April 17, 2013
The more you study…
The more you know
The more you know
The more you forget
The more you forget
The less you know
So why study?
Good question. But not the question I want to answer in this article. Here I want to address a phenomena that has always fascinated me, and addressed in part in the 2004 Bollywood movie Yeh Dil Maange More!
I always wanted to have more of everything. I remember the time when my mum used to bring potato chips from the CITI Bakery (they were the best then) and keep in the snack box at home. In that by-gone era, I was both an avid cricket fan and a voracious reader of thriller fiction. Often, one of the two would occupy my time and with the best accompaniment that one could have in those days – A bag of Potato chips. I would grab the bag of chips and multi task, read and munch or watch and munch and, and when it was over – I would scrape the bag for more – Remember the ad for Pepsi Lays? – You can’t eat just one? That’s exactly it – The desire for more - In one word - a yearning.
As I grew older I realized that this yearning, this desire for more, was restricted to the pleasurable and not the painful. Natural I guess, we are born to avoid pain and grab whatever is pleasurable and forbidden by God, nature or fellow human beings – remember the story of Adam and Eve? Adam and Eve were allowed to roam free in the garden of Eden, but forbidden to eat the fruit of the garden. They plucked and ate an apple, and the rest is history.
Like Adam and Eve and all his descendants that went before me, always wanted more bliss, friends, and time for play, love, caring, knowledge, money, a bigger house, a costlier car and peace of mind.
But, again like all of you my friends, I’ve never wanted more of anything that is painful - injections, fractures, sickness, emotional hurt, poverty, aggression, bullying, rejection or hate. I always wanted less of these. In fact, I wanted none at all or the barest feasible minimum.
Not so long ago, I had a terrible tooth ache and had to visit a dentist- because I couldn’t take more of it. I just wanted it to reduce in intensity and go away. He told me that he would have to do a root canal, but that was only way to end the pain that I was experiencing. I agreed – I knew it would be more painful, but in the long term, the tooth ache would disappear and I could return to my gastronomic pleasures. The root canal was excruciating, and it was then, that I realized then that more is relative and comparative, rather than absolute, and this applies equally to pain and pleasure.
It’s a universally acknowledged law of nature that more begets the desire for more – provided it’s pleasurable - Money, love, the pleasures of the world and even something as abstract as peace of mind. It’s also true that the less you have of anything pleasurable, the more you want of it. A good example is money. It completely explains this paradox, the more you have, the more you want, but even the less you have the more you want. Other simple examples Like Tobacco, whisky and hair - Recall Virender Sehwag and Harsha Bogle? There is one exception that I see among generation Y! – It's clothes – the skimpier they are, the better. But I guess, there is a corollary – there is more of you to be seen which is more compatible to the naked eye!
As indicated, this rule is applicable to any pleasurable activity of life. In fact it applies to life itself. When you have cancer, and you know your life is nearing the end, or when you are about to drown, your desire to live is the strongest, and you always want more of it. Nobody wants to die, do they, unless it’s in a moment of insanity when they couldn’t really take more of “it”.
So is more better? Or is less good? All of you have heard the expression – there is no gain without pain. Everything you desire more of, has a benefit and a consequence. So while the hope of reaping the pleasurable benefits of your desire may be temporarily paramount, the fear of the consequences of your indulgence will always act as a restraining force - unless you ignore it. These two opposite forces automatically create equilibrium, a balance, between more and less.
A friend and I had been to Manipal recently for a meeting. Fellowship followed the meeting at a cute little restaurant, many of which dot the Manipal landscape. Other friends too were present and some of us were amazed at the order he placed – grilled vegetarian sandwiches with double cheese, a plate of French fries with a liberal sprinkling of salt, an ice cream milk shake. The rest of us were more restrained in our orders, and after we explained our restrained ordering behavior, and the long term hazards of such a rich order, he rationalized – I only indulge on the weekend - The hope of a benefit weighed more than the fear of a consequence! And he achieved his own weighted (pun intended) balance.
Let me leave you with a few lyrics from an American Country song to reflect on - It’s called more of you.
Everything little thing that you do
Every single word you say
Every time you're looking away
You got me begging for more of you, more of you
Every time I'm ready to go
Every time I think I'm back in control
Something gets my heart and my soul
And I'll be begging for more of you, more of you
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