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to be or not to be: the sense of being

the sense of being


be (v.)

O.E. beon, beom, bion "be, exist, come to be, become," from P.Gmc. *beo-, *beu-. This "b-root" is from PIE base *bheu-, *bhu- "grow, come into being, become," and in addition to the words in English it yielded German present first and second person sing. (bin, bist, from O.H.G. bim "I am," bist "thou art"), L. perf. tenses of esse (fui "I was," etc.), O.C.S. byti "be," Gk. phu- "become," O.Ir. bi'u "I am," Lith. bu'ti "to be," Rus. byt' "to be," etc. It also is behind Skt. bhavah "becoming," bhavati "becomes, happens," bhumih "earth, world."

sense (n.)

c.1400, "faculty of perception," also "meaning or interpretation" (esp. of Holy Scripture), from O.Fr. sens, from L. sensus "perception, feeling, undertaking, meaning," from sentire "perceive, feel, know," probably a figurative use of a lit. meaning "to find one's way," from PIE base *sent- "to go" (cf. O.H.G. sinnan "to go, travel, strive after, have in mind, perceive," Ger. Sinn "sense, mind," O.E. sið "way, journey," O.Ir. set, Welsh hynt "way"). Application to any one of the external or outward senses (touch, sight, hearing, etc.) first recorded 1520s.

when one is born, and the umbilical cord is cut, the new born lets out a cry, the first sign of its sense of existence that also clears its passage of breathing. and then the infant is held in a gentle embrace of the motherly kind. the mother, who had beheld, and nurtured its evolving formation within her womb, then nurtures the infant’s evolving form without.

motion is a significant characteristic of life, and all life’s motions are purposeful. at first, all of the infant’s motions are internal, the breathing and the heart beats. then its lips begin to move in sucking motion, which, when put to the mother’s breasts, instinctively begin to suckle. in a few days, regenerated by the nourishing milk, the infant’s hands and legs start the vigorous aerobic motions that build up the necessary strength and stamina to stand up and hold on to its mother’s hand. as you watch an infant’s first year you will observe that all its motions are instinctive and purposefully progressive for nature’s justification for its coming into being. its mother’s motions, too, are instinctively responsive.

the much quoted: “to be or not to be” is not really a question until a time when one experiences the conflict between what one biologically needs to do and what one is expected to do. see the new born infant’s motions. it suckles, burps and shits whenever and wherever. its mother becomes a willing accomplice in all these infantile motions of existence. the idea of nature as the mother nature also depicts this relationship between nature and its creations: all creatures, including the non-civilized humans, both infants and adults do shit wherever and whenever in the lap of mother nature, and nature nurtures her off springs without holding her nose.

breathing, like heart beat is involuntary, in the sense that it is self regulated; one breathes hard when involved in strenuous motions, and heart beats faster or slower depending upon the replenishment of the energy spent. other than the people who are raised to live much like the extensions of the machines that are not invented yet, no human person needs to be told how to be. and to be civilized means to live according to laws of conduct of a civilian society. since these civilian laws are not the laws of nature, they have to be learnt and administered. it all begins with the first lessons for the infants, the diapers and then the potty training, graduating in the “leaving of the latrine as clean as you would like it to be.”

now the humans are not the only group dwelling creatures numbering in millions. penguins and starlings and water birds among the winged creatures, and among the mammals the wildebeests, buffalos, elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas, too, live communally. but the difference between the two is not so much as how they differ, but why so.

all these creatures have come before the modern human civilization was formed. so just as even modern humans do once in awhile learn to simplify certain things over a period of time, these other creatures, too, have simplified their ways of life to their current forms. the sense of smell also includes the sense of familiarity. so what one smells constantly, becomes part of the breathing of the air. it is the mother-child acquaintance of the sense of closeness experienced through the smell. it is thus that the smell of one’s fellow being, being the same as one’s own, does not feel offensive, but rather reassuring. that feeling as expressed in an arabic verse depicting the sense of being in context with the person in immediate contact: “when in love your sweat smelled like roses; when there is no love, even perfumes stink.”

