A masterful artist is one who is capable of assuming the role of every life form and sees the world beyond the narrow vision of his or her own being. For a man to perceive the woes of being a woman as she lives in a culture of constant objectification (and withstands biological constraints of reproduction) is as important as a woman to understand the stresses of a man to raise himself to some impossible standard of manliness in society. Extending beyond man and woman, we can gain phenomenal insights by soulfully connecting with a child, animal, and even plant forms. If you can feel the pain of an animal losing a loved one through the acts of a butcher or hunter, you may quit eating meat. If you can empathize with your child’s feelings of frustration from the rigorous system of rote learning, you may help them channel their energies towards more creative outlets. If you can value the peace amidst greenery rather than skyscrapers, you will be compelled to protect the gifts that Mother Nature has bestowed upon us from those that pollute and destroy it. There is no “should do” but a more of a “can do” freedom that is derived from such an exercise of becoming another soul.
This leads me to a quote of objectivity from the masterful thinker that is Ayn Rand:
A contradiction cannot exist. An atom is itself, and so is the universe; neither can contradict its own identity; nor can a part contradict the whole. No concept man forms is valid unless he integrates it without contradiction into the total sum of his knowledge. To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one’s thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one’s mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality.
In essence, to eliminate hypocrisy is to master full knowledge of your being, which is difficult in one’s lifetime. I wonder if this is why we go through multiple births as the spiritual nature of Hinduism would have us believe, but I will refrain from such a tangent that no can prove nor deny, but rather just believe. (On that note, I do recommend reading this brilliant short story “The Egg” by Andy Weir. Here is the link.)
A contradiction arises when we remain narrow in thought. For example, judging another being as any bit lesser than yourself as in cases of discrimination, is a severe contradiction. To suggest that any other life form is not as valuable as your own life exemplifies how a part can contradict the whole. Every life form is alike in its impermanence. The cycle of birth and death guarantees that no one is greater than another, whether you are a human, animal or plant etc.
Cycles of birth, education, mating, producing offspring, work, disease and death ensure that we keep learning at every stage. Birth brings us to life. Institutional education sets the roots of our work life though it rarely teaches us how to live. Mating presents chances of rejection and in its success, it fosters love between families, new and old. Offspring help us value the sacrifices our parents may have made to raise us and also allow us to relive our childhood through our kids. Finally, diseases and death confirm no being is here to stay, but only transform from one being to the next in the form of energy. Usually, we learn new ideas but at times, we also have to unlearn them to get closer and closer to that goal of eliminating every possible contradiction in our lives. But should that even be our goal? Perhaps our objectives should shift from aspiring to be this perfect, contradiction free saint to recognizing our flawed presence amidst every other imperfect being. When we become one with others, our love and respect multiplies.
Assuming that a person has managed to do the impossible- integrate every concept into the total sum of his or her knowledge in one lifetime, as Rand suggests, what more is left for that person to do? To live is to constantly learn and when there is nothing else left to learn, there is nothing more to live for.
Some residue of hypocrisy (bad) shall always reside within us, but so will a radiance of good and together, we debit and credit our way through life via karma. Ayn Rand’s philosophy on contradiction can serve as important impetus to continue living, albeit in the aforementioned cycle.
But how to completely escape this cyclical process of birth and death in new life forms based on accumulation of past karma? Now that is a question reserved for the deeper spiritual texts of Hinduism – namely the Bhagvad Gita 🙂
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do share them below if you like. Thank you!