Ramblings of two quarantined philosophers

 මනරම් Intro

If there’s one thing the early 20’s did to us, it’s giving us all something common to relate to. It’s a time where extroverts turned into introverts and introverts turned into ultra pro max introverts.

So having given the task to write anything we wanted, we thought of indulging in something we all can relate to Life amidst a pandemic. How to deal with it, what to make out of it and what two first years/ philosophers who’ve been quarantined during the past year think about all this.

Notes from quarantined philosopher #1

Are we in a 4th turning?

One of my brothers (a quarantined philosopher himself) told me to read this book called ‘The fourth turning’ during my 14-day quarantine. This book turned out to be the one of my favourite kind of books, a mind blower. A book about how and when history repeats itself. It explains that history can be divided into 80-year blocks called ‘saculum’ but we'll just call them history blocks for now. Those aren’t exactly 80 years but roughly the span of a human lifetime. Within these 80-year history blocks we have four turnings of around 20 years each. We usually call them generations.

Turnings are sort of like seasons like spring, summer, fall and winter throughout our history. The first turning or the first season is a high and upbeat era. The second turning is an awakening, a passionate era. The third turning is an unravelling, a downcast era. The fourth turning is a crisis, an era of upheaval. I’m sorry to say this but we're in a fourth turning right now.

What’s fascinating is that the book was written during the last third turning. So even though the book was published in 1997, it predicts what's happening now in this fourth turning and what's happening now is right on schedule!

Spending ‘ජීවිතේ හොදම කාලේ’ within a 4th turning

Problem with all this is that we are living through one of the most hellish times during this century and it had to happen just as we got selected to university and spend what our parents and relatives refer to as ‘ජීවිතේ හොදම කාලේ’. So after spending about half a year feeling sorry for myself I got a sudden revelation during one of my quarantined philosophic contemplation sessions. There is no specific period as ‘ජීවිතේ හොදම කාලේ’, it doesn’t have to be exactly during your early twenties! It could be any time period you want it to be! Sure, we might be going through a rough patch during an otherwise ‘full happening වයසක්’ but that only means we must live in an even more crazy, authentic, and legendary way to cover up what we missed.

So next time one of those CCTV aunties say ‘කැම්පස් තාමත් online ද​? හයියෝ අපි ඔය වයසේ හිටියේ මෙහෙමයි’ go tell them 'ඇයි අවුල් ද​?' Me and my homies understand that some things are just out of our control, recognize the absurdity of life, give it our own meaning, and live each and every single day to the fullest. Not just during our campus years.

Anyways, now that we're at the end of our history block right in the middle of our crisis we are in the process of changing our world again. So we will need to develop and fortify our virtues as we pursue a greener pasture.

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Notes from quarantined philosopher #2

Greener pasture? Ah lankaven lept wunot hariyaida?

As a part time quarantined philosopher myself, I can assure you dear reader that I have put some lonesome hours of thought into this. You see, what we call ‘quality of life’ is subjective. Yes, there are universally accepted methods of measuring this but what I might find to be ‘high quality of life’ might not be your cup of tea. I might find that being able to see my parents within a couple of hours is worth more than enjoying the perks of living in a first world country. You might find that being able to travel across all the countries in Europe while living in a first world European country to be more important than living in a third world country with exploding gas cylinders.

Point is, everyone’s search for greener pastures are different. The recent trend for migration among our youth might have sprung for valid reasons, but it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. So on that note, like ජය ශ්‍රී used to say “දෙවරක් හිතලා බලලා, යන්නලා හිතලා ඔහෙලා”

Why I ride & why you should too.

Having all the free time in the world to contemplate about what I should make out of all this eventually got me thinking about why we really do what we do. For an example, my colleague (quarantined philosopher #1)  restores motorcycles that are more than half a century old and rides them on country roads just because he likes to do it. I lift extremely heavy weights just for fun and because how I like the way it makes me feel afterwards. As fun and enjoyable as these pursuits might seem, they have their own set of technicalities and problems to deal with. My friend questions his sanity when he’s stuck at repair shops for hours on end and I question what’s the point of doing leg workouts when I can hardly walk after leg day at the gym because “ගල ඉදන් යටි පතුලම රුදා ගැහෙනවා බං”.

When you really think about it, at some points life is filled with things that you do because you simply like to do them. Not things that always end up in a cogwheel that pushes society forward while increasing the size of the economic pie.

Don’t get me wrong, by all means, let us strive to contribute to society in a positive way and leave the world a little better than it was when we were here. But always remember not to take things too seriously and have some stupid fun every once in a while. Because as cliché as it might sound, twenty-one years on this earth has made me realize that in the end life really is made up of the little things after all.

End හෙවත් අවසානය​

This is our favourite part of the article. This article is going to end in 211 words. The both of us don’t really know how to end articles. So what can we tell you?

We could tell you that we dreamed of living in a city that never sleeps experiencing what one of the best universities in Sri Lanka has to offer, but that didn’t really work out as intended. We could tell you that we planned to come out of each and every lockdown smarter, healthier and more productive than ever before, but that also didn’t really work out as intended. We could tell you that spending our youth in an unstable economy and not knowing what the future holds doesn’t bother us at all, but quite unfortunately that is also not the case as well. We could tell you that we’ve figured a lot of things out but truth is, even first year philosophers have their doubts. Or maybe, we could tell you everything that we wanted to tell you and sandwich it between some humour and stupidity. Because even though we might not have seen you let alone each other eye to eye, the experiences we’ve had during this pandemic makes us sure that we know you just as much as you might know the two of us.

So මචං, we know that you’d understand. 

Written By:-
Rtr. Indoopa Samarasinghe
(Member 2021-22)

Written By:-
Rtr. Gimhan Weerarathne
(Member 2021-22)

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