Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Western materialism

As a past flame told me, Hindus go through four stages of life.

1. Brahmacharya "This stage begins when a child enters school at an early age and continues until he or she has finished all schooling . The goal is to acquire knowedge, build character and learn to shoulder responsibilities."
Actually, the word means to be celibate. Yep, that certainly describes most DCBA grad student life.

2. Grhastha
"This stage begins at marriage..."
'Nuff said.

3. Vanaprastha "... ascetic or hermit stage of life.. begins devoting more time to study of scriptures, contemplation and meditation."
What can I say - life of a theorist.

4. Sanyasa "
... the final stage of life in which an individual mentally renounces all worldly ties, spends all of his or her time in meditation and contemplation and ponders over the mystries of life... part company with one’s family and become a mendicant..."
... a perfect example being train travel in one of the richest countries in the world.

So obviously my sense of timing is all wrong; maybe that has something to do with my being an atheist.

Anyway, the point to all this is that over the last few days I've been packing up my material belongings in preparation to shipp
ing them half-way across the continent. And as I ponder questions such as "Do I really need a full dinner set so I'm ready to entertain as soon as I reach Boston?" I realize that all my basic survive-and-thrive needs are really minimal. I've just given away a sweet set of speakers, my brand-new folding bike, and so on. I'll be travelling light (a backpack and my blades); I'll ship a few small boxes with essentials ahead of me. After all, it is a fresh start; starting with a light stomach is good for the digestion.

I'm proud of li'l ol' mendicant me.

Of course, when sanyasa means parting with one of my 400 lbs worth of books, that's going too far - they're all going with me.


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