WHY ALL OF US HAVE THE TENDENCY TO COMPARE ?
“Throughout life, from childhood, from school until we die, we are taught to compare ourselves with another; yet when I compare myself with another I am destroying myself. In a school, in an ordinary school where there are a lot of boys, when one boy is compared with another who is very clever, who is the head of the class, what is actually taking place? You are destroying the boy. That’s what we are doing throughout life. Now, can I live without comparison—without comparison with anybody? This means there is no high, no low—there is not the one who is superior and the other who is inferior. You are actually what you are and to understand what you are, this process of comparison must come to an end. If I am always comparing myself with some saint or some teacher, some businessman, writer, poet, and all the rest, what has happened to me—what have I done? I only compare in order to gain, in order to achieve, in order to become—but when I don’t compare I am beginning to understand what I am. Beginning to understand what I am is far more fascinating, far more interesting; it goes beyond all this stupid comparison.”, J.Krishnamurthy [ a great philosopher] The same saying in excellent visual presentation here http://zenpencils.tumblr.com/post/62851063758/jiddu-krishnamurti-dont-compare-yourself-to
Very nice visual presentation of the writings of the person who had the maximum impact in my life. It was so much that after attending to his speeches I won't eat or sleep but mostly just go to the beach sit and ruminate about the meaning of life.
J.K was indeed instrumental in making me probe into life philosophically. What he talks about is the reality, the wisdom that is sane. People like him, Osho [Rajneesh] and now Neale Donald Walsch have thrashed all traditional views of god and denied the existence of GOD outside of us etc as portrayed by different versions of various religions and regions.
Hats off to such great wise souls, who have helped us to learn, to view and most importantly, to live life outside the confines of any particular regional, religious, traditional, ideological prejudices etc. So anything said or written by them sets me on unbiased perceptive mode.
But unfortunately the two major aspects of life which are highly influential and dominating impact wise, namely the physical and/or material social Survival aspects of life [of course to be differentiated from living aspect of Life] rules mostly and also ruins the charms as well as individual experience, enjoyment and ensuing enlightenment of life.
Having said that, we must also observe the fact that competition which is the mother of comparison begins with our biological life even before we are out of the womb as out of the millions of sperms there is a competition and the one which won went on to become our present being.
Similarly who or what are we? Are we merely and only our body? Are we merely and only our beauty? Are we merely and only our talents? Are we merely and only our capabilities intellectual, artistic, scientific, academic etc? Are we merely and only our social status? Are we merely and only our utility to at least our species? Are we merely and only our achievements? Are we merely and only our greater understanding of life? Or are we a mixture of all of these in different proportions?
The basic question of who am I? Remains a mystery and equally mysterious is what is the source other than mere biological presence of this I? What is its role, purpose of this I in its present existence etc? All these have remained, remains still and shall continue to remain so, an unsolved jigsaw puzzle even though all the great philosophical ideas which are a few thousand years old and all scientific discoveries which are a few hundred years old and though undoubtedly the knowledge we have gained through these huge domains science and /or spirituality and /or philosophy etc have helped us make life more comfortable, living more meaningful, mortality little postponed etc but we must all remember that all forms of lives also lived before the emergence of all these scientific discoveries and philosophical truths and logical and rational justifications.
We are , whether we like it or not, primarily biological creatures with certain biological requirements, [though we may not go to the extent of the great writer Henry Miller who said ," there are nine reasons why reincarnation happens and one of them is sex and all other eight do not matter".] followed by our necessity to survive as social animals where in our image or importance is decided by different factors/parameters/markers at different periods in history and it also varies from region to region.
Brief journey of civilization.
In very simplistic terms the earliest known periods of civilization human beings had less communication, less information, less knowledge, more brutality, more animalistic life style etc with little to care about the requirements of resources for usage and survival; it was followed by greedy instinct to have and posses more resources and areas leading to too many silly wars; followed by collective emotional entertainments leading to many traditional and cultural art forms; followed by urge to communicate leading to reduction in number of languages so that more people could be communicated to; followed by fear of the unknown aspects of life leading to creation of many gods, gods out of heroic and exemplary figures, religions and rituals; followed by parleys into experimenting with different social systems/political systems to live together with justifiable contribution to and share from the resources; followed by scientific discoveries to enhance understanding and help living and life, away from and besides the clutches of religions and traditions; followed by the recent centuries of dominance based on initially economic and commercial prosperity which may be called the real GODS of modern age and to achieve this by various means at national levels through discoveries of more resources and raw materials useful for human life, through real industrialization, improved and increased agricultural production etc or through dominance by military power trying to loot readymade where these things are available etc, and at individual level trying to equip oneself in the best possible manner to decently survive in this rat race of achieving economic and commercial prosperity. This is of course definitely only one aspect of life but a vital aspect of social living.
The march of civilization through all these various stages have produced in its stride many collateral damages and incidental benefits as well as thrown up excellent exponents in various areas of life.
One of the collateral damage of the predominant factor of present age, namely economic and commercial prosperity, is competition in all walks of life and therefore comparison which cannot be wished away. Though we can always choose not to be affected and/or influenced by it or try our best and vie with the rest to become the best. Choice is always ours.
There is a famous simple saying which says Common sense prevails over everything else and common sense is to know what is most expected of you as a species to survive best.
Life is not and must not be confined to a dichotomy of materialism and spiritualism or belief in science and belief in non scientific ideas etc. It is trying to over simplify something so pleasantly as complex as life with unlimited variety and options.
So practical wisdom could be [I am not saying ‘is’] making a sensible , comfortable, value based, personal worthiness enhancing, social image boosting and utility to humanity increasing combination of any proportion of economic and commercial prosperity with freedom and wisdom to experience, enjoy life and ultimately if possible get enlightened too.
All these do not come by merely and exclusively pursuing any single activity neglecting the rest, but practically and properly prioritizing different things at different times and gaining experience while making the journey of life with passion and compassion with body , mind and soul with intelligence and no bad intentions towards others.
If put briefly in other words it is preferable that living must ensure to include or it would be or could be certain levels of high thinking, wise attitude, intelligent approaches to life and issues, humanitarian concerns, compassionate living, economic and commercial prosperity of certain level etc [ it is preferable and sometimes possible only to be unhealthy and unhappy with money than to be unhealthy and unhappy without money].
I have learnt through my experience over the years, despite my aggressive and passionate approach to anything, that we must avoid becoming and being or associating or advocating with extremism to either pure dry verbal and abstract philosophizing devoid of concerns of practical material life or vice versa. These are as bad as religious or political fanaticism.
The easiest and less complicated life is simple, humble normal life with high ideals and high thinking and contributing towards manifesting them by doing whatever we are best at while always maintaining patient and positive attitude to the maximum extent we can.