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October 04, 2015 Sunday 05:22:27 PM IST

Defy the gravitational pulls of life

Creative Living

Gravitation or Ego of Matter

“Why does an apple fall down from a tree, while the moon in the sky does not?” is the famous question that led Sir Isaac Newton to the discovery of the law of universal gravitation. In his monumental work, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published on 5 July 1687, Newton reports that “a given material body attracts another body with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them”. Newton integrated the theory of Galileo Galilei on bodies freely falling on earth, like apples and the theory of Johannes Kepler on heavenly bodies that rotate in given orbits, like the moon into the same theory called the universal theory of gravitation. Gravitation keeps apples falling to earth and keeps moons rotating round planets.


Why? Why do material bodies attract each other? What is the mechanism behind it? Humans have accurately landed on the moon based on calculations made using the law of universal gravitation. However, the answer to the question “Why is there gravitation?” still evades science.


Later on Albert Einstein tried to resolve the mystery behind the gravitational force. In his General Theory of Relativity, Einstein described gravity as a pseudo force arising from a change in the frame of reference. It is not a real, but a fictitious force! The curvature of the space-time is the reality, which is created by momentum and energy possessed by a material body.


The universal theory of gravitation remains a lone theory, which needed ad hoc explanation. There existed a mismatch with the theories about other three fundamental forces, explained equivocally by the Quantum Theory. Further attempts to develop a theory-of-everything (TOE) led to the definition of Quantum Field Theory. Here gravity is treated just like any other force like electromagnetic force. The attractive force between two material particles is due to an exchange of virtual particles called gravitons between them, just like in electromagnetic force, which is carried by photon. This triggered a hunt for gravitons. They have not been detected till today.


Ego-centricity or Gravity of Life

Everybody wants to attract everybody else into his/her sphere of influence. This could be described as ego-centricity or gravity of life. Gravity of life is analogous to gravity of matter. At the centre is the “self”, the ego. The entire cosmos shall move round it. It is as natural as the apple falling down and the moon moving round the earth.


That an individual develops a world-view based on one’s own ego, one’s own perceptions, one’s own experiences one’s own life-history is taken for granted. It depends on one’s own talents, strengths, weaknesses, tastes, choices, interests, motivations, beliefs etc. It gets converted into benchmarks against which others are perceived, evaluated or judged. “I” or “Ego” becomes the vantage point, from which the world is viewed, understood and experienced. It is quite natural!


That could however, imprison one not allowing one to look beyond one’s loci, one’s own plate. The locus of life becomes reduced to the family, the neighbourhood, or ultimately to oneself! That is but disastrous, both for an individual and for society.


Instead of “principles”, it would be “interests” that steer decisions.


Ego-centrism could trigger intolerance against the opposite points of view. The collective search for truth will be rendered impossible. Defending and protecting one’s own chair and territory assumes importance. Politics based purely on “interest” creates terrorism as its by-product, suicide-squads who champion ideologies, religions or politics.


People will be preoccupied with the mundane. They reject the world beyond the ordinary horizons of human possibilities. Their vision will not rise beyond the existing. They will be happy with the daily chores of life. They will remain in a self-imposed house arrest, living their pretty lives within their petty world. They are contented within the small world-specially-made-for-them. There will be no serious search for the truth. People will be happy to have sufficient scandals to fill their free time with food for thought and talk.


Gravity of Life Fetters Creativeness


That humans are mundane is only a half-truth. They are in fact spirits-in-the world. They have the unique talent for self-reflection. They have an innate power to dream beyond the limiting boundaries. They are invited to look beyond towards new horizons. Though they are “in-theworld”, bound to the mundane, they have the power to go beyond what is mundane. Ego-centrism chains the human spirit. It forbids sojourns into new territories beyond one’s own horizons. It defines the locus of your existence and vision. It often creates pseudo-contentment, relieving oneself of the burden of search and research. However, it acts against spiritual realization.


