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Prisoner of Desire


Prisoner of desire


I am restless when for a moment I don’t do anything. I get restless when I do the same thing over and over again. I get restless when the thing I am doing has no value in it for me. I get restless when I don’t learn anything new. I get restless most of the time. I am in fact restless most of the time. Sure I am to be blamed for feeling restless instead of something else, perhaps something more cheerful or merrier. But it occurred to me, the world itself is a restless place of which deceit lies; tricks, wishful thinking and senseless ambition dominates. What more can I expect of this world, if not restlessness? I am one with it. Ironically I have to separate myself from it and still live in it?


What is this? Everyone so unhappy, unruly, in a constant hurry…putting on a ‘game face.’


It’s as if I am at one moment, in a cheery state of mind, protruding my cheeriness by giving out a smile and taking deep slow breathes enjoying every second of it. Walking in a beautiful park inhaling the cool fresh air surrounded by pleasant greeneries. But then I abruptly step into a dark black hole and fall so deep down that it seems to be going on and on endlessly. After sometime I then make life out of it, in the darkness only to bump into the surrounding walls that confines me. Even after carefully coming out with a plan. My life now revolves in this dark hole, where I constantly look for meaning in it.


The eyes now burning from fatigue…sleep deprived, filled with melancholy. The longer he stays awake the more he feels it. Lying on the floor in a dim room, staring at the ceiling, hopefully awaiting, struggling to find solace or peace only to be greeted by angry stares and awful memories.. He then covers his eyes that were already closed. His palms clasped tightly on his face, desperately trying to stop things from entering in. 


There was an old man a wise old man as how old men should be, these days I rather be a child who is thrilled and always excited in learning new things than be an old man who is empty inside. I look at my surroundings and am overcome by fear that I’ll turn into one of these men, unlucky, shallow and obnoxious yet still so busy and ever chasing. 


The wise man said, “Most men these days are of the lowest level. The type that gets their thrills and happiness from material and cheap pleasures.. Intrigued by small pleasures, unaware of a higher purpose or the importance of knowledge and what is attainable from that.”


Freud stated, “We can cite many such benefits that we owe to the much despised era of scientific and technical advances. At this point, however, the voice of pessimistic criticism makes itself heard, reminding us that most of these pleasures follow the pattern of ‘cheap pleasure’ recommended in a certain joke, a pleasure that one can enjoy by sticking a bare leg out from under the covers on a cold winter night, then pulling it back in. What good is a long life to us if it is hard, joyless and full of suffering that we can only welcome death as a deliverer?”


“The quotation above is quoted as a reference on the pettiness of men and only that unless you want to wholly believe what I just quoted.” With that he paused for a while. Taking a breather and studying his pupils.


He started again, “I am sick of people, its not like I just got sick of them, I always had my doubts when it came to people. Disappointment after disappointment that’s what they are.”


“Always acting selfishly and the mind never for a moment cease to think of itself. So dumb and conceited, but they don’t stop there, no they don’t” he shook his head as he said that.


“Unaware of their ignorance they look down at us in their stupidity of not being able to grasp or see the importance of what is and what is not. I guess that too is a form of belief, perhaps now we have a battle of beliefs and evidently one that they have won because their ultimate test is one that can be seen and worldly.” He stopped briefly and continued.


“We are after all selfish creatures told to behave unselfishly. See the irony? Heh” He gave out a small laugh.


The old man, was pretty simply but neatly dressed. He wore a loose white shirt and had brownish slacks on. His hair was grey and white and reached his shoulder. He had a gentle, kind face that makes one feel comfortable in his company. However, he also had a sharp feature about him that somewhat brings out his appeal.


He was now talking about his writings, “Back then when I used to write, though I cited and quoted from other prominent scholars in order to support my beliefs and my points for a particular subject that I was working on. Although I quoted them and saying that it was from prominent scholars, what I didn’t do was mention their names at the end or the beginning of the quote. Not because I wanted to make them mine or not wanting to identify the origin of the quote. But for the simple reason of wanting to remain discreet and for people not to misconstrue and support the subject merely because of these well accomplished names.”


He looked at us, his pupil all looking and staring back at him as if wondering what this old man was going on about.  Not to worry, we were all considered adults and are already quite used to the old man’s complaining and knew him well enough to derive his sayings. Occasionally if he had something bugging him he would start to express his dissatisfaction. Normally he was focused on the topic of study. We as his pupils in order not to disrespect him just listened to him and what he had to say.


