Heights! what is so special about them, I mean what is that ‘peculiar’ thing which makes them desirable, leaving each one of us, in turn wanting them so bad. Is there anyone who does not want heights in life, surely some fear them literally. Not taking acrophobia as our concern though. What I am suggesting is a metaphorical sense of heights where it can be seen at par with success, growth, improvement, excellence, brilliance, also superiority. It is a way forward in life, more accurately a way upwards. The obsession of human species with a ‘better present’ and a much ‘better future’ is age old. They call it ‘progress’, politicians and economists today have termed it ‘development’ and it is the most attractive deal for humankind. The story of humans which might have started with ‘curiosity’ in the mist of survival has transformed into something else with greed and lust for ‘acquisition’. We have come a long way as a species. The prime objective is not survival. The prime mover are not instincts. Now, human has entered in a world game which is to satisfy all his inclinations, further his ego, making him a delusional self which, as he thinks holds utmost importance in the universe. And hence, he is trapped in his self-made reality with its measured worth.
Then, what does the View from the Top hill tell us? It pictures this very hallucination that man is all, even better, he/she is above all. This idea is difficult to die out any sooner since its popularity is among the whole humankind. Some call its evolution; it is this phenomenon that tends to authenticate the move. However, evolution can justify itself by proving how ‘higher’ species have survived by virtue of their adaptation and their complex functioning. Surely, that is a peculiar case in natural surroundings. But, what about the human surroundings? What can account for evolution in society? Is there anything that can work as a true parameter of judging progress? I do not think so. Still, we have our reservations for different measures, weighing grounds and yardsticks to live a worthy life. A popular idea among folks is that ‘worth’ does not spring from one’s own nature but from the rulings of other people and materials (riches).
Nevertheless, to be a worthy human, one must prove herself/himself, as to why are they significant? Why can’t they just be equated with one or the other animal? What makes them a worthy human, then? Well, the answer is not one thing, but many. One popular idea can be taken from the father of philosophy- Socrates, an idea which made him his own self and not a pig. That is his reason. We may call it rationality, the ability to think or understand for our own self. However, this does not suffice here. Reason alone cannot make a person worthy; it is also the rightful application of reason in the rightful circumstance. Its importance lies in its utility. And the practical aspect of it does not hold any importance unless it bears the right fruit, the consequence. And this is a never-ending list. What do I think of first? My family, my community or myself? If I pay attention to only my rationality then what about my emotions, or my desires? Here enters a special aspect of ‘heights’ and The View from the Top Hill starts to make sense. This aspect is known as validation. Everything we do in life aims at self-validation. Now, it depends on person to person as to what validates their existence. However, the idea of success is popular among many. The problem isn’t inherently with this idea of growth, progress or success for instance, but in the fixation of one’s validation on such ideals. Echoes of praise, worthiness, credibility attributed to The View from the Top Hill has mounted enormous pressure upon the human species. So much so that in the course of ‘gaining’ for oneself, we are rather losing oneself.
Hence, the essential part is to understand that mountains would never fall short, to climb. The higher one goes, the higher one wishes to go. Sky has no limits really but, human finitude has. The View from the Top Hill must be celebrated for the hard work and substance it fills a person’s life with. But one must also be cautiously grounded as the view obscures many important things which seem below yet are far more essential to lead a content life. We must not forget our roots and by this, I do not just mean the roots of a family or of a community but of the human species. Often, the nausea of heights hazes our present, it diverts our attention from the wonders of ‘change’. Being situated in a present which was desired by us so dearly in the past, we forget about the path we have covered, also about the ways we have grown. Somewhere, the greed of humankind has done far more damage to it than could ever be recovered. By speeding, some of us race past the most enjoyable moments of our life. The View from the Top Hill is after all, just a viewpoint. It could be right; it could be wrong. But why do you care so much? It is okay to care less and enjoy in where we are!
-Tanya Yadav (Freelancer)
Picture Credits: theladders.com / Shutterstock