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Stairway to heaven

Last Updated : 29 May 2017, 03:58 IST
Last Updated : 29 May 2017, 03:58 IST

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German Lyric poet Friedrich Holderlin has so rightly said, "What has always made a hell on Earth has been that man has tried to make it his heaven". Earth will have its own trials and tribulations and the only way to bliss is in creating one's heaven on earth by leaving behind our self-regarding ways.

Sin makes its own hell and goodness its own heaven. While explaining this notion and the symbolic key difference between heaven and hell, a professor once drew up two scenarios in front of his students. Scenario one comprised of some hungry people and a huge pot of delicious food. However, what prevented them from enjoying this succulent dish was the fact that they were given extremely long spoons to eat the food. The spoons were too long and each person remained hungry as they wrought all possible permutations and even contorted their arms and hands but were unable to get the spoon anywhere near their deprived mouths. Strife and pain was evident. The men were all miserable, angry and hungry. "Looks pretty much like hell Eh?" says the professor.

Scenario two is similar yet different. The hungry men, long spoons and the simmering pot of food remains the same.The differences comes from the fact that people have quickly come to a realisation that they cannot feed themselves given the length of the spoons. Instead of trying all possible ways of feeding themselves they have decided it makes more sense to feed each other. The length of the spoons is no longer an impediment in assuaging hunger as each man is fed by another in their group. Tranquillity and love reigned. Result: The men were satiated, happy and peaceful. Sounds quite like heaven.

Therefore, it will be a logical deduction to make that when man slogs only to make his own heaven (feeding himself with the long spoon) he is not only unsuccessful in doing so but instead paves way to hell due to his acute self-centredness . Whereas when a man tries to make heaven for others (feeding someone else with the long spoon), he not only brings satiation to another soul but also overlays a road to heaven for himself.

It is our grit and resilience and helps us humans to manipulate our circumstances and find or create meaning even in grim and depraved situations.

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Published 29 May 2017, 03:58 IST

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