Friday, October 11, 2013

Propagation


Propagation of one's line is a way of trying to achieve immortality. We continue to live on through our children (and theirs and so on), is the oft repeated rationale. But this line of reasoning is cyclical. It does not end my quest for a purpose. Merely extending life whose purpose I am questioning in the first place cannot be the answer. Nevertheless, there is a lot to be learnt from the cherubic. Babies aren't persons since they are not born with a personality or an ego. In fact they aren't even born with a body, one might argue. Ever seen an infant flailing its limbs uncontrollably and trying to eat its own hand? A baby doesn't know that the body it seems to occupy, is its own. Even its identity, which grows and mutates with its changing circumstances, is created.

The baby 'knows' it is a separate entity because we treat it that way. Like a piece of ferrous metal becomes magnetic in the presence of a magnet, the infant becomes a person in the presence of other people. Very gradually and with a lot of interaction with others (the analogy still holds), the child acquires an ego of its own. It then goes on to live its life viewed and acted out from the point of view of this ego which gathers weight as it rolls along. All our desires and fears in fact belong to this creature. So in a way the rationale that we live on through our children is correct. But who is it that lives on? The problem with this question is that the very phantom whose solidity we question here, offers answers. Perhaps then, we need to look rather than theorise. Perhaps we need to realise that anything perceived is not the perceiver. 

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