There are nearly seven billion people on this planet. Each one unique, different. What are the chances of that? And why? Is it simply biology, physiology that determines this diversity? A collection of thoughts, memories, experiences that carve out our own special place? Or is it something more than this? Perhaps there’s a master plan that drives the randomness of creation, something unknowable that dwells in the soul, and presents each one of us with a unique set of challenges, that will help us discover who we really are.
We are all connected, joined together by an invisible thread, infinite in its potential and fragile in its design. Yet while connected, we are also merely individuals, empty vessels to be filled with infinite possibilities, an assortment of thoughts, beliefs, a collection of disjointed memories and experiences… Can I be me without these? Can you be you?
And if this invisible thread that holds us together were to sever, to cease, what then? What would become of billions of lone, disconnected souls? Therein lies the great quest of our lives, to find, to connect, to hold on. For when our hearts are pure, and our thoughts in line, we are all truly one, capable of repairing our fragile world, and creating a universe of infinite possibilities.
Thus spake Mohinder Suresh in”An Invisible Thread”, the season finale of ‘Heroes’.
And as if on cue, a large number of conversations and experiences popped up as conversations inside my head. Yes, those nice voices in the head.
I remembered the conversations that Mo and i keep having on the subject of identity, purpose, character and other stuff that she completely gets. Okay i get too, but muddled up. I remembered how, when I was reading Archer’s ‘Sons of Fortune’..again, I suddenly figured out why he is my favourite author. In addition to that amazing gift of story telling he has got, its his characters, and their character. Good or bad, they seem to have a moral code. They are noble – noble heroes and noble villains. (remember that word, shall come back to it in a while) Even when they come in contact with their character’s grey areas, they have a rationale they can apply to the situation. They make you aspire for such clarity in thought and deed, in being true to themselves and their character.
Meanwhile, I see around me, a lot of young people eager to emulate – even things that I hoped would question and better. And as i keep a watch on that, I sense that they do it to belong, at any cost. They are willing to take their lessons from second hand accounts – not accounts of mistakes, which could be argued as a good thing, but enriching experiences that would shape their character. Of course, not every young person I know is like that. I also come across quite a few who have more character and maturity than many people double their age. But I do see more of the first kind. It is a different kind of conforming than what i was have seen earlier – a need to fit into their peer group’s collective terms.
On twitter and Facebook and all the services which connect us, I see this set, and more coming in every day to add to their number. And in this collective consciousness, I glimpse the desperation in the need to belong at any cost – even at the cost of a character that is still being formed. A shared identity and a strong character, can it co exist? I wonder, if in this age of possibilities, they will be satisfied with this belonging, I also hope that they will not wake up, one day, years later and rue this conformity that they created for themselves.
And then, I remember what a smart young lady from that age group once told me “Manu, this is so archaic. Only you could use the word ‘noble’ in conversation”. So, I wonder whether there is something in this connectedness that I don’t understand, whether the ‘plan’ requires all kinds of characters – with or without a strong character, to maintain the balance, or whether the kind of disconnectedness that I’m feeling now is one that characterises that thing we all do – ageing.
until next time, time for adages?