By: Md Maruf Hasan
Call me pig or bastard or name me the worst type of animal in the world. I do not mind. Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to write. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”.
It was 1964, a French man was announced for the Nobel prize which he refused to accept. It was 2nd July 1961, an American man fixed his shotgun in the head and committed suicide. A greatest Russian writer left his house at the age of 82 and he was found dead at the railway station with a book. An Algerian Nobel Laureate man died in a road accident. A German man ran and shouted and went crazy after looking at the vivid picture of his favorite novel. Another Russian old man finished his last novel portraying a picture saying fathers in the family should not have rights. A French evolutionary biologist died with extreme poverty being neglected by his society. An Arabian man climbed to the mountain and tried to jump off from mountains few times to commit suicide. A man died for his ethics in Greece. Two men were ordered to burn down for their stance. One of them died and one of them is a mystery. A mother with her son had to jump off in the fire for her stance.
Humayun Azad was speaking about the myth of Sisyphus. Kierkegaard drew a picture of our life. What about a stoic lifestyle? Why not practicing Taoist or Buddhist style yoga? Why not perform 5 prayers in the mosque? Why not stand for prayer every Sunday in the church? Why not go for Durga puja? What about visiting any night clubs? What about having relationships? What about marrying someone? What about travelling across the world? What about working 12 hours every day and getting one day off? What about watching movies in the cinema with friends? What about picking up coconuts from trees? What about debating with friends? What about reading books? What about writing assignments? What about writing for Muktomona? What about working at the ministry of foreign affairs and calling people “next…next …next” for the token from 8:00 am till 5:00 pm 5 days in a week? (When people ask, we reply “I work in the ministry of foreign affairs and they think as you think, but you deal with the same content for 8 hours for the rest of your life?) Or What about working inside an office and dealing with so many papers assigned by senior Foxes? What about doing marketing standing like a shameless cat? What about doing programming day and night staring at a screen? What about playing computer games for hours? What about working in the paddy field with farmers? What about selling drugs? What about selling guns? What about doing new stuff always? One person asked me, “doing new stuff, but how long? The problem of boredom comes at the end of the day no matter what you do man”. I had no answer. Albert Camus addressed the fact of our life through his philosophy, absurdism.
What makes our life meaningful? I need to make a long quotation from Einstein for this question:
How strange a lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people—first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving. I am strongly drawn to a frugal life and am often oppressively aware that I am engrossing an undue amount of the labor of my fellow-men. I regard class distinctions as unjustified and, in the last resort, based on force. I also believe that a simple and unassuming life is good for everybody, physically and mentally. I do not at all believe in human freedom in the philosophical sense. Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity.
From his last sentence we can discuss two strong forces. Today I will focus on only one force. The first strong external force is the economy. It is an external force for every single individual who needs to deal with it. Whether you are rich or poor, you must deal with the economy. It determines your status in human society. I was thinking how money and politics are related for our power in society? Camus loved not to be the son of a rich businessman because it will bind his fate with some kind of heavy responsibility, maybe looking after his father’s businesses and property, but how about politics? Suppose I am the son of the prime minister. It means I will most probably end up being prime minister in future. That’s how we usually see it. In the context of Bangladesh, people dream for their children to be either engineers or doctors. Obviously, it differs. Chasing BCS for graduate students is another daydream among youths. We love to be honored, and we love security. We love stability. We love status. We love to follow trends as our society asks us to do. We do not love anything other than our parents’ dream for us since they grew up with hardship with a bad family economy. By the way, even parents become so happy when they give birth to a son since they expect them to be money making machines. On the other hand, their faces become gloomy when they find giving birth to 3-4 daughters and still no boy. Is the economy related to this? Even love is associated with money that we consider as divine. Why does the last boy of class never dare to speak about his love for the first-class girl? At least, I have never seen it.
I have observed the last boy of my class. I saw him going backward when all went forward? As if nobody knows him and he also wants to hide himself. For me, the friendship with the last boy of the class is much better than other friends. Just visit their house and see the harsh reality. Obviously not all but most of the cases if you analyze their life and compare the privileged between you and him. The picture would be very clear. I do not mean that you start analyzing from his life background rather I mean to start with the background of their parents and your parents. Why did this student become the last boy in the class? I must be biased in this instance since I am only focusing on economic factors. There are so many factors but somehow everything has a relationship with the economy implicitly or explicitly. My friend got 3.8 CGPA and managed scholarship and he maintained it till his graduation and I said straightforwardly to his face, “It happened because you have no other option otherwise for survival”. He thought for a while and he said, “true” then he lit a cigarette. Do not believe me. Go to the street for inquiry. I am nobody reciting chorus with Emily Elizabeth Dickinson. I will end my writing with the quotation of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche:
“If you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire.”