the urban culture composed of the commercial enterprise has brought too many people together too soon; and it has done so without any sense of being related to each other. from the employer’s perspective, these employees are only the tools for the tasks to be performed. their human element is of no consequence to the employer, except to grudgingly comply with the laws regarding the workers’ rights. this distinction happens because the employer and his employees are not related to each other in human terms. from the slave holding times, the employer, being from a distant place and carrying geographically distinct features, had distanced himself from the slave workers. then over a period of gradual getting used to seeing the physical statures of the slave workers, now the employer is immune to seeing the closeness of even the physical features of his employees with him. for him, the employer and the employees are two different specie, and the employer has nothing to do with the animal rights, even if the employees are seen to be a sub human species.

modern humans have not spent enough time in cosmic sense to be at ease just yet. they are still searching, and hence there are many different ways of life, which being thought oriented, are contradictory prescriptions on how to live promoted by the commerce in the name of religious and political ideologies.

these ways of life are codes of conduct for being in a group. they tell much about how to relate to each other, how to act in unison. in the urban culture, everybody is somebody in particular. this particularity is the description of the conduct designated to that particular person. this designation is the title that the person wears. it is this title that determines the form and mode of the action the wearer of the title must follow. now in other group dwelling creatures, too, there are the leaders of the groups, but this leadership concerns only with the protection from the dangers of the known kind. beyond that, the head gorilla or the elephant or wolf eats and shits alike every other creature of the band. it is unique only to the human creature, that, though the emperor has strived to live up to his royal image since antiquity. all such efforts have failed in merging his ecocentrically biological form and functions with the designated egocentric requirements. an identity is not the person, but rather a job description that the person is assigned to or has taken upon himself to do.

agriculture was an evolutionary outcome, which has still kept the third world humans in direct contact with earth – sanskrit root word ‘bhu’: to be, ‘bhumi’: earth. the being is thus an earthling, and cannot be otherwise. agriculture evolved from the early observations of seedlings growing from the droppings of birds and animals containing indigestible seeds of fruits and berries they ate; humans spitting the hard and inedible seeds of fruits they ate. the early signs of this form of development of agriculture can be seen in primitive and non-urban children watching a mango or other fruit plant growing from the pit or seed they had thrown. this random throwing and growing of plants in the open area – gr. agros; sk. ajras-- then developed into conscious planting and growing in designated areas. this practice involved the human hand’s motions. the fruit, berries and tender leaves-eating primates and birds had their limbs formed in relation with these food sources. from whatever seeds they dropped grew more fruit and nut producing plants and trees. the hoofed animals ate the tops of the grasses and plants, and thus kept the grasses alive, and also fertilized them with the droppings. this observation was added to the cultivation of the fields by consciously adding the manure and bio mass as growth enhancing fertilizer. thus a farm child’s potty training progressed into shitting in the farm laid fallow and covering the shit with a shovelful of dirt; farmers allowing shepherds to let the flock graze in the harvested field, as the sheep, goats and cows also left behind the rich manure. there is this natural equilibrium of give and take, in inhaling and exhaling, in eating and shitting and in motion and purpose.

the children born to mothers transplanted into the city from the non urban and primitive surroundings experience uprootedness in everything they do, in speaking to and playing with the urban children, in living which is different from all others of the city. their parents find the most menial jobs that pay the least, and are discriminated against by everybody for not being like them. this is also the experience of the immigrants from the foreign lands. one may be very intelligent in one’s home ground, but just by not being like the people of the new surrounding, one is thought to be dull, dumb or ignorant. this difference in perception of anything unusual often breeds apprehension in people brought up in confinements. it is quite the contrary to the response to the new in the children of the primitive tribes as well as in birds and animals. they gather around or come close and watch with curiosity. it is only after being hunted or captured and killed, that they take plight and hide.

it creates a conflict in the sense of being what one is and yet not accepted so to be. the children are taught the table manners, but not about what to eat, when and how and how much. a thus herself potty trained, the urban human mother supports the commercial conglomerates by buying the disposable diapers. in so doing she also conditions her children to be consumers of all things manufactured.

