Monday, January 07, 2008

Arrogance

Arrogance ... there's the kind that's defined as displaying overt and unacceptably excessive pride at owning something. That's our classic Webster definition.

But there's another kind. The kind that lets you take for granted things that seem easy to come by...

Like you have this incredible relationship that happened out of the blue, and when you've settled into it 1-2 years down the line and realized the other person still loves you like crazy (know what I mean? Still hangs on to every word you say, still smiles to your smiles, can't have enough of your stories...)

And one fine day you find yourself suddenly thinking "Wow, I'm wonderful and lovable. I'm probably super precious and awesome. (I must be for this person to love me so much no?) Having THIS is SO easy. BUT I want THAT. OUT THERE. Damn ... single life was so awesome. Do I really need this badly enough? Don't I have better things to accomplish than sit around making *this* happen. I have dreams, ambitions, the works. WOW, THERE'S A WHOLE WORLD OUT THERE! WTF AM I DOING TRAPPED HERE!"

{This even if 2 years ago you'd have given an arm and a leg to find someone you could simply talk to without having to tune your frequency to someone's, without "adjusting" ur povs to sound acceptable to them (know what I mean?) and spark with (you crack a seemingly idiotic joke, they laugh from deep down and vice versa, you like listening to their stories and vice versa, you like telling them your stories and vice versa, you care about their welfare and vice versa. Many many many many little yet significant vice versas those.....) }

Or you have this fantastic job. That elusive thing they call a dream career. You know you're doing well. You know you're loved by the boss, the colleagues, everyone. You know you have good stuff in store for you. They like you. They seem to wanna keep you.

One fine day Mr (Ms?) Arrogance visits. Suddenly you're thinking, wait, I don't need to slave anymore. They all LIKE me. In fact, they LOVE me! This is SO easy. I don't need to exceed expectations anymore. I'm IT! I've made it! VAO!!! I'm here to stay!

{This, even if two years ago, you waited in line nervously to see if your resume was one of the 20 that this company picked out of a gifted batch of 250, experienced exhilaration at being picked to interview and AFTER the interview, to find that the job is EVERYTHING you thought it would turn out to be, and thought to yourself "I'm never ever gonna screw this up! Never. EVER"}


Have you heard about the theory of 3 pillars?

(OMG I had to dig into old emails to find something I'd once written about this 3 pillar theory. I must really love blogging to have subjected myself to that!)

The theory says that there's 3 pillars in all our lives - health, relationships and success: And that even if we have 2 of the 3, the third continues to haunt us with its absence, endowing a strange feeling of incompleteness. Also endowing us with a strange arrogance wrt to the pillars we ARE gifted with. Leading to emotions of arrogance expressed above.

There's a section of people who know exactly when they're being stupid enough to let go of something wonderful ... when they're cognizant of the heady feeling that arrogance brings along, and the consequent "idiotdom" they will be tempted to indulge in.

These are the lucky ones, cause the cognizance brings with it the will to keep from losing what they have .. they use friends to put sage advice into their bloated heads, use memories from a deprived past to understand how badly they once wanted this and how much they'll regret it if they lose it as easily as they plan to.

Then there's those who experience the said arrogance over possessing a certain pillar with a casualness that's surprising to those who are deprived of it. Especially when they're oblivious to how tough somebody else is finding it to acquire the very same thing that they're taking for granted.

This is when screw ups occur. Royal screw ups. When people act like utter fools and give up the one thing they once had, to go after the one thing they thought was more important (coz they didn't have it, duh?!) ...

I wonder how it feels after one has achieved what one chased after with a blind vehemence and lost something else in the process, I wonder if all such 'lost' souls are lucky enough to be blessed with another chance to find anything close to what was lost.

Maybe losing what we value the most is sometimes the only way to understand how much it meant when we did have it? Maybe that's the only way we'll never make those mistakes again? Maybe, just maybe, it's life's way of imparting practical lessons that theory can never quite do justice to.

This is my theory. You've had your own practicals no?

23 comments:

Penguin said...

With Indian Idol playing in the background, I am slightly rendered incapable of making extremely intelligent comment. But in my practicals, I've felt that making a mistake once and losing what we value once in life doesn't really imply the non-making of the mistake again. Somehow I think that if you are, somehow, thanks to God's grace, given the chance again, most people are dumb enough to try and lose it again. It's pure luck that prevents it most times. Yes, I've been dumb before, and you'd have thought I'd learn by now :-)

unpredictable said...

