Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Me the Blog

Honestly, I feel sick now, how could I even imagine I would be a good blogger?
Some blogs are just impossible for me to even think of. Sample two -
I mean, these are just two in this wide wide world-wide web. But the amount of dedication that each has taken into doing/writing/maintaining such a blog is just undoable by me. The second blog covers an awesome range of stuff. You know, I got such an inferiority complex after reading it today after a long time. Here I am, writing some dumb stuff about why people should be egoistic and why I've started liking Tamanna and another one in response to some coffee stuff, and these blogs are way way beyond what I can even dream of.
And yet I blog.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Self-Importance of Ego

For quite a while, a major part of the usage of the word "ego" has come to be associated with interaction between the sexes, as opposed to interaction between human beings. "The guy has too much ego to go and talk to girls", "she has an attitude problem, the peacock" - read a proud and haughty girl filled to the brim with ego. But reading "The Fountainhead" brought a welcome and refreshing discussion about what Ego actually is, as opposed to trivial boy-girl interactions (lack of it, more like). {Incidentally, I think I am quite egoistic as far as talking to girls is concerned, fear of rejection and proper response being the main reason, (fuelled by a strong sense of self-respect, misplaced, I don’t know)}.

Ayn Rand is definitely a profound thinker. Whether or not objectivism is an acceptable philosophy (I, for one, definitely cannot accept Objectivism, despite just about a lot of sense and correctness in its ideology), the way she portrays the character of Howard Roark, characterised by a distinct ego, pride and self-respect/belief, and how she goes on to insist that Ego is the Fountainhead of human progress are quite remarkable and wonderfully insightful. Ayn Rand-level
thinker, though I may not be, I was quite struck by the importance of ego in a guy's relationship with girls. I, for one, thoroughly dislike ego with the same sex. That being said, it is important to try to understand the actual context in which the term "ego" is used, and its implications/usage.
Ego, in a sense, is pretty broad - ranging from petty 'you-say-hi-to-me-I-respond' connotations to far-reaching managerial decisions in the industry to issues of national importance. There again, the question of individual correctness crops up - "Yaar periyavan, naana neeya" and allied stuff. But what prompted me to write this piece is quite petty and trivial, in the sense that it is quite predominantly related to personal relationships, not exactly a singular issue, but somewhat similar ones, such as friendship and love, pertaining to different people and different circumstances. I, for one, definitely feel, Ego has to be totally avoided in friendships. Well, the previous statement actually seems quite pathetic to me, as it seems akin to all those Orkut about-me's and display-names, as in, giving free advice and opinion, but, sorry, I just had to say it, irrespective of my earnest endeavour to want my statement to sound profound, meaningful and truthful. But, there's a catch that people seldom realise. (Well, in case they do, people don’t actually bother to speak it out, as opposed to 'free advice'). The catch being that it is absolutely imperative that the "friendship" is correctly estimated and the person, properly estimated for his or her true worth. Now that's again a sick statement, and I'm reminded of an analogy to a police search warrant issued to check a person's guilt - the search is complete and nothing is found, well, let's just say the person is innocent and the search proves it, but the damage has been done - in a way, that's what happens inside you, if you actually strip a person's character within you to analyse them correctly, end up establishing their innocence/trueness (hoping you're correct), but feel nauseated at yourself for having performed the "check" on such a true person. Sadly, it's better to be safe than sorry, i.e., ensuring that someone is being true to you rather than you being taken for a ride under some guise, in this shit yuga for trueness and
innocence of individuals. Now, that seemed to me to be a major deviation from the topic, but no, that's precisely what has to be done to know which of your "friends" you've to avoid showing any semblance of ego to.

That's as far as friendships are concerned. I actually hope I was successful in communicating the part about which "friendships" to leave out ego, because, someone who is totally devoid of it, is totally misread. Take, for example, the case of this extra-nice guy totally devoid of ego, who goes out of his way to be nice to people, greets everybody everyday, irrespective of whether the person responds in kind or not.
Note that "people" here is a broader set compared to "friends". Now, in another Yuga, such a person would be respected, loved, adored globally, in his area, at least. Today, such a person would be individually adored and loved, but not really respected on the large scale, if you get what I mean. In such circumstances, it is essential for an individual to possess a certain amount of ego. Then again, if you are the sort of person who easily wins over people with the above-mentioned habit, then, it is not necessary for you to be egoistic to maintain your self respect. Understand that in this context, egoism is practised as a means to maintaining self respect and dignity. As always, there will be differences of opinion to this point – I do not claim it is correct, I believe it is valid. (Diplomatic egotism ;)

