A Moment’s Escape

‘ Strap them on, I like the way you look in them.’

I glanced back at him, his eyes hidden behind the glass he was emptying. He put it down, wiped his mouth and looked at me. A little smile playing on his lips, his eyes, polite. I smirked and got back to my glass, touching the brim. I liked rum I told him, though I’d rather just have the coke. Wine would’ve been expensive, though I wouldn’t mind the cheaper port kind, if only he could find it. We only had half hour and role play was costing too much.

‘ Try being a little more expeditious than that, monsieur. ‘

He caught the sarcasm and the word, I was impressed. Ruffling his hair, he decided to give himself a moment. On the floor, my heels crossed on the mattress, he took my foot in his hand and kept on his lap. Taken by his touch, I almost forgot about the liquid edging at the brim. I caught myself before my expressions would betray me, though I was relieved to find him occupied elsewhere. None of the things I had seen or read could’ve prepared me for what was happening. His fingers gently took the black four inch heels he had me buy, and put them on my foot, buckle by buckle.

As I watched him do it, it struck me that none of the guys ever went for the foot. Which is strange knowing that foot fetishes are as common as well, everything we get to hear about pleasure. I remember the pillow talks I’ve had in past and how I wish I never have to have another one in future. They’re good as long as they use their mouths for other than talking.  And this one was nicely on track. Eyes closed, back on the wall and my feet in his warmth, I let my thoughts wander. They say drinks help you loosen up. I believe all they do is allow one to be their visceral self, and be socially acceptable at the same time. I suppose that’s quite something, simply because nothing else liberates people from our society’s judgment.  I figured its wiser to know how to control myself with alcohol in my system than to regret later not having the experience. Though, as months passed by, I realized that the only thing they help me do, is stop thinking. It would make sense to believe that its the ability to think critically and process information which makes people who they are, though its this same relentless process which has sapped me of my energy.  A few weeks back, when I was in a risky situation, I decided to examine my body as part of an experiment. Over the week, with harrowing obsessing and over thinking, as my stress level rose I observed my health deteriorate, and ultimately succumb to disastrous cold and a fever. Astounded by mind’s capacity to influence the body, I decided to test reaction time lines by eliminating the stress factor and found a dramatic change : my temperature dropped by three points, and my cold disappeared overnight.

Mind and it’s capabilities have never ceased to take me by surprise, or the utter stupidity of people for that matter. Remembering all the needless drama that used to happen in college, I wondered when our minds are capable of great deeds, why do people entangle themselves in superficiality of perceptions and forget that opinions are but worthless entities. The only time their presence should be dealt with, is when they penetrate through the psyche and start brewing trouble. We can chose to not have it affect us, just like everything else, though that is also a very slippery slope.

I remember reading this book on the paradox of choice, where they talk about how we tend to believe that our choices are our own, making us the true creators of our world.  It reflects on the belief, that to maximize welfare of the people, one should maximize freedom, and the way to do that, is to maximize choice. After all, when we have lots of choice, we can pick what’s best for us. This thought that – choice and it’s power of autonomy – is absolute, is so deeply ingrained in our system, that people don’t even bother to question it anymore. I smirked at the change of the discourse of my thoughts. Really, this incessant thinking needs some serious stopping. If the prospect of a decently pleasing company had no effect, I wondered what would. Reflecting on my love for solitude, l started thinking if we were (if at all) capable of making decisions unaffected by the world. Even though we’d like to think our decisions aren’t a function of our surroundings (the environment, the society and the company we spend our time with), it would be misleading to believe so. Humans as social animals have this need to be regarded/perceived in society in a certain way and it’s our choices which allow us to achieve that image. We never make simply an individual choice and quite often have our choices mirror others‘, obsessed with how we’d be judged. It’s quite an anxiety provoking thing, and we have an entire industry (fashion, of course) based on this fact. It’s somewhat similar to when people go to a fancy restaurant with company, they’re usually unsure on which wine to choose. They find if they choose an expensive one, they’ll be perceived as a show off, or if they picked an inexpensive one, they’d be the ‘cheapskate’. In this way they usually end up choosing the bottle which they probably didn’t want to pick to begin with, but did so in order to appease the guilt and anxiety of being unable to make the ‘socially acceptable’ choice.