Dear dearest Penguin: I know. I know. I know what u mean. Sometimes, it takes more than 1 lesson to learn. And it really has nothing to do with the magnitude of loss once experienced, or regret once felt. :) How we're made like this iddiotic no? ALAS life can be such a failure!

musafir said...

While I do get your point, sometimes life's like playing on the beach: you build a castle near the waves because that's where the mud's wet but then you know deep down -- in a perverse way perhaps -- that that's the only way you can keep building castles (after the waves have knocked them down).

There's this essay in 'The Argumentative Indian' about the conflicting visions of Gandhi and Tagore. While Gandhi was about keeping one's word and unflinching commitment in pursuit of a goal, Tagore was about constant questioning of everything (one's goals included) and switching tracks if the answers weren't satisfactory.

I do agree with the taking-things-for-granted bit but then there are times when one has to ask whether what one wanted some time in the past is what one still wants. Sometimes "growth" and "screwing-up" are synonymous.

unpredictable said...

Musafir: True. Very true. I guess what I'm alluding to is the loss of something truly precious even in the present that is rendered less precious simply by virtue of its being attainable, esp compared to something else that's not... Buy ur pt .. just that it's not what was playing in my mind as I wrote this .. thanks for dropping by :)

Quirky Quill said...

Thought provoking. My take:
It's natural to take what you have for granted, even if you thought it was something you could never have. Life's routine dulls out the shimmer of the achievement and the novelty of the discovery- In a world where upward mobility is a virtue-being happy with what you have is complacence and settling for the ordinary. Restless aspiration is actually encouraged.

Knowing people who buck this trend is inspring. Not in the least, because you too want to be in the position where you can recognize imperfections without breaking a commitment and where you don't let visions of a perfect future come in the way of a imperfect but happy now.
Deep, what?

srikant said...

2 questions -
1. what did i lose?
2. where were u dictating terms to me?

(plsss also reply on st or mail else i might forget to check this again) :)) thx thx.

I loved the articulation of quirky quills comment :) im a sucker for good prose!

And good post :)

Anonymous said...

Eh. Understand is not came. Whatchoo talkin about? :)

-Mogambujam-

nutty said...

honestly, I'd have to say I'm not quite sure I can say I know what you're talking about :(

most of my life has seen a pattern of thinking of the 'good ol times' yes (the past somehow always seems so much nicer than it really was) but I'm usually quite aware of what I have and where I'm at (in terms of the 3 pillars). Most of the time, the really precious stuff is taken away too soon rather than sacrificed by me in lieu of something more tempting... alas!

I don;t quite think I'm lucky (as you described people who are aware of their past/present) instead rather unlucky to never have had anything awesome that long I guess :(

Shirlz said...

If you're talking about taking things for granted leading to regrets ... it really is up to each individual (Some people refuse to admit to a mistake...some people don't regret etc.) If you're talking about change...I think theres a delicate balance between "screwing up" and "constant search/ bettering oneself" People grow everyday and with growth comes change. A certain job could be the 'perfect job' ... 2 years ago. But as a person aspires for more in life- be it materialistic, emotional or physical- they're needs change and humans constantly search for their needs to be met. Even a wild animal would seek comfort in nature.
What one should learn ... especially in cases of relationships- is to take valuable lessons and apply it in their life. Failed relationships are the ones that teach you the most.
Sometimes things (be in people or jobs) come into your life to serve a purpose. When this purpose is fulfilled, it is time to move on. Whether you're ready or not ;)

unpredictable said...

QQ: I love how you've articulated it ... you did actually catch my point yeah ... I know how staying with what one has is considered close to complacence that even if tremendously happiness inducing, an object starts to seem dull and insipid in wake of the freshness and novelty the outside world holds in store ... thanks for writing in! :)

Srikant:
1. Who said u lost anything?
2. When i asked u to read this post.
I'm a big fan of prose ... and i have to admit, QQ articulated it way better than even I did in my own post! :)

Mbo: :)

Nutty: Well ur lucky to never have lost anything that precious coz of sheer stupidity :) see it that way :)

Shirley: Hey!!! I liked ur last para ... about everything being here for a purpose and a period ..:) thanks for dropping by :)

visitor said...

I don't know what to say, but I just know and agree with you-

You are complacent with what you have UNLESS you got it with tooo much difficulty (lest it came by Too easy and was therefore NOT beyond your reach - u still reached it no matter what)! or you lost it and regained it with much diff

I think it's understandable but awful at the same time.