Now boy-girl egoism is kind of interesting, and I rather feel I relish it, of what "egotism" I exhibit to girls, in the sense of not going all out, being very hesitant, and not so friendly or nice to girls I am not yet well acquainted with. (That might, in part or whole, explain the miserable feminine contacts I have, quantity-wise [Not quality-wise]). Here, the context is this rather sickening habit of most girls to judge guys based on how 'friendly' (aka easy-going) they are. Now, that's a totally baffling issue which I've mastered in flopping - girls and what they think. On the one hand, I maintain a certain level of introvertedness (if I may use the liberty to coin such a term, as long as it conveys the message) with girls to ensure I am not mistaken as trying to be flirtatious, and I end up being thought of as snobbish. Thanks to this wonderful category of girls who really adore guys that are totally extroverted and go out with no holds barred (which, I am totally absolutely incapable of), and succeed in charming their way into those girls' hearts. And on the other hand, there’s this awesome talent I have, of trying to be ‘extroverted’ and ‘jolly’ (read charming) to God-forsaken totally uninterested girls (who have totally rejected the idea of any acquaintance with me before I even start). People, I suck. Time and again, and with unfailing regularity, especially when it comes to girls. And why do I then evince interest in befriending girls, you may ask. People, I’m not quite a misogynist. Among my aspirations is also this desire to be a normal guy who’s got some good friends from both sexes, “Oru punidhagaraama natpu”, as Sidharth says to Trisha in Ayudha Ezhuthu while asking her out to a cup of coffee. But anyways, that's trans-gender ego, with no romantic angle.

But when it’s ego in love, that’s when it really has the tendency to screw up big time, or save you the blushes, big time too. I don’t have any major romantic experiences (save one, and that too was not truly/totally romantic). Yeah, I’ve seen a few interesting girls and thought for the briefest of instants about how it would be to have them as a life-partner (a little because of their background & character, definitely a little because of their looks, but mostly because of my increasing anxiety and fear of eternal singularity), but none even remotely close enough to even think about having a long-term marital relationship, let alone proposing. That’s my case.

But coming to this oftportrayed scenario in most movies: Boy-loves-girl; Girl-loves-boy; Both-know-the-other-loves-him/her; Each-wants-the-other-to-make-the-move aka Ego; Family-problem; Train/Flight/Car/Kalyana Mandapam-ending. Well, not all Indian/Tamil movies, but most ego-based movies loosely follow the above story line. Which, in my humble opinion, is crass bull-puke. Going by the basic axioms of logic, why the hell would I want to show my ego to someone I’m going to live the rest of my life (which, incidentally, I am told, is going to be quite long [:(]) with, if I am convinced and have sufficient knowledge to figure out that the other party, too, is reciprocating my feelings. The main issue of ego in romantic relationships arises when neither party is confident or knows that the other party is also inclined romantically to the self. If there is no such reciprocation, the ego-induced-hesitation in conveying the feeling of love may actually be a backhand down the line for you. Why, because if you are not sure if either the relationship truly exists, or the other party is the ‘correct’ person to go ahead and make the move, then there is no point in doing it. Well of course, you have the category of I-don’t-care-what-happens-I-will-attain her(most likely)/him(least likely)-come-what-may people who really care a damn about ego. Doesn’t mean they don’t have self-respect, but quite close. Basically, I am not someone who subscribes to this ideology, irrespective of my past action (singular), which may be viewed on similar lines, primarily because I consider ‘it’ to be a major aberration in my twenty three year slightly-pathetic-majorly-enjoyable-definitely-interesting life. And why I say that ego comes as a solid rescue is because of this society’s convoluted ideology of viewing a guy who loves a girl without the girl having anything for the guy, as someone close to a criminal. But again, there are numerous clichés associated, many such guys generally *do* create quite a scene embarrassing themselves (which they don’t care about), and embarrassing the girl in question (the bad part). Simply to love a girl, not propose to her because of ego/hesitation, then come to know that she too had no feelings, let the matter rest – wonderful, seriously. In such a case, if, later on, people come to know that this guy did have feelings for the girl, then they’d make a criminal out of him, irrespective of the fact that he played a perfect gentleman in not bothering the girl after knowing the absence of her feelings for him. But alas, this is a very specific case, and ego plays, but a minor part. I have seldom (if any) come across the case where a girl loves a guy, but ego prevents her from making the move, hence, I have conveniently neglected that case. Nevertheless, I feel very broad-minded after my above reasoning wrt guys with one-way-feelings, because I’m someone who finds every single chance to find fault with real-life love stories, and seeing the ones around me to be quite so full of sham, I probably have toned down a bit, and opened up a wee bit. But that doesn’t change my opinion of girls loving guys and making the first move, for some reason, I always feel it’s guys who should initiate. But then again, that’s way off topic.

Ego, thus, is a necessary weapon in man’s armoury. It has some far-reaching connotations, yes, but with correct understanding and judicious usage, ego would definitely prove to be an asset. I have, by no means, done an Ayn Rand here. I still look up to Howard Roark and feel jealous and bad that such a character was not my thought, but again, small matters and petty issues constitute the essential difference between great men. Even if I do not possess any of those big things that one’s greatness would be ascribed to, I can, in one small part, claim to have some understanding of an oft-used yet poorly-understood facet of the modern man. It’s ego at its petty best, but ego at its most directly relatable and understandable best.
It’s not earth-shattering, it’s not far-reaching, but it sure is individual-making, and isn’t making a precursor to breaking?