i’ve noticed that my best writing comes when i’m stressed. this phenomena stretches across all types of writing – academic and non-academic both. i guess when the regularity of long blog posts goes up it means that i’m feeling pressure from somewhere. which is true i guess. and it’s good for writing so i shall go ahead.
before i continue i must place here a caveat that whatever follows is potentially flammable and offensive. not in the sense that i’m going out to flame people or put them down, but some might call me chauvinistic or narrow minded or plain stupid. justifying myself will not make sense because it is most likely that if you choose to read something in a certain way, you’re not going to be persuaded by whatever explanation i can provide. this paragraph is the biggest justification and warning that i can provide to you right now, dear reader.
so one fine day i’m in lit class. as you well know, lit class is predominantly populated by members of the fairer sex. normally, i know, this should be no cause for complaint. however, there is always the risk of the ‘giggling girls’ syndrome. now, i’m not generalizing. i’m just saying that such a phenomena does exist. not all girls do this – i have some female friends who get similarly annoyed when this happens. i refer to instances where a group of girls (who somehow get to know each other if they don’t already do so) can get all a-twitter about something… trivial that happens. something like that. and then the noise builds like a wave crashing against the breakers at high tide – it comes to a point where it becomes something of a physical manifestation and i can feel a sort of force bearing against my ears. normally what happens is that after a while the giggling stops, but inevitably begins again. once again, let me say that i bear no grudge against the fairer sex – if anything, i very much like girls. i just do not like the giggling girls syndrome (as i term it).
so i was in lit class, foaming hard in lecture (as usual) when this happened. someone asked about why we studied literature, and how it always seems to be about teaching us how to live our lives. and the question was that is there actually any other way to live life? because there was an implied searching for such.
now, i must admit that such a question does not really figure into the content of a lecture. i must admit that without a doubt, it detracts from the lesson at hand. and so when the lecturer said that lit was being taught for lit, and not for how to live life, it guess it would be an acceptable ending to the discussion at hand. but the issue was pressed.
what happened then was fascinating, for the lack of a better word. do bear with my description: i know it may sound odd and you may dismiss it as something strange or say that i just don’t understand. but what happened was that there seemed to be the beginnings of hushed whispers about how so and so shouldn’t disrupt the class and we shouldn’t run off topic, yada yada. i know, i’ve muttered similar sentiments myself. but was not the question a highly important one? fundamentally it poses the problem of how to live one’s life. but as the discussion between student and teacher continued, i felt that the hushed whispers grew in scale and volume and malice, like how the Balrog strode through the corridors of Moria and manifested itself at the Bridge of Khazad-dum. a creature of shadow and flame, truly. it wasn’t a hushed whisper anymore – it became affected whispers in a hollow attempt to keep the volume down, loud enough to be heard. but what struck me was the spite and the mean-ness of it all.
even during the 10 minute break (very much desired in a long long class, thank you), when i went to the toilet, i could see clumps of people discussing it. discussing is perhaps a lousy term. a more accurate phrase would be perhaps lambasting and criticizing in the most negative sense of the word. it was an all-out offensive, a dissing of the highest order. it was quite vituperative.
why did i bring up the giggling girls syndrome? because by far and large it was the girls in class who were doing it. yes some of the guys were doing it also. but somehow i felt that it was an exclusion of sorts. that the class had suddenly excluded the student who asked the question. a social rejection that continued and i have no idea how to define. at that point in time i was still sitting down in my seat, rather oblivious and detached from all that was happening around me, but on hindsight (about 5 minutes later) i found myself greatly disturbed by what i had just observed. was it an extension of the giggling girls syndrome? it sure felt like it. i don’t know if it is, but it sure felt as if it were.
why did everyone suddenly manifest their own internal Balrog? my very arrogant guess is that maybe, just maybe, a lot of people were shocked by that question because they suddenly realized that they had never once asked themselves that question – how to live their lives. i’m not sure. now, i’m not saying i have The Answer to that question, but i have a set of guiding principles and a code and a way in which i am going to live my life. in short, i have asked myself that question and i have found an answer that satisfies me.
but how come everything turned so bleak and black? i really have no idea. is social conformity so important? i would like to think that life itself is far more important. that going to university means that you have been trained to a level where you can recognize and process what’s important. and one focuses on the important things. see that a question is asked for a fundamental reason and not a desire to be guailan. but the strange part is that i felt that the balrog-ness was of a considerably feminine character. like spite and envy and herd mentality all rolled into an evil roiling cloud, waiting to burst out but glorying in its own inevitability. it really sounds quite nasty (now that i look back at what i typed) but that’s what a really felt like at that time. like the taint on saidin in the Wheel of Time, except female. WHY?
i’m not trying to be anti-feminist or anything like that. i’m an ENFJ. i like being at peace with everyone. nonetheless i like to air my views. and now i have a question that i have not found the answer to, despite having experienced something very strange. perhaps it’s just me, and how i experienced it. but i don’t really think so. some gut feeling tells me that there’s an answer to it. but was the reaction to such a question (granted yes, there would be some reaction, but on such a scale?) – let me rephrase that. what caused such a reaction to the question??????