26/01/2019

Joana Mouzinho - India


February 3, 2019

It is Saturday afternoon and I find myself aimlessly walking towards a very concrete goal. Suddenly a very peculiar sense of overwhelmingness hits me: one which, although interiorized, has not become less surreal nonetheless. The body and identity within which I conduct and which helps me carry on my day to day tasks is 18 years old and, alone, has somehow reached the streets of India. Long ago have I lost any sense of awe for what I am doing – as far as I know, this is exactly where I am supposed to be. The routine which I lead and the everyday scenery which fills my eyesight is nothing but the culmination of everything that I have worked for and believed in all my life. But in this foggy afternoon, as I find myself aimlessly walking towards a very concrete goal, I laugh psychotically at my own self.

Some time ago I read in someone’s blog that having moved to another country has made them feel as if their entire worldview had been shattered and that they could only hold for truth in that time being that they knew nothing, that they were lost. I don’t know for sure when I stopped being lost. For me, travelling and indulging myself in new experiences can only be described as a further loss of understanding of the world around me. This, however, does not take away my own sense of identity. It only adds on. For me to be able to navigate in an unfamiliar environment time and time again, I discovered that it is essential to firstly be convicted of one’s own set of values and beliefs. I am certain of my unshakeable means for happiness, meaning and love. The more I learn and the more I discover, the more open I become to the overbearing opinion that there is no such thing as an ultimate truth and that the world is a beautiful, unfair place, filled with hopeful people who are less free than they think they are. Which leads me to my next thought.

It is hard for me to come to a conclusion on whether or not the meaninglessness of life and therefore the man’s pursuit for imminent meaning should be condemned as pitiful or as humbling. Often I look around and the holistic experience gives way for undoubting reasoning thereof. Man’s life and man’s struggle is often led without a greater sense …

A man dressed in a saree just passed by singing a song. Maybe the world truly is changing.

Man’s life and man’s struggle is often led without a greater sense of purpose. Or at least that’s the easy conclusion. But through thorough examination, through delicate observation, one can see in a tea seller’s tea-serving manners the intentions of exposing to his daughter the world he was never granted. One can see in a traffic jam at 8 PM poets on motorcycles going to poet gatherings, lovers whispering love words, engineers working on master plans. One cannot see anything through cars – as the people within do not wish to be seen. Take this as metaphorically as you wish.

What I am trying to say is that the meaninglessness of this absurd life does not take away the beauty of the everyday defiance with which man wakes up and fights it. The lack of inspiration with which one is filled after too many days looking at traffic jams and manipulated political articles must crucially be overcome with the certainty that the individual experience alone contributes and totals the collective one. Even though there is no common meaning, individual meanings of frustrated doctors, unfulfilled teachers, tired shop-owners, are in fact the closest men will ever be to understanding why we are here.

I have stopped looking at one-sided narratives. I have stopped gathering holistic expectations.

To be human is an experience often too hard to handle, even harder to comprehend. But it is unfair to declare no meaning to all of this: As long as man is equipped with will, a self-chosen anesthesia and a dream, I choose to see man’s pursuit for imminent meaning as humbling. Without such three, only then, pitiful.

Joana Mouzinho