How Can You Understand The World?

When Sins was five years old, he saw the mighty train engine.

Mighty, as he called it, seemed like an understatement. As he slept that night, its sounds reverberated in his ears, causing him to wake up in the middle of the night, imagining that the earth had cracked into several pieces at once. The next day, he had told his science teacher about the engine, only to be told that it ran on human-made tracks using the power of electricity.

Sins chose mechanical engineering for his under-graduate studies.

Four years later, the sound of the engine still reverberated in his ears, not because he had found work in a railway yard, but because he still imagined the scene, fresh in his mind’s eye, as if it had taken place in front of him yesterday. No, he hadn’t found work, anywhere close to what he had studied for four years, the application of the principles of physics, chemistry and mathematics to shape material objects, no, he hadn’t. Instead, he had managed to get a job in an information technology services firm. A few months later, he had lost interest, and hadn’t appeared when the firm had called for him.

Now, sitting in front of his bed, comfortably settled around his books, he wondered if college had been worth all the money, time and energy. He wished he had been more mature. He also wished he had had the foresight to use the resources available online and read more books about the systems that governed the functioning of the world. Wasn’t everything about that, after all? Understanding the principles of success? The word that was pandered around everyday, as if it was the birthright of all. Success wasn’t anyone’s birthright. Neither was there a fixed recipe or a formula of some sort. There wasn’t even a fixed definition for the word success.

For some, success meant earning more money, and hence a life surrounded by material objects encompassing luxury. For some, it meant peace of mind, whose definition isn’t clear, meaning different things to different people. Was there a universal definition for peace of mind? Meditation teachers said peace of mind could be obtained by transforming the mind to overcome all forms of aversion or attachment towards pleasant or unpleasant feelings, depending on an individual’s circumstances. Pretty clear. Though, transformation of the mind required lifelong practice and a dedication towards doing good things like being honest and helping others out of volition rather than expecting something in return.

As far as he was concerned, he wanted to understand how the world worked. While he understood human behaviour, needs, desires and wants to some extent, he wanted to understand the forces enveloped by the convergence of energy, electronics, materials science, biotechnology and computer science, along with how the financial system worked, distributing resources and capital all over the globe, and the men and women who controlled these entities responsible for creating prosperity or poverty, governing the fate of billions through their decisions and actions.

He wanted to understand everything. Everything.

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