Ever since Shakespeare penned the fatal words, “To be, or not to be…,” the majority of Earth’s citizens have been haunted by them. Life is no longer an experience to be lived — it is a potpourri of questions that need to be answered now. Will Obama win the elections? Will I lose weight before my next birthday? Will my ex call me? Will Oprah visit the Bachchans next year? Will my next book merit a fatwa? Do these questions form the basis of our moral and intellectual stimulation and growth today other than books, films, people, sex and religion? Now that is another darned question.
Do we really need to know everything about everything, all the time? Even our good old Earth, which breathes the uncertain air of its own polluted existence doesn’t know if we are going to continue loading it with more chaos or love. And, much as we would like to believe, the Universe for sure doesn’t have definitive plans to keep all the planets in the same line-up as we discovered decades ago from the awesome picture of the Solar System in our science books.
Do we have to be certain about things or people, else die? Naively, we actually believe we can find bliss if we get answers to every single thing that bothers us. This whole need of wanting to find life-settling answers began before we discovered the steam engine, computer, World Wide Web, and iCloud. Our forefathers began to equate answers with IQ. Over time, IQ got replaced by a hunger for information which could wield great power aka Julian Assange.
In this glorious tech age, our pathological need for answers is confused with our love for Google. We all love Google because we would certainly die without having the option of randomly typing words into the search box to find out about stuff. Mostly, the stuff is just stuff, and of no further value than the random reference material of college days. But now, we can’t even accept our normal human thoughts, emotions, reactions, actions and stimuli without analysing them to death with our buddy, Google. Everything we do — believing, thinking, cheating, working, feeling, eating, loving, avoiding, building, hyperventilating, or even writing — seems to be subject to what Google’s content managers have to create about our unique lives’ unique experiences.
By now, the myriad follies of our yesteryear should have already taught us that uncertainty is the only certainty and, answers aren’t ‘people’. It is okay to accept, that we DON’T know. We can all take a deep breath, and shift the focus from our current national tragedy, starring Salman Rushdie and the-book-that-shall-not-be-named, to our inner selves. We can even group-hug for unconsciously embracing uncertainty every morning when we step out of our homes in a blissful state of mind. Then, we can blow a kiss to our illogically ‘certain’ instinct, which keeps us alive through the day, so that we can watch our favourite TV show.
And when it boils down to the status of our current love affair, giving rise to the question, “To be, or not to be,” I would say, just let it be.
(The writer is a Communication Specialist)