“But then people didn’t even glance at my works, hence after a few years I realized that this wasn’t going to work and in order for my works to be taken seriously, I had to change my methods. After that I stated loudly in my works of the authors I was studying, that I admired and each time I quoted I had their names written after them. Immediately people started to look at me as a scholar, someone who studies the renowned philosophers. These are the types of people who do see names and fame before values.”  But he raised a finger, “on their defense and also contradictory to what I just said, I think naming the people that I quote is far better than not naming them. For instance I can quote something really harsh and use it as an example or a form of expression without having to take the blame.”


“Back to the topic of acknowledgement and again contradicting myself, a person is acknowledged when everyone else acknowledges him, to what extend does acknowledgment holds true?”


I was trying to get the meaning behind of what he just said. Often, the old man, although totally unrelated with what we were discussing about, tells stories that have something that could be valuable to us. Sometimes he conveys them through actions and sometimes by telling us stories and expecting us to derive his hidden messages which I think he make obvious for us to grasp.




The Old Man


I myself sometimes feel so empty and pointless inside. As if my existence, clayed by circumstances were to live a life of pain, shame and of barely surviving. Like a caged animal without any sun and given just enough food to stay alive.


Yet the pain so sharp and its sting so significant and its stab so remarkably accurate, that it makes me feel weaker and see who I really am, Fragile and sensitive, so vulnerable to pain, in distress and ever restless.


I asked and complained to my old man, he told me, “be grateful and believe for this is a test.” It’s always a test, a test in dire and in pleasure right? I sighed.


I feel no peace even in sleep; even in my dreams my life is played up, almost teasing and mocking telling me that there is no fleeing.


I asked myself one day, what did I really want, my dreams and goals. Behind these goals and dreams…what was the true intent behind them? To impress others, Impressing and gaining respect, acknowledgment and material wealth?


To live a life that is called successful? Success too is determined on how the majority sees it. We as a people are beings constantly living with a sense of pressure. Our whole lives are a reflection of how others would perceive it as. Dreaming about how doing this and that would impress people and earn their respect and their envy. I ask myself, what is that I really want? What is beyond this impressing part? Pride, acknowledgement, to attract attention and the feeling of superiority…pretty shallow, not very noble nor sincere I said to myself.


How can I not want be one with them, in their thought and actions? For me not to do so would mean to cut myself off from society and live a life that is despised and looked down at. There has to be a balance, one cannot cut himself off from a world that he exists in.


Tabataba’i in one of his book, of discussing about human civilization said, “If we consider the facts that give rise to human societies in the past ages, it grows clear that man seeks nothing else in life but happiness and of course happiness is not possible when all the necessities of life have been secured”


Cutting things short and rather abruptly, in the end it’s up to the individual to choose the best set of belief suitable for him. But it doesn’t end there; it is then put to test. Its outcome then as a result to his belief, materialize.


Be it pessimism, optimism, utilitarianism or any other ism one chooses and live by according to what he sees suitable. Hence the result of this test will be a definite answer to their faith and one that is not judged by man.









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  • 1) this is really deep stuff
    really deep
    but it makes me ponder back and feel restless and jumpy
    is this all life is about?
    earn money, get titles and try to be happy?

  • (Author)
    2) Nah i do think theres more to life than just mainly depends on the individual and how he perceives life and his beliefs of course.

    As Kierkegaard said it, there are 3 stages in life; the aesthetic (more or less material), ethical and religious. Few ppl live in the ethical stage and even fewer in the religious stage. U can wiki him for more information on that.

    p.s. it is important not to get easily influenced or believe in what u read...understand, contemplate, compare and only then decide on agreeing or disagreeing. i've spoken too much already hehe..thanks for reading
  • 3) alam_shah: i guess i'm still on the soul searching stage where i'm still at lost. i have the tendency to search and search, dig and dig in deeper. I'm still at lost but i'm ok with it because i know that i haven't found the thing that i'm looking for. thus, i've found that i have a task which is good because i know that i don't know things

    doesn't make sense? sorry, i have the tendency to speak in riddles

  • (Author)
    4) sorry for the late reply, well most ppl are searching and chasing...only a perhaps chosen few get to that stage. But i guess we are all trying..and yes thats a good task

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