There is a constant war both within and without us, The one within is physiological, mental or spiritual; the one out there, between people, is bloody. The latter may involve passion of the whoever first declares or strikes, as a cry for justice to redress a wrong terribly perceived. Equally, a war could be the result of cold calculation either in continuity with a history between feuding parties or with an eye on advantages or spoils the aggressor expects to win.
In all cases, those pushed to defending themselves have no choice when swords begin to fall and the guns start booming : the aggression must be fought against, peaceniks and political correctness be damned. Unless one is a coward to his community or a traitor to his nation. The Gandhian or Christian romance – “absoluteness” as the author of The Rebel terms – is not even relevant to the situation; and the much compromised Buddhist doctrine of non-violence is not means enough to counter the subjugation already upon us, while terror of the happening is still stuck in our throats.
Though applicable to the same contextual matrix, terror is felt by individuals, in their own distinctive ways, while war is business of communities or nations for or against aggression. The attackers could be charged up against an offensive presence to rail against, a long-term threat to be destroyed, or something valueable to rob and take away. The animal urge could easily deflate with the sense of consequences about to be unleashed. But beastial vitality is not concerned with moral and ethical choices, and is hence without the sense of responsibility for rushing headlong to death and destruction, terror and war.
On January fourteenth, the Makar Sankranti, the sun took a turn reversing from its drift towards the southern-most path it takes around the earth. That is, as it seems to us in the northern hemisphere. Those aware would quote science to correct us : that, it was all on account of motions of the earth. Which brings us to the cold fact : life is not lived in accord with science. The freshly baked loaf is not mere aggregate of fundamental particles; nor is its smell just neural something.
We, nurtured in South Asia, have not understood the Gregorian new year, except as a celebratory occasion when everyone joins in. There is no turn of seasonal ambience to merit the mark on the first day of January. The Sankranti does, bringing on warmer days, though nights are likely to remain cold and cool untill Holi, which this year will be observed on 6th of March. We would definitely pass into the summer… mild through April and severe in May and June before relief is felt with onset of monsoons in July. People in Indian subcontinent observe the New Year Day on Fourteenth April, the first day of the month of Baisakh.
For some reason in tradition, the business community observes closure of books and commencement of new financial year on Diwali, the Festival Of Lights, in November.
If there is one value to guide our judgement, it is this : do not act to lead you to something in our expectation. For then, in matters personal, one is almost always led by pre-formed desire : one we do not choose in the moment, in the full light of reason, justice or inspiration that presents.
As it is, however, collective values tend to be conservative, in continuity with learning accumulated over the past and mostly as a compromise among conflicting group interests. It feels good that we have come a long way, with individual rights to freedom and liberty firmly instated in modern societies.
We can now choose differently in matters relating to our person except, very sadly, in communities still under dictatorial regimes of governments that choose themselves or religions that will not relent on its hold over the heart and mind of man.