Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Before I actually begin to write this, I must put out a disclaimer. That even though I recently turned 25 and the (premature) gray hair on my head suggest otherwise, I am a staunch believer of the phrase ’18 till I die’. In fact, every birthday I do a little jig and sing it aloud in the shower. Fine, I’m exaggerating; in fact I’m lying only to prove to you that I am not that old. In fact, I’m a kid at heart. I kid you not. But then again, who isn’t? My parents are in their 60s but sometimes I find them more childish than almost every kid I went to school with.

But the point is that there is something to being youthful, something that has little to do with how young you feel inside or how old you actually are but just with being inexperienced. Often, that has a lot to do with how old you actually are too, but then again it depends on what kind of experiences life threw at you. But just the mere idea of not knowing; not even knowing that you don’t really know…You are young and every time you hit a mile stone which seems like you are now a grown up, you raise your collar and walk all proud as though you’ve figured it all out and know everything that there is to know. For instance, the move from junior to senior school or may be when you get into college after school. You think of yourself as one of the smartest beings there ever was. You think your parents ‘know shit’ about the world today because they are from the times back then. You strut around the streets thinking nobody really knows what they’re doing but you actually do.

But as you grow older, you gradually lose all the pride and the smugness only to realize that you don’t really know much. Perhaps worse, you realize that not only do you not know but that you’ll never really know enough. Worst case scenario is the realization that you might know all you want; but none of it will actually protect you from the impending challenge called life. You’re forced to accept that the world is not as pleasant as you thought and perhaps never will be.

But truly speaking, unpleasant experiences aren’t all that bad if you think about what you learn, not just about life but about yourself. You may find inside you immense strength to battle everything and everyone around you, may be even yourself. The only thing worth reminiscing about is the loss of innocence. The innocence that lets you have faith in yourself and the world, the trust and affection with which you open heartedly embrace people around you without a thought, the pretty picture where except a few minor bumps, the world is rainbow colored and in every living being around you, you see a sprightly soul! Of all the things I lost on my way here, unfortunately that probably qualifies as an irredeemable loss.


  1. hey, why bother about age at all? what's the need to be 'young'? isn't it a social pressure or a media created term/concept - be always young (and thus be cool or hep or whatever?

  2. youth what is if not nostalgia to seek of what was never there or what always has been a child I wanted to be like the adult since I never had the autonomy, as a youth wanted my own freedom to create something of my own but then it led to alienation and as an old I had all the passing years behind me of what I could not do or what could have been.....but its really true to point out that realisation that we never knew enuf and there was so much to know and still is. does the search ever end?
    Innocence, I preserved it for myself it was there which still allowed me to open my arms for everyone, to allow to believe the stranger as a child does but it always leads to delusion since my trust is always belied and it always ends up in non-becoming but u meet those yet people who make believe that everything is not over yet and hope rises again like from ashes, the warmth it preserved tends to have not burnt themselves out of non-existence....

  3. Comment 1:
    Loss of innocence! This caught my attention. I have booklong ideas on this issue. Let me be brief and abrupt, leaving lots of things off focus.
    The passage of time makes memory functions possible, and the ontology of memory is compatible with the impossibility of living the entirety of eternity at once the possibility of which would have nullified all the problems of life. The action of time on us is such that our identity undergoes a change/reshaping/transformation. This change occupies a central position in the question of ‘loss of innocence.’
    Let us put aside the question of persistence/nonpersistence of identity in undergoing a change, though a very closely related issue. Why do we lose ‘innocence’ as we grow old? Is it because knowledge is incompatible with innocence? If this is the case, is it a corollary that innocence is foolishness?
    Nothing but the natural ‘unsocial sociability of men’ (Kant 1784) accounts satisfactorily for our loss of ‘innocence’ as we grow old. Unsocial sociability, Kant says, is men’s tendency to come together in society, coupled, however, with a continual resistance which constantly threatens to break this society up. This propensity is obviously rooted in human nature. Man has an inclination to live in society, since he feels in this state more like a man, that is, he feels able to develop his natural capacities. But he also has a great tendency to live as an individual, to isolate himself, since he also encounters in himself the unsocial characteristic of wanting to direct everything in accordance with his own ideas.

  4. Comment 2:

    Family forms the society for a man during his childhood, with parents as its primary active members, and the world beyond the family walls playing relatively removed but increasingly active part. Parents do not expect anything from their babies, but they instead humor them. This puts the child in a position for it to need no negotiation for their ways. However, as the child grows up the parents begin to expect things from him and this expectation increases with time, and now the child’s exposition to the world of people like him with varied degrees of unsocial sociability puts him in a contesting space where the fittest only survive meaning that he for survival has to start his social transactions which need skillful negotiation. And negotiations teach him the ways of the world, the patterns of which get etched on his mind as a code for him to understand the behavioral dynamics of the human race his transactions with which is known by ‘experience’ which is inversely proportional to ‘innocence’ in our current sense of ‘lack of knowledge and experience of the world, especially of evil or unpleasant things’, for a door cannot remain shut while it is open. By how much you open the door from a closed state, by that much you deprive ‘closedness’ of the door’s closed state. Soft skills are smoothening oils for social cogs which are delivered at most times for utilitarian purposes like sales executives with smiling faces saying soft things in soft voices not for softness’ sake, but for reasons we know.
    The point in all these is this transformation is a natural phenomenon due to every normal life though this loss is really a shock for those us who nostalgically remember our past childhood and youth, and while this replacement is a normal thing in our life we miss our innocent past, mourn it, which makes us morally and emotionally different from those who look at life through dry rationalist eyes. Remembering our innocent childhood makes us feel our innocence still alive in us which does a lot to purify, soften and freshen our weathered hearts. It keeps us soft in our dealings with present day issues. It is, however, important here to note that innocence (with its Latin origin innocentia meaning ‘not harming’ based on nocere ‘injure’) is not synonymous with honesty and hence loss of innocence is our overgrowing childhood simplicity which we cannot forget.
    Many sad things happen in life, and we lose lots of things which we do not want to lose, though we do not know if the things we lose are ours or not. Where did we get our ‘innocence’ that we lost? So sweet, so sad! Tragedy is heartbreaking, but beautiful; or tragedy is beautiful, but heartbreaking!

    Thoithoi O'Cottage