Sunday, March 1, 2009

Irony - as (or do ) we understand it

I had heard this classical hindi song called "पानी में मीन प्यासी | मोहे सुन सुन आवत हांसी ||..." - when I was kid - when translated to English, it reads "I find it really funny that the fish feels thirsty despite being in water..." . It somehow surfaced from my subconscious to the 'everyday-mind' a few days back. And from there on, I could always recognise some irony that reminded me of the song.

The fact is that we are so obsessed with our own understanding of the world and its accompanying prejudices that we tend to ignore/discredit things that do not fit into our instinctive model. Like the other day, I was talking with my friends about the potential for extra-terrestrial life - and almost everyone seemed to believe that they will need an organic photosynthesis (or its sillicon analogous compound). But why cant it be that case that they derive their energy not from a external sun- but from its core itself. We tend to ignore this possibility simply because we assume that life will not be sustainable at those temperatures. When I first proposed this, the audience was startled and started rubbishing it even without thinking. Then when we discussed it with some cool head, it turns out that everyone was convinced that it could indeed be the case. This is a classic case of prejudices blocking our vision.

In a general case, just because others covet a particular thing, it does not mean that the person having it will find it of any or much use. A typical case would be that of abundance - if someone has more money than what he/she finds sufficient, any incremental money has very little potential for making the person happy. Same could be the case with the protagonist fish in the afore mentioned song. Its our own inability to judge the drive of others that induces laughter at the situation - so in a way we are mocking ourselves.

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