Thoughts on Insignificance, by Dhanush Dinesh

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This article has been submitted by Dhanush Dinesh for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think this article is a good read, ‘Like’ this article on Facebook (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘comments’ section below.

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What is humanity’s greatest desire? To achieve eternal life? To reach beyond the confines of our planet and go where no one has gone before? To discover the reason why we happened to achieve consciousness on this blue marble hurtling through space, at this very location? Nay, it is to be remembered. To be loved, to be cherished. To die knowing that we stood for something. That we were significant.

On a smaller scale, what is it that every teenager craves the most? Contrary to every adult’s opinion, it is NOT a report card filled with straight As, a loving family, friends and a seat at a premier college. (Sorry to burst your bubble, adults.) It is to discover the feeling that we are significant, that our actions have tangible consequences, that we MEAN something to the world. Ultimately, we are all searching for a meaning in life. We are searching for a definition of ourselves. Which is the wrong way to go about it all. We are not a word in a dictionary, to be defined. We are the dictionary itself, full of varying definitions. We can be any word we want to be, when we want to be. It is only a matter of self determination and unrelenting passion. We are the pauper, and we are the prince.

We alone hold the keys to our kingdom, and we are the ones who have locked it in the first place. The reason we are all lost in life is not because we lack a map, but because we lack a destination.

Setting the rhetoric aside, you may wonder, what is the author trying to convey here? Merely this: Humanity is the Earth’s greatest work of art, as it is dynamic and ever changing. While sometimes it is dull and despondent, at others it is vibrant and colorful and filled with a million different beautiful things, just waiting to be discovered. In short, evolution is the best thing that could have happened to the monkeys, and to the cynics saying that we would have been better off staying up in the trees, all I can say, is that greatness comes with a few sacrifices. Humanity may stumble and fall on the path to greatness, but we’ll get there.

To address my peers directly, many of them, at this phase of their lives may think themselves to be “enlightened” and argue that our species and our lives are ultimately insignificant in the “grand scheme of things”. If we, as humanity were to ride this train of thought, where would we be? Every single one of humanity’s achievements were not done in pursuit of some great secret, the discovery of which would validate our existence as human beings. We pursue excellence for the sake of excellence. Trying to explain why we trudge on with our various discoveries, why we make art, why we even DREAM of a better tomorrow, would be an insult to humanity itself. Dismissal of the achievements of mankind as insignificant is not a well informed opinion; merely a foolhardy one.

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Dhanush Dinesh is a Bangalorean who shall be giving the CLAT next year. A voracious bibliophile with a soft corner for 19th century Russian literature (notably Dostoevsky), he believes that literature’s role in society’s working can never be usurped. It is his ambitious hope that Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” will someday become a bedtime story. He hopes to bell the CLAT soon (and apologises profusely for the terrible pun).

10 COMMENTS

  1. And I thought all Tolstoy/Dostoevsky fans died the previous century. Glad you’re alive and breathing and WRITING. Adore this.

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