no would also have resulted in feeling bad and what he did eventually was anyways considered to be something in the lines of ‘hurting the feelings’, ‘angered’ etc..
Life often demands us to be non-self while taking certain decisions/actions, which lead to development of a number of judgments. We also often end up doing things to placate the feelings of others when within ourselves we are fighting our own conscience to do the opposite. Things change if I replace the word others with say family, close friends, etc. Not that with these people there are no internal fight when taking the decisions/action. The fight is still on but may be its like climbing a 7 storey building when the lift is out of service. Things are not the same when say you are dealing with your boss or a client for that matter.
So what does one do when taking certain decisions/actions? Be self OR placate the feelings of others OR tread on a middle line? Situations also do matter a lot and hence there cannot be one single answer to this question. Common sense says that one needs to avoid actions which deliberately inflict pain and amend on actions which one feels were not required or unintentional.
People making judgments from the actions also need to be more practical and evaluate things/actions by delving in more detail to avoid bad feelings. People should remember that actions are the outcome of our experiences, beliefs and emotions within us. How can we create judgments (which are of extreme nature) on actions when one does not have a clue about the past experiences/beliefs/emotions of the individual in question?
I end this post open for the readers (if any) to comments on their feelings. It’s not what I have written…but it’s what I have made you feel!!!