“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years,” so said Abraham Lincoln. Who can deny the truth in this philosophy?
When I see all the crime around, I feel sad. Lack of knowledge about what life constitutes is singularly responsible for the virulent corruption in our country. This is my diagnosis; and will be yours too.
If we fully understand the cosmic reality and a human life, few would be inclined to get involved in crime and violence. After all, for whom are we amassing wealth? For whose sake are we depriving the weak of their right to life? Who loses at the end?
The fact that we have very little active life to enjoy, to love and to leave the scene, is not appreciated by many in the mad rat race. It’s a simple arithmetic. If we take a man’s average life as 60 years, his life ledger comes out like this:
Sleep = 8 hours a day
Time involuntarily wasted = 2 hours (like we run around for getting our rightful things done, standing in queues, disease, stalled in traffic, etc).
Time voluntarily wasted = 1 hour (thinking hard thoughts of others, talking ill of neighbours, etc).
Time available for active life = 13 hours a day.
Out of the 60 years I mentioned earlier, we have lost nearly half; 30 years of our lifetime, that is. What we are left with is the other half, a little over 30 years. In this time we have an active life to live, to produce, to reproduce, to consume, to love, before we eventually die. In short, providence denies us nearly half of our life. Pray, where is the time to wage war? Or hate others, or hurt? We don’t even have enough time to love.
What man can do is to minimise the voluntary wastage of time. Sleep is an essential biological function we can’t do without. The only way to enjoy life, say the wise, is to be aware of the passing minutes and realise that the ticked second will never come back even if you offer all your wealth. And, none will reserve a ticket for you up above the sky as many try to convince us.
Many men have realised the truth but at a late hour. It is said that the wise learn by intuition and observation, not by experience. All this does not mean one should become a pessimist or a wandering mendicant. All this means enjoying every waking moment, living and loving.
The mantra for a happy life, therefore, is the four-letter word — Love.
Tailend: What folly the 21st century man does is reflected in the parable of this father and his only son. The father struggled through his life and made quite a pile in his lifetime. His son, he decided, should not undergo the trouble he went through. So he ensured that his son has two mansions, a fat bank balance, a Jaguar to drive and bevy of servants to make his life comfortable. The son, who wanted to live by the sweat of his brow, saw no avenue to test his own mettle. The inevitable happened. The honest boy involuntarily developed a hatred for his parent and began to suspect that the wealth he amassed is the product of many sins, omissions and commissions. He left his mansion for finding work, lived by his earning and refused to take his Dad’s wealth. Father, pining for his boy, lost the pleasure of living. At last, he confronted his son and asked, “Why in the world do you hate me?” The son said, “I would never have hated you if you had considered me an intelligent human being born of your flesh and blood. You left me no scope to prove myself. What do you think I am? A mannequin?”
Dad saw the light, but too late in the day to amend.
The writer works for Postnoon.
About the Author (Author Profile)
PK Surendran is senior editor at Postnoon.