Things I Enjoy Thinking About…

I know this programme will change my life in some way. I don’t know how, in what way, or to what extent. That’s exciting. But, I enjoy thinking of ‘future Morgan,’ who knows exactly how her life changed because of this experience. I can see her thinking of me (who doesn’t yet know), thinking of her (who does know), and that’s kind of cool. 

*Context* Gilles is one of our group leaders, a member of the IndoGenius team, Bollywood dance extraordinaire,  artist, political science PhD, and so much more. 

I enjoy thinking about Gilles and how he is unlike anyone I have ever met. How he seems ageless and beyond all constructs of identity. How he seems so supra-human and so perfectly human at the same time. Like a creature out of a C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll, or JRR Tolkien story. Yet, a person who has constructed a life so authentic to his nature that it inspires us all to reconnect with our own true selves. 

I enjoy how what Nimo (of Gandhi’s Ashram) said was echoed by Dr Mukul in Jaipur foot, and how that links to an episode of ‘Friends’ and reminds me of a passage from ‘The Plague’. 
In the ‘Friends’ episode, Phoebe and Joey talk about how all good deeds are selfish because they make the person performing them feel good. The delivery was humorous, but the message has always stayed with me. When we went to Gandhi’s ashram, we met a guy called Nimo. He coordinated a lot of the community involvement the ashram did, especially with their local school in a slum. He welcomed us and told us his story. It was one of corporate achievements and lingering dissatisfaction. At this time, he had been moved by a performance he saw in the US by the very same children he would teach years later in India. He made no qualms about the fact that his drive to renounce Western ideals of success in favour of a life devoted to serving others at the expense of worldly riches was not an act of sainthood. Rather than a personal sacrifice, his choice seemed a need to save his own soul. I like the idea that acts which help others also help those who perform them. It reminds me of a passage I read in Albert Camus’, ‘The Plague.’ The section discusses the construction of heroism and makes a unique analysis of what this says about our conceptions of human nature. When we glorify good deeds, we confirm the idea that this is in some way against our nature. That to do good is a rarity and a defiance of our compulsions. This makes human nature competitive, mean, self-serving, violent, individualistic and suspicious of our fellow human. Although a refusal to praise the benevolent acts of others seems cynical, it is, in fact, a far larger compliment to humanity. There may be no such thing as a general ‘human nature’ at all, but if there is, I believe in the one of Nimo, Camus, Joey from ‘Friends’ and Dr Mukul. 

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