To live and let die
"God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be
changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the
Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardship as a pathway to
Reinhold Niebuhr (The Serenity Prayer)
The title of this article may bring back memories of the film in the
James Bond series, and Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James
Bond. Nevertheless and most certainly, this article is not about the
film nor has it anything to do with the film except for the head, a
What, in fact, it implies is that a lot of us lead our lives
insensitively and with an 'I do not care' attitude to the rest of
humanity. Apart from the callousness of this attitude, it reveals the
character of the concerned person.
You and I are the latest chapters of a story that is unfolding for
billions of years - a story that is more intriguing; more than
fascinating; greatly challenging; and ever evolving: the story of life.
Life, per se, may be about survival of the fittest. However, the
development and growth of life - evolution - is often based upon, and
favoured by, the policy of cooperation, collaboration, and give and
To live and let live; or still better, to let live and live; is the
best way to experience the joys of life; understand the purpose of
being; gain happiness, growth, vitality, through existence - however
brief or endless, real or idle, it may be.
Nevertheless, like a culprit sensible of his degradation; many a
person, blunted in feeling; deprived of understanding; devoid of
passion, emotion, or sensitiveness; lacking gratitude in being born
human; insensible and senseless; aspire: to live and let die.
That they should only live, their life ought to only matter, and care
nought about the rest of humanity appear to be their attitude. This
seems their choice in life.
The choices people make are usually dependent on their psychological
conditioning, which takes place through exposure to life from the moment
of conception, to the point of completion of their socio-cultural
This social, cultural, programing is similar to the programing of a
computer's processor with data that is factual.
The computer then compares all incoming data against its programmed
intelligence, to generate a conclusion. Similarly, the human intellect
processes incoming data based on the morals and values to which they
have been exposed, and conditioned to.
Some of these morals and values are inherited through genetic
sources; whilst others are acquired, and learnt from the environment to
which the absorptive mind is exposed.
Indifference is an unacknowledged immorality. Indifference becomes
immoral when we ignore or neglect the sufferings of others when we are
in a position to help, aid, or eliminate the cause of such suffering.
A little self-sacrifice, a bit of concern, for the good of others, is
not only humane; it is simply a component of a healthy life. The
psychiatrist and author Scott Peck tells us in his book 'The Road Less
Travelled': "If an act is not one of work or courage, then it is not an
act of love.
There are no exceptions". A wider, more altruistic attitude is very
relevant in today's world. If we look at the situation from various
angles, such as the complexity and inter-connectedness of the nature of
modern existence, then we will gradually notice a change in our outlook,
so that when we say 'others' and when we think of others, we will no
longer dismiss them as something that is irrelevant to us. We will, no
longer feel indifferent, said the Dalai Lama.
Many of today's attitudes and concepts are alien to this truth. Life,
be it here or in another state of being, is not about the minimum, the
average. Contentment and peace; love and joy; are only achieved when one
goes beyond the expected.
Anything less, is moral suicide and could lead to a road to hell - a
hell of a life - which is paved with the frame of mind called
indifference. Aloofness and apathy; callousness and carelessness;
detachment and disregard; may seem the path of least resistance, the
most appropriate way, in leading our life. But, it would invariably turn
out to be an empty life - a meaningless life.
The meaning of life, for us humans, is to make life meaningful. It is
also about growth: physical, mental, and spiritual. It is about
travelling down different paths of our life and making decisions. We
will make some mistakes, as all of us do.
We learn from them and grow stronger. Life is about being true to
ourselves, standing alone sometimes when we really believe in something,
and fear not retribution.
It means to love those around us, help where we can, and become a
person who can be trusted, who will do his possible best in all matters
entrusted. If we did not feel sadness, we could never experience
happiness; if we did not get angry on occasion, we would never know
peace; and if we did not trust our hearts, we would never know love.
Yes, life has much to offer, if we open our eyes, ears and heart, and
listen. Someone who cannot find contentment cannot find peace. A person,
who cannot find peace, cannot find fulfilment.
Prosperity, power, and popularity are not the solutions to human
suffering. None of it can assure happiness. We may have them all, and
still feel incomplete.
Of course, the meaning of life is not the same for everyone. Your
life has one meaning, the life of another person will have another
meaning, and my life will have another meaning too. You are the one to
give meaning to your life by making something of it.
Brilliant in its simplicity, the Serenity Prayer is one of the key
spiritual tools used by many to find peace in life.
However, the defining qualities in one's character, that of grace,
courage, and wisdom that is required to lead a fulfilling life is within
all of us. There is no need to seek from somewhere the strength to face
another situation, to take another step, and live another day.
However, many people in desperate situations, seeking contentment,
fortitude, and sense in life, have come to believe that these qualities
can come only from a power greater than the self; and because they
believe, they find the serenity, courage, and wisdom they seek, from
outside themselves. Every person has the choice to choose, and lead
their life as they want to.
Find the path of your choice, and live your life along the chosen
path. Give thought in choosing the path. Be happy. Be healthy. Be loved.
The 8th-century Indian Buddhist scholar Shantideva of Nalanda
University expressed a similar sentiment when he said: "For every
ailment under the sun, there is a remedy, or there is none.
If there be one, try to find it; if there be none, never mind it.
If there is a remedy when trouble strikes, what reason is there for
dejection? And if there is no help for it, what use is there in being
See you this day next week. Until then, keep thinking; keep laughing.
Life is mostly about these two activities.
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