Two Perspectives of Life

Recently I had been to Panchgani for Bal Shikshan  Parishad’s executive committee meeting. I stayed in Peter and Mona’s wooden farmhouse. Cold breeze in Panchgani, Warmth of Peter and Mona’s hospitality and nature’s beauty in surrounding area had set the perfect backdrop for meeting.

I got up early in the morning and gazing at the mountains from the open gallery. I was  enlightened. At that moment, a thought surged in my mind that how lucky are Mona and Peter that they are living in such a wonderful house for many years. And suddenly this thought was divided into two thoughts. First, how great it would be if I own this house. Second, how lucky I am that I got opportunity to come here, enjoy the nature’s beauty this morning and be a part of this environment.

Then I realized, these are two different views of looking at ourselves. First, when we see anything that is good and we liked it, we want to have it, we want to own it, and we feel sad to know that it doesn’t belong to us, we feel happy about the imagination of having it. This is one view. In this direction, we move towards trying to acquire it and to enjoy that we have acquired it. Second opinion is entirely different, we feel happy when we see something nice, we are able to view it and we could spend few moments in its presence. In the first view, there is possessiveness and in the second there is feeling of participation. My mind  started feeling that I am getting something new. But suddenly someone came and  it stopped there. But it was not about to stop there.

Coincidently, it so happened that Mona and Peter had a big personal library. It includes all types of books, from religion to good deeds and politics to environment. I am always attracted to books as much as nature. I started going  through the books. The actual coincidence is here. I came across a book named “To Have or To Be” by Erich Fromm, an eminent philosopher of last century. I was familiar to Erich Fromm. One of my friend who was good reader, insisted me to read his “The Art of Loving” book. After many years, I bought his “Fear of Freedom”. But this book “To Have or To Be” published in 1978 was skipped from my sight.

Erich Fromm is a philosopher, psychologist and thought provoking  thinker about human life from twentieth century. First I liked him due to his rhythmic  name. I still remember the fun about silent H in Erich and double M in Fromm which made me remember the spelling .

In this book, Erich Fromm has discussed two different views of looking at human life. One is “Having” mode of existence and other is “Being” mode of existence. “Having” mode is linked to objects and “Being” mode is linked to cognizance. In the first view, mutual relations are dotted relationships. Person and object are both termed as objects and therefore there is no liveliness in the relationship, it is not bound by any creative process. Whereas, view of “Being” is bound by creative process  between human and object relationship, it becomes liveliness relationship. Liveliness relationship obviously  becomes joyful. This relationship proves how we are identical with joyful things.

These two views discussed in this book are practical and not philosophical.  Erich Fromm has explained the experience of these two views in different aspects of our life. He has explained in detail the complexities developed in these days (modernization) due to greed of materialistic revenues and power. Excess of this greed has created many complexities in day to day life and not only the human life but also environment has been ruined.   “Having” view is telling us the truth of today’s reality whereas “Being” view tells us what it should be and why we should adopt it.

This is the exact difference between today’s education and tomorrow’s education. We are imparting the education to develop attitude of “Having and Getting”  to students for at least last two centuries. Education from the view point of “Being ” about how a student should be will be tomorrow’s education. That has to be based on experiences. Erich Fromm has taken into account the teaching learning  practices.

While leaving from Peter and Mona’s house, I took that book in my hand and said “This book looks useful to me, can I take this book? I will return it shortly”.

Peter said “Please take the book, its going to do nothing sitting in this cupboard. And no need to return it”.

By being in this organic nature, Peter’s attitude has changed from “Receiving” to “Giving”. In my case, I have realized that the rich nature has eccentric power to generate the whirlwind of thoughts.

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