If there is nothing that leads one away from own ego, life loses its freshness, its vitality and its juice. It renders life meaningless, purposeless and goalless. Ego-centrism, in fact, is a stumbling block to creativeness in life.


Gravity of life distorts the total faith you claim to possess as a creative person. It suggests: “You are just mundane. You have limitations which you better accept. Set limits to your aspirations. You better stop dreaming and make a living. Those who dream will only hunger! Look at the prophets, poets and scientists. Did anybody of them live an orderly life? ” It is an attack on one’s own faith in oneself, in the world beyond, and in God, who continuously invites you to break out of the cocoons of ego and come out with flying colours. It is faith that commands you to set out on a sojourn from your den, from your fenced territories, from your comfort zones into new possibilities, into promised lands and into unchartered pathways.


Gravity of life depletes the infinite hope you claim to possess as a creative person. It suggests: “It is hopeless! You better give up. Do you not learn from your mistakes? Why do you invest your time and life’s energy on futility? You are not a superhuman. Accept your limitations and live a normal life!” Perseverance is under attack! A creative project will be totally new with no prior experiences to steer and guide it. The uncertainties associated with anything new needs to be faced with extra hope.


Gravity of life steals away the infinite love you claim to possess as a creative person. It vindicates the dangers of being a being-for-others, the pitfalls of love. It suggests: “There is nobody out there who deserves your love. Better preserve it for yourself. The world is a cheat. Nobody is trustworthy. It only deteriorates. Stop loving and start living. There is no meaning for your sacrifices, your mortifications and your dedication. The world is beyond repair or redemption. Just go along with the mainstream and not against the stream. Be popular and do not be a lone prophet who is doomed to life in the deserts of life”. Creativity is in fact an ultimate expression of love. The gravity of life could snatch it away from you, if you are careless.


Altruism and “Antigravity”


Gravity of life defines the sphere of influence of an individual. Gravity of matter is, as stated above, directly proportional to its mass. Bodies amassing greater mass will have a greater sphere of attraction. So the sun has a greater sphere of influence than the earth. It makes the entire solar system orbit it, whereas the earth has only its moon. The sun in turn revolves round another heavy mass to be part of the galaxy, Milky Way. But there are postulates on so-called “anti-gravity”, where everything is reversed. Though not proven conclusively, the concept of “antimatter” and “anti-gravity” is thought provoking.


When it comes to the gravity of life, the “mass” seems to be analogous to what one possesses. It could be wealth, talents, name and fame. The “having” defines one’s sphere of influence. People throng together with the rich, the powerful, the knowledgeable and the talented.


However, this is not completely true.


People who have radically influenced the world were prophets, artists, scientists and entrepreneurs. It was not what they “have” that mattered; rather, what they “were” that attracted the world towards them. It was not their “having”, rather their “being” that attracts. Their attraction transcends the limits of space and time. It persists. It is omnipresent.


The attraction of a person is found to be inversely proportional to the size of his/her ego. As the ego decreases so increases the attracting/influencing power of the individual. One with lesser ego better attracts followers, who resolve to revolve round them. They get more likes. They get more friendship requests. Their influence quotient will be greater! People with inflated ego attract a few. They get fewer numbers of likes and follower requests. This is evidenced by the records of social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.


The attraction of “having” is short-lived. It vanishes with the vanishing of the “possessions”. “Being” persists along with its sphere of influence. Those who invest on “being” may become less rich, less talented, less powerful. However, they have “anti-gravity”. As they become poor, so they become more influential. This occurred to Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln. They all sacrificed their “having” for the sake of “being”. They live longer; their memories are cherished and their sphere of influence is limitless. They kept their faith, hope and love. They were creative.

One who masters the art of optimally defying the pulls of gravity of life, in order to keep the freshness of the spirit renewed, also alternatively enhances one’s own creativeness of life.

Dr. Varghese Panthalookaran

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