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Monday, September 12, 2011

Conflict Necessary For Creativity


When MK Gandhi was thrown out of a train in south Africa he had a choice 2 make- either 2 ignore the event & live in peace or enter into a conflict & face harassment, hardship & the possibility of getting physically hurt. He chose da latter. Why? Did he not have a guru who had taught him that living in peace & tranquility was the ultimate objective of life & the best way to achieve this objective was 2 avoid situations of conflict? Why did he not walk away?
The Dalai Lama chose 2 live in exile rather than live in peace in Tibet. He is a spiritual master himself. He preaches peace around the world. Does he not know that living in peace requires avoiding situations  of conflict?
Aung San Suu Kyi did not have 2 stay in jail. Winston Churchill did not have 2 join the world war. Nelson Mandela did not have 2 suffer in solitary confinement. Julius Nyerere did not have 2 fight a war with Idi Amin. There is a long list of people who have embraced conflict despite standing 4 peace, otherwise. They had the courage 2 stand up against repression rather than submit 2 it.
Both Ramayana & Mahabharata, revered Indic epics, are stories of war, not peace. Krishna did not tell the Pandavas 2 ignore the incident of Draupadi's humiliation in court. He encourage them 2 go to war. The Gita says engaging in war 2 uphold truth is not a matter of choice for a warrior; it is his duty. Islam says participation in jihad is the duty of a Muslim when the fight is to uphold justice when challenged by oppression, as a way of self-defense.
Most of us are confused between conflict & the method of resolving a conflict. We assume, incorrectly, that Gandhi, as a peace loving person, must have avoided situations of conflict. On the other hand, he faced conflict head-on. Bhagat Singh & Gandhi were both gearing themselves 2 deal with conflict, except that Gandhi tried 2 employ peaceful means while Bhagat Singh chose aggression.
The duty of a scientist ,artist or professor is also 2 engage in conflict against repressive regimes of knowledge. Any kind of limited knowledge is a form of bondage. Albert Einstein advanced the boundaries of scientific knowledge. James Joyce did the same in the field of literature. He flouted rules of writing as he saw them as restrictions on creativity. Picasso & M F Husain, for example, explored realms beyond accepted rules of visual art. Mother Teresa redefined the concept of caring, Every 1 of them faced criticism & controversy, yet they remained convinced of the nature of their work and the methods they used 2 fulfill their vision. They remained engaged.
One can only conclude from this that the people we admire & even those we worship have all rejected the existing as being adequate and have chosen 2 engage in conflict 2 extend the existing. They have redefined the purpose of our life.
The purpose of our life is not 2 live in passive acceptance but 2 engage with conflict in order 2 b creative.    Creativity is the purpose of life. The purpose is 2 advance an individual soul & the collective Consciousness. The only word of caution here is that we must first settle ourselves spiritually so that we know whether a conflict is justified or not.