A panacea that never fails

Our neighbours are renovating their house. Not that it grew old or fragile in any manner. It was certainly more recently built than the one our family is living in now. And we have no intention of renovating our home for the next ten years.

Their spiritual advisors made a professional diagnosis that the entry-door and staircase are ill-positioned. They must be facing east, and not north. And that they must have never been built so in the first place, just because the access should be easy. Well, the street is to the north, and the locality a bit packed. So they felt it’s only logical to build it the way they did, just like everyone else in the street did. After all, people should know that the building has an access.

But apparently the visibility of access comes next in priority to the spiritual health of the house and its inhabitants. And if they don’t take this diagnosis seriously, their financial status, which is already in a poor condition will worsen, and the behaviour of their youngest son which they felt has been odd because he wouldn’t smile at the advisors, will grow frightening.

Now with this new knowledge that their son’s behaviour must be odd, I recall some past instances about him, that might be labelled, odd. Throwing broken glass pieces out of the door, and re-parking bicycles parked before his home in a stinking drainage channel. Well, people throw garbage onto the street all the time. And pertaining to the little space available to move around, everyone is to an extent, territorial. Only he is vehemently territorial, and his garbage included broken glass.

So they have been tearing down and repositioning everything, one at a time, and it’s been some three months now and the renovation is almost done, including the professionally suggested protective cover for the entire front of the house, minus the repainting work.

The matron of the house, who worried the most about spiritual health, took some serious dents in her physical health, but the son’s behaviour apparently improved. Well, he’s still throwing broken glass out of the door, only the door isn’t facing the road now. Her husband is getting drunk as usual, and the house received lesser ventilation than before. The advisors received an undisclosed amount as compensation, and improvement in financial grounds can’t be stated with any certainty as yet.

People tend to believe in whatever they want to believe, especially when they are desperate to improve their conditions. But that is when they must keep their head, and know not to spend too much on placebos, and not confuse reason with rationalisation.

Reason is logical prediction of outcomes after careful examination of your circumstances. Rationalisation is attaching outcomes to whatever the hell you want to believe in, or were made to believe, by numerous, and in most cases expensive advisors, and calling that reason. Stated simply, reason is thinking forward and correcting outcomes by correcting your actions, and rationalisation is thinking back, justifying the outcomes of your already committed irrational actions.

My mother has a panacea that she prescribes to just about everyone who comes to her for advice. ‘Calm yourself and study the circumstances. You will find the right course of action yourself.’ And that never fails.

– Avinash Kumar