Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Same Thing Differently.

I Am Alive. But They Are Living.

I am alive...
Breathing, seeing, hearing, feeling
Emotions numb, tears drained
Unsincere smile having no meaning.
Small dreams I built, kept hopes in vain
All unallowed, shattered into pain.
Restrictions and limitations paint my four walls
Closing in day-by-day, supressing my calls.
Disease and dirt element my life and land
Thousand eyes of pity, yet none with a helping hand.
Labelled as a waste, looked upon with hate
No consolation, no luck, I'm just a victim of fate. 
God so merciless for providing me air
Even taking away my sanity would be just fair.
Emptiness, sorrow, uncertinity join my coming days
Here I am alive........but living in no ways.

They are living...
Laughing, learning, going, knowing
Emotions active and feelings shared
Dreams built strong and passions cared.
Choices and options raining their lives
Motivation and support strenghtening their drives.
They carry the smile gifted by assurance
Walk around with eyes in the sky
Aiming for the stars, awaiting a bright future
So many hands to console them when they cry.
Olds turned new, less made more
Life a colourful book, no page a bore.
God so merciful, kind and giving
They too are alive.......but very much living.

I had written this poem a few years back, the time when I used to be a Christian. It's was one of my very few writings that I wouldn't have minded showing to someone other than close friends and something that I personally liked. Looking at it now with the eyes of a skeptic, I'm shocked how I'd ended up depicting god as both caring and cruel at the same time but not for once giving a thought of which of these he actually might be. Or comparing his nature from what theists claim to be with what we see happening in a world he supposedly has the power to control. So much of love and yet so much misery..?

It's not all that surprising either when you think about how your mind works under religious beliefs. Here in this case, I empathised with the maltreatment that sections of the society living in poverty had to face as well as presented the picture of a 'favouring god'. But there was no connection made, either in support or against such a deity. Much of this went unacknowledged because of a third overarching belief that helped to cover up these conflictions - 'god works in mysterious ways'. Senseless again, because if you cannot understand god's ways how can you possibly say he is 'good'? But obviously, when your mind is desperately trying to protect long-held ideas and ward off contradicting views, where will it have the time to think both ways.

This is what happens when Cognitive Dissonance occurs. It is the discomfort that arises by holding two contradictory beliefs. We all experience them in many areas of our lives. People deal with it in different ways; some may try to abandon one of the beliefs, some rationalise and some create a third belief that incorporates the other two. Cognitive dissonance comes into play in many value judgments, decisions and evaluations. A great way to improve one's ability to make faster and more accurate choices is by becoming aware of how conflicting beliefs impact the decision-making process. Reducing cognitive dissonance is important as it helps to approach the matter with a clearer mind and reduces bias. Rationalising is a logical and preferred machanism.

The poem now has an additional meaning for me. So if I see believers reading it, my thought would go something like, 'by how narrowly did they miss the god point?' Of course it's only an add-on, the underlying theme and emotion doesn't change at all.. Just that it would be dishonest of me if someone (most likely non-believers) saw the religious parts and considered the contradiction as originally intended.

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