It’s a battle. It’s always a battle. These days more so. Yet another blog post that I begin with a battle against some kind of inertia that wants me to just close the laptop. And do what? That it never says!
But then, most days every little thing is a battle. It starts early. At 5:40 AM when the alarm rings, to ‘tap’ so that it snoozes for 9 minutes. At 5:49 AM, to wake up, and give myself 3 more minutes. At 5:52 AM to get up and start the day. To make that cup of coffee, to feed the cat wailing outside. To remember to get the oats done before the bath. To take bath. To leave. To sit in the bus through traffic reading some long-form. To sleep through BTM. To make and have breakfast at work. To work. To make a todo list to do the work. To have lunch. To work again. Then to leave. To find the bus that can take me home and to get it to stop. To read in the bus. To get home, to make coffee, to spend some time working. To make dinner, to eat, to read and then to sleep.
Ah, so many verbs to get through a day! And perpetual motion to get from one verb to another, and then to cycle right back to the start. And one wraps it up in a single word – routine! Imagine having to will yourself through every one of them, to be conscious of doing each of these. To make yourself do it, to fight a part of you that doesn’t want to. What happens if you stop? Is there even an option to stop?
Of course, you can take a vacation, but even if you do it right, without a care, just unwinding, it is only a temporary pit stop. You are back on the treadmill pounding away the miles, getting to the next milestone. Treadmill? I did not choose that word consciously, it just chose itself. The flow of words? Or is it a cliché that imposed itself? Or a Freudian slip?(Another cliché)
But is it really a treadmill? Maybe it is, because no matter what speed you choose and how many miles you clock, you end up at the same destination as everyone else. Maybe it is a bit like riding a bike in Bangalore traffic. No matter how fast you go, in the next 100 meters, you either run into a traffic signal or have to slow down to climb up a 2 ft high speed-breaker. And that aunty on that scooty is still there next to you.
The thing is, I feel something. Something inside, that just wants to get out of this. It doesn’t tell me what it wants me to do. It tells me what not to do, which is, pretty much everything. Should I just spend time on Twitter? “Maybe, I don’t know”. How about this link someone shared? “Too much effort, don’t open it.”. Sometimes I wonder if it is about just being and not caring, not willing myself. Most days are zombie days anyway. And it doesn’t really help this thing.
Yes, am fighting it to write this post. It doesn’t help that it just rained outside and the whole world is now a humid, stuffy place. But then, the thing the thing wants to fight. What is it? What is it about us that needs to move somewhere and be somewhere at some point in time, all the time! The need to do something else, that gets us somewhere else. Where is the place where you say, “yeah this is it!”?
In this book called “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History“, there is a chapter that talks about the madness gene, that only one species possesses – Homo sapiens. There were Human cousins of us – Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis. They were there in pockets of land around the Middle East or Europe but they never crossed the ocean. Throughout the history of life, there has been only species that has tried to cross the ocean.
Archaic humans like Homo erectus “spread like many other mammals in the Old World . They never came to Madagascar, never to Australia. Neither did Neanderthals. It’s only fully modern humans who start this thing of venturing out on the ocean where you don’t see land. Part of that is technology, of course; you have to have ships to do it. But there is also, I like to think or say, some madness there. You know? How many people must have sailed out and vanished on the Pacific before you found Easter Island? I mean, it’s ridiculous. And why do you do that? Is it for the glory? For immortality? For curiosity?”
“I want to know what changed in fully modern humans, compared with Neanderthals, that made a difference. What made it possible for us to build up these enormous societies, and spread around the globe, and develop the technology that I think no one can doubt is unique to humans? There has to be a genetic basis for that..”
So basically, there must be something in our genes that programs us to get somewhere from somewhere and not just forage, reproduce and sleep. A higher purpose than just all these. A gene of religion, as people call it. Of aesthetics, as some other people call it. But then, for what it’s worth, it might just be something that keeps us restless and puts us on a perpetual motion trajectory.
Or it could be that, once our needs for food etc were taken care of, all that energy had to be spent somewhere? I mean, even cats are curious and climb shelves they can’t get down from! So maybe the gene was something that helped us collaborate on tasks?
One can speculate endlessly. At the moment, I’ve cheated the thing to get to close to a 1000 words here. I guess I’ll just keep at the battle. Another day beckons.