Self-affirmation and Responsibility!

Why is man in a constant need for self-affirmation? What makes him fear that his existence is lost amidst the myriad other personalities surrounding him everyday? It is this fear that makes him strive to establish his hold, not just on his relations, but also on the environment, society and eventually the entire creation. One may argue against this on grounds of intellectual curiosity, education and the quest for knowledge! But what is quest for knowledge other than a means of getting over fear? Ignorance, I feel, contrary to the popular belief, isn’t bliss. It breeds fear. Self-affirmation is hence a need to get over the ignorance we have, about ourselves! Ignorance about our abilities breeds not just fear, but also its ally – doubt. When we doubt ourselves, we need others to alleviate them, and thus we depend on others. When the need is dire to turn in, we turn out!
In order for them to cater to our needs, we create a hold on them. We manipulate them in various ways – physically by brutal strength, intellectually through the means of education, and emotionally. Rogues, theives, bullys are all examples of the first kind, while the Government, Industry, Consumerism, show case the 2nd case. The last instance is more personal for each human being – while he is being manipulated, he also emotionally manipulates others through his relationship/power! On a more subtler level, as I feel is evident, all of these are dependents. The US Government, that wants to manipulate us through the means of education, convincing that the breach into our personal lives under the pretext of national security is but a thriving example of a political system, that to affirm its existence has left no stone unturned – in the domestic politics or international! What is alarming is the susceptibility of the common man! This post by Chandan is a glaring example for what I have to say! Though comic, it poses some grave questions about the responsibility of the government.
Talking of responsibilities, taking a tangent from here (which I do so often, sorry readers!), how responsible must a writer be? Creativity and Responsibility are two things that at some instances, make odd bed partners. I was exposed to this aspect, ever since a story I wrote, has been appearing in www.thatskannada.com. I have had people write to me complimenting my work, but at the same time, saying how influenced they were by it! Some even trying to share their personal matters with me, and asking for a feedback! The two faces of self-affirmation and responsibility are now staring at me. Am I responsible for their self-affirmation? Is it my responsibility to account for their fears/doubts and help them with it? Or can I just brush them off? What if I take refuge in my creativity, and not be accountable for my work! Write, whatever I feel like, about whatever I feel like, and just throw it out to the masses! It’s upto them to pick it up, or leave it there! They can do whatever they wish with it! Either get influenced by it, or laugh at it! Whether I can remain aloof of their involvement depends on my need for self-affirmation as an author! Am I using my work to manipulate the readers, and thus prove to myself my existentialism as an author?
As of now, I have only questions…… anyone with answers?

6 comments

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    • Jayashree on May 20, 2006 at 6:24 AM

    Human mind lacks consistency. It constantly strives for the establishment of its thoughts. We always want things to be repeated. Specially when we like them.Self-affirmation is just one such character. Mostly readers found your writings appealing to their emotions and started seeking answers for their in your words. We like something because that’s what we want to be or that’s what we are. To some extent author should take care of the impact of his writings.

    • Praveen Mayakar on May 30, 2006 at 10:22 AM

    Human mind is very consistent. Only that we donot train it to be consistent. There is always a dilemma, a duality of character in each of us. Both being opposite to each other. One such character expresses itself to the outer world, the other develops and functions through the subconscious. One of these character becomes stronger based on how you train it. The more you feed it , the better it gets. Some untrained and uncontrolled minds tend to think that it is an evil force which is making things bad for them. Its only one of the characters that they fed that made them feel so.

    The author as I would say, is doing a good job influencing the minds of people. The outcome however depends on which character of your mind you feed. A urge to do good when lies within you, gets stronger when you are fed with such an influence. The writer hence is not responsible. It is the individual who takes the influence who is responsible.

    On the contrary, Krishna says in the sacred Gita that there is no such thing that a single person exists to be responsible for something. Everything is bound and hence we are interdependant. This dependancy when moved in a progressive manner, positively creates a momentum good enough to spawn a revolution. This revolution has to be our responsibility.

    • jayashree on June 1, 2006 at 9:42 AM

    @ Praveen Mayakar

    Human mind is inconsistent that is why we train ( It is in Bhagavadgeeta, section:Dhyana yoga)…. and we need to do it as long as brain doesn’t stop working. It won’t get better with anything.

    Why should writer be responsible? He wants to influence people’s thought, as you say, but need not be
    in a positive way always. Writings are of no value if there is no reader.Writer always wants a reader who can understand what he is trying to convey.No writer on earth would like his writings misinterpreted.

    I never said writer is entirely responsible for the impact… just said to some extent.
    You say… in this world everything is connected.I say, let us be responsible for the good.

    How do you take this… ?

    • Praveen on June 4, 2006 at 5:45 PM

    @ Jayashree and Mayakar:- What if the author does not want to shoulder any responsibility of mortal absolution through his work? what if he is only interested in expressing the various nuances and aspects of human nature without tending to be preachy? What if morals isn’t what interests him, but just plain humanism?!!

    • jayashree on June 8, 2006 at 10:58 AM

    @Praveen
    I tarah kaSTa.vaagiro prashnegella nan tale kelsa mADolla. ashTomdu deep thoughts …out of my coverage area.

    • Praveen Mayakar on June 15, 2006 at 4:42 PM

    @Jayashree:

    I welcome your thoughts over my comment.

    Inconsistency of the mind: How can a mind lack consistency or be inconsistent if it is trained? It now depends on how much trained it is. If the mind is relatively less trained than the absolute mind, then definitely it is relatively less consistent than the absolutely consistent mind. Understanding absoluteness and relativity,taking a positive approach to reach a good level of consistency than the absolute is what becomes the wise mans approach. The mind gets better everytime this level progresses an unit. What Gita says is correct and the way it has to be understood, in my view, is as above.

    Gita always points out to the normal of the man and hides the extra ordinary by making them think simple. Krishna always talks simple and positive, this is what makes him the coolest character.

    Positiveness and responsibility: I am pretty unsure about your perspective of responsibility of the author. In your first comment its stated that people like something because they want to be that; I assume that this is influencing the reader to like or do what he is reading and hence it becomes the readers responsibility to take things positively. If the writer is not positive, never mind, take the positive stuff, analyse the negative ;follow the positives & make sure you never get into the negatives.

    The writer in no way until and unless explicitly is criticising on something or someone is not responsible for the perceptions of the people. Its the readers positiveness that i stress on, that makes an impact.

    “Writer always wants a reader who can understand what he is trying to convey.No writer on earth would like his writings misinterpreted.”

    He who does not write so that anyone can understand is not a good writer. He who does not understand what he reads is not a good reader.

    “You say… in this world everything is connected.I say, let us be responsible for the good.”
    To enhance and justify our statements-> If we are good and responsible for the good and if we/our thoughts (good ones) are connected then everything that is connected becomes good. So think good and be positive is what i always insist on following.

    How do you take this… ?
    I take it as a good response and i take it positively :-).

    @Praveen: Your question gets answered if the perceptions of the people who read is positive.Writer is happy if he creates an impact. Reader is happy if he has a positive impact.

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