My mind paused to weigh the plausibility of the point it was making, when I realized something was different. He was somehow, really warm. Well, they usually are, and the fact that I’m always cold to touch, plays well with both parties. I smiled, and my thoughts took a shift. I began to see that where as drinks gave me a heavy head, this right here, was oddly relaxing and without a headache. Almost like having pleasure without the consequences, (though at least not of the same kind). With a slow surge of heat, I felt my skin getting hotter. All those sensible sentences slowly started to crumble and words morphed into sounds. The background gave away at its entities and they all vanished as if they were etchings in the sand, blown in the wind. My mind reached to the edges, pulling at the thoughts but they seem to loose matter and before long,  grasping at the remains, I was left with nothing but distant sounds. I could feel the sweat ready to break in and I knew it was time.

And in that moment, finally, there was silence.

Psychological Pluralism- Why Everyone Is A Hypocrite.

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“The road to power is paved with hypocrisy”
 – Frank Underwood

The one human trait I used to hate most profoundly was hypocrisy. Notice how I mention ‘used to’? It is because one random day, out of nowhere, I had an epiphany. How can I justify the term hypocrisy, when I myself do not possess a singular string of thought? Do you? When we sit and gather all our ideas to decide on something, are we not faced by contradictions, fallacies and comparisons? This in turn makes me think, do all the quotes about being ‘you’ even matter. Because I can’t possibly believe that I am contained of a singular self. No. Both you and I possess an internal pluralism. For every particular thought in your mind is not derived from a single source or even based on a single ideology. Within you, there are, for the lack of a better word, multiple ‘yous’. There is no singular identity we possess. Instead it is a congregation of multiple identities that regularly clash with each other. This is what gives rise to the term ‘Hypocrisy’- the practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case. In layman terms, when you criticize your friend for checking in at Facebook, and then go ahead and do the same the very next day, you theoretically become a hypocrite. But what I believe is that in each of the two cases, a different identity from your multiple identities rose above the others. Most of us fail to realize this because of the basic human attribute of only acknowledging the winner or of only accepting the results. At a particular time, we only confirm the identity that won, every other voice fades into the background. And it is not just two voices- the good and the bad, the pros and the cons, the positive and the negative. Blacks and Whites do not exist; it’s multiple non-uniform shades of grey. One overpowers the others, and becomes you. At different times, you are different versions of yourself. If all of your psychological identities start to agree with each other, you become too much of an idealist, and as the term itself suggests, no man can really be a perfect idealist. We can try, and in fact I persist that we should. For as we strive for singularity in thought, we tend to detach ourselves from all our psychological identities and observe them from a distance. This allows us to acknowledge not just the winner, but hand out a participation certificate to every identity. As we move further and further away from this boardroom-meeting between our identities, our view becomes more and more eternal. And with this eagle vision, we can explore each and every nook and cranny, and extract any hidden/suppressed identities of ourselves. Who knows how this might change our principles and beliefs. With every step that we take into this direction, our thinking becomes more logical and more consistent, and we eliminate or at least reduce everyday hypocrisy.

As I read what I have written, I realize one might question how simple I’m making it look. With so many thoughts/media/content being thrown at you every second, how can you comprehend each and every one of them and align them across a single straight line? This is a question for learned men and women, and unfortunately I don’t happen to be one. However, I need you to know that a voice within me fights the other on the toughness of this path of ‘singularity in thought’. But the very fact that I can at least acknowledge two aspects of this argument, somehow gives me comfort. There are still multiple aspects to be found, analysed and channelled into a singular self. In every thought, I struggle with the multiple psychological identities that exist within me, and maybe so do you. Each day I strive towards singularity, and so should you. I might overcome this pluralism one day, but as of today I am a hypocrite. But then again, I am pretty sure, so are you!