Young philosophers debate ways to tackle pandemic, loneliness and an excess of free time


Written by Adrija Roychowdhury
| New Delhi |

November 23, 2020 9:10:33 am

Know why there is a need to stop searching for inspiration outside and instead shift our gaze inwards. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

“One should not be so scared of one’s own company.” Shraddha Shetty’s statement has the potential to change perceptions around the pandemic-induced loneliness many of us experienced. Her proposed antidote: “It is wonderful to look outside at nature and reflect on it. Even though nature is outside, we human beings are part of it too. So when we look outside, we are reminded of who we are inside.”

She was part of a panel discussion, which on the occasion of World Philosophy Day, sought to highlight the need and value of philosophy in our times and explored ways to bring beauty and inspiration in our daily lives.

Attended by a varied group of 140 philosophy enthusiasts, the digital event titled ‘Awakening your inner muse’ hosted aspiring philosophers and members of New Acropolis India, Anand Baskaran, Shraddha Shetty, and Surekha Deepak as panelists. The discussion was moderated by Trishya Screwvala.

The session began with a simple, but poignant, question: ‘What is an inner muse?’

“We think of a muse as an environment or an object or a person’s presence, which somehow ignites some inspiration within us that elevates us. So generally we look for this inspiration, outside of us. How then can we understand this concept of an inner muse?” Screwvala asked the panelists.

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The panelists spoke about the need to stop searching for inspiration outside and instead shift our gaze inwards. “When we look outside to find inspiration, whether it is a beautiful poem or a human being who touches our heart, we need to remember that it only touches something that is inside of us,” explained Shetty.

“This inner spark exists inside everyone. It is not something that anyone from outside can give us,” she added.

“This force within is liberating. It empowers us to innovate and removes the dependency on circumstances,” said Baskaran.

The three young philosophers shared some practical tips like the need to create more time and space for oneself, instead of always wanting to fill up time by being busy. “There is a strong tendency to be constantly productive and engaged. A big part of our reality is chasing deadlines, planning for the future or worrying about the future,” said Baskaran. Consequently, he said, that the tendency is to look out for distractions amidst all of this.

pandemic, loneliness in pandemic,, indianexpress, philosophy, life positive, what philosophers have to say on pandemic induced loneliness, Make use of excess free time too. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

“The plethora of mobile applications we have these days to ensure we have some quiet time, or time to meditate etc., is testament to how we are constantly seeking out distractions,” he said. “But the essential point is to be available to the inner world.”

Shetty and Deepak echoed Baskaran’s thoughts as they pointed out to how most of us went through this phase during the lockdown when the excess of free time in hand made most people anxious.

The session ended with the panelists speaking about the power of philosophy in transforming ourselves in order to contribute to a better future.

“Philosophy for me helps me be a better person,” said Deepak. “It is a way of life. It provides us with inspiration and gives us answers to all questions with regard to our external environment.”

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Shetty agreed: “One does not become a philosopher simply by reading a book by Plato or the Bhagavad Gita… To be a philosopher one needs to be in love with wisdom and truth.”

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