I agree with Shirlz and sort of resonates what you'd written in one of your earlier posts that there's a reason and a season for every person and every relationship in our life.. But I am still trying to figure what the reason was!

But I have come to think that no matter what, even if a relationship fails, it is still passable. What is most important is to have a 'Dream' and chase it! and then you will have 5 million men(women) falling on your feet coz. people will sit up and take notice and will want to be associated with
you! This is what I have come to realise...

visitor said...

You write well, but I couldn't sort of relate to the murkiness and the sudden jumps - sort of lacks a flow.

But I must tell you that it is still very well presented and I can't do even this much! so keep the Good stuff going!

And to add to what I said earlier - a Dream has the ability to push you to greater heights. ANd there's nothing quite like a Passion, to sort of help you forget all worldly matters and achieve your Ultimate level of performance.

Koushik V S said...

Very well put. Reminds me of a couple of things:

1. "Pursuit of Happyness" - the attaining of the goal (the process) is sweeter than the goal itself. The "Now what?!" question comes into picture. A normal human 'vice' called restlessness. The pursuit starts all over again..

2. "The law of diminishing marginal utility". In a relationship.. call it a continuity problem....

unpredictable said...

Koushik: HI!!!! It's soo good to see you here!!! Archie got u to visit i see :) I haven't seen POH yet, but yes i do rbbr something in eco about the diminishing returns funda :) Well put .. thanks for dropping by :)

Koushik V S said...

:-) you recognized me!! Good blog, keep up the good work.

Diminishing Returns : I was trying to emphasize the importance of keeping things 'alive' so that the diminishing returns principle does not apply.

raj said...

cool post, but I was wondering what if the person who believed you have "THAT" charisma suddenly turns arrogant of having you and taking you for granted.. what do you do THEN?! :)

Baby V said...

Alas, but hurrah.

regards,
Baby V (and I guess Puppy M too?)
"alas, but hurrah" - baby vaijayanthi and puppy manohar.

Puppy Manohar said...

Alas, but Hurrah (TM)

Copyright 2007-2008, Puppy Manohar and Baby Vaijayanti enterprises.

Alas, but hurrah.

- Puppy Manohar

Jane Doe said...

Beautiful one. My sentiments exactly . I agree that the brand of arrogance you talk about sets in when the thrill of the chase wears off- the journey seems to have been better than the destination. You pursue that which is elusive relentlessly; but once you achieve it, you tend to be blasé about it. Its value diminishes somehow. It is human nature to regard what we have lightly- the age old wooing of the two birds in the bush, when the one in hand is good enough.

If you are lucky enough, you are given another chance to redress, to make amends, to regain what you thought so little of, and then lost and pined for. The benefit of hindsight comes all too late. Even if you don’t get another chance, the loss you did suffer serves as a reminder of the mistakes you made and maybe you became wary of repeating the past. It hasn’t served to remind me yet, but it should work for someone right? :)

I wish there was a way we could eat our cake and have it too :) We do want everything, don’t we? But I think that we cease to exist when we stop challenging our limits, when we stop pursuing goals, when we are smug and content with status quo. We would never have airplanes or internet if we were satisfied with trains or snail-mail. If nothing else, the past gives us fodder for “in-the-good-old-days” monologues :)

As SRK says (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d utter), “Don’t be santusht. Wish karo.”

unpredictable said...

Visitor: Sorry, im just very bad at replying to ppl who don't leave a name. Thanks for ur comments and thanks for visiting.

Raj: Hi. I took the liberty of reading through your blog and understand where you're coming from when you ask that question. Having been there, done that, all i can say is you just have to believe that sometimes no matter what you do, things just won't work out as you want them to .. and that might be the best thing to happen to you. Sometimes a person leaving your life is purely their arrogance, you just need to know that's their demon to deal with. Not yours. Good luck with everything.

BV: Am i blessed or am i blessed to have ur abundant wisdom here on my blog? :)

Pm: Alas only. No hurrah.

Jane doe: Maybe you should write a post on this :) Really well written :)

goragori said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
goragori said...

Sorry, I didn't leave my name

- visitor

Jane Doe said...

Dearest Unpredictable,

May be I will. But you have already covered everything quite satisfactorily and I would have large shoes (no offence meant to your shoe size, which i'm sure is femininely, delicately small) to fill. Such pressures :P