“I loathe the men who prolong their lives by foods and drinks...perverting nature’s course to ward off death...They ought, when they but cumber the ground...Get hence and die, and clear the way for youth....”, says Euripides. While reading Simon Blackburn’s ‘Religion and Respect’, I had to stop to cogitate when I read, “Things do not gain meaning by going on for a very long time, or even forever. Indeed, they lose it. A piece of music, a conversation, even a glance of adoration or a moment of unity have their allotted time. Too much and they become boring. An infinity and they would be intolerable.”
Nothing arrests our attention forever. Every individual eventually becomes a bore to you and vice versa. I read somewhere, “Every individual is eventually a bore / And in love, it happens all the more.” Immortality of anything, not just of life, is, therefore, undesirable. “Newness Euphoria” in psychology and neuro-biology has a life-span of only a week! We all actually tend to get bored with a person and object after a week. We stick together just because mind conditions itself to being together.
Sameness in human interactions also stagnates the civilization. Imagine, interacting with the same set of people. Will there be a cycle of new ideas? The eternal bachelor boy, the legendary singer Sir Cliff Richards was once asked by Playboy interviewer Maglen Griffith, ‘Didn’t you ever feel like settling down in life with a specific person, precisely a woman?’ Sir Cliff replied, “Any person is like a song with a limited lifespan. You may hum a song even after fifty years, not because you still love the song, because it once warmed your heart. I don’t want to remember and be remembered with a sense of perfunctoriness. I therefore chose to remain unattached.”
This happens in all relationships which are actually dragged for the sake of social and familial obligations like children, image and stability. After a certain period, when both the individuals find nothing new to talk about, they often go back and try to relive their much more exciting past just for the survival of their present status quo and the state of humdrum monotony. Chinese sage Confucius never let any disciple stay with him for more than three days. “Fish and guests start rotting after three days”, he’d often say. That’s the reason, there’s no mention of a particularly close disciple of Confucius. Let people continuously come and go. The flux and exodus must go hand in hand.
The life of an individual ceases to become exciting when s/he spends time with same people and things. It also closes the doors of new perceptions and experiences. The way old leaves fall off and new ones appear, life must lend itself to exploring new vistas, challenges and people. “ Wahi log, wahi shahar, wahi raahein, wahi sooratein / Mere dil ko nahin milti hain ab rahat inse “ (Same people, same city, same roads, same faces / My heart’s not enthused by the same old stuff).