October 29, 2012

Nature abhors a vacuum

Nature does not allow a vacuum be, something will always fill it. Like a straw pulling in the liquid from your soda pop or the wind rushing in to take the place of low pressure created by the rising heat waves from a warmed up earth to cause our daily environmental variances, we may say nature abhors a vacuum. While this relates to the physical environment, we may liken this to our mental and spiritual environment too. An idle mind is the potential vacuum there. And we can be sure idle minds cannot remain idle for long as some ambient idea or fashion will soon occupy it. This is the gist of my focus with the soda pop and the weather being just the allegory.

An idle mind is the devil’s playground” goes an old saying. This means that if you have no particular goal in mind, you can be easily distracted. And mind you, old sayings have a lot of wisdom in them!

Our societies are brimming with ideas, fashions and philosophies, and these days they are closer to us than they have ever been; thanks to the information age. A lot of this is brewing around us in society’s cauldron of thoughts waiting for us to drink from. We have choice and we become responsible to that which we make; and there are very few second chances to fall back on. The idle mind is thus quickly filled up by what is sold best to us. The TV channels, the third place talk, the gossip, the written media, social networks all rally around us in a dizzying milieu vying for our attention. The unawares mind will be filled up in no time with the most forward and enticing, but perhaps not what’s best for you.

We need to be aware of this fact for us to be able to parry the undesirables that would rush in to mar our personality, most often easily overpowering the ones that would improve it. If nothing positive is out there to attract us, then the ugly ones will grab us! And not unexpectedly, our heads seem to turn faster towards those that are merely pleasurable and of short term benefit, rather than those potentially joyous but assuredly more lasting. And that is unfortunate, for, at the community level, such negativity accumulates and become the status quo of collective wisdom by which the next generation grows up. The sad thing is that unlike a physical captivity that we can break out of or runaway from, the mental formations that occupy the vacuum of our mind is so much harder to run away from; the tentacles dig deeper and the ego is so much harder to fight; as if with each accumulated negativity, its army gets ever larger. No guns or war planes can shoot this down to liberate the soul. Our Maldivian society needs to halt the decline we observe in the scarcity of social conscience and inspirational values that can compete with the pleasurable and exciting that now gets the lion share of our social market space.

My refrain as always is to call for creating social harmony in Maldives and for this we need to prevent these mental formations from taking permanent occupation our minds. Let's become seriously aware of these insidious processes; to realize the folly of such short-sightedness and not be swayed by the hedonism of today. The youth of today need to be aware that such attractants are not liberators, but those that will put you into permanent fetters. And to parents I would say, please bring your wisdom to bear and push for a worthy future for your children. Youth of Maldives, this is your nation of tomorrow that the earlier generations have merely borrowed from you. Don’t let us plunder it. Please keep us accountable. Unfortunately, you can't do so without you yourselves first assuming that accountability. 

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