This is going to make very little sense. Or maybe a lot of sense. I hope to leave you mildly intrigued or mildly bored. Like a Chetan Bhagat book.
I read a lot of nonsense; none of which includes any kind of religious or spiritual or self-help psychobabble that other human beings read. I have not read The Secret or The Magic or Seven Habits of Highly Constipated People or Count Your Rabbits Before They Scratch. A lot of people- mostly old, mostly of the female variety- spend a lot of time and money on reading crap like this.
My wife once told me that the essence of the book “The Secret” was that you send positive energy up into the Universe. For example, you whisper to the Universe “I want to have a great day in office today” and the Universe shall listen to you. But if you were to whisper to the Universe “I want that bastard who keeps boring me with lame jokes at lunch every day to get impaled under the photocopier”, the Universe isn’t going to listen to you. Because that’s just not positive.
While you are figuring out a positive way of asking the Universe to ensure certain irritants in your life die painfully, I am left wishing that I could write books containing psychobabble like this; crap that might help people believe they actually have a chance of changing their lives. Like “How to improve your life by wearing odd colors to office everyday”. Or “The eight untold secrets of stress free photocopying”.
But I can’t. And thus I will never be an incredibly successful writer. Perhaps. Because what I am about to do is give it all away for free. Life, the deeper meaning of life, the Universe and everything else. Yes, free! (Feel free to donate to my cause by buying my book which, of course, has nothing to do with this blog post.)
As I said, I read a lot of nonsense. Most of it has nothing to do with the self help variety of literature that people make small fortunes peddling. But I am addicted to reading- I read to fill my mind with stories… fiction, non-fiction, history. And in my endless quest for nothing but pure entertainment of the soul, I believe I have stumbled upon The Actual Secret. If I were marketing savvy, that’s what I would call the book. Or maybe, The Real Secret. Or better still, What That Bitch Rhonda Bryne Didn’t Tell You.
Let me tell you there is no such thing as the Universe listening to you. Or people with seven specific habits being highly successful. (I haven’t read the book and slept through presentations where people spoke of the book; so I am going to refrain from attacking it, for now.) Erm… back to my point- no such thing as the Universe listening to anyone. The Universe barely has time for itself- it’s not going to listen to you. It has galaxies, black holes, comets, asteroids, stars, planets to manage. It is about the rank of a General Manager in the Corporation of Everything.
As I said, when you read as much as I do and you read simply for the guilty pleasure of sneaking a read in your limited leisure time, what you acquire is not knowledge but wisdom. Without sounding too boastful, the rough approximation of this is the attempt for attainment of God through prayer. Pray and you shall hope to find God. Fill your soul with stories and you shall hope to have a mildly intriguing/ boring epiphany.
So now that I have built this up with about seven paragraphs of riff raff, I am going to break it to you. The deeper meaning of life, the universe and everything. And (drumroll…) it is…
The meaning of life is merely the act of forgetting that we are going to die. Everything that we ever do; our education, our love lives, our careers, our families, our children, our fitness regimens- are all a charade to help us forget that we are terminal. When we rue a bad appraisal, when we bereave a dead pet, when we celebrate standing second in a debate, when we cuddle next to a pillow with the flu- all our sorrows, our miseries, our joys- all our senses collude to create an emotional space in which the fear of impending death gets crowded out. Simply put, our everyday gamut of emotions, of pursuits, of little joys and miseries helps us forget- helps us live.
When sages, godmen, demigods, etc. meditate and withdraw to their mythical mountains to ponder on the meaning of life, they are in effect validating my philosophy as well. Their crusade for the meaning of life helps them evade the absolute certainty of death. I believe that their quest for a grand afterlife engages their minds so that they might forget that they too shall be dead in a few years. And thus, their quest for meaning would actually stand as a subset of my “Real Secret.”
And thus like all great stories, I shall finish this with what I started. When I read, when I fill my head with stories- real or fictional, it just helps me forget. And that is the deeper meaning of life. Simply, to forget.
Now if you disagree, consider this… I could have written a book about this. Titled it “What That Bitch Rhonda Bryne didn’t tell you” and made a few million bucks. And that would have made you extremely jealous.
It is another matter that your jealousy would have made you forget about your mortality. But let me not oversell this.
I have not plagiarised this theory but if Einstein or Stephen Hawking or Rhonda Bryne or Asaram Bapu has already written about this, I am going to plead ignorance. I read to entertain; not to educate and have given all these writers a miss.
– Vaibhav Anand
Vaibhav Anand is a 2008 passout from Delhi College of Engineering and a 2010 MBA passout from FMS, Delhi. He is currently working for a Multinational Bank in Delhi. Vaibhav is also the author of the bestselling “If God Went To B-School”. You can reach out to him through Twitter at his handle @vaibrainmaker.