now let us see how every person who reads this experiences one’s own sense of being. does one feel the dilemma whether to do something or even to object to it? even the hard core criminal once in a rare while experiences the shudder of doubt regarding his actions. and most certainly, every urbanite, whether a child or an authority figure, experiences the conflict between what one is doing and what one would do or not do when not expected. a law abiding citizen is a person bound by the laws of the land. the crudest and biologically most basic binds is felt by women. in china they are punished to deliver the second child, in canada they are given allowance, and in the western and westernizing countries, women are pushed to make love with the synthetic male sheath.

the notion of birth control is not in the biological sense of being. sociologists who have reached prominence enough to put into the academic format the manifest will of their commercial sponsors, have succeeded in cultivating the idea, that, it is indeed preferable to pay the pharmaceutical industry to do the killing, instead of letting the organically adequate micro-organisms to feed on the unborn and born children, whose biological formations were not quite to the par. nature is not subjected to the conditioning to repeat popping up children like the soda pop wending machine, nor like casting just another child form the mould in the factory. for nature, and her natural creation, the human mother, even if that mother to be has undergone all the most elaborate ways to hide her periodic “feminine factors”, in the privacy of the female restroom can only be cognizant of her being beyond the conditioning of the urban life.

in an unconditioned living, all the naturally occurring periodic smells of the child bearing age women give signals to males awakening in them the ecologically biological response, observed in common in all creatures, including in the uncivilized humans of the “primitive” kind. beginning with the planned parenthood, a child thus “brought out” with the caesarian section – which is a big business for the medical, pharmaceutical and insurance industries – is reared to live in motions that correspond with the befitting consumer goods from birth to the last rites for the departed souls. it is this soul, which is the property of the belief system that creates it out of the thin air within a chapel, temple, synagogue or mosque, that has no body nor consciousness that determines the form and function of the physical body of the person to whom that soul is assigned to dwell in thought. it is thus, that, though in the name of the common identity of judaism, people have flocked to the land of the jews, the people from north and the south, not having the same geographical background, now experience discrimination to avoid which they had migrated to the “promised land”. further yet, the southern jew, who are biologically more akin to the palestinians, are made to fight them. there is no distinction between the people of the north and south ireland; or india, pakistan, kashmir and bangla desh, and yet, in the name of this thought out identity they are made to fight and kill each other.

and as they say, the soul never dies, the souls simply migrate from their dead bodies to reside in symbols – the posthumous medals of honour and graves and monuments. since soul cannot see nor smell, the there is the plastic flower industry grown for them.

perhaps, the easiest way to distinguish the difference between the sense of being and not being is observed in being formal and informal. informal is not off the stage being in a state of stupor after being exhausted, but after the needed relaxed feeling is experienced. formal begins with that dreaded awareness that one has to get up and start getting dressed, put on makeup. from then on it is all the scripted role playing, playing the president of the most powerful nation or a street urchin looking the most miserable soul to arouse pity to fill up the hat with the spare change of the passersby on the world stage.

when sitting in front of the mirror, whether to watch the face or to apply lotions and potions one is simply trying to deny one’s natural state of being to step into the costume for the designated role playing. in so doing unwittingly one enters a state of limbo, as one cannot really be the character that one plays for others to see, and in the mean time, the real life time is spent away in motions not called for by the person wearing the costume. thus when such actors meet formally, whether in the white house or in the temple or church, inadvertently transform the place of dwelling or the search into the unknown into a stage, and force others to play as extras or stage staff , and still others to sit and watch the play for a fee automatically deducted from their earnings.

does the turtle shop for a new shell
or bear for fur-spray to groom well?
do birds invite bids to build them the nest
or fish for an aquarium to swim and rest?

does the fox hunt fowls only to hold
in deep freeze for other foxes until sold;
or the tiger going for the deer-round-up
to sell to other tigers the deer-meat ground-up?

do birds in a flock race
as commuters do to avoid the face
of the fellow worker, for the fear
that it extends the time of the suit they wear?

do creatures seek god and pray
for a juicy prey or to make their rivals sway
or for a good hunting ground they never found,
offering a fish or fowl to the almighty hound?

the answer to all that, we do know, is: no.
what we don't, is where else may we go
to live as it comes, here and now
without the plethora of guides telling us how.


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