Taming of the Shrew

April 12, 2010


I am talking about Habits (good and bad) and their roots.

I feel habits form because of the programming of the mind, the way we discipline our body and mind. Disciplining the body is in our control. But mind?

Agreed that health comes out of strict exercise regimen. Also that healthy mind lives in a healthy body. Therefore we must discipline our body to remain fit all the time. And once the adrenaline is flowing, we feel euphoric – at least for some time. However is this sufficient as a continuum?

We say there are compulsions which do not allow me to form good habits. “Compulsion” has a quite a few dictionary meanings.

Urge (Impulse, Desire, Craving, Need) is one set.

Other set is Force (Pressure, Coersion, Obligation, Duress, Pursuasion).

Looks like we can divide the compulsions into

> External – per Force (Environmental, Situational) and

> Internal ones  – per Urge (those solely due to us).

That should take us nearer to the meaning of the word – compulsion.

Situations are created not only by us, but other forces also contribute and pressurise you to behave in a manner not socially or personally acceptable. In a Good environment/ situation (and if I am happy there), I am likely to develop Good habits. In Not-So-Good environment, I may develop bad ones – i.e. getting up late, eating unhealthy or irregularly, becoming coach potato and so on.

Can I control the “Pressure” situations/ environment we live in?  May be I can if I do my part to improve it, and see if it makes any difference. In meetings, I have seen sudden change of scene, with use of light, inflictive humor (although all the meetings are never meant to be hilarious and your humor can backfire). If you are clear, assertive and articulate about yourself in a situation, people/factors that are forcing you may accept your stand and retract. The situation itself then changes.

You can not run away from a situation. So, should I not accept it and modify it?

Now enters the Shrew. You are a healthy person. You are not “in”a situation. Nobody is coaxing you to do something. Still you do it day in and day out. What is this compulsion? Where does this Urge (Impulse, Desire, Craving, Need) comes from? Why do I create a one man situation which ruins me?  Is it mind that plays such games? Is it a bad habit or good habit? Is it destiny at work? Destiny comes out of habits?

Is there an outlet from this one- man-island- situation? Is the all pervading soul-matter laughing at us? Or helping me to come to terms? Or saying – “To tame the shrew called Mind, with effort, thou shalt find a Touchstone which converts all desires, needs, cravings and impulses into other things golden”.

That effort I think is termed as creativity.

Although Greek Pre-Sophists pleaded that there is no reason for any thing or any being, all is just the combination of roots – Earth, Water, Fire and Wind, most of us are in search of the Touchstone all throughout our life. Ones found, we feel that we will find meaning and purpose of our life and being.

In our context, is the the Touchstone The Guru?

Ones he has the touchstone, the Sinic breeds everything golden, although he may remain in a one man island situation. Sinics breed hatchlings gone bad also.  Otherwise the dictionary meanings of creativity would not be- Artistry, Originality, Imagination, Ingenuity, Inspiration, Inventiveness, Resourcefulness, Vision.

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3 Responses to “Taming of the Shrew”

  1. Nikhil Kardale Says:

    This is a topic on which even a debate running hours on end would remain inconclusive!

    There’s one more factor to the Environmental Force you talk about. There was a documentary series recently on National Geographic Channel which showed how our moods and likings get affected even before we see the light of day – some due to genetic reasons from our parents, some because of the sounds the child hears or the happenings around the womb (e.g. constant movement and relocation prevalent in war-refugees) during the gestation period etc. That explains why we say that some people are born singers or born dancers, or have certain aggressive attributes etc.

    I agree with the idea of creativity, but I don’t agree with a person being a one-man-island. I think that there can never be someone who isn’t affected by the surroundings, intentionally or unintentionally.

  2. Rajeev Says:

    Dear Nikhil,

    The idea is to challenge you. If you start asking questions, good.

    Your information on the experiments about the effect of genes and the sounds is very interesting. These are our attributes we can not change.

    However, these alone can not make a singer or writer, I feel.

    To find expression, you need others to assert that- Mister/Miss, you are a born singer. But to get validation, you ask Yourself – Am I really? Do I really like singing? Are people faking? Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no. Is this not the one-man-island situation when you are talking to yourself? All creation breeds from there I feel. You need not be an antisocial animal because you are a one man island.

    However, To develop expression or mastery of anything, you need to develop a skill set (They say 50,000 Hrs of work minimum).


    • Well.. in the split-second scenario when you have to make that all important ‘choice’ about something/someone based on the information gathered from being a social animal.. yes.. that’s the one-man-island scenario.


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