- Man, the author of his troubles
- Happiness an occasional episode in general drama of human tragedy
- Mon’s disappointment with religion
- The longing to undo the things done
- Man’s refusal to learn from experience
The famous Victorian Novelist Thomas Hardy termed happiness an occasional episode in the general drama of human pain and suffering. Thomas Hardy may have overshot his mark at times; his pessimistic outbursts remain as true today as they were when he pronounced them. Man’s sojourn on this planet is essentially tragic. Advancement on the materialistic plane has not made it in any way less so. If anything the sum total of human misery is on the increase.
Man’s tragedy lies in the fact that he has himself been the author of his troubles all through – the only exception being the prehistoric times when human beings were forced to be helpless spectators before the ravages of nature. Even since human beings got the better of nature, things might have been different Sut they were not. After subduing the fury to nature to a considerable extent, they set out to subdue one another. Countless battles and wars fought on ringing plains the world over left both victors and vanquished sadder but not wiser than before. Although man is never tired of reiterating that to err is human hitherto he has persistently refused to hold himself guilty. After things have gone bad he turns towards extraneous circumstances and sets out to alter them.
From time immemorial man has been blaming systems for his undoing. He has by no means exhausted his ignenuity holding extraneous factors responsible for the mess he has heaped around him. The fact remains that his strictures on systems have ended up making his lot more miserable. Happiness continues to and will remain an occasional episode in the general drama of human pain and misery.
Unable to wipe out misery from the face of the earth, nothing gratifies man more to bemoaning his miserable lot. Shelley wished to translate Platonic perfection into practice. But he succeeded only in giving expression to his sense of anguish at man’s essentially tragic condition:
“We look before and after
And pine for what is not
Our sweetest songs are those
That tells of saddest thought.”
Political memories are short and human memories are shorter still. It is a pity one man refuses to learn from experiences of others. How else does history repeat itself! How else can one justify the statement that history has taught us only one thing; none has ever learnt anything from history! Hitler had the glaring example of Napoleon’s folly inviting the wrath of Russian winter. And yet he conveniently followed the footsteps of the French and met the same fate. How repeatedly he must have said to himself when the Allied forces had succeeded in cornering him “It might have been (different) but for a folly of mine.” We are also like Hitler bewailing follies committed.
Sometime success seems to be so near and yet it remains eternally far. Everybody is wise after the event, they say. We are all unduly proficient analysing causes of failure in any walk of life. We claim to be not given to hair splitting, though it is precisely hair splitting and nothing else we manage to do all through our lives. It is not that we do so out of ignorance. We are side awaken when we wish things done be undone. How easy for Walpole to come out with his grandstand assertion that life is comedy for those who think and tragedy for those who feel. Keats sounds more realistic when’ he says about this world that in it to think is to invite ‘leaden eyed despair.’ The chain of thinking only lands one into exclaiming: “It might have been!”