Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Pigeon story

This morning when Bangalore was recovering from an incessant rainfall of two days, there was a pleasant lull in the air. The air was unusually chilly, humid and the sun didn't claim his share like he usually does. I persisted with my love for warm clothes. One of the places where I am consulting these days happens to fall right beside Lalbagh lake. As I was talking over my phone, a curious flock of pigeons were eating rice grains that were laid out on the moist ground for them. After a minute or two of mindless watching, I observed a strange phenomenon. One of the pigeons, which was fat, let us call it 'Dumma' for the moment, strutted along elegantly into the center of the group and started pecking any pigeon who tried to eat the grains. Dumma would peck a pigeon until it flew away and then peacefully pick on its own grain not until another pigeon came in the proximity, by when it would again start its irrational assault of sharp pecks. This continued to happen until Dumma had successfully driven away more than 11 pigeons and had a big fill.

This incident made me reflect strongly on one philosophy of life that has stuck with me for a very long time now. Nature always tries for disorder, a phenomenon beautifully captured by a scientific term called entropy. It has been observed that all molecules try to attain the state of highest disorder. It takes more energy to maintain order than to disorder. It is easy to allow water flow than to restrain it. It is easy to break than to build. It is easy to rumple than to tidy up. When such is the natural order of the world, human beings are trying to build a cumbersome case against nature by trying to hold an enormous social system in a unified fashion. It is extracting painful energy on part of humans to maintain this system that is so inherently unstable. All the additional energy that is going in to retain order rather than chaos is bringing up strain in the human society. The cracks due to this are conflicts. Conflicts within human mind, families, communities, nations and ultimate globally.

Human mind tries to rationalize every act as moral and immoral thereby laying huge stress on the mind. Like for our Dumma, for a human mind too it is natural in an evolutionary sense to fight for the available resources, to gain supremacy. This act demands an exercise of power at all times which gives rise to unfairness and inequality. When such is the case, for human mind to pursue illusionary quests of equality, honesty and justice is just hypocrisy. As Sartre says "man is condemned to be free, because once thrown into the world he is responsible for everything he does" and to hold responsibility for a world as chaotic and as random as ours is nothing but insanity. Likewise in family and relationships as soon as the human mind claims unconditional love, it is fake, for a human mind or for that matter any species can look after only its own survival and it will pursue any relationship only for its usefulness in its survival. If this argument is further extended to nations and global relations, we can soon see sense that any claim to eradicate the inequality and crime to humanity (is there a thing called humanity after all?) is doomed.

So that leaves us with the question of 'what is the ultimate good in the world?'. Well that is an effing joke. There is nothing called the ultimate good or the noble truth. Humans need to shed all delusions of grandeur and realise the fact that they too are humble species on the Earth trying to etch out a living for themselves by fighting against many odds of the nature. Sorry to break this you but you (and me) are not special in any way.


  1. Replace pigeons with people in the story above. Would you still not call Dumma inhumane?

    1. Well 'humane' behaviour too is a human construct. The preference of nature isn't captured in every human idea.